Tag Archive for christianity

I am mad so I bake a cake. {A Few Thoughts on the Unthinkable going on in Syria}

I wasn’t planning to write today so I’m putting this out here as a stream of consciousness, unedited and imperfect. Forgive my mistakes, but…

I’ve been thinking about the horrific attack of life in Syria–the hopelessness those poor people must be feeling after realizing that their own government forever changed their life with violence. Senseless violence. Wickedness. Murder. Chemicals used on children. 27 of them. Innocents assaulted and killed. Children of God, made in His image. Imagine how the injustice of this must anger God and fly in the face of His mercy and love. One man lost 25 members of his family. I can’t imagine the pain. Father, forgive me when I complain.

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I was convicted when I woke this morning and saw the news.

You see, I’ve been frustrated and tired. We’re in a pattern of sleepless nights over here again, our foster child waking at 2:30 am pretty consistently and crying on the hour. Sometimes until 5 am. Sometimes he comes into bed with us. Other night he screams and I rock him. This is hard and I don’t know why he’s doing it. I’m wondering if there’s emotional problems I can’t reach or fix. I’m focusing on the what ifs. I’m not counting this all joy.

My ordinary life–my hard day–is nothing to complain about. There are 27 mothers somewhere in Syria who would give anything to be up at night just one more time with their child. They’d love the chance to try to problem solve for their little one.

I asked God to give me eyes to see the big picture through bleary eyes and weak body.

I prayed for those mothers. Won’t you pray for them, too? I wondered what I could do today when the problem is so huge and the struggle seems so impossible.

I instinctively start to clean and make the home cozy. A magazine here, fluff the pillows and add a throw blanket there. I light a candle, bake a cake.

I recall hearing someone somewhere say, “In times of tragedy, create beauty”–or something along those lines.

I’ve thought of this advice after the death of a loved one, or whenever life seems hopeless. I find myself wanting to create order out of disorder. I suppose that to some extent, it’s a way to imitate our Creator.

Creating beauty and a peaceful environment is like a silent resistance–a refusal to be overcome by the evil or defeated by the spirit of hopelessness. For the artist at heart, creating beauty is a way to deal with grief, and giving art is an offering of healing and friendship to the recipient, whether it’s a handwritten note, baked good, watercolor, fist full of wildflowers, or musical piece.

When my niece Addy had her super risky surgery two years back, I painted this piece: Teach us to Number our Days.

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When my grandfather died, my daughter Rebekah wrote this 3 part violin arrangement of Be Still My Soul (Finlandia) for her and her sisters to play for him one last time at his funeral. Beauty born in the middle of grief.

Some of the most amazing music has been born out of grief. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, (Adagio) was played in Berlin during the RAF bombing and the orchestra continued playing until the end. You can hear it here or purchase the original recording here, digitally remastered so you can still hear the bombs in the background. I highly recommend you listen.

French composer, Oliver Massiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was composed and performed in a concentration camp on an old, out of tune, upright piano in the winter of January 1941. The piece can be heard on YouTube here (I especially love the V movement: Praise to the Eternity of Jesus. 20:15 in the recording.) and more about how he obtained paper from the guards, and worked with other musicians in the camp barracks and the performance can be found here.

If you are overwhelmed today, realize that our soul knows that this world is broken and we all wait and long for Eternity.

Perhaps create something beautiful for the sake of your children, husband, friend, or even yourself.

Tell someone you love them. Set a table for tea. Light a candle. Love others well. Pray for those who do the unthinkable and those who are bearing injustice. Wait patiently for Him. Do not be overcome with darkness. Walk in the light.

Waiting is your calling. Waiting is your blessing. Every one of God’s children has been chosen to wait, because every one of God’s children lives between the “already” and the “not yet.” Already this world has been broken by sin, but not yet has it been made new again. Already Jesus has come, but not yet has he returned to take you home with him forever. Already your sin has been forgiven, but not yet have you been fully delivered from it. Already Jesus reigns, but not yet has his final kingdom come. Already sin has been defeated, but not yet has it been completely destroyed. Already the Holy Spirit has been given, but not yet have you been perfectly formed into the likeness of Jesus. Already God has given you his Word, but not yet has it totally transformed your life. Already you have been given grace, but not yet has that grace finished its work. You see, we’re all called to wait because we all live right smack dab in the middle of God’s grand redemptive story. We all wait for the final end of the work that God has begun in and for us.” Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies

Where Are The Titus 2 Women? – Part 2

For whatever reason, Titus 2 mentoring brings a mix of emotions.  Fear and insecurity, on the part of the older women, and frustration on the part of the younger women, who are wondering why all of the older women are MIA.

I received a lot of feedback on my article “Where Are The Titus 2 Women” and I am hoping to answer some of the questions that seem to be plaguing you.

So, several thoughts.

You are older than someone. Think of it in terms of young children. Your eight year old learns to tie their shoe and in turn teaches your five year old the same skill. They don’t know much but they teach what they know.

You don’t have to teach everything. Nobody expects you to be a walking Biblical encyclopedia or the next Martha Stewart. But you can teach them something. Whether it is to rely on Christ and point them to Him, or to  teach them to pray. When you are going through hard times, just watching a Biblical response to trials and fear is the best lesson you can pass along.  Domestically, you can teach whatever you are good at: baking, crafting, floral arranging, etc…

Teach them that God is sovereign over their life, even if it looks different than yours.  I have two teenage daughters and I am training them that God is sovereign. I am not training them to be “mommys”, or to be a wife, although those things are important. There are no guarantees that they will marry, or be able to have children. Training them to this “lesser” goal is doing them a disservice. I am training them to do whatever God puts in their path  for and to His glory and with the goal of furthering His Kingdom.  I think it is short sighted to train with any other goal in mind, and that you could actually set your child up for disappointment by training for something that is not a guarantee in this life. When I wake up in the morning, before I climb out of bed, I pray and thank God that he is in control and welcome whatever He brings into my life this day, good or bad.

Teach them what scripture teaches, and no more.  The best lesson you can teach your sister is to trust in God and to seek wisdom from Him on areas that are  “indifferent” in scripture.  Teach her to balance her liberty in Christ with self denial. What you may be able to practice without indulging your flesh (keeping your flesh at bay/self denial), your younger sister may not be able to practice.

We cannot go beyond what Titus 2 teaches, and add our own rules.  Scripture teaches that young women should to keep their homes, but it does not say by word or in example that they can never work outside the home. I have seen two opposite extremes of this view played out: on one hand to neglect your homes and to never care for it, and on the other hand to proclaim that women are “queens of their home” and that this is where they should always be.

We are to train them to be the best help that they can be to their husbands. Sometimes this involves working to help with finances, or working to help a husband get through seminary.  It means that we care well for our family, as unto the Lord, like everything else we are to do in life,  so that God’s word will not be evil spoken of. (Examples in scripture would be Ruth, Lydia and the Prov. 31 women.)

But for the most part, just being an encouragement and listening ear is a great place to start.

If you are lacking older Christian women, pray and then start by get advice from books. (see my Titus 2 resources)

If you are looking for a younger woman to encourage, begin by asking her to come to lunch or by offering to watch her children so she can get some errands done. Be helpful and start by building a relationship. God will bless your efforts to bless her!

Where Are The Titus 2 Women?

Last night I spoke to a sweet group of home schooling moms about the topic of Keeping Your Devotional Life devotional. I was so encouraged by their desire to teach their children God’s word. We sat and chatted afterwards and as we spoke, the “topic” came up. Titus 2 mentoring. These young women are raising families and they are looking for flesh and blood women who have “been there, done that” to walk beside them and give them guidance. Unfortunately, they are coming up short.

Titus 2 mentoring is not optional. Ladies, this is part of our calling.

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It does not need to take place in a classroom. It can take place in your home, in the car, as you grab a coffee or run an errand. You just need to be available, and willing to answer questions and offer suggestions when asked. This is not rocket science. And there is a reason that this needs to be done: so that God’s word will not be maligned. Maligning someone is saying something evil about them–not necessarily a lie, just something wicked.

What do you need to be a mentor?

1. The desire to be obedient.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.

 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,

so that no one will malign the word of God.

2. A good testimony reverent in the way they live- this means you take seriously the commands of scripture and you live in a way that is Christ-like. You aren’t perfect, but you are sold out to Christ, dedicated and striving to do right. You are literally his servant, doing His will and not your own. (and by the way, when you blow it, you make restoration, for the sake of your own testimony and for the sake of Christ.)

3. Time- it takes time. Just do it.

4. Grace, humility, meekness- You don’t have all the answers and maybe you have done things wrong. Be honest and transparent with your sisters in Christ. Apart from grace, you would be nothing. And without humility, you are nothing, and God resists you. You received with meekness the engrafted word which was able to save your souls, and now you teach with meekness and instruct from the posture of humility.

Older ladies, don’t be afraid.

If God puts a younger mother in your path, help her!

For extra reading on the subject of Titus Two mentoring, may I suggest these that I have found the most helpful?

Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women by Susan Hunt.

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Part Two:Where Are The Titus 2 Women?