Christian Submission

“The word submission, on its own, holds no moral value whatsoever. Submission could be noble, submission could be treacherous. It all depends. So as we teach our daughters to “be submissive,” the ever-important question is “submissive to whom?” And the only no-fail answer to that question is “God.” We teach our daughters to be submissive to God – and that may mean being the extremely un-cool person who believes that wives should submit to their own husbands . . . and that also may mean being the wife who calls the cops on her husband, or the woman who calls the cops on her pastor, or the girl who calls the pastor on her dad. Submission certainly doesn’t always mean saying yes – sometimes submission means saying no, and that can take an awful lot of strength and bravery. Submission always has a backbone – and that backbone is the Word of God.”

-Rebekah from Femina on Not Being a Victim 

Romans 12:18

Remember that when David marched forward to fight Goliath, his courage was considered by his brothers to be pride and insolance (1 Sam. 17:28). Joseph’s faithful service to Potiphar was reported by Potiphar’s wife as attempted rape (Gen. 39:14). John the Baptist was called demon-possessed and Jesus was called a drunk (Luk. 7:33-34). Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do, they are going to be angry with you. And if your heart is right with God, you can shrug your shoulders and walk on.

-Excerpt from Giants to Kill 

Repentance

“If we preach a “gospel” with no call to repentance we are preaching something other than the apostolic gospel.

If we knowing allow unconcerned, impenitent sinners into the membership and ministry of the church, we are deceiving their souls and putting ours at risk as well.

If we think people can find a Savior without forsaking their sin, we do not know what sort of Savior Jesus Christ is.

There are few things more important in life than repentance. So important, that Revelation, and the gospels, and the epistles, and the Old Testament make clear that you don’t go to heaven without it.”

-Excerpt from a really good explanation on the differences between regret, embarrassment, apologies and repentance from Kevin DeYoung.  Read the whole article at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/04/11/repent-for-the-kingdom-of-heaven-is-at-hand/ 

Modest About Immodesty

It’s time for Christian men to stop having immodest reactions to immodesty. Yes, female immodesty is a real thing, the Bible makes that clear. And women have responsibilities when it comes to modesty. But I believe it does you no good to think overmuch on that.”

-Excerpt from Stop Blaming Women for Your Lust

 

This one is for the guys, although I’ve run into the same problem with women reacting to other women’s immodesty in a similar manner and consequently training their children to respond immodestly to immodesty. Modesty of the heart is much more difficult to achieve than modest apparel. Tending to our own folly is more urgent than someone else’s (Matthew 7:3-5). This is not to say that I don’t think immodesty is a problem, obviously it is, but if we truly want to glorify God through modesty, we must first cultivate graceful humility in ourselves. 

Other Side of Contentment

Most of us have been taught from childhood not to compare because it breeds discontentment (jealousy, covetousness). Once we reach a point where we are completely content with what we have and rightfully rejoice and thank God, we need to be mindful not to slip into prideful comparison. That is when we compare what we have been given to what others have not. This can manifest in pretty much any aspect of life. Commonly for women in my position, I see it manifest in ungracious ideas about modesty and beauty, getting vaccinations/declining vaccinations, having a baby at the hospital or at home, food politics, homeschooling or going to school, and how much (if any) tv you let your kids watch and what shows. Sin is always present when discussions about any given topic results in heated or unkind words and the reason we know that is because all belongs to the Lord. People don’t often take personally that which is not personal. Remember that righteous anger doesn’t demand a blood sacrifice because the blood sacrifice has already been given. We should consider everything and make sure we are seeing it in the way God wants us to as best we can. That includes welcoming other perspectives to consider and “sieve” through God’s Word, but our ideas outside scripture should be held loosely — God’s ways are not our own.

Two Years Later

My youngest turned 2 today. He is so old and so young all at once. Such a little man. I love him.

Liam

I love all my kids. Even factoring in the hyperemetic pregnancies, the result is far greater than the effort I put into them. It is my custom to reflect on my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum annually in this public fashion. I do it because I don’t want to forget and because I have friends going through what I went through (and worse) right now.

This last year I learned a lot. I read more, thought more, sought more, and prayed more. It has been a good year. It has been a challenging year. I’m not sure I can blame all of my health problems on having had HG 4 times, but I know it contributed in a big way. When you starve long-term, are on mass doses of medications and are constantly concerned about the well-being of your unborn child, there are repercussions. I am currently working with my doctor because of sleep problems. I will fall asleep and wake up shortly thereafter panicked with my heart racing. It takes hours to get back to sleep. It is weird. Nothing is wrong. I pray. I feel peaceful. I usually just get up and clean. Generally speaking,  I feel happier and healthier then I ever have. I weigh more right now than I weighed fully pregnant (this is a testament to how malnourished I was since I am not overweight by any means now). I’m biking 7 miles a day. I can almost do a real push up and it hurts less and less to be active again. I laugh more. I enjoy life more. I’m more comfortable, content and confident.  By the grace of God and with long-suffering support from friends and family, I have improved physically, emotionally and spiritually. But sometimes I’ll catch a whiff something inducing overwhelming nausea.  I still struggle to answer and talk on my phone. I’ll start shaking and can’t catch my breath if I’m not having a particularly “good” emotional day. Being a classic introvert, verbal communication doesn’t come easily anyway but add in the association of uncontrollable nausea and vomiting with talking on the phone and you see why this might be an issue.  I don’t deal well with stressful situations (like my phone ringing or confrontation or making returns to retail store). I’m on supplements and oils and vitamins and now medications — all to fake my body into something like normalcy. And it is ok. Honestly. I don’t mind as long as I can keep my wits about me. Reality check: I’m not actually going to vomit if I answer my phone.  I’ve learned more about myself and how my body works and about fears that can be worked through spiritually and the others that are chemical problems. I’m getting better. God is kind. I see Him everywhere. Protecting me, ministering to me, holding me up, comforting me.

I’m not trying to complain or garner sympathy, but I do desire to make it undeniably clear that Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not some little inconvenience. It is not morning sickness — even the worst kind of morning sickness. I want to affirm to other HG moms that their struggle is real. I want to remind them that God is loving you through this trial. It took me awhile to recognize that. He wants you to be able to rest. He wants you to find real peace. The kind of peace that doesn’t depart when tribulation arrives. Lean into Him. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing and it is good. If you can rest in that and rely on Him for all your strength, you’ll never need to fear anything or anyone ever again. Don’t be afraid of HG. Don’t be afraid of nausea. Don’t be afraid of vomiting. I know, it’s ironic for me to say this, given that I struggle to even answer my phone. But I’m still learning this. I’m still reminding myself that God can sustain me through each phone call. Through each sleepless night. Through every moment of unfounded anxiety. He is there. He gave us the Bible to comfort and sustain us. He gave us sermons to challenge and encourage us. He gave us friends to pray for us and speak truth in love. He gave us medicine in all kinds of interesting forms. He gave us health care practitioners to help us navigate the complications we face. Fall back into His glory — He will catch you. I promise it is going to be ok. I know, because I am ok. I’m thriving — even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all those who love him, but the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:17-21

Anger

I am reading Rid of My Disgrace right now, which is a solid (albeit emotionally exhausting) read. I’m in the chapter on anger. They are helpfully illuminating the differences between righteous anger (Is. 9:17, John 3:36, Rom 1:18, 2:5, 8, 3:5, 9:22, Eph. 5:6, Col. 3:6, 1 Thess. 2:16, “Be angry and do not sin.” -Eph. 4:26) and ungodly anger. In reading the description, it struck me that I’ve seen this anger many times, not contained to sexual assault (as is context of this particular book), but also in many other injustices; social, economic, political, and personal.

“God’s anger is part of executing final judgment, which is his exclusive domain. Those harboring bitterness and hatred don’t act as if God is concerned about their plight. Out of that false belief they often take matters into their own hands to seek justice. When one actively believes the distortion that anger is a catalyst simply for the self-satisfaction of seeing their perpetrator punished, God is displeased. Ungodly anger attempts to rectify the wrong done to us by empowering us to act instead of waiting vulnerably for God to do something. It is not only a protection against harm; it is a taunt against God for apparently refusing to act on our behalf.” (ch. 8, pg 131)

It seems that we forget God’s hand is upon each injustice and instead of looking to Him for wisdom on how to respond, process and cope with these painful experiences, we take matters into our own hands, choosing to believe that God abandoned us in our time of need rather than face the reality that He orchestrated them. We get angry at corporations, at politicians, at doctors and nurses, at nations, at our pastors, our parents, our neighbors. We forget that God ultimately hardens and softens the hearts of man. We get angry at the person and let it fester in our hearts instead of getting angry at the sin and relying on God’s promises. We take matters into our own hands instead of letting God be glorified. When we take the weight of vengeance upon ourselves, it results in a consumed and crushed spirit.

Romans 12:19-20

 

Unlikely Love

Jesus promised the world would see him in our love for one another (John 13:35). How much more powerfully will they see him in our love for one another when we’re really, really different? When we love people like us, we don’t surprise many people in the world. But there’s a strange and beautiful love across boundaries that they simply cannot explain.

It’s a love that restores the broken (Galatians 6:1) and bears heavy, inconvenient, painful burdens (Galatians 6:2). It’s a life that loves to do good to everyone, especially to those with whom we’re one in Christ (Galatians 6:10). Miraculously, there’s a oneness in this diverse family that “fulfills the law of Christ.” The happy, servant-hearted, committed, mutually beneficial relationship between flawed and different sinners displays the character and glory of God.

- Excerpt from Why God Loves People Who Hate Each Other