I am not writing this article as a professional, experienced counselorstriving to teach other counselors—I am nothing of the sorts. I am writing this as a believer who has battled her way through the thorns of doubt, and who has discerned both the goodand poor counsel given from others. I also come with humility, recognizing the times I have given the same gut-wrenching, doubt-inducing counsel that was once given to me. If there is anything to be taken away from this, I hope it is this: Let’s counsel those who doubt with the gospel—not their works.Read More
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you love the snow, but the beating down of the summer sun makes you cranky. Or maybe you’re sick of trudging through muck and puddles from the seemingly endless rain. I’ve been there too. I didn’t think much of it—its just what everyone does. Complain about the weather, maybe try to find something good in it, if you can. I had little consideration for my complaints because I was so used to hearing them—from both my own mouth the mouths of others. Until I saw myself wandering the wilderness with the grumbling Israelites.Read More
Perhaps you’ve heard this variation: “Depression, anxiety, heartbreak—you are not bound to living that way. You don’t have to suffer anymore. Freedom exists in Jesus. Come to him and find freedom.” This is a false gospel. This gospel motivates people to believe in it by presenting your best life now if you’ll just come to Jesus. This is a damning lie. Jesus doesn’t take away your suffering—he promises it (John 16:33). And because we live in a fallen world, your body will fail you—both mentally and physically. But the true gospel, presents a truth much greater than this prosperity gospel could ever conjure up.Read More
With the admonition to be slow to speak should come the caveat, So be slow to assume. Based on one action, with no thought on the past, I had conjured up an assumption of my husband that was far from true. Offering no charity, I assumed the worst of my husband’s motives. Maybe it’s ironic and hypocritical, but I’m assuming I’m not the only one. I believe many of our conversations as believers would be much more edifying and our relationships much less tense if we lived by the phrase, “Love hopes all things,” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Our relationships within the church could be more unified if we remember the grace and charity we have been shown by Christ, who knew the depths and sins of our hearts, and seek to show charity to one another in our assumptions of each others words and motives.Read More
In the church today, you probably didn’t even have to read one of those books to hear the term spiritual leadership tossed around. We hear the plea, “I just want to find a man who will lead me spiritually,” or, “I’m so sick of my husband not taking up his role of leading me spiritually.” Perhaps you share that plea. Maybe the man you married hasn’t turned out to be the spiritual leader of your dreams. If so, there are two temptations I’d like to encourage you to guard yourself from: Taking up your chisels to carve your husbands into an idol, or carving yourself into an idol for him.Read More
I had to carry my doubts to the foot of the cross. I needed to remember the sufficient and complete work of Christ that merited God’s forgiveness and love towards me. I needed to remember that forgiveness of my sins was a gift of grace, and continued to be a gift of grace, so that, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV). I needed to remember the old, old story of the cross.Read More
What I couldn’t see was the sovereign God at work smelting my hardened heart. It was the beginning of the gentle call of his irresistible grace. I didn’t know I was a sinner in need of Christ. I saw myself as righteous on my own, not requiring anyone’s help with my salvation. But to be saved by the grace of God, we need to recognize our own depravity. We need to recognize that because of the first sin of Adam and because of our own sinfulness, we have fallen short of the glory of God and have no way of restoring ourselves.Read More
It hurts when someone we love is hurting, and we hate that we can’t stop their suffering. We love them, and we wish we could simply dust away their pain, collect it in a dustpan, and chuck it out the door. But we were never meant to do that. Even our most faithful prayers may not make the pain disappear. We were not created to be healers. We are meant to be a part of the body. As a fellow part of the body, I am not meant to fix another. I’m not able. I can’t take away that pain, and to believe I can minimizes their suffering.Read More
Rachel found her identity in something we still do today: Motherhood. Whether we are mothers already or desiring to be mothers, we too at times find fulfillment and joy in becoming moms. We place our hope in being the best mom and strive to outdo one another in mothering (just look at the mommy wars on social media). Or perhaps while waiting to be married, we watch the mothers around us and wish we could find a husband so we could fill our arms with a baby too. Or maybe we are married but God has shut our womb.Read More
I’ve noticed this to be a trend among those of us who love theology. Though I would (and have) argued that we need to pursue sound doctrine and speak out when falsehood is being promoted, there is also something honourable about lips that are slow to speak. I am learning more and more the value of being the last one to speak on issues, especially in a room of people much older and wiser than me. There’s value in taking time to re-evaluate and ponder what someone’s words could have meant before criticizing them. There’s value in listening to a person’s story before voicing our counsel, and value in hearing what others may have to offer for advice first.Read More
God, why can’t I be free from this, even still? I prayed. What kind of believer, what kind of counselor, what kind of mother am I if I can’t catch a grip on this single struggle even now? Yet, in the midst of this fear, God has taught me that He is still faithful to us even when we have yet to conquer our greatest fears.Read More
Dear Seasoned Woman, the truth is I actually don’t know it all. I can gain some knowledge through Bible study and reading solid books, but there is a special kind of wisdom that comes with experience that I can never fake. You have the benefit of time and experience spent reading the Bible, hearing it preached, loving your husband, raising your children, serving your friends, maintaining your home, and discerning decisions. You have something I can’t force by listening to podcasts or following Instagram accounts. You have years of witnessing the faithfulness, goodness, and grace of God. I need your wisdom applied to my life. I can read books and blog posts, but they don’t know my personal story. I need you, seasoned woman, to listen to my stories and teach me how to apply the wisdom you won through your own experiences.Read More
My anger acts in a similar way at times. It screams and refuses to be overlooked until it gets what it wants. It demands to be noticed. What do we control our anger when it demands its way? How can we submit it to God’s commands to be patient, loving, and kind? We begin in our hearts.Read More
In her book Idols of a Mother’s Heart, Christina Fox sets out to help mothers recognize the idols they have stored away in the corners of their hearts. But she doesn’t leave us mothers there with a pile of idols to clean up on our own—with the words of a fellow mom who knows the battle all too well herself, Christina guides mothers how to turn from those idols and back to God, without forgetting the gospel hope we desperately need.Read More
In motherhood, there are many things I want control of. I want to control my child’s health and safety. I want to control their future happiness. I want to control their behavior. I want to control their salvation and ensure that they become believers. These are a few of the many things I vainly grapple to control. Notice I said vainly. I can control none of these aspects of my child’s life. And that makes me fearful.Read More
A courtroom, a wooden sawmill, and a farm. Those are the images that come to mind as I read Matthew 7:1-6. What do they share in common? They teach brothers and sisters in Christ how to encourage and counsel one another in killing sin. They teach us how to be avoid becoming graceless judges, how to be merciful siblings, and how to dodge vicious dogs and trampling pig.Read More
Decision-making can fill us with anxiety. What if I make the wrong choice? Sometimes we extend the necessary time to make a decision out of fear. But what if I told you decisions shouldn’t cause us so much stress? What if I told you that as believers we have God’s Word as a perfect standard to bring our questions to? What if I told you that despite what you choose, it is still entirely in God’s hands? What if I told you that we are blessed with the gift of wisdom for the decisions that don’t have black-and-white answers? Would any of this relieve your anxiety, friend?Read More
God commands us to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger—we are to study God’s Word with eagerness, patience, and diligence before teaching it to others, and accept what it teaches us rather than rebel in anger. We are to seek to live righteously and humbly obey what we learn. This is not to frighten you away from teaching the Word, but to encourage you to spend more time understanding it. Unsure how to do that? Here are a few steps you can take each time you prepare to teach on a passage of Scripture.Read More
I was weary that night. I expected joy and excitement as I prepared for my newborn. I longed for those sweet kicks and a rounded belly. But when I finally got it, it wasn’t at all what I had hoped for—instead of excitement, I had the miseries of anxiety. My pregnancy seemed to be filled with hospital trips for unknown bleeding, random cramping, unbelievable backaches, and all the worries that accompany those.
I believed that when Levi finally came, my worries dissipate. Finally freed from my fragile womb, and I could know if and when something was wrong. I could finally have some kind of knowledge and control over this little life.
But that wasn’t the case.Read More
Though my husband never seemed bothered, I cried and apologized daily for the messy floors and my excess sleep. I knew I needed rest, but the amount I was getting overwhelmed me. I wanted to force myself into my old routines, but my body wouldn’t allow it. My husband would try to pick up the slack, but that only made me more sad and frustrated.
Tired and exhausted momma, can you relate to what I experienced? First time pregnant wife, do you know the struggle of perfectionism and tiredness? It doesn’t need to stay this way. I want to offer you true change and hope from the Bible that I had to work through in those early months of pregnancy as a housewife.Read More