If Only I Had… Then I Could Obey

If Only I Had… Then I Could Obey

Have you ever found yourself in a similar circumstance, thinking to yourself, “If only I had [fill in the blank], then I could obey God better”? If only I had more time, friends who were more present, family members who weren’t so trying, a pet that wasn’t so needy, improved health, more resources, a good marriage, a church I agreed with on more theological matters, a mentor who had more time for me, this book that claims to change people’s lives, a seminary degree—then I could be a better Christ-follower. Have you ever heard that thought float through your head? I’ve heard it resound many times in my own, with a variety of things to fill the blank with.

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Hold Me Fast Through Sleepless Nights

Hold Me Fast Through Sleepless Nights

The value of something can be proven when it stands the test of time. Like the hymns we sing at church on Sunday, or at home any day of the week. These theological melodies are timeless and are worth our time, attention, and voices still today. For me, the hymn He Will Hold Me Fast has greatly encouraged me and strengthened me through this first year of motherhood.

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The Promise is His Presence (Book Review)

The Promise is His Presence (Book Review)

This is when I picked up Glenna’s book, The Promise is His Presence. In her book, Glenna took me by the hand and led me through her story of suffering, waiting, and unanswered prayers alongside the redemption narrative of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. As she did, she showed me how God’s promise isn’t an easy life, immediate answers to our prayers, or a lack of suffering. God’s promise is to always be with his people, and he fulfills this promise throughout the entirety of the Bible.

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Seven Strengths of a Caring Mentor

Seven Strengths of a Caring Mentor

We know the call of Titus 2—to teach the younger 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” (vv. 3-5 ESV). But how do we do that? How do we do this in a caring way? How do we become mentors like the ones who have discipled us? How do we become older women to whom the younger women can go?

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How to Take Unruly and Stubborn Thoughts Captive

How to Take Unruly and Stubborn Thoughts Captive

As those who have been redeemed by the gospel, we should have heavenly thoughts. As Paul says to the Colossians, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory,” (Colossians 3:2-4 CSB). But how do we do this? How do we take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ? By installing Philippians 4:8 as a guard over our minds.

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At Home Discipleship

At Home Discipleship

My ideal of discipleship involved weekly meetings, formal Bible studies, answers to hard questions, and in-depth counseling. But this wasn’t what God provided at the time. Rather, God provided me with something much less intentional, but no less formative—a family who showed us hospitality. You see, discipleship doesn’t only take place in quiet rooms with books, Bibles, and coffee—it also takes place in the bustling homes of our fellow brothers and sisters as well.

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When You Don’t Have a Good Dad on Father’s Day

When You Don’t Have a Good Dad on Father’s Day

But on this Father’s Day, we can still be encouraged. Though we may rightly lament the pain our earthly fathers caused (and seek help if we are in an abusive situation), we can also find hope in our sonship with our Heavenly Father. Though our earthly dads fathered us in sin, he fathers us in perfection and righteousness. We are not fatherless.

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Sufficient Hope in Post-Partum Depression: Book Review of Sufficient Hope

Sufficient Hope in Post-Partum Depression: Book Review of Sufficient Hope

Christina Fox’s book Sufficient Hope came to me during one of those waves of floundering and showed me what I truly needed: to be reminded of the gospel. “Whatever experiences we face in motherhood, we all need Jesus—and he is sufficient. That’s what this book is about: our need for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In every moment, in every season, and whatever our circumstances, the gospel is sufficient to give us hope” (p. 14).

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Change Begins with the Gospel

Change Begins with the Gospel

What we see outlined in Ephesians 4:22-24 is not a one-time instruction manual with promises of immediate success. Instead, it is a place we will return to often, probably with the same struggles, and the order may change. But God is faithful, and he will bring us to completion in his timing and lead us as we put off sin, renew our minds, and put on the new self.

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Learning to Love Our Bodies

Learning to Love Our Bodies

In the Fall, both soul and body were broken by sin. Our bodies were then plagued by sicknesses and diseases, and ultimately death. Our bodies would be pushed and worked hard in order to survive. What was created to live with God in perfect relationship forever would now return to the dust it came from—but not without enduring physical hardships. But before this, when God formed us, he declared the whole of us as good—not just the soul. Both are created by God, both are created to glorify him, and both will be redeemed by God. 

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How to Counsel Those Who Doubt

How to Counsel Those Who Doubt

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. 

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When God Withholds The Warmth and Sunshine

When God Withholds The Warmth and Sunshine

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. 

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The Gospel Doesn’t Promise a Healed Mind

The Gospel Doesn’t Promise a Healed Mind

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. 

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Love Hopes All Things—And Tosses the Worst Assumptions

Love Hopes All Things—And Tosses the Worst Assumptions

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.

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When He’s Not the Spiritual Leader of Your Dreams

When He’s Not the Spiritual Leader of Your Dreams

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. 

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His Love Depends Not On Me

His Love Depends Not On Me

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.

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God's Irresistible Grace in My Anxiety (My Salvation Story)

God's Irresistible Grace in My Anxiety (My Salvation Story)

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.

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You Were Not Created to Take the Pain Away

You Were Not Created to Take the Pain Away

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. 

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When Your Identity Feels Hidden in Motherhood

When Your Identity Feels Hidden in Motherhood

 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. 

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God, Put a Guard Over My Mouth

God, Put a Guard Over My Mouth

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. 

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