Book I’m Excited to Read: Womanhood, Marriage, & Gender Roles

Good morning, friends! Since we’ve been talking a lot about womanhood, gender roles, marriage, and the like, I thought I’d share my list of to-read Christian Living books on these topics!

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and your favorite Christian nonfiction books!

~ Womanhood (& Manhood) ~

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley

radical womanhood

True Woman 101: Divine Design: An Eight-Week Study on Biblical Womanhood by Mary A. Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss

true woman 101

The Fruit of Her Hands: Respect and the Christian Woman by Nancy Wilson

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Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys

redeeming the feminine soul

Let Me Be A Woman by Elisabeth Elliot

let me be a woman

Girls With Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero by Lisa Bevere

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Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer

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Building Her House: Commonsensical Wisdom for Christian Women by Nancy Wilson

building her house

Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal

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Divine Design: God’s Complementary Roles for Men and Women by John MacArthur

divine design

~ Singleness/Preparing for Marriage ~

Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating by Marshall Segal

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Wholeness in Singleness: Wisdom for Wives in Waiting by Brittney Jones

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Why Isn’t a Pretty Girl Like You Married?: …and other useful comments by Nancy Wilson

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The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, But Why by Gary Thomas

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Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman

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Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples by John Piper

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The Before-You-Marry Book of Questions by Bill & Pam Farrel

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~ Marriage ~

For a Glory and a Covering: A Practical Theology of Marriage by Douglas Wilson

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Your Marriage, God’s Mission: Discovering Your Spiritual Purpose Together by Clint and Penny A. Bragg

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The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, & Redemption by Matt Chandler (with Jared C. Wilson)

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True Companion: Thoughts on Being a Pastor’s Wife by Nancy Wilson

true companion by nancy wilson

Happily Ever After: Finding Grace in the Messes of Marriage: 30 Devotions for Couples by John Piper, Francis Chan, & more

happily ever after

~Motherhood (& Fatherhood) ~

Missionary Mom: Embracing the Mission Field Right Under Your Roof by Shontell Brewer

missionary mom

Praise Her in the Gates: The Calling of Christian Motherhood by Nancy Wilson

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Father Hunger: Why God Call Men to Love and Lead Their Families by Douglas Wilson

father hunger

 

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Sacred

sacred

There is something holy about life-blood.

Your life is sacred.

Every human life is sacred. Unlike what evolutionists want to believe, we did not happen by chance and we are not descendants of animals. If we were, things like an “elite race”, strategic elimination of the old and weak, and the execution of unwanted babies might make sense, right? Because only the strongest survive, after all. And human life in and of itself would have no intrinsic value.

But that’s not what the Master Designer set into motion in the beginning. No, He created mankind in the beginning, in His image. Totally set apart from animals. Think of that … each of us reflecting God. God Himself breathed the breath of life into man. That sounds quite personal, doesn’t it?

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

So every human being is an image-bearer of the God. And if He would stoop to breathe life into us, I would maintain that life is sacred.

The way we treat human life in this day and age is often with anything but sacredness. Assisting older & disabled people in death? What are they? An object to be rid of and replaced? Who put the power of life and death in your hands?

People treating their pets better than their neighbor? I heard that a question was posed that went something like: “If a stranger and your beloved dog were both drowning, who would you save?” And most people answered their dog. Friends, your dog is not made in the image of God and he does not have a soul. That you would choose a beast that God gave you to subdue and rule over, over an image-bearer of God is unspeakably grievous.

At the pinnacle of this absolute disregard for life, we come face-to-face with abortion. The mass murder of human life. The cruel and evil practice of snuffing out the lives of babies … made in the image of God. Like those precious, little souls can be replaced!

No. Our ground is tainted with the blood of countless image-bearers. It is a deep, horrific sin that we have let happen.

When the first murder happened – Cain murdered his brother, Abel – God said that Abel’s blood cried out to Him.

Genesis 4:10-12

10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”

I recently read through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and a novel series by Connilyn Cossette called “Cities of Refuge”. In these books, I learned about these cities of refuge that God set up for accidental murderers. The accused one could flee to one of these cities and had to stay there until the death of the High Priest. And if they stepped out of that city and were killed by the dead’s family, their blood was on their own head.

An accidental murderer! But it wasn’t even their fault, you might say. Isn’t that kind of a harsh sentence? Perhaps. But this shows the sacredness that God places on human life. Image-bearer blood was spilled – sacred life was taken – and this simply cannot be overlooked.

Numbers 35:9-11, 22-34

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there.

22 ‘However, if he pushes him suddenly without enmity, or throws anything at him without lying in wait, 23 or uses a stone, by which a man could die, throwing it at him without seeing him, so that he dies, while he was not his enemy or seeking his harm, 24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments. 25 So the congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge where he had fled, and he shall remain there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26 But if the manslayer at any time goes outside the limits of the city of refuge where he fled27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the limits of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.

29 ‘And these things shall be a statute of judgment to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 30 Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty. 31 Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 32 And you shall take no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the priest. 33 So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. 34 Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.’ ” 

Deuteronomy 21:1-9

“If anyone is found slain, lying in the field in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him, then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance from the slain man to the surrounding cities. And it shall be that the elders of the city nearest to the slain man will take a heifer which has not been worked and which has not pulled with a yoke. The elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with flowing water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and they shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; by their word every controversy and every assault shall be settled. And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. Then they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, nor have our eyes seen itProvide atonement, O Lord, for Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and do not lay innocent blood to the charge of Your people Israel.’ And atonement shall be provided on their behalf for the bloodSo you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord.

Premature death of a human was taken very, very seriously. And in the New Testament, Jesus Christ says that the commandment to not murder extends to having hateful feelings in your heart toward another person!

So if we think that we can literally end the lives of millions of babies each year, and God is just going to overlook it, we are so seriously wrong.

I believe the blood of each and every one of these aborted babies stains our country … and are crying out to the One whose image they bear to avenge them.

People say that the sexual depravity of this country is bringing God’s judgement. Fornication. Pornography. Adultery. Homosexuality. Transgender lifestyle. And while it’s true that sexual sin is sinning against our own bodies, I would remind us to look at the way the Almighty God is profaned by the sheer number of His helpless image-bearers slaughtered each year.

Sacred life blood soaking the ground we live on.

This is devastating.

It is awful, and evil, and God will not, can not, overlook it. He knows each of the babies. He formed them. He sees them in the womb. He knew them before He ever created them.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Jeremiah 1:4-5

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;

He knows about the devastating new laws passed in New York, and other places. And He will not turn a blind eye.

Abortion is never permissible. Human life is complete and sacred, whether you can see the form of a human yet, or not. There is never a reason for you to take a tiny human life into your hands and silence it.

You do not have that right.

There is never a reason for a mother to take her baby’s life. I know horrible things happen, but it is never the baby’s fault.

Rape. Incest. Why does an innocent, helpless baby have to pay with its life for a grown person’s depravity? How does a murder make things better? How does your pain justify taking the life of another, innocent human being? Is it right to repay horrific sin with more horrific sin?

If you came before the Almighty God and He asked you what reason you can give for spilling sacred blood and profaning His name, what answer would you give?

Their life for yours?

Their life for your pleasure?

Their life for your comfort?

As Ken Ham said: “Abortion is child sacrifice to the god of self.”

You may look at the evidence of ancient rituals of killing children in sacrifice to gods, and shudder in horror. But the truth is that our own shores reek with the stench of this same evil act.

We sacrifice children for self.

Sometimes this is done unknowingly. And that is why it is so crucial that we bring up this subject and understand what abortion truly is!

Why is it that if some guy took the life of a baby in a woman’s womb, he would be charged with murder, but our doctors are performing these kinds of acts every day in the name of women’s rights?

What rights? Woman’s right to kill her own children if she sees fit? Who has that kind of right?? Even in our immoral culture?

Human life is sacred. Every life is life and sacred at conception. They have growing to do yet, but they already have an identity – all their DNA is there. They are a living soul. God Himself placed life inside that womb, and how dare we rip it out?

How dare we take life and death into our hands?

Isaiah 44:24

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;

How have we become a culture of murderers? And not just murderers, but killers of the most innocent and helpless? They don’t even get a chance to live. They can’t fight back. Their voice is not heard. In their own home, they are ruthlessly slaughtered.

Oh, Lord, make our hearts bleed because of this great evil!

How can we help? I think crisis pregnancy centers are an amazing place to start. Do what you can to support these centers. Provide, equip, pray, and volunteer. We should become passionate about educating women about life at conception, the horror and realities of abortion, and providing a safe haven for them and their babies.

We need to realize anew the preciousness of human life above all else in our culture. Pets are dear and all, but what if we invested in the lives of foster children, orphans, and supported adoption like some people do for animal shelters and abused or abandoned animals?

I’m not saying animals aren’t glorious creatures. They should be treated with much care, and are lovable to many. But even one human life far surpasses the worth of animals.

Matthew 10:29-31

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

We need a wake-up call.

Not one life snuffed out goes unnoticed by God. He sees. He keeps an account. And He will bring justice.

Maybe we need to start in how we treat our fellow humans. Are we treating them as image-bearers of God? Does the way we treat women inspire them to see their unborn baby’s life as sacred? Or just as so much trash because that’s the way they view themselves?

Isaiah 40:11

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

I want to insert here that there is forgiveness, mercy, and grace abounding for the woman who has aborted her baby. Come to God with a broken and contrite heart, and let Him bring immense healing and hope. Get help. Tell someone. There are loving, caring people who will welcome you with open arms and help you heal from the trauma and horror of abortion. You are not alone. You are not unforgivable. You are not unwanted.

I know there are women who have been forced to have abortions (by her parents), or have had this procedure without proper knowledge of the life inside her womb. My heart breaks for you, and I want you to know there is healing for you.

I know there are people who were aware of what they’re doing. When they went in for that abortion, or performed that abortion on a mother. There is a new beginning for you. Trust in Jesus. Turn from this sin. There is healing.

Our God is a God of forgiveness. We are all broken sinners in need of grace. And you can come to Him and let the pure, willingly offered blood of Christ make you clean and whole.

Sacred.

Every human life needs to be treated with care, dignity, and honor.

Please, dear readers. Let us fight for the precious, irreplaceable lives of our babies.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION.

SHARE BELOW SOME WAYS THAT WE CAN FIGHT FOR THE UNBORN AND SUPPORT THE SACREDNESS OF HUMAN LIFE.

Resources For Studying Biblical Womanhood & Manhood

Hello, dear readers! In light of Tuesday’s post, I wanted to share some resources for studying and learning more about Biblical womanhood (and manhood).

If you haven’t gathered from reading this blog, I love this topic. The desire to live out womanhood Biblically is something that is woven very deeply into my heart … It’s one of the reasons I started Lady Grace in the first place! I’m always eager to listen to more sermons on God’s design and Biblical gender roles. And forever looking for more solid books exploring this subject.

So without further ado, here are some sermons, Youtube videos, and books that have helped shape my view as I study God’s Word on gender, Biblical roles, and marriage.

~ Sermons ~

David Platt – Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: Part 1

David Platt – Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: Part 2

David Platt – What About Women, Paul?

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 4): Man’s Hurdles

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 5): Man’s Redemption

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 7): Woman’s Purpose

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 8): Woman’s Hurdles

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 9): Woman’s Redemption

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 10): Together For the Gospel

New Work Fellowship – Mutual Love & Respect: Marriage For Dummies

New Work Fellowship – Love: Marriage For Dummies

New Work Fellowship – Respect: Marriage For Dummies

***

~ Youtube Videos ~

John Piper – A Beautiful Woman is a Person, Not a Body

John Piper – When a Man Loves a Woman Well

Ask Pastor John – Confronting Emotional and Verbal Abuse in the Home

J.D. Greear – Spiritual Headship

J.D. Greear – The Problem of Divorce

J.D. Greear – Four Ways Husbands Should Lead Like Christ

Emily Wilson – Accepting Chivalry

Liz Wheeler – This is How Real Men Act

Liz Wheeler – Women are Becoming the Men They Want to Marry

Liz Wheeler – Hey Feminists, Don’t Tell Me How to Be a Woman

PursueGodVideos – What It Means to Submit to Your Husband

Girl Defined – The Number One Thing Single Girls Should Look for in a Future Husband (but rarely do)

Girl Defined – 3 Ways Christian Girls Can Promote Godly Manhood

Ultimate Marriage – The Biblical Roles of a Husband and Wife

Ultimate Marriage – The Basics of Biblical Marriage

***

~ Books ~

Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird

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Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird

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Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

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The Mark of a Man: Following Christ’s Example of Masculinity by Elisabeth Elliot

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Woman by Divine Design by Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif

woman by divine design

Submissive Women?

submissive women

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘submit’?

In the 21st century, are headship and submission antiquated ideas? Is there no longer a need for gender roles? Has our progressiveness led as to a place where manhood and womanhood are merging, and living out old-fashioned masculinity and femininity is unneeded?

Some would answer with an emphatic “yes”.

And not just those in the culture, but this is trending in the general church as well.

Wives don’t need to submit. We’re not living in medieval times.

Husband and wife lead together.

Holding the door open for women is outdated chivalry. Girls need to be taught that everyone holds open doors for everyone. We must not treat women any differently than men.

Pastors needn’t preach on verses concerning submission and headship, because those subjects are irrelevant in our day.

Whichever way you lean, I want to pose a question that I believe is crucial:

At what point does God’s Word become irrelevant?

Seriously. We must ponder this, and what we believe to be true about the Bible if we are to have any type of foundation.

As Christians, we believe that the entire Bible is God’s Truth. And if you don’t believe this, I would ask yourself if you sincerely are a Christ-follower. (Read my post: His Word is Truth.)

Now, as we read the Bible, we have to be careful not to cherry-pick verses. And we have to take into account God’s unchangeable character, plus the history, culture, and social situations of the time these books were written. The Word of God must be intently studied … and tough sections read in the right context.

I want to present to you the idea that the Bible supports headship and submission throughout its entirety.

Women submitting was not just something God allowed because of mankind’s hardened hearts (such as was the case with polygamy and divorce.)

Matthew 19:8-9

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

Rather, it was His perfect design from the beginning. And thus, it is by no means outdated or irrelevant, and we are living outside of God’s will when we treat ‘submission’ and ‘headship’ as bad words.

Now, before you click out of this post, let’s go back to our God’s character.

Does God support demeaning or oppressing women? Does God view women as less valuable than men? Did God create women to be not as intelligent and not worth as much as men?

I am reading through the entire Bible for the second time, and I can wholeheartedly say that when studying God’s Word, I have found nothing that gives me the idea that God wants to demean, oppress, or hurt women.

Rather, the opposite.

God cherishes His daughters, and highly values womanhood.

Therefore, we must conclude that submission is not bad or oppressive because God ordained it and God is for women.

It is a good, beautiful, freeing, complementary, perfect design.

Proverbs 31:25-29

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”

Satan, of course, wants to steal our abundant life and our freedom. He works viciously through the culture, which has completely distorted submission, marriage, and gender roles. Manhood and womanhood.

You can see everywhere the disaster, chaos, and destruction that moving out of God’s perfect design has caused.

  • Passive Men.
  • Oppression & Objectification of Women.
  • Bitter Women.
  • Scorn of Men.
  • The Demeaning of Motherhood.
  • The Disappearing of Fatherhood.
  • Divorce.
  • Fornication.
  • Adultery.
  • Pornography Addiction.
  • The Crumbling of the Family.
  • Mass Murder of Babies.
  • Gender Confusion.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Abuse.

Fear, confusion, division, hurt, bitterness, cruelty, impurity, and brokenness. And every form of sexual depravity and distortion.

I believe that throwing aside God’s design for manhood and womanhood is one of the worst things we could have done as the Church.

So, how do we get back to a Biblical understanding of submission? Of God’s unique design for gender?

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Titus 2:1-5

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their childrento be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Women, press into Jesus Christ, the Lover of your soul!

Why would you believe something the world offers is better than what your Creator ordained from the beginning? The One who formed you in your mother’s womb. The One who created your complex brain, your feminine body, and fashioned passions, desires, gifts, and purpose within you?

The design of headship and submission is not to oppress you.

Men were not created to be harsh dictators, but servant leaders under God. Biblical headship involves incredible responsibility and sacrifice, not selfishness and bullying. For a husband to love as Christ loves the Church is to love sacrificially – to give of himself daily, to give up his desires to serve you, to lead with boldness and courage for God’s glory and your good.

1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wifeas to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Colossians 3:18-21

18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

The fact is, the role of husband is not one a man should go into with arrogant boasting, but with a humble heart, seriousness, wise counsel, and prayer. This is not where he becomes boss, but rather where he becomes answerable to God for how he lives out headship – because the husband is the head whether he wants to be or not.

Ephesians 5:23

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Dear wives, God set up headship and submission in the beginning when He created man first, gave him authority and a task, and then created woman to be his helper.

And, from what I understand from various different pastors, the same word used for ‘helper’ there is also used to describe the Holy Spirit being our helper in other verses.

Is that demeaning to the Holy Spirit? By no means! The Holy Spirit is God! Yet He is our helper.

Being a helper does not make you a doormat or a nameless servant (though all of us, both men and women, are called to serve). Rather, it is a noble and esteemed calling. To support your husband in the kingdom work that God has given him. He needs you. You are to function as a team – him leading and you supporting.

This does not make one gender better than the other, though their roles are quite different.

Genesis 2:7 & 15-25

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

This is not about competition. God did not create man and woman to compete with each other, but to complement each other … to create a beautiful picture.

This picture unfolds as the husband takes his place as the leader, fearlessly leading his wife forth into their work in God’s kingdom. He cherishes his wife, and loves her. He is tender with her; gentle and kind. He honors her. And takes responsibility for his family and what direction they’re going in.

And the wife willingly submits to his leadership and supports him as the head of the household. She encourages him, respects him, honors him, and esteems his leadership. She ministers alongside him, humbly following under his headship.

Now, I know some of you are cringing right now. Follow? Humble? Why can’t we just be equal??

You are equal. Equal in value and worth. Equal in dignity. Equal in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-28

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

But there must be a leader and head, and God calls men to that weighty task.

Author, pastor, and speaker, David Platt, delved into this subject with such grace, gentleness, and authority in one of his sermon series. (David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – Part 1 & Part 2. Highly recommend!!). God is head of Christ, does that make God better than Christ? Christ less worthy than God? No! Jesus Christ was equally God, yet He submitted! Obeyed. Humbled Himself. Served.

Jesus submitted to God.

Will you, women, balk in what your Savior Himself walked out?

Jesus Christ was obedient. God is the head of Him, as husband is the head of wife. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

That we would refuse to do what our Lord did … calling it too demeaning and humble … that’s pretty arrogant of us.

There is nothing demeaning, demanding, oppressive, or ugly about Biblical submission. It is beautiful, and when we are tempted to think otherwise, we must immediately look to our Lord Himself and follow His example.

Philippians 2:5-8

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of menAnd being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

John 6:38

38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

1 Corinthians 15:28

28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Submission and headship were God’s design from the beginning. They are every bit as relevant today as they were in Genesis. And Christ Himself led the way in submission.

Women, I know, I know, that a lot of men do not make being a wife easy. And this hurts me so much. Whether they are passive, domineering, harsh, or all three, it is hard. And my heart bleeds for you.

But, I promise you, ditching God’s design is not going to make it better.

Women trying to rule over men. Scoffing at feminine inclinations and roles. Trampling men and God-given masculinity. Forsaking motherhood. Flaunting themselves in a twisted appeal for validation … This all hurts my heart as well.

Even if your husband (or father … whoever is head of your house) is not living out headship Biblically, you can find powerful purpose in living out your womanhood and femininity according to God’s design.

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of GodFor in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Your design as a woman reflects the Almighty God’s character! Don’t toss aside this precious purpose for the lies the world is feeding you.

Being a helper. Submitting. Nurturing. Supporting. Encouraging. Esteeming. Living compassionately. Complementing. Giving life. This will reflect your Lord, and glorify and please Him. Let Him gently smile upon you and powerfully protect you, even if the men in your life are oppressive. They will answer to God, as will you. So you just need to live out your womanhood according to God’s design and leave the rest up to God.

Imagine if we could bring passionately Biblical manhood, womanhood, and marriage back into the church? The examples that I have seen of radically living out God’s design are RADIANT.

Don’t be deceived. These agendas of feminism, toxic masculinity, “equality”, and no more submission and gender roles are bringing us nowhere but down. Further into destruction.

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

I am vastly encouraged when I hear pastors and brothers preach to us on submission and headship. They are radical about God’s Truth, not male domination. These are the kind of men I rally behind – and am strengthened in my faith by. Bold, strong, masculine, compassionate, protective, gentle, truth-seeking, passionate men of God.

Let’s start looking to the wisest of all. And He, our good and perfect Father, calls men and women to embrace their distinct roles with purpose and joy, in submission to God, for the glory of God.

Book Review: Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

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Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

My Personal Review ~ 4 stars ~

Reforming Marriage was a very interesting and thought-provoking book. I must say, I’ve not read many books on this subject that are as straightforward, non-apologetic, and radical in its views. Some of the points that Douglas Wilson presents in this book (and some his other books) seem a little rigid and maybe even coming from an unconsciously legalistic heart? But I’ve learned that Douglas Wilson is a writer for John Piper’s ministry (https://www.desiringgod.org/authors/d…) which makes me more comfortable reading his work because I really respect John Piper and his theology (all that I’ve heard so far). And these books were written quite awhile ago – in the 1990s.

So, while I don’t strictly agree with everything in this book, it was rather relieving and refreshing to hear a firm Christian voice on the topics of MARRIAGE // HEADSHIP // SUBMISSION // RESPECTING A HUSBAND // CHERISHING A WIFE // MASCULINITY // LEADERSHIP // MEN & WOMEN’S ROLES // BEING A HOMEMAKER // CHILDREN // BIRTH CONTROL // DIVORCE // and so forth.

I mentioned above that Douglas Wilson almost appeared to have a legalistic view in certain areas. But I also noticed, in more areas than not probably, that he expounded on grace, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

“But what about those who, by the time they read this book, have already done everything wrong? They are now on their third marriage and are troubled by guilt. The good news is that God picks us up where we are, not where we should have been. There is always forgiveness in Christ. Those in such a situation should confess the sin, accept God’s forgiveness by faith, and begin to live in submission to the Word of God.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]

Some things he said about the woman’s role and such made me squirm a little inside. But in the same breath, his overall presentation of marriage is much more attractive than the modern marriages I see all around me! Small errors in judgement or not, Douglas Wilson’s view of marriage seems to be much more Biblical than most of the views on marriage in the general church today. All in all, Reforming Marriage made the passion for God’s design burn brighter in me! Let’s start really digging into the Word and seeing and living out God’s original design for womanhood, manhood, marriage, sexuality, parenting, and life in general!

The home is such a central part of life. We can see in our world today that with the tearing down of the family comes the eventual destruction of everything good, peaceful, and pure. And, from God’s original design, man was created as the head of the household. So he is responsible for the home, and for the beauty or for the darkness that comes from it.
Reforming Marriage really hit hard on the man’s responsibility as head of the home and spiritual leader. And it was very intriguing and eye-opening. The husband has a massive responsibility, and so I wouldn’t take marriage lightly! Whether he likes it or not, he is the head. And whether women want to admit it or not, we want our men to lead! Women don’t generally respect a man who doesn’t lead, protect, and provide … because that is what he was designed for! And she was designed to respond and to support.

“A woman should marry a man she respects, and a man should marry a woman he is willing to love and lead with a servant’s heart.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]

I really love the idea of God giving man a task, and then bringing a woman to him to help him complete that task (Genesis 2). I pray that I can be a supporting, encouraging, joyfully Biblical wife someday! What a unique and beautiful design! The idea of a godly man who joyfully and firmly leads, protects, and provides for his wife … who regularly studies Scripture and pursues God individually and with his wife … who answers her theology questions and points her to Christ … who cherishes her and takes his job of raising their children seriously … That is incredible! We need men to rise up and be masculine, hard-working, gentle, godly, assertive, kind, strong, Christ-like men.

“The husband must make a conscious decision to utilize his strength for her protection and benefit, and not for his own. He can only do that in imitation of Christ. In the Christian family, the way to an understanding of true authority is through service.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]

To wrap it up, on a whole, I really enjoyed reading Reforming Marriage. Some parts were definitely better than others, and I have my questions and doubts concerning some of the views. But still, I gleaned a lot of helpful information and incredible insight, and like the idea of reading this book with my husband should I marry someday.

I recommend you read with an open mind, and always lining up what’s said against what the Bible says! As with all Christian Living books, don’t take everything as gospel-truth. The Bible alone is the Holy Word of God. But we can definitely gain some wisdom from books from fellow believers.

Can We Unify?

can we unify

There seems to be a lot of tension in my country these days. A lot of division. (At least this is what the media portrays.)

Between people of different skin tones. People from different cultures. People of different genders.

Oftentimes I can’t make out what’s being said amidst all the clamor and voices filled with bitterness and pain, but it seems to come down to this:

The “black person” against the “white person” and the woman against the man. The white person against the black person and the man against the woman.

Blame. Accuse. Point fingers. Demean. Insult. Shame. Yell. Scream.

“Black people are …” “White people can’t …” “Men don’t … ” “Women always …”

Refuse to listen. Refuse to empathize. Refuse to forgive. Refuse to seek change. Refuse to unify. They make everyone simply a label and refuse to see them as people made in the image of God.

Romans 12:14-21

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

 

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I can’t say I’m well-versed in all the history, politics, and agendas behind these conflicts.

I do know that there have been periods of time in history where men have been very oppressive toward women – treating them like possessions rather than people. A hideous crime. I know that still, in other parts of the world, women are horrifically oppressed. And this is grievous to my heart.

I know that slavery is a real thing and millions of people were enslaved over the course of history – people still are today! I know that in the history of this country, people originating from Africa were held as slaves. And it was an inhumane, heinous, ungodly sin.

Thank the Lord for the many soldiers and activists of old who fought for freedom and equal rights.

We have come a long way since then. But, sadly, there is still prejudice and hate from individuals toward people of a different skin tone, sex, or culture.

But, when we start twisting stories, pointing fingers, and playing the blame-game, it only causes more hate & division. It’s no way to help fix the problems. We need to be unified. As a country. As a people. And, especially as a Church.

Colossians 3:12-15

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

We are all part of the human race! Although cultures can differ, our skin colors do not make us a different race or a different kind of people.

We all hurt. We all suffer. We all cry. We all need each other. And most of all, we all need Christ Jesus.

My skin color doesn’t dictate who I am. How I feel. What I think. What I do. Culture, upbringing, and family can factor into all of this. But still, each person has their own free will and ability to think for themselves.

So we’re different …

I may not know some of their lingo. Maybe I tend to be stoic and reserved whereas they’re expressive and emotional. Maybe I don’t know how to do something normal in their culture, because I’ve lived differently – I have no experience. And they’ve perhaps never had homemade pannukakku, nissu, or pasty. 😉 Differences are something to be celebrated, not feel insecure over, or lord over one another.

Well, maybe most of my ancestors come from Finland, and most of theirs come from India. Or Uganda. Or Ireland. Or Iran. Or Russia. Or Japan. Or Australia. …so we haven’t experienced some of each other’s traditions, cultures, history, or personality traits.

But we are all people, in the end. People with beating hearts, pumping red blood. People with aching souls, silently crying out for their Creator. People needing to be loved and longing for purpose.

People created in the image of the Creator. Fearfully and wonderfully.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

So me. Partly Finnish, and partly Irish, English, Swedish, Asian, French, African, etc., etc., etc. (or something to that extent). Me, with my white skin and blonde hair, am created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of the Almighty God.

And you, with your black skin and curly black hair, are created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of the Almighty God.

And you, with your pale skin and flaming red hair, are created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of the Almighty God.

And you, with your brown skin and brown hair, are created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of the Almighty God.

And you, with your light skin and silky black hair, are created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of the Almighty God.

And every variation. If you are human, you are created in the image of the triune God. And I believe it pleased God greatly to create such a beautiful array of different faces, colors, attributes, and forms.

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

No human should ever elevate or think of themselves as better than another.

To do so is disturbingly arrogant and a grave sin against the God of the universe.

Rather, we should elevate God, and make much of His name. Together. Every tongue, every tribe, and every nation. Loving each other in our love of Him.

Revelation 5:9-10

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Revelation 7:9

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

When we meet a person who professes to be a Christian, we should joyfully see them as family in Christ – whether they share the same skin color, culture, or gender, or not. Because we are family. Closer than our own flesh-and-blood family. And this is sometimes hard for us to realize. But one day, we are going to spend eternity together when our Lord, Jesus Christ, returns for His Bride.

We are His Bride. Together. How can there be division, tension, strife, and even hate within His one Bride?

1 Corinthians 1:10

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

We need to stop.

This division is such a grievous thing, especially within the Church. Whether it comes from “racial” differences, gender differences, culture differences, or denominational differences, it is wrong to have division within the Body. We are called to unity.

We need to hate prejudice, not people. We are all sinners in need of grace. We need to hate division, not ethnicity. We need to blame sin, not people groups. And take steps to eradicate the sin while striving for unity. For love.

Let’s insert ourselves and our groups and our people and our agendas into this verse:

Galatians 3:26-28

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There is neither “white people” nor “black people”, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There is neither Finnish nor Chinese, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There is neither rich nor poor, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This means that our identity as “Christ-followers” trumps every other identity we have by a long shot.

Woman. Finnish. American. Conservative. Writer. Blogger. Sister. Daughter. My identity in Christ is so soul-deep and all-consuming that when compared to these other identities I take, the latter simply fade into the background under its magnitude.

Now. This doesn’t mean that we sit back and ignore real and disturbing issues. God is a God of justice. Of unity. Or responsibility. Of peace. Of love.

If we see prejudice toward a people group, we stand with those people. We preach equality in God. We love. We welcome. We unify. We vehemently reject the idea that one so-called “race” is better than another. (If you’ve never studied into the idea of there being only one race, I would highly recommend checking out some of Ken Ham‘s books and resources.)

Galatians 6:2-3

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

If there is sexual abuse or crime, we fight tirelessly against it. We do all within our power to move the victim out of harm’s way. To guard others against experiencing this. We strive to educate, equip, and protect in order to diminish the number of women (or men) who experience such a horrible thing.

As Christians, we should fight against hate, prejudice, pride, abuse, lies, and discrimination. It doesn’t matter who the victim is: black or white. Male or female.

We should stand up for the things that Christ stood up for.

Never in the Bible do I see God call for any kind of division and separation between Christ-followers of different cultures or ethnicity. Attend whichever church you want to – so long as it’s Christ-glorifying and tight-knit in love. Marry whoever you want to – only in the Lord. Be friends with whoever you want to – as long as they’re spurring you on toward Christ. Etc.

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. 

1 Corinthians 15:33-34

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

Nowhere in the Bible do I feel God endorse or encourage me to feel ashamed of my skin color, or demean & shame other people because of theirs. Rather we should praise the Lord for who He made us to be (Psalm 139), and rejoice in our differences. It is glorious.

Never in the Bible do I find grounds to shame, demean, or try to elevate myself over men because of past oppression, individual acts of sexual sin toward women, or anything else. Rather I should honor, respect, and encourage the men in my life, and even seek out the loving leadership and protective covering of a godly man. (In father or husband.)

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

I do see that I am to love my neighbor, whether they be in America, Egypt, Finland, China, Brazil, England, Kenya, or anywhere else.

I am to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only news that can truly set you free and make you whole.

I am to edify the Church and make disciples in Christ.

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Ephesians 4:15-16

15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

I have not experienced all the same experiences as you, dear reader. I can’t understand some of the things you have gone through. But I can pray for you. For healing, and hope, and unity. And hopefully come alongside you as a sister as we seek our Creator and Lord together.

Galatians 6:10

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

We need to help each other. Fight for unity. Fight for the faith. Spread the gospel. Fight for the traditional family – for stable, healthy home lives. Fight for emotional health. Fight for education. Fight for protection. Fight for peace.

I don’t believe in different “races” and division. I don’t believe in using divisive rhetoric and hateful speech.

I believe in truth. Peace. Unity. Love.

Especially within the circle of believers.

So let’s start looking at people through Christ’s eyes.

John 17:20-23

20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Derek Minor (feat. Hollyn) – CHANGE THE WORLD

Book Review: Woman by Divine Design by Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif

woman by divine design

Woman by Divine Design by Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif and Sandra Levitt

My Personal Review ~ 3.5 stars ~

Woman by Divine Design was an interesting read, but not overwhelmingly insightful. Basically the authors went over portions of Scripture and gave their thoughts and insights, most of which were things I’d already interpreted these certain Bible passages to mean. They  didn’t go really in-depth or present much new information, for me personally.

This book does come in an attempt to defend Scripture’s stance on women to a group who believes Jesus, and especially Paul, are out to demean and restrict women. I have no such view of my Lord, His Word, or His apostles, so I suppose that’s why it felt like Woman by Divine Design was just brushing on things that I already know or have thought of/pondered before. It didn’t go much in God’s design for women as just talk about (mainly) Paul’s encounters with women and what some of his teachings mean.

Paul used the word kephale. This word means head … . Kephale is also a military term, meaning one who ‘leads’, but not in the sense of a [military] director … a ‘general’, or a ‘captain’ who orders troops from a distance; quite the opposite, kephale was the one who went before the troops, the leader in the sense of being in the lead, [and thus] the first into battle.” (Woman by Divine Design – pg. 79)

However, it was still a good read for the most part, and there were a few thoughtful angles presented and enlightening aspects explained that I hadn’t heard much about before (particularly pgs. 83-90).

I’m sure this book could be helpful for people who are new to reading the Bible and are wondering about how Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul related to women. Or for people who have a harsh view of Biblical womanhood, and have never attempted to dig below the surface of what they were taught certain Bible verses or words meant. I feel that, at least for the most part, it is Biblically-sound.

… the design is found in connection and not in distinction. (Woman by Divine Design – pg. 98)

Open Your Hands

open hands

We all have desires, right? Hopes and dreams for our life. We make plans. We work toward something we want. We pursue a certain job or establish a certain ministry. We form relationships. We pray for good things we feel that God might want as a part of our life.

I believe that God gives us desires, passions, and goals. I believe He fashions into our souls the drive to pursue things such as:

  • a job that we love & are good at
  • a ministry that we have a gift for & are energized through
  • a godly marriage
  • a healthy family
  • a friend group that spurs us on toward Christ
  • etc.

Maybe, this year of 2019, you feel it’s time.

Time to …

find that godly spouse to partner with

move out of your parent’s house

become intimately part of a godly church

get that great, fulfilling job

have a baby

pursue your passion by starting college

start that small group for women

move overseas & begin your work as a missionary

publish a book

adopt a child

propose or be proposed to 😉

find physical healing

make a best friend

move to a different state where you feel there is more potential for growth

Whatever it might be. Maybe you’re ready for it. You feel 2019 is the year. And, my dear friend, maybe this is the year for your breakthrough. And that is exciting! Praise the Lord!

But I want to encourage you to keep perspective. Recently, I wrote a post called To Live is Christ. And that is the perspective we must always keep, whether we are pursuing a passion, moving out, getting married, starting a ministry, or getting a new job.

Our Lord says to seek first the kingdom of God …

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

…and even if you feel this desire of yours is part of seeking God’s kingdom (and it may very well be!) remember that our King can see the whole picture, while you can’t. And His plans will prevail. And it is good! You can trust Him.

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

Psalm 37:23

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Proverbs 16:1-3

The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.

Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.

So open your hands, sweet soul.

Hold life with open hands.

So if God plans to give you what you are desiring and pursuing, you will be ready to receive it with the right heart of humility and joy.

So if God turns your plans upside down, your open hands will be able to receive the grace & strength you need to seek His face and rest in His peace.

Open your hands, so He can give you blessings that you never thought to ask for. Maybe blessings you never imagined you’d want.

So He can take things from your life that are actually not good for you (even if you thought they were, at first!)

Hold life with open hands so that you may flee from idols.

1 John 5:21

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Marriage, a job, a ministry, college, a friend group, a new place, etc., these can all become idols if we grip them with desperate hands.

There weren’t meant to be idols. They were meant to be gifts! But we so easily forget God and try to heft other things into His place. And this is painful.

Our lives are for God’s glory! Not ours. We are to love Him with our soul – our whole being.

When we grip something, with desperate hands, we are keeping that aspect of our life from Him. We are not trusting Him with it. We are creating distance between us and God. Straining our relationship, and elevating a gift above the Giver.

We have become idolatrous.

And believe me, dear friend, having idols is painful. It hurts because it is not what we are designed for. It is not God’s good design – it is not how things are supposed to work. Having idols causes invalid and irrational anxiety, fear, suspicion, and anger. It turns our heart against God.

We need our heart’s desire to draw us to God, not away from Him. To draw us to glorify Him, not fill our heart with suspicion that He is not good.

And perhaps it’s not your desire that is the problem, but your heart.

Me desiring a husband and children is not a problem. But if this desire turns in bitterness, passivity, and resentment because I don’t have it, then my heart has wandered from God and His goodness, and strayed down Satan’s dark path.

A woman having a husband and children is not a problem. But if she clings to them so tightly that she is riddled with anxiety & fear, and is filled with suspicion toward God … What if He takes one of them from me? then she has moved out of God’s perfect love and given into Satan’s age-old tactic.

I struggle with anxiety. Probably both of the medical variety, and just a form that is practiced and becomes part of life if one doesn’t reject it.

I’ve often worried, through the years of my life, that if I were in a relationship I’d be anxious … what if this isn’t God’s desired path for me?

If I were engaged and planning a wedding … what if God takes this away from me, for some reason, right when I almost have it?

Married with children … what if one of them dies? How could I bear it?

This anxiety … this doubt … this fear … this questioning of God’s goodness … this sin … this idolatry … It has lessened as I’ve experienced God’s goodness and learned that I can and should abide in Christ. It’s still something that I struggle with. That aspect of my humanity that I wrestle through. That “old man” that I fight.

It is hard, my friends, I know! Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just press into God. Repent. Surrender. Ask Him to reveal, more deeply, His infinite love and grace to you, that you may not live with a legalistic, fearful heart, but a joyful, peace-filled, trusting, knowing one.

I have had some thoughts that have helped me. They go something like this:

***

If the opportunity to enter a romantic relationship comes my way, I will pray about it and get godly counsel from spiritual mentors … and I will entrust it into God’s hands. I will hold it lightly and pay attention to the words of the wise, the opinions of my family, and the peace – or lack of it – that I feel inside. God has shown me that He is at work in the details of my life before, so I know He will be directing my every step in this also. I won’t refuse to feel pain. If this is of Him, hallelujah! If it’s not, then He has better plans in store.

***

If God is so gracious to me as to bless me with a husband and children, I will strive to hold each of them … precious gifts that they are … with open hands. Because they belong to God before they are ever mine. I don’t get to call the shots. But rather, live in daily thankfulness and entrust them, and myself, into my Father’s loving and powerful Hands.

***

I think if you try this method of trust, humble surrender, and gratefulness, you will find it much preferable to your method of white-knuckled, anxiety-ridden, painful, peace-less, fake control.

Because, sweet friend, you are not in control. And you pretending that you are is not helping anything. In fact, it’s destroying your peace and your ability to live life more abundantly.

It’s Satan’s attempt to steal from you what the Almighty God has give you.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

This post is not to say to just expect not to receive what you desire from the Father, but to rest in His peace through the process!

Let go.

Open your hands.

Rejoice in your loving Father above. ❤

Psalm 31:3, 14-15, 19-22 & 24

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion

21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
22 For I said in my haste,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to You.

24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Hollyn – ISAAC

Aaron Cole (feat. Tobymac) – RIGHT ON TIME

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

one thousand gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Truly a worthwhile read! This book surprised me and moved me. I am in love with Ann Voskamp’s writing style … it is poetic, deep, and rich. It reaches in and takes a hold of me at a soul-deep level. Oh, it was beautiful – pulling at deep, deep parts of me. Making me strive to understand, and also feel like maybe I could just let go and rest in God’s goodness and love.

Could it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God? ~ Ann Voskamp

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is bittersweet, and triumphant, and marvelously revealing. My heart wept for the tragedy endured, yet exulted for the glory, and freedom, and love discovered! Ann Voskamp is very honest and vulnerable, sharing openly from her heart. I get a glimpse into this life of a farmer’s wife and a mother of six. This woman who has faced raw heartbreak and hardship, and struggles against anxiety and listlessness.

In the messy, Jesus whispers, “What do you want?” and in the ugly, I cry, “I want to see – see You in these faces.” He speaks soft, “Seek My face.” ~ Ann Voskamp

I loved reading about the day-to-day experiences and getting a look at Ann’s relationship with God as she cries out, grows, wrestles, surrenders, and rests in the security of Christ. I loved the triumph, the bittersweet, the struggle, the hope, and the glorious beauty.

When I choose – and it is a choice – to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? ~ Ann Voskamp

This is a thought-provoking book that changed me. And I pray that I live in this change. I am so thankful to my God, and to Ann Voskamp for sharing her testimony.

What a book. I just really loved it and highly recommend. Such deep content. If you struggle with fear … depression … ingratitude … One-Thousand Gifts will challenge you and lift your heart.

I am a child in His arms and His breath falls warm upon my face and what I feel for this daughter He feels for me, and the gifts, all these gifts I keep counting, they are His love gifts and they’re slowly waking me up to the tenderest, fiercest Love of all. ~ Ann Voskamp

To Live is Christ

Good morning, beloved readers!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the freedom that Christ gives us, and wondering … are we stepping into that freedom? Taking hold of it? Living it? Do we believe in that freedom?

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At the conference that I recently went to, the theme was missions. Reaching the nations for Christ. Pouring out your life for the sake of the Gospel. Going boldly into dangerous situations in order to tell every soul. I heard radical stories and saw hearts passionate for Jesus Christ.

When this kind of radical living is on display, fear often sneaks up on unsuspecting persons such as myself.

That sounds terrifying.

Would I be able to bear such things?

What if I’m called to physically give my life?

So the question is, how do we fight this fear? And how to we get to the place where these Christian figures are? Seemingly fearless and excited to follow God wherever He would lead. No matter the cost.

1. You must have an encounter with Jesus Christ.

And I don’t mean some man-made encounter where you recite a prayer, go through confirmation, or obediently get baptized. I mean a personal encounter, where you truly believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you glimpse His glory, you trust His love & sacrifice, and this transforms your life. You feel the Holy Spirit literally changing your heart.

Maybe this encounter comes in a moment for some people. For me, it was more like a process. An encounter over many moments, days, months, and even years.

A process where God pursued my heart, and kept drawing me back to seek Him.

And, slowly but surely, I’m changing from a very frightened, very insecure, very unsteady, very weak girl into an increasingly free woman.

A Christ-following woman who thinks:

If, someday, I am led to the flames to die because of Christ, I hope my heart will be saying to the Lover of my soul: “May this be a sweet-smelling sacrifice to You, O Lord.”

And this thought is peace-filled. Like somehow, into this frail heart of mine, the Holy Spirit is gently whispering that it would be an honor to die for my King. And that I would feel peace. And be glad to be a sacrifice for Him if I must be put to death by the wicked of this world. And that I would be inwardly rejoicing, so ready to see His face. So ready to be welcomed in His arms and into my home.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Psalm 116:15

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.

And I know, friends. To some of you, this sounds absolutely crazy. And it feels kind of crazy even as I’m writing it. And fear wants to rear his ugly head. I am, by no means, perfected. Sometimes I relapse back into my anxiety-stricken self. But, I promise you, this thought did press itself into my mind and on my heart … and it is becoming more firmly planted. This I know, God is working in and through me. And I hold onto that.

You must know Jesus Christ. You must have a real relationship with Him. You must believe His radical love for you. You must see His glory. Otherwise death, sacrifice, evangelism, yes, even the routine Christian life, is ridiculous.

1 Corinthians 15:14 & 17-19

14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Why do we do what we do as Christians? It is because of Jesus. For His glory and because of His love. There is no other reason than Christ Jesus. And if we don’t see Christ for who He truly is, then we are confused and weak creatures indeed.

So you must have a real encounter with the living Savior. Accept His sacrifice for sin. And invite Him in as lord of your life. And then …

2. You must allow Him to grow you.

You have to grow, my friends. Don’t quench the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow fear, anxiety, pride, depression, pain, insecurity, weakness, and your own selfish desires to have free reign in your life. Fight them. Allow the Spirit into your decisions, that He may strengthen you to do what is difficult, and even what seems impossible. Surrender.

In essence, it wasn’t you who invited Jesus into your life, but Jesus who invited you into His, drawing your heart to believe in Him. So live in Him.

Continuing on. You need to grow. And I believe this growth comes in four parts:

// Studying God’s Word // Prayer // Community within the Body // Suffering & trials //

Open your Bible everyday. Study it. Memorize it. Read it from cover to cover. Let it refresh your soul. It is like your sword, your weapon of defense. Read Scripture against the attacks of Satan. Don’t cower under his lies – HE IS DEFEATED. Don’t be defeated with him!

Ephesians 6:17

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

Matthew 4:4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ 

Pray. Pray continually. Invite the Lord into every moment and every aspect of your life. Wake up early to pray. Pray in the very midst of temptation and fear. Pray when you can’t sleep. Pray with friends. Ask people to pray over you. Commune with your good Father! Press into Him. Allow Him to be your hiding place.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

19 Do not quench the Spirit20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Become a part of the local Body of Christ. Get involved in a loving, tight-knit, Christ-like church. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. You need other believers, my dear friend! God gave you brothers and sisters in Him to help strengthen your faith, comfort your heart, and keep you in obedience. Don’t underestimate the power of doing life with other strong Christians who are passionate for Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Suffering and trials. As hard as it is, don’t despise these things, but ask God to open your eyes to how He might be at work. For example, if you’re suffering from lingering health issues or a chronic illness, don’t get consumed in doubt, despair, and desperate prayers for healing. Now, to clarify, I believe it is good to pray for healing from sickness. For yourself, and for the brotherhood. But also, pray for God to draw you into closer intimacy with Him during this painful process.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christwhom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

James 5:13-16

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Perhaps He is trying to teach you something that you are stubbornly resisting. Or perhaps it’s just a general growing of perseverance and faith. Whatever the case, God knows you, your body, and the plans He has for your life. Trust Him.

3. You must seek Christ as your supreme treasure.

You desire Him. You long for His love. You want to see His face. You want to live for His glory.

I fully believe that as God grows you in Him, Christ will become your supreme treasure. And that is the key.

To be FEARLESS. JOYFUL. CONFIDENT. FREE.

If Christ is your all-in-all, then you know that nothing can take away your greatest treasure. Because it is Christ and no one can take Christ from you. No one can snatch you from your Father’s Hand. And your perspective shifts from the here-and-now to the eternal, because your beloved Jesus Christ is eternal.

Apostle Paul says in his letter to the church in Philippi that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Like, living life and obeying Christ are one and the same. Living and glorifying Christ are synonymous for him. There is not one without the other.

Philippians 1:21

21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

He does not hesitate because of discomfort or run away because of danger. He does all for the glory of God. Each decision he makes is made with glorifying God in mind.

To disobey. To be led by fear. To live for his own glory … that is not living at all.

Paul knows that to be spiritually dead is much, much worse than physical death. In fact, actually departing from this world is gain, because he gets to be with the Lover of his soul! Death means going home! Death means uniting with Love!

Revelation 22:3-5

And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheadsThere shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

To live for anything less than for Christ is to not live at all.

Do you want to live?

Perhaps you don’t feel the magnitude of this concept, but it is mind-blowing for me. And so completely freeing! I can stop struggling, tripping, and being violently dragged here and there by the slave-master, Fear. And I can step into the freedom of simply living for the glory of Christ. To make every decision to His glory. To put His glory above all else and rest fully in His love.

And the best thing is, the Holy Spirit will enable me to do this!

Philippians 2:13

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Oh, hallelujah! Praise the Lord, o my soul!

Whether He call me to far-off nations and daily danger, to crowds of people listening to my little voice, or to a simple, quiet life of making disciples in my small, American community & living as an example in a self-consumed culture … I am free to live fearless and all for His glory.

I am free to hide myself in His love, knowing He is absolutely capable of caring for me.

Psalm 31:19-20 & 23-24

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
From the strife of tongues.

23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Dear readers, to live is Christ.

I pray that you will live in Him and for Him. I pray that I will live in Him and for Him. And may we band together and love & strengthen each other in this lifestyle!

❤ Lady Grace