Monday, July 31, 2006
It is Not Good that the Man should be Alone
Chapter One deals with "What the Bible says about marriage". There is nothing much contentious here, but it is always good to remind ourselves of why God did create marriage when he could have arranged things differently.
Marriage gives meaning to work. Maken says that "God designed work as a way for us to make an inheritance for our children." I'm not sure that I agree that this is the only purpose of work, but it certainly answers my feelings of demotivation when I wonder if "this is it" for the next forty years of my working life. I have a vocation, yet still struggle with my motivation for my career when inside I am burdened with deep desires to marry and raise up a family.
Marriage was designed for the procreation of children, people in the image of God. Studies
now have shown that children do better with parents in a marriage relationship than if they were cohabiting or single. This reinforces to the world that God's plan really is the best.
I really do believe that God does know best and has all his plans "for wholeness and not for evil", plans to give me a future and a hope. But there is another part of me where Satan knows to attack that just wonders if God is hiding some good gift from me - yet it is a gift that I believe he has set a desire for in my heart. One of my deepest desires is to be married and have a family. I feel content now where I am, but the thought of being in this same situation for the next forty years sometimes breaks my heart. So it is a relief to hear from this author that these feelings are not wrong, but in fact reflect God's intended plan for our lives.Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
Labels: marriage, reading
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Treat the Younger Women like Sisters
I had to come to tell about the wonderful evening I had last night. Two of the young men in my church invited a couple of us round for dinner last night and truly treated us as their mother and sister respectively. First, they cooked a lovely meal which they served to us outside in a lovely garden with its views of rolling countryside and the sun shining down on us.
What most impressed me was that the gentle way they led our time together. Our conversation was on to topics of real importance and worth, like what God had done in our lives from before we knew him, to leading us to him, and how he impacted our lives now. We discussed, on their leading, the importance of biblical manhood and womanhood in the church and in relationships. We talked about how this should be acted out in our lives as people striving to be godly men and women. They encouraged us and challenged to continue in this way. Our evening closed with prayer for our lives now and for our future lives, and with thanksgiving to God for all he has and continues to do in our lives.
I was so encouraged to be in the presence of men who really want the same values. They are men who want to be the leaders in a relationship, not to browbeat their future wives, but to cherish and nourish them by meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. They really showed that gentle yet powerful leadership last night.
What struck me was how wonderful it was to be under that and to submit in some way to that leading. I pray for those men that they will encourage and treat other men to embrace biblical manhood and that the Lord will continue to build them up as godly men. I also pray for me and for my sisters that we will become women joyfully wanting to respond to that and that we too will be moulded more and more into God's image to fulfill our role as created by him in the very beginning.
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.
I Tim 5:1-2
Labels: biblical manhood, biblical womanhood
Friday, July 28, 2006
The Lilies of the Field
I used to complain that no-one ever bought me flowers so I just had to buy them for myself. I love having flowers and plants in the house. I live in the centre of the city so it brings some of nature into my home. Even though they make me sneeze, I love the smell filling the house. I love the beautiful colours brightening the room.
They also remind me not to worry. I'm not very good at that. I like to have things under control, to know what is happening, to know what is going to happen. I don't deal well with uncertainty, so I have to remind myself that I know and trust that God knows all this. He knows me so much better than I know myself. He knows the beginning and the end of all things. He has power over everything and all his plans for me are good. I don't need to know what is going to happen because I know God.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin...If God so clothes the grass of the field...will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious...but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Labels: biblical womanhood, faith
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: Reinhold Niebuhr
God, give us the grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (1892-1971)
Labels: faith, quotations
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
She Rises While it is yet Night
I was definitely a night owl. I get tired about 7 o'clock in the evening, but all my creative juices start again about 8 o'clock. So sometimes I don't get to bed until quite late. I used to say this is just the way I was, the way God made me, until I was really challenged by this article from the Girltalk bloggers.
As they worked through 7 Habits of the Highly Effective Woman, I was introduced to The 5:00 Club. Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters have all developed the habit of getting up early before their families to give them a chance to have a dedicated quiet time before the demands of the day chat up with them and to prepare to serve their families.
At the moment, I work and live on my own, but I do really hope to have a family some day. As I pray that God will bless me with a husband and children, I feel it is also my responsibility to be cultivating the disciplines that will serve my family, knowing that God will use them too to bless my work and worship as a single woman.
Inspired by the advice from Nicola Whitacre that I should be prepared "to feel absolutely miserable for about 10 to 15 minutes" (!) and reassured that "the feeling of misery turns into pure gladness as I soon experience the delight of having that alone time and as I reap the benefits all day long", I began to set myself the challenge of becoming a morning person.
And it works! Admittedly, I don't get up at 5:00 - I think at the moment this would be a bit too much of a shock to the system! - but I am working on getting up early and starting my day right. To be honest, I think I use my time so much better and I achieve so much more with my day than I ever did as a 'night owl'. And now that I have written about here, I will have to keep it up!
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens
Labels: biblical womanhood, time/money management
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: St Francis of Assisi
Where there is peace and meditation,
there is neither anxiety or doubt.
St Francis of Assisi, Italian monk (1181-1226)
Labels: faith, quotations
Monday, July 24, 2006
The Beauty of Blogging: Teach what is Good
As you can see, I am a bit of a baby in the blogging world, never mind to the Carnival of Beauty which this week travels to relevantblog to extol the Beauty of Blogging!
Just last week I decided that I was going to put my thoughts on to the ether that is the Internet. I've kept a diary for years - and I do cringe and laugh as I read about the traumas of love and exams as a thirteen year old girl! But what made me decide to blog?
Reading other blogs can be fun, educational, challenging. Women whom I have never met, through their writing, have taught me and made me think. Even though we are thousands of miles apart, women, from all over the world, from all Christian traditions, with many different experiences, whom I never even met, have taught me, provoked me, and encouraged me.
They emulate the commands of Paul in his letter to Titus, training and discipling younger women through their good words and deeds. For someone who did not grow up in a Christian or even churchgoing home, this has been so important in shaping who I am as I go against the politically correct teaching of our society and pursue biblical womanhood.
This issue has been laid deep upon my heart for a long time now. I've read many books and articles about what it means in theory and in practice. I have spoken to women whom I admire about how to live joyful and obedient lives in a society with a very different agenda.
Considering all this, I have started this blog to be accountable in my thoughts, words and actions as I strive to become a woman after God's own heart. I don't expect or aspire to have the same impact - and I don't know even if anyone will read it! But for me, and I hope some day for my future children, I will be able to look at my journey as a Christian, looking back at all the goodness that God has shown me and praising him for how far he has taken me.
Finally, to all the women who have taught me what is good without even knowing it, I thank you now and look forward to thanking you when we meet in glory!
Older women...are to be reverent in behavior...They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled... Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.
Labels: biblical womanhood, carnival of beauty
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: St Augustine
Seek not to understand
that you may believe,
but believe that you may understand.
St Augustine of Hippo, Early Christian theologian (354-430)
Labels: faith, quotations
Friday, July 21, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: Isaac D'Israeli
The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.
Isaac D'Israeli, British Historian (1766-1848)
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Bring the Books!
I love reading. I always have done. I just gobble books up! From Enid Blyton and CS Lewis, to Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, to JK Rowling and Alexandre Dumas...from JI Packer and Paul Brand, to Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, to Helen Roseveare and George Herbert - a random selection from the piles of books that surround me reflecting an electic collection! I try to read a wide variety of books from all sorts of writers on all sorts of topics to inform, educate and challenge me. But with my tendency to read quickly and my limited time, I maybe don't spend as much time as I should pondering.
With this in mind, I have decided to start a new habit. Inspired by a good friend who does this, I have decided to read my next book with my notebook in my lap and my pen in my hand. I am going to try to take time each day to sit and read slowly, savouring the words and the ideas, jotting down useful sentences and adding my own questions and thoughts to it.
As for the next book? Well, it is one which has been greeted by such controversy! I've read so many articles by people I respect either praising or denouncing the author for her ideas. "Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness
" by Deborah Maken challenges the prevailing view of the Evangelical church that singleness is a 'gift from God', saying instead that it is unnatural and goes as far to say that it is actually unbiblical and against God's plan!
It was given to me by a friend who wanted to know my thoughts on it. I did my usual quick readthrough and found myself wavering on where to stand - I think there is a lot of truth in there but I felt that sometimes she took things too far. So let's see if the notes help to clarify or clutter my mind! In the meantime, see what some others thought: Camerin Courtney
, Tim Challies
, Candice Z WattersThe man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all people. You need to read ... Paul cries, "Bring the books" -- join in the cry.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon (1832-1894)
Labels: marriage, reading, singleness
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Seek to Show Hospitality
One of the main joys and duties of being a Christian woman, whether we are living with our husband and children, with flatmates, or on our own, is the gift of hospitality. I know how much I appreciated being welcomed into homes and families as a student, so I hope to be able to return that favour to others. I really enjoy having people round, but it can be quite stressful sometimes!Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon Flylady. A friend originally sent it to me as a joke, but reading her site, I realised the real joys in having a home that served me, rather than the other way round! She gives lots of useful advice on keeping and managing your home and life, such as it is better to do half a job rather than no job at all, that perfectionism actually causes chaos and that simple routines "do the trick".
At the moment, after a few failed attempts at trying to embrace it all at once (it's that perfectionist side of me again trying to do everything at once or not at all), I am plodding my way through the Babysteps. My sink is shiny, and from that everything else will follow - and you know, I think that it might just do that this time!
Labels: biblical womanhood, homemaking
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The Good Portion
I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with all the demands life has upon me - family, friends, work, church, studying, youth work, Bible studies, fellowship meetings, housework, correspondence, hobbies, exercise...! With all these pressures on my time and energy, it is so easy to let some of my good intentions slide.
However, the story of Mary and Martha reminds us to focus first on the most important thing - our relationship with the Lord. In spite of and because of all our responsibilities, we must take the time at the beginning of each and every day to sit at the Lord's feet and listen to his teaching. Only then can we enter another day with the right perspective and the right grounding.
Take time this morning to worship at the Lord's feet. Hear his teaching through his Word and offer your sacrifice of prayer for all those anxieties and troubles you bear.
But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
Labels: bible study, biblical womanhood, time/money management
Monday, July 17, 2006
A Woman who Fears the Lord
Hopefully, this is what I am and what I strive to be!
I begin this blog to consider how to become more of a godly woman, to encourage others wanting to become women after God's heart, and to be accountable to myself and others as I work on those qualities presented to us by woman of the Bible.
This goes against our secular culture, and even sometimes within our churches, but I believe there is great blessing to be had by reclaiming the Biblical ideas, and therefore, the Biblical ideals of manhood and womanhood.
I hope and pray that it will be a blessing to me and to anyone who looks in here.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Labels: accountability, biblical womanhood