Monday, June 18, 2018

My Most Potent Weapon Against Fear

Recently I was in church feeling all the feelings. If one more person said, "How are you handling this?" I was going to dissolve into a puddle of snot and tears.  My oldest graduated from High School that Saturday and all the love and attention I was getting was only making it worse.

I didn't even know why I was so upset.

But sitting there praying as the communion trays were passed I suddenly understood.

I was afraid. Afraid of time passing, of things changing, and losing the close relationship we've shared. I wanted to pretend it was all sadness, but in that moment of communion I knew the truth.  I was afraid.

It's not the first time (or the second) I've faced fear.  Or re-learned the hard lesson about trusting God with my unknowns.

Fear is my enemy.  Caution can be a wise friend but fear is a thief.  It steals today's happiness to be replaced with tomorrow's worries.  How can we fight this enemy?  What is my most potent weapon against that fear?

Swing over to and find out!  I have a compete guest post there and I am excited to share with you how I fight fear!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Competency: What it takes to raise a Proverbs 31 girl

If you could sum the Proverbs 31 lady up in one word what would it be?  

Competent: A real Proverbs 31 womanMy daughter drew a series of illustrations to sum her up.  There was one of her sewing with a sewing machine - a bit anachronistic but I got the idea and one of her selling the clothes she made.  There were pictures of her cooking, giving instructions, and one with her own child.

Her illustrations matched the one word in my mind.  Competent.

That lady could do stuff!  In fact, if we start considering the women of God one by one we’ll come up with lots of competent ladies.  Wise ladies (Deborah), warrior ladies (Jael), hostesses (Junia, Lydia and the mother of John Mark) poets (Hannah), dancers (Miriam), hard workers (Ruth), brave women (the auntie), and women who were steeped in the word (Huldah, Anna, Priscilla).

Competence is greatly undervalued in women.  Our culture values brashness, beauty, silliness, and ambition.  Our churches value social skill, and the roles of a wife and mother.  But when is the last time you heard someone say, “Mrs. Michelson! That lady can speak three languages and she is always down at the ESL center helping out!  How godly.” Or “Don’t you love how Mrs. Jones and her daughters spend a week each summer working with Habitats for Humanity?”

We love to encourage our girls.  We bandy about words like self-esteem and growth mindset thinking if we apply enough praise of the right type at the right moment, we’ll have strong and godly girls.  But let me suggest a different path.

Let’s teach our girls to do stuff.  And then to use their skills to honor the Lord.  Let’s teach them to clean and cook and sew and craft. Let’s teach them to garden, camp, blog and refinish upholstery.  Let’s let them go to language camp, teach them sign language, and learn a martial art.

And above all else let’s teach our girl's Bible.

When I started at Harding University they were starting a new major: “Vocational Ministry.”  It was a second major and had to be paired with a non-Bible major. The purpose was to provide Bible major level study to future deacons, elders, and vocational ministers.  But also to future Sunday School teachers, mothers and wives. I jumped at the chance. And although I didn’t have all the same classes, I got much the same education as my Bible major husband.  

The things I learned to this day effect my study, my writing, my ministry, my life.  That BIble education was priceless. I promise my teacher’s time wasn’t wasted because I am not a preacher.

Our girls need to learn Bible.  We must not for a moment imagine that their purview is simply the verses on “women’s role.”  Or the Proverbs 31 lady we mentioned before. Our girls need to memorize the books of the Bible, recite verses, memorize outlines, and learn what exegesis means.  They need wise mentors who can disciple them into strong, practical, competent followers of Jesus. And they need to start now. 4 is not too young and 12 is not too late. (Subscribe here and get a semester of free theology curriculum for tweens!)

When we look backwards to see how we want our girls to be, we are often painfully short sighted.  We look back to some idyllic and imaginary time when women all stayed home, rocked babies and waited quietly for their men to come home.  Not only is that image all wrong (those women were more than competent in their own sphere) but it simply doesn’t look back far enough. The women of the Bible were neither fainting violets, simpering idiots, nor brainless chatter boxes.  They were judges, evangelists, business women, hard workers, women of powerful wisdom.

May each one of us be about the business of teaching our girls to be the same.