Rest and the Gospel

Rest seems elusive these days.

Each new day brings a host of tasks to complete and, seemingly, not enough time to complete them.

Both food preparation and the feeding of little mouths are constant. As soon as one meal is completed and cleaned up, it’s almost time to start preparing for the next.

Inordinate amounts of time are spent washing dirty dishes, cleaning dirty floors, and laundering stained, dirty clothing. But the sink is never empty. The floors are always dirty. And by the time several large loads of clothes are neatly folded and put away, hampers are full again. Such is the life of a mama at home with two littles.

Then, there’s the hurry scurry of rushing to church activities, play dates, lunch meetings, counseling sessions, appointments, errands, and for the last several months, completing hours of reading, writing, and paperwork into the late hours of most nights.

I catch myself thinking {and sometimes saying}, “What I really need is a child-free month in Cancun!” or “Wouldn’t it be great if paying a mortgage was like paying for a hotel and included a maid to come in and make beds and wash towels every day?” Sometimes the exhaustion is heavy, and a change in circumstances seems like the ultimate solution—a sure quick-fix at least.

Please don’t read this transparent confession of weariness as ungrateful discontent. The earthly blessings in my life run deep and far and wide. My husband and children are gifts I do not take for granted. My days with them are not guaranteed, and each new day at home with my babies is a treasure I would not trade. I am doing work I love, work I am passionate about, work I believe can bring glory to God and eternal good when done in faith. Truly, my combined roles of wife, mother, ministry partner to Adam, and biblical counselor to women make up my  “dream job,” as cliché as that sounds.

But, the truth is, my roles are too big for me. They’re too hard for me. To do them well requires more strength than I have to give. More wisdom than I have to offer. More patience and gentleness and faithfulness and love than I have dwelling within me. And since I don’t have what it takes, I find myself weary and searching {even grasping} for rest. But the rest I need is deeper than the kind of rest that comes from a good afternoon nap, a “check out” veg session on social media, a relaxing vacation, or even help around the house. The kind of rest I really need is a deep, life-penetrating rest—a rest that will carry me the through the physical and mental exhaustion of the day-to-day grind and far beyond that. That is the kind of sustaining rest I long for and crave. So, where is rest of that depth to be found?

In counseling and discipleship, I am constantly offering up the hope of the gospel to women. As I minister the Word, my goal is to help them understand how the good news of Jesus Christ {his substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection from the dead} speaks into every situation and circumstance of life. So, how does the the gospel offer hope for the weary stay-at-home mom? Intellectually, I know that Christ offers the rest I really need. But how do I plug into that rest? How does it become a reality in my particular circumstances?

In thinking through these questions, I am constantly returning to the familiar words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 

Rest for your souls.

What does this really mean? Obviously, the rest Christ is offering here is a spiritual rest—an eternal, soul rest. So, how does this apply in the day-to-day life of a believing and worn-out mama?

I recently came across a podcast in which Paul Tripp talked about true rest. In it, he said the following:

I am always in situations that are bigger than I am, where I am in moments that are bigger than me—bigger than my wisdom, bigger than my strength. I am always confronted with how little I control, how little I understand. Rest is not found in my control. It’s not found in my strength. It’s not found in my wisdom. It’s found in this God who has infused my life by His grace. 

{And the light bulb came on}


I am a constant student of God’s grace through Christ—learning how much I need it, how to live in it, breath by it, rest through it, work because of it.

The scribes and pharisees completely missed grace. They never even saw their great need for it because their own legalistic, perceived self-righteousness was so blinding. They tied up heavy burdens on others’ backs, placing greater external demands on the people than God’s law actually required and greater demands than they themselves were willing to keep (Matthew 23:4). Despite their rigid external “law-keeping,” their hypocrisy was great because they totally missed the heart of the law: to love God with heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:36-37). The pharisees oppressed God’s people and drove them toward weariness because they missed grace.

But Jesus came and turned the tables. While He didn’t promise an easy path (in fact, He guaranteed a difficult one–see Matthew 16:24-25), he did offer an easy rest. The only requirement was to come to Him. To those oppressed and weary of striving to meet a mark they always fell short of, Jesus said (and says), “Come!” 

Coming to Jesus to find true rest means falling on our faces before him in realization of our desperate need for (first and foremost) His saving grace and then for His sustaining grace in the days that follow. Coming to Jesus means crying out, “I can’t do it! I can’t carry this heavy, burdensome load! I am too corrupt and sinful. Too weak. Too weary. I fall short every time, regardless of how I strive. But Jesus, YOU are perfect in righteousness. YOU are perfect in strength. YOU are perfect in holiness. YOU lived the life I couldn’t live, died the death I deserved to die, and conquered the sin I could not conquer. I need to be found in YOU.” As we repent of sin and cling to Christ in faith to make us right before God, we can be found in Him. That is the beautiful hope of the gospel.

If  we miss grace, we miss rest. True rest for our souls is realized only when we fling ourselves upon His grace and receive pardon for sin, transformed hearts, and the ability to live rightly:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long. . . I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. . . You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. . . Many are the sorrows of the wicked,but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32)

The reality and presence of eternal rest affects every facet of real life on this earth. In other words, the eternal rest that Jesus has provided for my soul infuses the day-to-day rest that Jesus offers for my mind and body. True temporal rest is recognized in light of everlasting rest. Because if Jesus can provide eternal rest for my soul, then he can certainly provide sustaining rest for me in the exhausting “little years” of motherhood and graduate school. If Jesus can give me the saving grace necessary to cover every sinful thought and deed, then he can certainly give me the sustaining grace necessary to unload the dishwasher for the millionth time. If Jesus offers the grace necessary to regenerate my dead heart, then he also offers the grace necessary to be faithful in good works, like caring for my family even when I think I desperately need “me time” more than anything. Jesus’s yoke is easy and burden is light because obeying Him is the natural overflow of a heart resting in the reality of His grace. Pressing on in good works is not what I do to earn right standing with God. Pressing on in good works is about learning from Jesus and following His way. It is the natural result of my right standing with God because of His grace through Christ.

Living in the reality of my need for grace not only helps me to press on in good works, it also enables me to cease striving and take time to physically rest. It enables me to stop and take an occasional, guilt-free afternoon nap, regardless of the laundry that needs to be folded. It allows me let the kitchen floor remain unswept another day because intentional time playing with my children is more important than a spotless kitchen. It enables me to relax and say, “it’s ok!” in the midst of craziness and chaos and two-year-old tantrums. Christ has provided eternal rest for my soul through His grace! And that grace is beautiful and precious and freeing. And that grace is enough.

Lord Jesus, please enable me to truly live in the hope of true rest that you hold out to me through your grace. 

{And all the tired mamas said, “Amen!” ;)}

Biblical Counseling and the Sufficiency of Scripture

I recently completed the ACBC Counselor exam as a requirement for my master’s in biblical counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as a requirement for certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Below I’ve shared two of (28) questions that I answered to complete this exam. These questions address the sufficiency of God’s Word for counseling. You can read more about biblical counseling and the role that ALL of God’s people are to play in ministering God’s Word to others here.

Are the Scriptures sufficient for biblical counseling? Explain your position. The Scriptures are, indeed, sufficient for biblical counseling. Therefore, they are the primary source from which the biblical counselor’s presuppositions and principles must be derived. The Bible must be the authoritative standard for biblical counseling. In his letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16, emphasis mine). Of this Scripture, Jay Adam’s notes the following: “Paul says then that there is no counseling situation for which the man of God is not adequately equipped by the Scriptures. . . This passage very plainly says that all that we need as the basic foundation and framework for helping others and helping ourselves has been given to us. . . The God of all resources graciously has given them to us fully in His Word” (Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual, 97). The solutions to the problems of this broken world are not found in the counselor, the counselee, or any other outside source. The solutions are found in God and His Word. Furthermore, the explanation for why this problem-saturated world is broken in the first place is also found in the Scriptures. God, in His Word, gives humanity the framework from which to understand and live all of life. There is no human problem that the Scriptures have not addressed, namely because there are no truly “unique” human problems (temptations and tests). First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man . . .” (emphasis mine). While problems may exhibit numerous and seemingly unique secondary features, the basic root of these features is virtually the same. Adams says, “Just as the Christian counselor knows there is no unique problem that has not been mentioned plainly in the Scriptures, so also he knows that there is a biblical solution to every problem” (The Christian Counselor’s Manual, 23). Hebrews 4:15 states: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Because Jesus faced and conquered every basic human problem without sin, the biblical counselor knows that solutions to all of life’s problems are found in Christ and His Gospel, which have been revealed to us by the divinely inspired Scriptures. God has given us divine truth and instruction in written form, so that we, as His children, may be sufficiently equipped to respond and live rightly in every situation and circumstance that we face in this life. What provision and grace! (Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual, 23).

Write a paragraph or two on the problem of eclecticism in counseling and your position in reference to it. Eclecticism in counseling seeks to combine the methods and principles of modern, secular psychology with biblical methods and principles. In eclectic counseling, the Bible is not foundational. It is not the starting point—the lens through which data may be processed and the guide by which counsel may be given. Thus, it’s principles must be combined with and balanced by the principles of modern, secular psychology. Adams describes it well: “The eclectic pragmatically attempts to take the best of everything and glue it together in a patchwork” (Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel, 92-93). There are number of problems with eclecticism for the Christian counselor. First and foremost, eclectic counseling denies that the Word of God is sufficient, able to provide the believer with all that is necessary for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” Through God’s divine power, which accomplishes salvation, the believer has everything necessary for life and godly living. This power for salvation is made possible through the “knowledge of Him” which comes from the Living and written Word. Adams writes, “So then, the Scriptures have the power to transform both our standing with God (justification) and our state (sanctification). . . To the extent that counseling is biblically based, it has the power to produce godliness; to the extent that the Scriptures are ignored (or diluted through eclectic admixture) it loses this power” (Jay Adams, A Theology of Christian Counseling, 37). Eclecticism in counseling not only denies the sufficiency of Scripture for the counselee, but also prevents the counselee from experiencing that sufficiency through a changed state. 2 Timothy 3:16 teaches that the inspired Word of God is profitable and able to adequately equip the man of God for every good work. The Christian counselor (counselor who is a Christian) who insists that eclecticism is necessary is denying both the truthfulness of these Scriptures as well as the sufficiency of God’s Word for godly living (Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel, 93-94).

Secondly, “Christian counseling” that insists on eclecticism is a problem in that it doesn’t set forth a genuine, viable alternative to non-Christian counseling and, thus, hinders the evangelism that should characterize true Christian counseling. If so-called Christian counseling is no different than non-Christian counseling, then there is no place for evangelism. Of this, Adam’s writes: “Only when God’s counsel and God’s way is set off sharply from Satan’s counsel and Satan’s way can there be a valid comparison of clear alternatives that allow for the demonstration of the Spirit’s power. In other words, exclusivism in counseling theory and technique is not intended to isolate the Christian from the world (or from other Christians), but rather to prove an effective means of breaking in on the world with something different” ( Jay Adams, A Theology of Christian Counseling, 22). .

Finally, eclecticism is a problem because Scripture is often “bent” and misrepresented by attempted integration of facts that are just incompatible. Also, because of this, integrationists end up with major inconsistencies in their methods and practices (Jay Adams, A Theology of Christian Counseling, 96). Because of these problems, I feel strongly that the counselee is done a serious disservice through eclectic counseling, which ultimately distorts truth. Broken, sinful people living in a broken world-gone-wrong need hope that is consistent. They need hope that is truthful. Eternity depends on it, as every counselee (and human being) stands accountable before God. For these reasons, I cannot and will not counsel from an eclectic framework.



What does this look like in your relationships? What does this look like in your church culture?

How many times have you seen a conversation similar to the following go down in your small group/D-group/Sunday school class (whatever you call it).

Question: How is everyone? Does anyone have any prayer requests to share? 

Answer: Let’s be in prayer for Suzie’s grandmother who is suffering with lung cancer.

Answer: And pray for Sally and her new baby. Baby Kate was born 7 weeks early and is very premature. 

Answer: And let’s also remember Johnny as he travels across the country to visit his brother.

These are the type things that are regularly shared in small group gatherings of Christ-followers, and please hear me when I say that these are IMPORTANT things to share with one another and pray about. These things matter, and they matter deeply to God. However, these are safe requests. And they aren’t the only requests we should be sharing and praying about.

What would happen if we as believers were really transparent with one another about our struggles? What if we shared our deepest sufferings and sins (if not with our small groups, then one-on-one with a trusted friend and mature believer)? What if our answers in small group and one-on-one conversations included some of the following:

Answer: I just feel like I’m in a spiritual valley. I’m having a hard time with motivation and discipline to be in God’s Word daily. Most days, I feel like my prayers are bouncing off the walls. I need encouragement and accountability to remain disciplined and faithful. I need prayer that God would help me grow my affections for Him. 

Answer: My sister-in-law just found out she is pregnant. I want to rejoice with her. I really do. But my heart aches. The sting is still there. I am longing for a baby of my own so badly. I’m trying to trust God and remember that His will is perfect, but sometimes I struggle not to grow angry and bitter with God and others. It seems like everyone I know is getting pregnant…except me. 

Answer: I’ve never told anyone this, but I struggle with same-sex attraction. I know the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, but these attractions are a reality for me. God says this is not natural, but it feels natural to me. I need prayer and counsel and help. I want to repent of sin and please God with my life, but I’m so afraid of being alone. Why do I have these attractions? How do I deal with them? How do I battle? I feel like I can’t share this struggle with anyone because people will look at me differently and judge me.

Answer: I’m so discouraged and burned out! My two-year-old is constantly throwing tantrums and testing the limit. My four-year-old NEVER STOPS TALKING and asking questions. The baby screams through nap-time every day. The housework is endless, and I just feel so depleted. I find myself snapping at my husband and losing patience with my children, hiding out in the shower for just 5 minutes of ME TIME. I know children are a blessing from the Lord, and I’m so thankful for my family. But sometimes I’m just so tired and discouraged. Please pray for me. Pray that the Lord would prune away selfishness and impatience in my life, and fulfill me in Him so that I may glorify him as a wife and mom. Pray for daily strength and endurance.

Answer: I dropped the ball and succumbed to temptation this week. The struggle with pornography is still so real and hard. I was doing better and really walking according to the Spirit, and I sort of let my guard down. I didn’t realize it would be such a continual struggle. I desperately need prayer and accountability as I seek to get back on track. 

Answer: I’m beginning to think my daughter may have an eating disorderShe’s been obsessed with her body image for quite some time, and I’ve noticed that she is eating less and less and starting to drop weight. What do I do? How do I help her? How do I point her to Christ? I’m so worried. 

Answer: I’m still out of work. The bills are piling up and our debt is growing. My wife is stressed out all the time because of this, and it’s put strain on our marriage. I’ve applied for job after job and nothing has worked out. I know the Lord promises to provide, but I just feel like He’s not coming through. Sometimes I think, “Where are you, Lord? Do you see our struggle? What are we going to do?”

Answer: I’m just still so lonely. Some days I even feel depressed. Losing my husband after 58 years marriage has just shaken me. The Lord still has me here for a purpose, I know. I want to use my time to work for His Kingdom and bring Him glory, but my heart still hurts so much. I need prayer and time with others. 

Church, hear me when I say that these are not just the struggles of “people out there.” These are the struggles of those among us. These are our struggles. And these are all common temtpations and struggles of once-broken-but-now-redeemed people living in a (still) broken world

No temptation has overtaken that you that is not common to man . . . (1 Cor 10:13)

While the power of sin has been broken for those of us who are in Christ (Romans 6:6-7), the presence of sin remains until we meet Him face-to-face and the process of our being conformed to His image is complete (1 John 3:2-3). Until that time, we are commanded to kill the sin that still seeks to reign in our lives.

Let not sin reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions . . .(Romans 6:12)

Putting off sin and putting on righteousness (Colossians 3) in an attempt to grow and be made more like Christ is what we as believers are to do until we are ultimately perfected in Him at the end. This put-off/put-on process is called sanctification, and we are to be active in this process.

However, we are not to do it alone. Ultimately, we need the power of the Holy Spirit in order to live righteous lives. He is the one who helps us put off sin and put on righteousness. He is the one who truly changes us. We also need each other. We need fellow sinner-sufferers who will walk this road with us—praying for us, encouraging us, counseling God’s Word to us, holding us accountable. And we need to do this for others.

Scripture tells us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), confess our sins to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed (James 5:16).

We can’t do these things for one another unless we are transparent. We can’t do these things unless we are real. 

So, how will you seek to be more transparent in your relationships with fellow believers? How will you make yourself available and encourage others to be transparent and real with you?

Let’s open ourselves up to one another, being the true Church as God has called us to be.

Top 10 books I’ve read in seminary

I’ve been mentally working on this post for a while, but two recent happening encouraged me to actually write it.

First, over Christmas break, Jenny went off on a diatribe about how Americans are getting dumber by the day because we spend substantial amounts of time glued to computer screens and smart phones, mindlessly surfing social media instead of reading books. She has a valid point. Sometimes I’m guilty. Even when I’m free from the tyranny of syllabi, I’m going to work to develop a discipline of continuous reading…and I’m going to encourage the development of this discipline in my children’s lives as well.

Second, I’m in a weekly Bible study through Genesis made up of women from all different denominations and backgrounds. During our small group time, we all openly share our answers to the study questions we’ve been working on throughout the week. Recently, after our group time, one of the ladies in my group grabbed my attention. She said, “I notice that you’re always talking a lot about finding your significance in Christ versus circumstances and learning to find your hope, joy, and peace in who God is rather than in what he has to offer us (loving the Giver rather than the gifts).” She told me that the things I typically share during group are pretty new concepts to her and said she realizes  she isn’t putting these things into practice in her life. She asked if I could suggest any good books for her to read. . .

So, without further adieu, here are a list of books that God has really used to shape my thinking and grow my faith over the last few years. Keep in mind, these are not what I like to call “beach reads.” I mean, you can certainly read them at the beach :), but most of them are “thinking” books. These are books filled with and based upon biblical truth, books that will stretch you and teach you new things. There will be sentences or paragraphs in these books that you will have to re-read several times. There will be things in these books that you won’t like…things that your flesh will resist and rage against. It is my prayer, though, that God will use this list of resources to grow and bless you in your faith walk with Him.

1. The Attributes of God (Arthur W. Pink)

Attributes of God A problem in our culture is that many people say they want to know God, but they don’t really want to know and worship the true God of the Bible. They want to know and worship a God who they’ve created in their own minds and, ultimately, made in their own image. But that God doesn’t exist. This book will help you develop a biblical view of the one true God, based on His attributes and character, and you will grow to love Him more through it.

2. According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible (Graeme Goldsworthy)

imgresIf I had to choose, I would probably say this is the most helpful book I’ve read in seminary. According to Plan will help you understand God’s grand, overarching story as portrayed in Scripture. Many of us are extremely familiar with isolated passages and Bible stories, but we lack an understanding of how all these things connect. The Bible becomes alive to us as we begin to understand how each individual part of Scripture points to the overarching theme: God’s redemption of sinful humanity through Christ. Then, we can begin to see how the Bible applies to us…how our little stories fit into God’s big one!

3. God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith (Bruce Ware)

imgres-1This book is heavy. In fact I’ve only read the first 100 pages or so. However, it was really helpful to me in working through some the biblical and mysterious truths about God’s total sovereignty,  human responsibility, and how the two are compatible . I’ll post a brief synopsis written by Ligon Duncan:

In God’s Greater Glory, he (Bruce Ware) sets forth a positive biblical proposal for a robust doctrine of God’s sovereignty and providence in relation to human freedom and responsibility. Pastors, seminarians, and intelligent church members will all benefit from Ware’s clear and accessible articulation of a mindbending but pastorally important subject. Rather than attempting to tame and limit the doctrine of God, as so many have done in our time, Ware is determined to let the Scriptures set the table for our understanding of God.

4. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (David Platt)


I’m guessing a lot of you have read or at least heard of this book. If you haven’t yet, you should read it. It’s convicting to the core, but it will take you back to a biblical view of what it really means to be a disciple of Christ. American Christianity (particularly in the South) has become a watered-down, cultural tradition. But Christ calls us to so much more than just occupying our pew space once a week. He calls us to radical sacrifice and commitment, flowing from an all-consuming love for Him.

5. The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story From the New Testament World


This book is historical fiction. Longenecker writes a fictional series of letters between Antipas (a wealthy benefactor of Rome whose character is based on the life of a Christian martyr mentioned in Revelation 2:13) and Luke (a physician and author of the Gospel of Luke). These letters detail Antipas’s radical conversion and give a historically accurate picture of what life was like for the first century church. This book was SO fascinating to me and gave me such a clear understanding of the persecution that followers of Christ faced during that time period. PERSPECTIVE.

6. How People Change (Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp)

imgres-7There is so much in this book that it’s hard for me to give a general synopsis. So here is an excerpt from the book:

From the time we come to Christ until the time we go home to be with him, God calls us to change. We have been changed by his grace, are being changed by his grace, and will be changed by his grace. What is the goal of this change? It is more than a better marriage, well-adjusted children, professional success, or freedom from a few nagging sins. God’s goal is that we would actually become like him. He doesn’t just want you to escape the fires of hell—though we praise God that through Christ you can! His goal is to free us from our slavery to sin, our bondage to self, and our functional idolatry, so that we actually take on his character! . . . The Word and Spirit work together, enabling us to see Christ in all his power and mercy. This leads to heart change at the level of what we worship and cherish at any given moment. This kind of radical heart change reorients me vertically—person to God—and I repent of what I have cherished in place of Christ. This vertical change then leads to new behavior on the horizontal, person-to-person, plane. An approach to change that only focuses on external behavior is never enough. Biblical change is so much more!

7. Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture (Edited by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert)


This book makes a great case for the effectiveness of biblical counseling, and it will build  your faith in the complete sufficiency of God’s Word to adequately address any problem a person may face in this life. It’s also a really interesting read. Scott and Lambert compile true stories of real counseling cases in which the truths of God’s Word were used to bring hope and healing to those suffering from some of the most intense psychiatric diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, dissociative identity, obsessive compulsive disorders, postpartum depression, panic attacks, addiction, issues from childhood sexual abuse, homosexuality, and more.

8. Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Russell Moore)

imgres-9Confession: I haven’t actually finished this book yet. I’ve read a good chunk of it, though, and it’s a perspective-changing book. Russell Moore weaves the story of his adoption of two boys from Russia into the story of our adoption by Christ as children of God. He demonstrates that adoption {or orphan care} is a vital part of the Great Commission mandate and that it also pictures the Gospel of Christ.

9. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective (Martha Peace)


This book is a long one. It’s more of a study actually. It’s also extremely counter-cultural and flies in the face of what our society tells a woman/wife she should be. However, this book is extremely biblical. Almost every sentence Martha Peace writes is backed up by Scriptural truth. This book takes us back to God’s {not this world’s} beautiful purpose for a wife. I really, really wish I had read this book before I got married and learned some of these truths earlier. Great book to go through when discipling engaged young women, new wives, or really wives of all ages. If you don’t have time to go through every chapter, I would particularly recommend chapters 7-12 which cover issues such as Christ, home, love, respect, intimacy, and submission.

10. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)

imgres-11It’s a Christian classic and C.S. Lewis’s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. If you haven’t read it, you should!

*{Also, two parenting books on my list to read are Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tedd Tripp) and Give Them Grace (Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson). I’ve heard excellent things about both of these.}


Adam graduated from seminary on Saturday. It was a good day. A great day. A day I sometimes thought would never come. There was great celebration and rejoicing in my heart when he walked across that stage. Because let me just tell you, the 95 hour M.Div from Southern ain’t no joke. Getting this degree has been a long road. SONY DSCI’m really proud of Adam’s perseverance. It’s really hard to go to school full-time and provide for a family. But he did it. By God’s grace, he finished. His goal was to finish by May 2013, but he loaded up this semester and finished early. My goal was to have 4 classes left when he graduated, and I only lack 3. I cannot say it enough: “Praise be to God!”


Even though the process of earning the degree was challenging, our four years at Southern have been a really precious season of life. No, it hasn’t been the four years of social bliss on our parents’ tab that college was. But it has been a richly blessed season, nonetheless. It’s been a season of real learning and growth and change. And I’m not just talking about in the classroom. SONY DSCI’ve learned a lot about God, a lot about myself, a lot of life lessons. Many of them, I’m still learning. I’ve learned that I’m a slow learner. . . that I often want what I want when I want it. Various circumstances that we’ve faced during these seminary years have exposed idols in my heart that I didn’t know existed…idols that I’ve had a hard time surrendering. Difficulties and challenges often expose ugliness in the heart that we might not see otherwise. God is so gracious to expose hidden sin, that we may repent and return to Him.

DSC05101I’ve learned that real security is found in Christ, not financial prosperity or even financial stability. I’ve learned that God wants me to deny self-sufficiency and daily trust Him to provide for every need. God hasn’t asked me to plan, prepare for, and micromanage  every future detail of my life. He’s called me to walk by faith in HIM, even when I can’t see. I won’t lie, this has been a hard lesson for me.

DSC05106But I’ve learned that God is faithful. He can be trusted. He has never let us down, not for one second, even when I have been unfaithful and doubted Him. No, things haven’t always gone the way I would have planned or preferred. But every need has been met abundantly in His perfect way and time. I’ve learned that this is best. God’s way is always best because HE is God. I’m not. And it’s been really faith-building to see the unexpected ways that He’s shown up and provided. He’s blessed us with far more than we need.

SONY DSCI’ve learned the benefit of reading a lot. Good theologians and writers are first good readers. I’ve read more in these 4 years than I have in my entire life {and I’ve always been a reader}.


I’ve learned of the sufficiency of God’s Word first-hand. It’s speaks {either directly or indirectly} to every life circumstance I may face. It’s living and active, able to expose the thoughts and motives of my heart (Heb 4:11). It’s inspired by God, and it’s profitable to do all that is necessary to adequately equip all believers for a life of faith, resulting in good works (2 Tim 3:16). I’ve learned the importance of really knowing God’s Word—not just isolated passages and stories but the overarching story— God’s big story of redemption of the created and fallen human race through Jesus Christ. Only when I become aware of God’s grand story, will the specific parts of His Word become alive to me. Only when I take part in this grand story will God’s Word become applicable to me. During these seminary years, I’ve learned how much I don’t know about the Bible. But I’ve grown to love and crave God’s Word in a very new and real way. 
During this season, I’ve experienced the blessing of deep friendships. What a gift it has been to have friends in the same phase of life. . . friends experiencing many of the same challenges and joys that we are experiencing. . . friends who have wept with us and rejoiced with us. . . friends who love our child. . . friends who will do anything in the world for us. The idea of leaving these precious friends is one thing that makes graduation bittersweet. Our friends have helped shape the way we think, particularly about adoption. Of our three closest “couple” friends, two have adopted and one is in the process. What an inspiration and example of obedience they have been!

DSC05136During these seminary years, we’ve also experienced the blessing of children and the deep joy that a child can bring. Parenting is hard. Sometimes it stretches us more than we want to be stretched {and we’re just beginning…yikes!} But the joy of parenting is deep and real. God has been generous with His gifts, and we’re so very thankful for our 2 little “seminary souvenirs!” 🙂


More than anything, I’ve learned that God is good. Regardless of our life circumstances, God is good all the time. Our God alone {not this world} defines true goodness. In His Son, we can find true joy regardless of what life holds. 
DSC05139So, as we finish this season and begin to look toward the next, my heart is filled with thankfulness. I’m so thankful for the ways God has challenged us, shaped us, and blessed during our seminary years. These years have been a glorious part of our sanctification process, and they will be fondly remembered as some of the best of our lives.

A Glimpse at Biblical Counseling . . .

In my last year studying psychology at Auburn, I had to meet with my research methods prof to receive feedback for a major project. He commended me on a project well-done and told me he was interested in having me do research under him. He went on to ask about my future plans in psychology {since everyone knows a psych degree is good for absolutely NOTHING unless you get another degree}. When I told him I was planning to get married and go to seminary with my husband to {hopefully} study biblical counseling, he looked at me like I was absolutely insane. I remember that it didn’t bother me too much, though. I felt sure about our call to ministry. I also had not a clue what biblical counseling really was and how it differed from “Christian counseling” and other counseling methodologies. I didn’t understand what an essential ministry of the church biblical counseling is.

Biblical counseling is distinguished from every other approach to counseling {secular or Christian} by its firm belief that Scripture alone is sufficient to help people with their counseling problems. This one is a nonnegotiable truth for biblical counselors and a nonnegotiable fallacy for everyone else. Heath Lambert, The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams.

Skeptical? I was too. But after several years of study {and many, many, many pages of reading}, I’m a strong advocate for biblical counseling. It’s not that I believe secular psychology is completely useless {there are many things we can learn from it}, but I do believe it is an ineffective system in terms of helping people really change. There are so many things I would love to share about why I’m a strong advocate of BC, but this post is already obnoxiously long {as my posts often are…sorry!}. I am going to include some excerpts from a forward written by David Powlison in Heath Lambert’s book The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams. Powlison’s words provide a helpful glimpse into what biblical counseling is all about {especially for those who have never heard of it}.


The people of God have a huge stake in the issues captured by our word counseling. 

What problems impel or compel a person to seek counseling? The answer is simple, though the problems are complex. Emotions play in darkly minor keys: anxious, embittered, guilty, despairing, ashamed. Actions run in self-destructive ruts of compulsion and addiction. Thoughts proliferate internal chaos, obsessing fruitlessly. Sufferings hammer a person until the experience is unspeakable. . .

Such life-disabling problems are complex intensifications of the utterly ordinary. The human condition intrudes brokenness into everyone and everything. Things go askew inside all of us. We live for the good gifts, not the good Giver. Our instincts run to self-serving, even with the best of conscious intentions. We invest life energies into vanities and reap confusions. We addict ourselves to follies and reap pain. Relationships disappoint, and fragment, and alienate, and isolate. Others hurt you and you hurt them. We find ourselves without resources to face suffering and feel crushed and overwhelmed. 

So why should the people of God care about these things that impel and compel people to seek counseling help? Because as ordinary people, these troubles and struggles are our own. And as God’s people, in particular, such waywardness and woe is exactly what our Bible is about. This is what Jesus comes to do something about. This is what church and ministry are intended to tackle.

Or is it?

Are the Bible, Jesus, church, and ministry about counseling problems? Or is our faith preoccupied with a religiously toned set of beliefs, activities, places, and experiences? Do counseling problems belong mainly to secular, mental-health professionals?

Make no mistake: According to the Scriptures, Christian faith and life are occupied with all the gritty, grimy, sad, or slimy things that make for human misery. Jesus came to start making right all that has gone wrong.  And we are his living body, put here on earth to keep making right whatever has gone wrong.

And never forget: we are part of what is wrong. . . One and all, we need the give-and-take of wise counsel. . . In fact, we need Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 and the well-honed practical wisdom of brothers and sisters, both past and present, who have taken this God to heart.

We ought to be good at counseling, the very best at both receiving and giving. No one else’s explanation of human misery goes as wide and long or as high and deep as the Christian explanation. . . Think about this. Other counseling models never notice that actual persons are made and sustained by God and are accountable to God, searched out and weighed moment by moment. They never mention that actual persons are sinful by instinct and choice; that we suffer within a context of meaningfulness; that Jesus Christ entered our plight; that we are redeemable and transformable by intimate mercy and power. Every other supposed explanation and answer looks shriveled and juxtaposed with the breadth, length, height and depth of the love of Christ. . .

We each need to hear–some of us for the first time–that the church has a unique and significant counseling calling. The Lord interprets personal struggles and situational troubles through a very different set of eyes from how other counseling models see things. He engages us with a very different set of intentions from how other counseling methods proceed. We, as his children, are meant to counsel according to how he sees and proceeds. The fruition of that vision may seem far off. Your church currently may be doing a poor job of counseling, or counseling through deviant eyes, or abdicating the task entirely. But as you come to realize that the Wonderful Counselor intends to form his people into, well, into pretty good counselors–and getting better all the time–it makes you stop and think. 

Until we know that something might exist, we can’t envision participating. Participation becomes a possibility when something rises above the horizon. I hope that you hear the call. ———-David Powlison


Newly sharpened pencils. . .

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

– Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail

That “back-to-school” feeling is in the air. It’s not cool, per se, but the temperatures have dropped slightly, and I can feel the slightest hint of crisp fall air.

Oh, I love it!


This week, Adam will begin his last semester at Southern. I have mixed emotions as we approach the end of this season. It has been a long road, and it will be nice for him to no longer have to balance the many responsibilities that come with full-time school and full-time work. It will be nice to be done paying tuition {for him–I have at least two semesters left}.

On the other hand, finishing means moving on to the next thing and leaving the place we’ve called home for the last {almost} four years. There will be both gladness and sadness in the coming transition. Truly, we cannot wait to invest in some ministry somewhere; yet, we have grown deep, lifelong friendships here. We’ve made precious memories here. We’ve grown and been challenged and shaped here. This has been our first home together. This has been the only home our baby has ever known.

We’re still not sure where we will end up or what we’ll be doing next, but we rest in our Father’s perfect wisdom and meticulous sovereignty over all things. He knows what’s next and He will make that known in His time. Our prayer is that we will be exactly where He wants us, bringing Him glory as we seek to advance His kingdom. Pray for us as we seek direction for our transition into the next season.

In the meantime, I plan to savor our {potentially last} fall season here. I have plans for pumpkin picking at Huber’s Farm, Halloween trick-or-treating on Hillcrest, Wicked at the Kentucky Center {AH!}, family pictures amidst the gorgeous fall foliage, and pumpkin spice lattes while paper-writing at Starbucks.

It’s shaping up to be a busy season! Happy Fall, y’all!

Fall- 2009