As believers, we are to be filling our minds first with Scripture, then with writing that is biblically faithful, in order to build ourselves up in the faith. But that does not mean that secular writing has nothing to say to us. Occasionally, there are books coming from other worldviews that offer insights, help us learn, stretch us, and most of all, make us think. Here are five books that have helped me do that in thinking about relationships, mostly within a family, but also moving beyond. In no particular order:
When we posted the article, “It Matters Whom You Marry,” a couple years ago, we were amazed to see it reach millions of readers all over the world. It was reblogged dozens of times and translated into several languages (Portuguese, Hungarian, Bosnian, and others). On Monday, Christian Focus Publications will release the book version in the U. S.: Your Future Other Half: It Matters Whom You Marry. Here is a taste from the introduction: Continue reading
Wanting to be a horse was probably a mommy low point. Not just any horse, mind you. One of my kids was studying the Lipizzaners in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School; as I helped with some research, I found myself envying the horses. Not only do they live in a historic building in a European capital, but they also do nothing beyond go for long walks and occasionally jump to live orchestral music. They are taken care of. Totally. “I could live off of apples and oats,” I told myself. When my husband came home from work, I announced my new career plan. The pressure of constantly caring for everyone else’s needs made me lose focus.
Mothers need breaks now and then. But even more than that, we need perspective. And that’s easy to lose when the dishes are piled up and the baby won’t stop crying and the toddler refuses to be toilet trained. Continue reading
At the Gospel Coalition, Brett McCracken takes on authenticity as an evangelical substitute for holiness. He asks, “by focusing on brokenness as proof of our ‘realness’ and ‘authenticity,’ have evangelicals turned ‘being screwed up’ into a badge of honor, its own sort of works righteousness?” Yup. And perhaps few are as guilty as us wives and mothers.
The mommy wars have made great advances in battling the false fronts of picture-perfect blog posts, where dinners always look fabulous, children are always beautifully dressed, and husbands always come home with roses. But we’ve replaced those filtered versions of our lives with other versions: Continue reading
Personal maturity is something that we want to attain, but often we don’t know what it is. It’s easier to name a mature person than it is to explain what makes them mature. Part of the difficulty is that there are different aspects to maturity; social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional maturity can be expressed in different degrees in the same person. Someone can be socially mature and spiritually immature, or intellectually mature and emotionally immature. All maturity is connected, though; true social maturity only comes as spiritual maturity increases. Continue reading
Growth in grace is evidenced by a more habitual vigilance against besetting sins and temptations, and by greater self-denial in regard to personal indulgence.
A growing conscientiousness in regard to what may be called minor Christian duties is also a good sign. (The counterfeit of this is an over-scrupulous conscience, which sometimes haggles at the most innocent gratifications, and has led some to hesitate about taking their daily food.)
Increasing spiritual-mindedness is a sure evidence of progress in piety; and this will always be accompanied by increasing deadness to the world. Continue reading
We often have conversations with folks in the ministry about “the fishbowl”: the feeling (or reality!) that the pastor’s family lives a public life, often on view to the congregation. It’s part of the deal; something that ministers, their wives, and sometimes their children struggle with, as they often feel vulnerable, as though their privacy is constantly violated. When you’re on call 24/7, standing in front of the congregation weekly, frequently opening your home to new and needy people, and your salary has an annual, public review, it’s easy to feel that way. The fishbowl becomes an enemy, fought because we don’t enjoy the privacy that other families seem to. Continue reading
One of the most depressing aspects of blogging is having a blog post ready, then checking Challies before you post, only to see him tackle the same subject earlier this morning. But if that post was how people fall into extra marital affairs, then this is how people who have remained faithfully married have, by grace, done so. Here are some practical ways to maintain faithfulness to your spouse. (I am writing from a woman’s perspective, but much of this would apply to husbands as well.)
Maybe you’ve noticed that someone has singled you out for conversation at church. Again. They’re active in your social media life, liking everything you post. Maybe they’ve sent you a text or two. You realize that there is certainly some attraction there. If you’re married, it could be the start of an affair. Continue reading