Friday, March 16, 2018

Guest Post: Rebekah Hargraves and The Mommy Wars


I am honored to feature a guest post by my friend, Rebekah Hargraves. She is a woman who exudes Jesus to the core of her being. She is someone who daily inspires me to follow Jesus harder because of her example. She was so kind to feature me on her podcast and blog before as well so it is about time I get my act together and introduce you to her! I know you will really enjoy getting to know her. Check her out more after this post. You will not be sorry you did! I have posted links below so you can find her. Listen to her podcast, super encouraging as well. She has an inspiring book for moms that I believe will be helpful for their walks with the Lord. I posted a review here.

This post is about something that we are both passionate about. Read it and let us know your thoughts on "The Mommy Wars". Have you struggled with this? How have you responded? What is your experience?

Here is Rebekah:

Seeing Other Moms as Image Bearers of God 

(And Thereby Ending the Mommy Wars!) 

As many of us have become all too familiar with, the mommy wars have infiltrated the church and begun to wreak havoc in countless ways, not the least of which being how we view our fellow mamas. Backbiting, name-calling, heated disagreements, unsolicited advice, know-it-all attitudes, and (at the very least!) a practice of inwardly looking down our noses at each other in judgmental ways have all become commonplace at times, even in the church. I've had friends leave churches because of these issues, mamas be told they aren't Christians as a result of their specific parenting choices, and seen friendships be stunted as a result. It's ridiculous, and it needs to stop. But what is the answer? How do we stop basing our opinion of what a "good" mom is on our own xyz expectations of what a mom should and should not do? The answer lies in the "Book of Beginnings" itself, Genesis.

 Made in the Image of God 

 Genesis 1:26, 27 makes it clear in no uncertain terms that God chose to, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; .... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." This identity of being an image bearer of God extends to all people everywhere - regardless of background, age, ethnicity, belief system, lifestyle, personality, practice, or gender. All men and all women are image bearers of God. What this means then, is that they are worthy of respect and honor precisely because they have been made in His image. You don't have to agree with them, you don't have to approve of their lifestyle, you don't have to pattern your parenting choices after theirs, but you do have to honor and respect them. This is a non-negotiable practice for the child of God.

 What Should This Look Like? 

 In light of this true identity of everyone as being made in the image of God, how are we to treat one another then? How should we be treating our fellow mamas? Here are a few passages to get us started:

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;" ~Romans 12:10

 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." ~Philippians 2:3-4

 "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth." ~Colossians 3:8

 "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." ~Ephesians 4:1-3

 "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." ~James 3:14-16

 "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." ~Galatians 5:26

 This is what a Christian mama should look like; this is how she should act. And this is precisely why the blight that is the mommy wars has no place whatsoever in the church.

 Why is This Christ-Like Behavior So Important? 

 Why is it such a serious thing that the mommy wars have entered into even the church? Why is that something worth addressing in our day? Precisely because of how much this mommy-warring tarnishes our Christian witness, reflects poorly on the Lord and His work in our lives, and leads to others not seeing the point in following the Lord if professing Christians treat each other just as poorly as everyone else does. There is much at stake here, mamas - much that is of far more importance than whether or not other mamas breastfeed, sleep train, homeschool, or vaccinate.

 The Word says that what is at stake here is our ambassadorship of Christ and whether or not we are having and then reflecting the same mind that Christ had (see the rest of Philippians 2), whether or not we will reveal with our lives the way in which we are putting on the new man and living like Christ in us (see the rest of Colossians 3), whether or not we will preach the truth with our lives that "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6). What is at stake is our ability to testify to the redeeming, sanctifying work of God in our hearts, for Christ said in John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 Look to Christ! 

 Sometimes it feels so hard to treat others the way we would want to be treated, especially when we really disagree with the choices they are making. But the truth of the matter is that our calling as children of God is to treat fellow image bearers (that's everyone!) with the kind of respect, honor, love, and kindness that being made in God's image deserves. If you feel like you couldn't possibly love the fellow mama at your co-op, church, MOPS group, etc., then it is of utmost importance that you don't fix your eyes on that mama, but rather on Christ Himself. Be ever mindful of what Christ did for you and how He treated you when you were far less than lovable. Remember how He poured out His life for you when you were still in your trespasses and sins. Ponder on all you have been forgiven of. That is the key. In order to esteem others more highly than you do yourself, in order to stop the mommy wars mentality that resides in your heart, you are going to have to keep your eyes on Christ and love others through the love, hope, and strength you have been given by Him. There is hope, mama! Look to Christ, and be encouraged by all He will do in and through you.

~~~ Bio: Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, blogger, podcaster, and author whose passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life. Rebekah's first book, "Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)" released last fall, and the "Lies Moms Believe" Companion Bible Study comes out March 30, 2018. You can find Rebekah on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, on Instagram, or on iTunes via her podcast.

Instagram: @rebekahhargraves
Facebook: Hargraves Home and Hearth 
Website: Hargraves Home and Hearth
                                     Twitter: @hhomeandhearth 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Graciousness by Crotts


This was a great book on balancing truth and love. It was convicting and helpful. It took the reader through stories of how people sometimes do one end well and are weak on the other. It was nice to see how too much truth without love is hurtful yet too much love without truth did the same exact thing.

The book also walks you through the Scriptures and examples of truth in love done well, God's way. Jesus, of course, is the perfect example of this and we studied His approach as well.

It is an easy read. A short book. It is beneficial to read and ponder then ask God for the grace in your life needed to walk this out better. We all need that!

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book at here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review: Kiss the Wave by Furman


As a chronic pain sufferer, I found this book to be extremely encouraging. As a biblical counselor, I found this to be a helpful resource. This is a needed book for our time. There are too many resources out there about suffering that are not beneficial. This author is balanced. He takes a clear and honest look at suffering and the sovereignty of God.

He writes as if you are talking over coffee in a practical manner. It is an easy read while packed with edifying truth. It challenged me to draw nearer to God through my pain. Dave shares stories that are relate-able to other sufferers. But most importantly he guides us through the scriptures for courage in Christ through the hard times.

I highly recommend this book. It is worth your time to read if you are someone who is in the middle of some sort of suffering or if you know someone who is suffering. This book paired with his first book, Being There, would be the perfect set of books to offer to anyone in your life who is hurting.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Book Review: True Feelings by Mahaney and Whitacre


Have you ever considered that God uses our feelings as opportunities to point us to Him?

This book was a helpful tool to show the reader how our emotions are indicators of where we are with God. Emotions are not bad but God-given. They are part of every human. Jesus felt them. Jesus had a big range of emotion. The Bible does not irradiate the emotions that the characters feel. Emotions are part of being human. Some people feel them in a big way, some feel them in a smaller way. It all depends on how God made each unique individual.

How we interpret our emotions is important. It will matter to the well-being of our soul. Different emotions are different occasions for us to be directed to God. For example, if you are feeling self-pity, you are focused on self. This feeling shows us where our hearts are focused. We can evaluate, is it on God or self? It is time for joy when our hearts are drawn back to God through repentance and faith.

This is a book that all Christians should read. It sheds light on something complicated like emotions but makes it simple to understand biblically. You will benefit from reading it.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Blessed Are The Peacemakers...Holiday Edition



Every Christmas, I remember drama when my extended family got together for the holidays. It unsettled a young me. However, these times were used by God to draw me close to Him, like a magnet to metal.

I remember retreating to a sky light window, the closest place I thought I could get to God. I cried out to God. I didn't know at the time what I was doing but I believe now it is what God desires us to do (pray) in the face of conflict.

Conflict, in and of itself, is not bad. We all have varying opinions and perspectives. It is healthy. We learn from one another. However, conflict is bad when it turns into fights and quarrels. It is bad when it is not loving or assuming the best of the other party. The evil of it comes from our hearts.

                                            WISDOM FROM JAMES
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don't they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:1-3, CSB

God doesn't pull any punches. His word shows us exactly from where the trouble comes; within us. And if it comes from within us, why do we fight with others? Maybe it would make better sense to fight within ourselves.

Practically, how does this play out at our various gatherings?
In the face of conflict, how do we respond?

The main question to ask is, what is most loving in this situation?

We must wrestle with our own hearts and honestly ask, why do I want to fight about this? Is it a selfish motive? Do I want to win? What do I want? Do I want to be right? Do I want the best for that person? Do I just like to hear myself argue? Am I representing Christ well as I disagree?

We must make our own hearts submit to Christ. This is when we cry out to God and ask for the grace to humble ourselves. We must walk as He did and die to our own selfish motives for the sake of love.

Further on in James it explains, "But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 

Don't criticize one another, brothers and sisters. Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:6-12, CSB.

We must learn to humble ourselves before a mighty God. The one and only proper judge will convict and work in the persons heart with whom you disagree. At the same time God will work in your own heart. There is no room for pride in Christian love.

Now, what if there is a certain family member who just won't let peace reign?

You can walk lovingly in grace toward them and refuse to engage. The best thing to do is say, "that is an interesting viewpoint." If they persist just ask non defensive questions (your tone goes a long way). Questions like, "How did you come to that conclusion?" What makes you so passionate about this point?" Seek to understand. In doing this, it may give you room to speak into their life as well. 

However, most importantly, we need to keep our eyes focused on Christ. When we remember what He did for us, the lengths and depths of love He has for us, what He endured for our salvation, we can die to our own self. He will give us the grace. Just remember and ponder;

Philippians 2:6-11

Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
Instead he emptied himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when he had come as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth
11 and every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Review: Adorned by Wolgemuth


This book is a look at Titus 2 in depth. It is challenging and asks hard questions that help you assess how you are living this out in your own life. It reminds me some of the author's previous book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. However, this book focuses on Titus 2.

Since Titus 2 is short, this book takes a deep look at it and how to apply it to your daily life. I have been challenged in many ways, convicted, and encouraged. God has used it to move and change my heart. That is always a good thing. Sanctification is a journey and this book has played a good part in my own sanctification.

This book is better than a commentary because it is personal and makes it feel like you are in a friendly teaching session, full of stories and practical real life examples. It has questions at the end of each chapter as well. It is appropriate for a group study or as an individual.

The layout is easy to read. The spacing and font make it pleasant as well. It is a book that is written for young and old women alike. It is for the full range of ages.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Book Review: Sing a New Song by Brownback


This book is brilliant.

 Do you desire to read the Psalms in a deeper way?
Would you love for them to just come to life before your very eyes?
If you answered, yes, This book helps with that! Each Psalm is listed for you, separately and in order. The book gives you the basics of why it was written, what was happening, and further Scriptures that connect it to the New Testament.

It is a must-read aid to help grow you in prayer and worship of our One True King. I was so drawn to worship that a new passion for the Psalms burned within me. I know I will use this book over and over again. It is one of my all time favorites. I highly recommend it.

It is a book that you do not need to sit and read in its entirety. You can go to whatever Psalm you are studying. Either way it is a wonderful resource. It is written more like a devotional, not a stuffy commentary so it is helpful in getting you to think for yourself as you read the Scriptures.

Whether you are a new Christian or have been one for years, this resource is helpful.

 I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Crossway, free of charge for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from here.
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