As we head into a new season with all things cozy, warm, and reminiscent, I didn’t want to miss the chance to reflect on all that the summer held for us. Here are our reader favorite posts from the summer. Looking forward to sharing the season ahead with you!
When marriages all around you are dissolving, it is normal to start wondering how yours is going to make it. It might be your parents’ marriage that didn’t last. Maybe you know of a couple that wedded the same year as you and now you’ve witnessed their dramatic divorce. You might keep up with headlines to see famous marriages dwindle with the decades.
No doubt, right now you can name family members, friends, ministry leaders, and church leaders who are struggling or have even announced their intentions to end it. Perhaps yours is the one struggling.
Sadly the stories are so familiar we’ve become a bit blasé, when those we trust, look up to, or depend on tell us their marriages are over.
Having watched too many marriages fail over our 41 years of marriage ministry, I know the one emotion most women feel when news like this breaks is fear. Collectively we ask the same question of ourselves: If this marriage couldn’t survive, what hope is there for mine?
Dear Barbara, I know being a mom is a high calling. Sometimes I wonder how high I want to be called. I feel exhausted with little ones tugging at my legs all day and my husband is asking for more. So how many kids should we have?
Oh, tired mom. I remember those days filled with little giggles and endearing, “Hold you me!” requests, along with sibling rivalry and defiant little eyes challenging mine as a toddler arm swiped mac n cheese off the high chair tray. Splat on the kitchen floor. Long hours, endless instructions, new baby nursing, and discovering my desires for order and beauty in my home were not the desires of my little ones.
There were days Dennis and I talked about more babies, even after our sixth, who was quite the surprise. And days I wasn’t sure I’d survive till bedtime.
Dear Barbara, I’m struggling right now. I really feel God asking me to do something that sounds too hard. Honestly, I don’t want to obey. Why would He do that? How can I negotiate?
It’s scary isn’t it? I’ve wondered the same. After an exhausting week wrangling five relentless children, I started feeling a little off. It’s sleep; I need more sleep, I thought. A short rest during their down time didn’t help at all. It’s food; I need a snack, I thought. An apple dipped in peanut butter might help, but it didn’t. Something wasn’t right.
I didn’t want to admit it, but my mind began to panic. I had Dennis pick up a pregnancy test on the way home from work. I cried for three days when I discovered the answer. It wasn’t off I was feeling. I was pregnant.
“God, I don’t want to do this again!” God was asking me, telling me, making me be a mother for a sixth time. Really? I felt I had obeyed God enough with my womb, pregnancy was difficult for me, and I wanted my body back. Five was what we’d agreed to. Happily we were done, all baby gear sold at a garage sale. I was free!
But now God was asking me to die to self. Again.
I was always inspired by speakers, both men and women missionaries, telling stories of God’s work around the world. But I began to wonder why I never heard a woman–a mother–stand on stage and share how she experienced God in her life in her home. I wrote about that in my journal too. It seemed to be a void. I knew something was missing.
I asked myself, “If the Holy Spirit dwells in and with me and other mothers I know, how do I see Him work in my life, in my sometimes very little world?”
That’s the question we want you to grapple with in this Summer Blog Club, so let’s start looking at Who He is.
Do you know of Elijah, prophet of God, who challenged 950 idol worshipers to a contest to see whose God was best? With thousands of spectators watching, the competition of gods felt like a championship football game or soccer match.
Whose god was the real God? They all wanted to know.
Each team laid a sacrifice on a wooden altar. But neither team was allowed to set fire to their sacrifice. The agreed upon rules stated each side had to cry out to their respective god to provide the flames.
Elijah, the one-man team, convincingly conquered the powerless opposition when God dramatically answered his prayer. Sending fire from the sky, God’s power burned up the ox offering, the wood altar, and 12 stones stacked beneath. God’s fire even “licked up the water that was in the trench” around the altar.
The audience who saw even stones and water consumed in flames responded by falling on their faces and saying, “The Lord, He is God…” (1 Kings 18:39).
Thanks for joining us this summer. We love our growing online community and have enjoyed the summer with you. Our hope is that we can bring you content that will encourage your heart and refresh your soul. As we look to Fall, be sure you’re subscribed so you can always receive these in your e-mail.