Monday, June 28, 2010

Voices of the True Woman Movement - Chapter 4

Chapter 4 is written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It is titled For Such a Time as This. As the title states, this chapter has to do with Esther. Nancy takes the storyline of Esther and relates it to us today. We are all here for a specific purpose. We may not see exactly what that purpose is but in God's big picture it is important. Most of the time this requires us living by faith. In that it is imperative we remember we do not see the big picture.

I have the great privlege of adding a great article written by Stephanie Smith of Moody Publishers. I thought this is an appropriate placement because it goes well with the content of this chapter. The article is what follows. I hope it blesses you.

Women Who Say Yes: Where the Revolution Begins

By: Stephanie S. Smith

I come from a family of what many would call “strong women.” To illustrate, I’ll pull a few snapshots from the family tree. First of all, meet my mother, who has been happily married to my father for 32 years and still goes by her maiden name. Her mother, who is as blonde and blue-eyed as they come, won the “Best Woman of the Year” award when she was in nursing school—from an African-American sorority. Then there’s Nana, on my dad’s side of the family, who has traveled to 150 countries…and counting. I also have a great-grandmother who was valedictorian of her class at Barnard, a top-ranking college for women at that time, when it was unusual for women to get a degree. This is the same woman who later became a Lieutenant in the New York City Ambulance Corps, safely transporting WWI soldiers from returning ships to NYC hospitals. She led a troupe of drivers and trained them to fix ambulance motors in her backyard, all the while in a dress down to her ankles.

These women, and others, have left a legacy I hope I can someday continue. But times have changed since they left their marks on society, and the public image of a “strong woman” has evolved significantly. A “strong woman” might be the successful career woman or the Sunday School teacher, depending on who you ask. Rosie the Riveter and Susie Homemaker have faded into the past, and a diverse array of female role models have taken their place.

The problem is that these models often offer conflicting messages. For example, the celebrity artist who speaks out against domestic violence becomes inconsistent when she also produces explicit music videos that exploit women nevertheless. Sadly, the church is not except from this confusion. There are both churches that bar women from praying aloud in the sanctuary, and churches who worship God as “She”.

In a culture where gender roles and feminine freedoms are ever-shifting, what is a woman supposed to look like, anyway?

This question, among others, is what brought over six thousand women together in Chicago to discuss, pray over, and explore. At this historical event in 2008, Joni Eareckson Tada, Janet Parshall, John Piper, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Mary Kassian and others spoke about what it means to be a woman according to God’s divine design. The conference has since spread into what is now known as the True Woman Movement, and Voices of the True Woman Movement: A Call to the Counter-Revolution is the written compilation of messages presented at this conference.

What I most loved about Voices of the True Woman Movement is that the lives of the authors are as much of an inspiration as their writing. Their personal stories illustrate the heart of their teaching as they delve into the Scriptural foundations of true womanhood, the cultural conceptions of true womanhood, and application for women to live after God’s own heart. Joni Eareckson Tada, for one, encourages women to view life’s setbacks as God’s refining process for His beloved children. And because I know Joni’s testimony of persevering despite her quadriplegic condition, I wholeheartedly believe her.

Neither does this book corner women into a category, on the contrary, the women who wrote it represent various situations in life. In this book I heard from women across the spectrum, women who are professors (Mary Kassian), stay-at-home moms (Janet Parshall), pastors’ wives (Karen Loritts), and single women who minister to their “spiritual children” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss). The contributors recognize that a woman is a woman regardless of her status in her family, career, or ministry. Like Esther, who is used as a prime example in the book, God has placed all of His daughters in positions of influence, whether that position is as a single or a married woman, a stay-at-home mom or a career woman, etc. Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes, “A true woman is more than a good wife and mother, a loyal friend and daughter. More than anything else, she is enthralled with the Lord Jesus Christ…He is center of her universe and her life revolves around Him.”

As a women’s ministry major in college, I spent years studying other people’s definitions of biblical womanhood. There is no end to the opinions of others over gender roles in the home and church. After a while, I avoided the conversation altogether because I grew weary of it, one circle will always consider you too extreme and another too conservative. And yet—I find the simple response of the Voices of the True Woman Movement to be refreshing: “A true woman says, ‘Yes, Lord.’”

That’s it.

A true woman is anyone who answers the Savior’s call with a ready, willing, yes. That was Esther’s response when God positioned her to save His people, it was Hannah’s response when she committed the life of her son to the temple, it was Mary’s response when the angel announced she would bear the Messiah. The authors take you through the lives of these women and others to show that the women who say “Yes, Lord!” are the ones who leave a lasting legacy.

The book quotes Clergyman John Angell James, “Every woman, by her virtue or vice: by her folly or her wisdom; by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation…” Voices of the True Woman Movement recognizes this powerful influence in the hands of women and empowers them to use it for Christ. Rather than pointing fingers, this book speaks to the heart, the place where women can make the choice to say, “Yes, Lord!” and embrace whatever these words of surrender may bring.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book Review - Mystically Wired by Ken Wilson

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher for the sake of review.

Ken Wilson's book Mystically Wired is a book about prayer. The author tries to help the reader see different ways to pray. He explores lots of research on how our brains are wired and how that relates to prayer. The research is interesting.

This book was not what I thought it would be. I really love the topic of prayer and learning about prayer. I like other people's thoughts and perspectives on prayer. Through this book his stories about his prayer experiences were interesting to read. Also, he gives some good prayer tips throughout the book which are helpful. However, I did not find several things in this book to be theologically sound. It did challenge me to figure out what the truth is in some of this which is always a good thing. But because of this fact I cannot recommend this book. I think it could be confusing to some newer to the faith and not as grounded in the word of God. Also, it was a bit dry making it difficult to read.

Overall, I think the author had great intentions. I think he wrote with conviction and desire to see others grow in their walks of prayer.

To get a copy of this book from Amazon go here.
To get a copy from the publisher go here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I have a confession to make


I ruined our Father's day celebration for my husband. There I said it. Don't judge me. It started out nice. We took him to a man movie that we all enjoyed (except my youngest because the bullies in the movie scared her). Oh and in the middle of the movie that was rated PG the A word was said several times in a row by a twelve year old actor which was so unnecessary in my opinion for a family movie, just sayin...So she leans over and whispers (but it really sounds like yelling to all those around) and says, "Daddy what is A..? Yeah she said it. So he told her and it was over. I hope. Forgive me in advance if she throws it out there on the playground. But I think we are good and she understands it is not okay to say.

After our movie adventure we went to the restaurant of his choosing. Everyone was very hungry at this point so we ravishly looked over our menus and drooled over the pictures excited to eat soon. However, there was not much I could eat at this restaurant so I was a bit frustrated but it was okay until he stood there.

The server at our table was the young man who rear ended us several months back. I felt very sorry for him at first because he was driving his first truck and just turned 18. He just got his insurance for that truck three days prior. He had that insurance card in a crisp plastic holder. I could still smell the freshness. We exchanged info and the police officer took a report and off we went. All was going to be okay. Until we found something out that dramatically changed things.

Turns out this kid did not have insurance. Now I know that as far as I am aware no agency will give out a crisp card to a client unless they paid something for it in advance. However, even though he had insurance that I saw issued three days prior all of a sudden several weeks later he is uninsured. So something went down that was just not right, honorable, or true. Dishonesty is something that burns me up inside. I cannot handle it and now it was causing our family hardship.

Turns out our insurance company is the greatest and covered everything for us. They were the greatest. I am so thankful for them. Yet it was very hard for me to let it go. The principle of the situation was what I was focused on. I thought I had forgiven this kid but when he was standing there as our server I was red hot. I leaned over to tell my husband who didn't think it was a big deal. Now that made me more hot! Here is the guy who caused us hardship that I was kind too and he didn't want to fly off the handle with me about it. Over some heated words at the table I said I was not staying there. I would not be served by someone who had dishonorable character. I left. Tony stayed to pay the bill for the drinks. He followed.

Remember, we were all so very hungry. The children were uneasy. I felt misunderstood and was really hurt. Hubby was just confused by what just went down. We drove to McDonalds and discussed some more. Crying and frustration was present. Not the present he deserved. Not the environment the family deserved.

Why was this junk in my heart? I don't know but I do know that healing sometimes takes time. Perhaps God was letting me see that there was still unresolved stuff I needed to deal with. I am not sure. Maybe I didn't truly forgive that guy from my heart. I am not even sure what the right situation would have been at the restaurant. I felt vulnerable to someone untrustworthy serving our family. Reconciliation could have been possible then if I just talked to the guy. Or at least attempted reconciliation. I am not even certain he realized who I was. I couldn't even get that far and that vulnerability lead to a blow up with my spouse. The worse Father's day ever!

Life is messy. We will not always act the right way. People will not always respond the way we want them too. But there is grace in the gospel. Jesus died for my mess so that in Him I am complete and whole. That is what the Father sees even though the process of becoming more like Him is long and painful sometimes. I didn't surprise Him with my actions. He loves me still and is completely healing my heart in this situation. We had a re due Father's day on Sunday and it was good. Maybe we should have not tried to change it in the first place!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Good Sport - Tales of Parenting my ADHD Child

This is a poor quality photo but check out my youngest girl's shirt! Does it look a little big? Well that is because it is! All because her momma didn't fill out the right size on the form. All the other kids got their right sized, nicely fit shirts. That was because their moms knew how to fill out a form. All of them but me. When I say all I am talking 167 parents who know how to properly fill out a form. But it is different with us and I am somehow okay with that. I am use to it by now because this is normal for our life. So because of my mishap this is what my child gets. And does she complain? No, she just goes with the flow and says she likes that her shirt is like a dress! Gotta love her! I love that it doesn't matter to her if she stands out. Oh but don't worry about the shirt she will fall back into conformity at the end of the week when we get her one that fits a little more like a shirt and not a dress. Just another fun journey of the Parsley family.

Dairy Free Oh My!

I did it! I have made it a week and a half on this dairy free diet I am trying. This has been very hard mostly because I love me some cheese! Oh sweet cheese. And that cheese. That ooey gooey cheese that melts and browns perfectly over pizza. Oh how I miss you but for now we have to part because you are causing me great harm.

This journey is challenging because LOT of things contain some sort of milk product, however there are many great alternatives. Then some things just need to be given up anyway. The trade off is great so far. I am finally healing. My immune system has been so weakened now is the time to rebuild. I am taking a natural approach to this through supplements and diet. So far so good. One other thing I notice is that I have more energy.

Another food I have had to say goodbye to might surprise you. I seriously had to go through some mourning for this one. I really love tomatoes. Always have. However, I am noticing after I eat too much of this my joints ache very badly. Again it is not worth the trade off. I want better health and to feel better. It is amazing to me to find out all the things different foods do to our bodies if we just paid attention to them.

Lastly, the thing I cut way down on but not all the way because it seems impossible now. Refined sugars are in most everything process but greatly suppress the immune system as well.

This journey is tough but I look forward to journaling to progress. Please share if you have gone through or are going through a similar thing.

Book Review - Becoming a Woman Who Loves by Cynthia Heald

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

I have loved this author since I was introduced to her through the magazine, PRAY! This periodical is no longer available but was one of great quality. I have had the opportunity to view a few of the author's writings and have never been disappointed. This book lived up to its expectation and more.

When I first received this book I did not realize I was getting a Bible study. It turned out to be a wonderful and timely Bible study. It highlights many verses that the Bible speaks on about love. Centered on the love chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 takes a look at these Scriptures and cross references other things about love as well. We take a close look at Jesus as well and His teaching on love. The application was great as well.

This study was definitely easy to work through yet challenging because it made you think. I was inspired by it to become a woman who loves more like Jesus. It was good stuff. I would highly recommend it for Bible study.

To get a copy of this book from Nav Press go here.
To get a copy from Amazon go here.

Book Review - Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff

I was provided a copy of this book at no charge for the purpose of review.

Jonathan Acuff's new book , "Stuff Christians Like" is a collection from his popular blog with the same title. You can check it out here. It is pretty funny stuff that Christians do. The book has a pretty sarcastic theme so since I am not a sarcastic person I did not "get" everything he was saying. Of course that made me feel even more insecure about that! :) (Yeah I put a smiley there because I am over it so don't worry about me not getting sarcasm and don't try to help me either.)

However, the things that I did "get" were pretty funny. I saw myself doing some of those funny things or observed other Christians doing them. Laughter is the best medicine after all and I think it is so important that we can take a light hearted look at ourselves and laugh. The last section was my absolute favorite and really a good read. I just found myself through the book laughing at things. You must check out his blog. It will make you laugh.

To get your own copy from Amazon go here.
To see what other bloggers are saying go here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sibling Sanctification


I am over at Heart of the Matter Online today. Go here to read the article.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

True Woman Movement Chapter Three

So far this has been my favorite chapter of this book. It is a powerful message delivered by Mary Kassian that looks at how feminism has taken us so far off base from true Biblical womanhood. Simply put it boils down to dissatisfaction in our lives. Feminist thought the solution was finding fulfillment in freedom of career, sexuality, separation from being in the home, etc. Yet almost 50 years later women are as discontent in all these things as before. Nothing has changed except our society has declined significantly as a whole. Broken homes and divorce rates are even higher.

Simply put the ONLY thing that brings satisfaction is a growing relationship with Christ. Often we try to fill this void that causes dissatisfaction with many things but none will ever satisfy except Christ.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

True Woman Movement Chapter Two

Such a good chapter! Written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss it covers three main points based on Romans 11.
1-A true woman lives a God-centered life.
2-A true woman trusts God.
3-A true woman says, "Yes, Lord."

How do you handle things that come into your life that are unexpected? They are not a surprise to God. Living tuned into Him and His ways will help you live all three of these out more fully. God knows all things, understands all things, His ways are unsearchable and beyond our understanding. We need to learn to trust Him in all things. He is good and knows what is best.

Book Review - Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth

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

Mary DeMuth does not disappoint yet again! This was a great ending to a great trilogy of books. This series would be a great movie is the thought that I continued to have while reading. I love how redemptive healing rings throughout the series. It was a book that I could not put down. I consumed it very quickly because I could not wait to see how it played out.

Love this fiction series and love Mary DeMuth. God has given her an amazing gift in writing. I felt like I was a resident in Defiance Texas living this stuff out with them. I grew a love for these people and compassion. Though it was fiction it could be our own neighborhood's stories. You just have to read the series for yourself! Do so and you will not be disappointed.

To see Mary's website go here.
To get a copy from Amazon go here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

True Woman Movement Book Review

To see more about this movement go here. I have had the amazing opportunity to receive a free copy of this book for the purpose of posting about each chapter. I am excited about this. We are living in a time where much damage has been done to women due to our culture. There are so many voices pulling us in all different directions and the only right way is the way of the truth. Raising daughters has me perplexed at the things I see and challenges they will face because of it. I applaud Nancy Leigh DeMoss for compiling this information and hosting these conferences.

Women need to unite and stand for this movement of truth. Biblical womanhood is what we have been created for and called too. It is a beautiful thing. Not overbearing. Not wimpy as John Piper describes it. There is a happy balance to true womanhood and it doesn't look anything like our current culture.

Chapter one of this book was written by John Piper. He states that, "wimpy theology makes wimpy women....Wimpy theology simply does not give a woman a God who is big enough, strong enough, wise enough, and good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that magnifies the infinite worth of Jesus Christ." He goes on to state about wimpy theology is, "plagued by woman-centeredness and man-centeredness." The only way to overcome this is by being Christ-centered.

Being created as a woman is a beautiful thing. It is to bring glory to the God in an unique way that only women can. Men are made for their own glory bearing ways. We are not complete without one another in Christ to bring the fullest glory to God. Good stuff to ponder. Standing in awe of our amazing Creator who knew what He was doing. He is amazing.
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