It Matters Whom You Marry, Book Version

it-matters-whom-you-marry 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

Authenticity, Honesty, and the Stay-At-Home-Mother

clean-up 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

Dove Ads, Ambrose, and Christian Women

160px-Grace_Kelly_-_High_SocietyThe social experiment that Dove released last week is fascinating. It has a clear message: “You are more beautiful than you think”.

Apparently, it’s not new for women to think that they are ugly. Hence the early invention of make-up, which has been around at least since the ancient Egyptians started the eyeliner trend about 4,000 years ago. Ambrose of Milan, writing in the fourth century, commented:

“[Women] erase that painting [of God] by smearing on their complexion a color of material whiteness or by applying an artificial rouge. The result is a work not of beauty, but of ugliness; not of simplicity, but of deceit. It is a temporal creation, a prey to perspiration or rain. It is a snare and a deception which displeases the person you aim to please, for he realizes that all this is an alien thing and not your own. This is also displeasing to your Creator, who sees His own work obliterated. Continue reading

Minding Our Own Reproductive Business

9 monthsA couple weeks ago I talked with some young mothers about inappropriate questions that they have had to answer. I’ve had the same questions, and though answering them has not caused me any grief, they easily could have. Questions like, “Are you pregnant?” “Do you guys have a hard time getting pregnant?” “How many kids do you want?” “Is this one a surprise?” “Why don’t you guys have (more) kids?” These questions are different than learning how to think through an issue like family planning by asking someone for their thoughts. Genuine learning questions are in a separate category.

But inquiring into very personal matters out of curiosity, a desire to know, an inability to make conversation on other topics, or as a misapplied expression of care, is a bad idea. Such questions, and any like them, are ones that only very close family and friends should ask, and even then with caution, forethought, and not in the church foyer. If you are not a very close family member or friend, it’s a good idea to stay away from this topic. Why? Because: Continue reading

Stay-at-Home Martyr?

saint-at-homeHave you ever asked a married woman what she does only to get a wearied, saintly look and hear, “I’m a stay at home mom.” I know that I have given that answer, with that look on my face. With rising recognition that work in the home is legitimate and challenging, a too-common attitude has arisen among evangelical mothers: we have the hardest job in the world (especially if we home school). Good job we realize that it’s the most important job as well, or we’d drop dead of exhaustion.

But it just isn’t so. Don’t get me wrong–staying at home and caring for children is hard work! Continue reading

How Christian Modesty Acts

Yesterday we looked at attributes of clothing for the Christian woman. But while we pursue clothing that is modest, a modest spirit exhibits grace to others regardless of how modest we think they are. Modesty leaves no room for pride, hypocrisy, or judgmentalism. Instead, where it sees a problem, modesty expresses love for God and concern for His glory; a tenderness and care for the souls of others; and a humility in dealing with an issue. Modesty is very much connected with humility, evidenced in our words and actions.

If you know a believer that is wearing immodest clothing, recognize that it might be because of a difference in opinion. Out of love for a sister in Christ and concern for her witness, go to her and gently, kindly talk about these things. There are tonnes of resources out there to help you do this, most of them free of cost online. Continue reading

What Christian Modesty Looks Like

We live in a world that is very concerned about how women dress. But we live in a culture that is not at all concerned about immodesty. C. J. Mahaney describes immodesty this way: “Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.” And that can be pride in your looks, your taste, or your purchasing power.

Often, Christian women are motivated to modesty by a fear of causing lust and fear of display. But that is an unChristian understanding of modesty. It is so easy for modesty to merely external, and to fall into legalism because our clothing is not an expression of a heart that is in love with Christ and seeks to bring good to other people. Modest clothing is motivated by a desire to bring God glory and to bless others. Continue reading

It Matters Whom You Marry

My husband and I were once with a youth group. There were three kids sitting across from us at a meal: two guys and a girl. The one guy was a computer geek with glasses. The other one was a college student with slightly cooler hair and no glasses. The girl was obviously with him. But while the computer geek was busy serving everyone at the meal, clearing plates and garbage, the college student got angry with the girl for a small accident and poured red juice over her leather jacket and white shirt. She picked the wrong guy, and the juice didn’t seem to change her mind. She is in for some grief if that relationship continues and especially if it leads to marriage.

So to all the young, unmarried Christian girls out there, listen up: who you marry matters. Continue reading