We Become What We Behold

We Become What We Behold

Like anyone, moms are susceptible to the conforming pressures of the world. The world tries to squeeze us into its mold like the play dough in our playrooms. 

Conformity comes from the word for “masquerade” – “to wear a mask” or “play a part.”...When our doxology and theology is conformed to the world, it gives the outward appearance of substance without an inward reality...

As we yield our minds to be renewed in the truth, our doxology and theology are transformed. The word reorients and realigns everything we think and do.

Transformation is radical, and sometimes messy, but in the end, glorious! The goal of transformation is to look like Jesus. The word of God (theology) reveals the glory of God (doxology) and the Spirit of God transforms us to be like the Son of God (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

We are continually becoming what we will be – and what we are becoming is what we behold.

Abide Together : How to Gather A Group for Bible Study

Abide Together : How to Gather A Group for Bible Study

Today’s post is part of a six week series on how to start and facilitate a women’s Bible study group. We’ll cover the basics like what and why, as well as the more difficult parts, like who and how. Our hope is to encourage you to study God’s word with fellow believers, equipping you with practical how-tos for starting a study in your local church or community. If you’re just joining us, you can start at the beginning of the series here

In Adoption, Only Jesus is the Hero

In Adoption, Only Jesus is the Hero

As Christians, we know that God’s heart is for adoption. We rehearse to one another that pure religion looks after the orphan (James 1:27). We believe he sets the fatherless in families (Psalm 68:6) and that he will not leave us as orphans, but that he’ll come to us (John 14:18). We know the Father lovingly adopted us, paying an unspeakable price to make us his own (Ephesians 1:5-7).

We rightly apply the gospel to our lives when we acknowledge that we are adopted sons and daughters and we set out to adopt as well. It is a high and holy calling to be an adoptive mom. It is a right response to the love the Father has freely lavished on us.

But when we adopt, there are limitations to this gospel application, which are not always acknowledged. You and I are not God. We are far from perfect, sinless saviors. And our children don’t fit the mold of repentant and grateful sinners expected after a salvation experience. The parallels do break down.

Every adoption is birthed in brokenness. When you and I step in, our children have already endured losses we will never fathom. They carry pain we cannot heal.

Abide Together: How Do I Choose a Study?

Abide Together: How Do I Choose a Study?

One of the first questions women have when starting a Bible study is, "What should we study?" And with so many different types and style of studies in the market today, it can be difficult to choose. While it can be easy to want to find something that sounds easy or keeps everyone comfortable, the best studies balance the gospel message with challenges at many levels of biblical knowledge, without being bland or discouragingly difficult.

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So how do you find this kind of study?

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That's what we're sharing today on the blog, we'll walk you through how to find theologically-sound resources, meet the needs of your various group members, find the right format, and ultimately discern the best materials for your specific Bible study. 

Momma, Jesus Invites You to Come and Rest

Momma, Jesus Invites You to Come and Rest

How can a busy mom find rest for herself? It’s ultimately through cultivating a place of rest that can never be taken away and isn’t restricted to one day of the week. It’s a place of rest in the heart, rooted in a particular person...

We learn rest from the one who is rest. When we heap the heavy mothering burdens of the day or week on our shoulders he tells us this: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...

The burdens we put on ourselves as moms can be crushing, but Jesus tells us to come and learn from him (sit at his feet, like Mary).

What are we learning from him? To be gentle and lowly in heart. This is how we find rest in him. When we stop thinking everything is up to us and dependant on our success as moms. His yoke is easy and light for us, because he’s put everything on his shoulders. Our rest is found in putting our burdens on the one who was meant to carry them for us.

Abide Together: What Exactly is a Bible Study?

Abide Together: What Exactly is a Bible Study?

We’ve never had more resources available to us than we do right now. There are books, online articles, printed magazines, podcasts, videos, and music coming at us from every direction. As a woman eager to learn more about God’s word, it can be exhilarating to have easy access to so many teachers and influencers.

 

These resources can be extremely helpful and can encourage a busy mom when her hands are full of little children and dirty dishes. It’s a joy to turn on a favorite podcast, or sneak in a quick devotional reading in the school pick-up line. Our modern age of information provides lots of great opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection. But however nice and helpful the resources may be, they aren’t the same as studying the Bible itself. We still need first-hand knowledge of the eternal word of God so we can know him more fully and be sustained as we serve him in this world. Without even realizing it, we often just “take people’s word for it” when it comes to understanding God's nature, character and plans. But if we don't know what he actually says, how can we be sure that the podcasts, online sermons, devotional books, and Christian books we consume are actually giving us truth?

These questions and concerns are why we need to prioritize Bible study and learn God’s word for ourselves...

The Other October 31st Holiday: Reformation Day

The Other October 31st Holiday: Reformation Day

October 31st is marked by falling leaves, buckets of candy, and adorably dressed children parading down neighborhood streets as animals, a favorite character, or, as I was for many years, a pumpkin. The anticipation of the 31st begins as early as stores release costumes and candy corn in the late summer months. But the 31st actually marks two holidays, and one – though lesser known – is extremely significant and exciting for all Christians. The final day of October is known as Reformation Day, where a surprisingly monumental decision was made in a little town in Germany in 1517 that would impact generations. And this year is the 500th anniversary.

Maybe you’ve never heard of Reformation Day or maybe you’re wondering how this relates to motherhood in 2017. Here’s really brief history lesson:

Abide Together: Why Should We Study The Bible?

Abide Together: Why Should We Study The Bible?

Are you stressed, parched, overwhelmed, and in need of direction in your life? Do you long to know God more, and understand his love for you? Would you like to see more growth as you battle sins and minister to those in your sphere of influence? Are you confused about God’s plan for your life and how to have purpose in all you do? Could you use help in learning to train your children in the ways of the Lord? Do you wish you could hear God’s voice speaking to you? Well, the good news is, God has spoken, and you have access to his words.

Even when we recognize that the Bible is the ultimate resource for all of eternity, we can still feel overwhelmed opening a book originally written in foreign languages, more than three thousand years ago. Something so full of metaphors and detailed imagery (that seemingly doesn’t relate to a mom in the twenty-first century) can be difficult to apply, and honestly, sometimes we don’t “feel” any different right away. Questions about scripture passages take time and study to answer, and not every passage has simple, direct application to our daily lives.

Helping Our Kids to Celebrate God's Beautiful, Diverse Creation

Helping Our Kids to Celebrate God's Beautiful, Diverse Creation

Like you’d teach them with anything else, it’s essential that we begin to teach our children about creation, specifically the image of God, at an early age.

If you want your children to embrace those who are different than them, then you must start with helping them understand that God is the Creator of every tribe, tongue, and nation.

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Heaven will be filled with people from Indonesia, Dubai, Zambia, the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee and the Grand Cayman Islands. And today we can get a foretaste of heaven when we step out of our comfort zones to get to know someone not like us.

Your children are watching and learning from you. They will embrace whom you embrace. It is God who motivates us to step outside ourselves and celebrate the differences around us. God created, he redeems, and it is He who is calling all these different people together in Christ for His glory.

Because We Could Not Stop for Death: Miscarriage and the Believer

Because We Could Not Stop for Death: Miscarriage and the Believer

I left the meeting as early as I could excuse myself and came home, hobbling in our back door, running to the bathroom. I knew what to expect but nothing prepares you for the emotional and physical toll of blood loss, hormone loss, and the tiny baby loss in the moment.

Before I got married I thought, at times, women could be dramatic about their infertility or miscarriages. I thought: “Children are a blessing, but they’re not an idol. Why is your world falling apart because of this?” As I lay sobbing on our bed that day, I hiccupped through the words, “I just want it to stop.” 

 

... The Psalmist David knew this slow drive too. He said the words, “How long, O Lord?” nine times in the book of Psalms. He was desperate for the Lord to relent, to show up, to release, and to end David’s suffering. We, like David, are not good in the middle of things. We don’t like it. We can anticipate the danger or suffering ahead, even know the right theology to regard it, but when the gushing pain begins, where is our hope then?

 

Our hope is in the permission to say, with David, “How long, O Lord?” And then to keep saying it, for as long as we are still waiting for it to relent.

 

... Our Father knows the searing loss of losing a child. Our Savior said these words on the cross, “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me?” Our Spirit groans with us in our weakness with words too deep for us to even understand. Surely there is permission to sit, ache, mourn, and weep in this middle place?

Mothering a Rebellious Heart

Mothering a Rebellious Heart

I ask them to pick up their toys, yet they keep playing. I ask them to share, instead they scream at each other. I tell them it’s time to read the Bible or do our catechism questions, instead I’m met with cries of protest or disdain. My words, commands, and correctives often fall on deaf ears. And I feel defeated...

My kids disobey because they need new hearts, not because I am a bad parent. The great predicament of the Israelites is that no amount of effort on their part was going to make them obey. The same is true for my kids. God had to give his children new hearts, and he must do the same for mine.

This reality about their heart and disobedience shouldn’t anger me (as it so frequently does)—it should soften me towards them and make me long for God to grant them repentance and hearts that desires holiness. So often I am angry that they disobey me, rather than broken that their cold, dead hearts hinder their obedience yet again.

Disobedience is our natural bent. We see it with the Israelites. We see it with our kids. And we see it in ourselves. We need the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to change our natural desires into what doesn’t come naturally to us—a desire to do what is right...

Hope for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Hope for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month and we at Risen Motherhood want to recognize all of you who have lost a child too soon. Below you'll find a selection of articles, posts, music and podcasts that we pray encourages a mom in the midst of grief. Just click on the links at the bottom of each quote to go to the original source. 

Moms, We are Not Alone

Moms, We are Not Alone

“Is your husband out of town this week?” she asked.

“Yes. All week. Is yours?” I responded. She nodded.

“Want to come over for dinner?” I asked.

Motherhood is hard enough on a good day. What with the constant multi-tasking, unexpected illnesses, endless pile of laundry, the refereeing of squabbles, teaching the same lessons over and over again, all while trying to keep up with the daily responsibilities and duties of life.

It’s even harder when you feel all alone.

When my kids were young, I had a couple of friends whose husbands also traveled for work or often worked late at night. Having these friends was a lifesaver, literally, because at the time, I was in the midst of post-partum depression aftershocks. We took turns making dinner for ourselves and all our kids. Sometimes we met at a park and then took the kids to their favorite taco place. And when the weeks were especially long, we got together multiple times.

Not only did we keep each other company during those years, but we also encouraged one another in the gospel. We reminded each other of what was true. We prayed with and for each other. We walked with one another through life’s trials and challenges.

When Motherhood Doesn't Fit Quite Right

When Motherhood Doesn't Fit Quite Right

Those early years of mothering, they just didn’t fit me quite right. 

Ya know, like how you feel when you try on one of those rompers and you just keep tugging and twisting it, hoping to get it to lay just right. 

Something about a newborn felt odd, and unknown to me. My body seemed foreign, my routines were in the diaper genie.  I wasn’t sure what had changed in me, or what was to remain the same.

That little babe on my chest, at times, didn’t fit quite right. 

This is how motherhood felt for a couple years. I would look at my reflection in the metaphorical mirror and tug and twist this awkward new title of mom. The struggle, was very real.

In an attempt to silence the fear of failing as a mom, I overcompensated with tight and rigid schedules and extreme expectations. That control birthed other bad habits and misconceptions—like that mothering was something at which to win. 

When You Can't Protect Your Children

When You Can't Protect Your Children

My children are young, so young that they mostly live in a Pleasantville-like bubble. But over the past year, that bubble has been pushed and poked a few times. There have been a few holes here and there, but I work quickly to patch them. And for the most part, the bubble remains.

But that is not the point of this. The point is just the opposite. The point is that the bubble will inevitably burst, no matter how I try to support it. The point is, I am realizing very quickly that I cannot protect my children from everything.