Feeds:
Posts
Comments

During a trip to Israel in the summer of 2006 I realized something that revolutionized the way I viewed myself and my role as a wife. I realized that I was, basically, a feminist. And it shocked me! I had never really understood what it was to be a Godly wife and once I had a glimpse of it I realized that I wanted it.

I renounced my feminism and began my quest…

I read several books on being a Godly wife- some more helpful than others. The latest of these has been The Politically Incorrect Wife by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby.

This book is what the title suggests- politically incorrect. Our culture consistently teaches women to define success and worth in terms contrary to what the Bible teaches. There has been a total breakdown of the American family and the value of women as wives (and mothers). Somehow the role that God has created for married women to walk in has become for those who ‘can’t cut it in the real world’ (as I once was convinced of to my own shame!) or are content not having a mind of their own. The wife who is submissive to her husband and who serves her husband is swimming against the cultural current.

This politically incorrect book is co-written by two women. Between the two of them they experienced almost 40 years of marriage the world’s way before they realized their disobedience and began doing it God’s way. This book was birthed from what they’ve learned- the why and the how of being a politically incorrect wife.

I found this book well balanced on all fronts. The authors confront the threads of feminism that have infected the church with sound biblical teaching on the wife role. They show us that marriage is not a 50/50 operation. Each spouse is accountable to God for their own actions- and God’s imperatives to the wife are not conditional on her husband’s success or obedience! Each wife is responsible for 100%  of her own actions. But they don’t simply leave you with the plumbline fo God’s Word- seeing that you don’t measure up but not knowing where to start… They use many personal stories and practical advice to help and urge women toward that Godly path as a wife. Finally, they exhort each wife to keep their motivation for being a Godly wife as honoring God. To end the section that talked about motive they included a wife’s paraphrase of Matthew 25:35-4 that put serving one’s husband into perspective. Here are portions of it:

I was hungry for breakfast, dinner, and sometimes even lunch, snacks, a kind word, a warm hug, to talk to you, to be loved by you

You gave me something to eat.

I was thirsty to feel accepted by you, to take the leadership role in our home, to be admired by you, to be respected by you.  I mowed the lawn and needed refreshing and

You gave me something to drink…

I was naked. You did all my wash even when I dropped it on the floor. You sewed on my missing buttons. You ironed my wrinkled shirts. You let me bare my soul to you. You saw the real me that others never see- with all my quirks and uncovered ugliness, and you never exposed me before our children, family or friends

You clothed me…

When I was consumed with a problem, when I was unforgiving, when I didn’t deserve anything because of the way I’d treated you and I was so ashamed

You came to me.

When put like that it’s easier to see that when we serve our husbands, we serve Jesus. I really have appreciated this book and have gleaned perspective and practical know how from reading it. Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby have done well in showing that going about our marriages the backwards way, swimming against the cultural current, is well worth it!

Biographies are my favorite type of book. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read the Bible and about doctrine and theology. But biographies, when they’re about Christians, are examples of doctrine and theology played out in someone’s life. It sinks in deeper when I read about someone enduring trial after trial while spreading the gospel or seeing the fruit of a faithful plodding housewife (Sarah Edwards) centruries later… I think we are created in such a way that, while we can understand doctrine and theology, we need real life examples too. Maybe that’s why the Word became flesh, dwelt among us and is that perfect example, the way in which we should walk.

So, after a few years of seeing this book on my self I decided to read it. It’s a quick read- taking only a day or two. I was blown away by this testimony of Moses Paulose… From the age of ten he has suffered persecution for Christ. At the age of nineteen he was called into the ministry. He tells the story of how God birthed the vision for a church, native missionary training center, and orphanage and how he and his wife and children have walked in that vision. One such story tells of when he and his family arrived in Rameswaram to start the church. His wife was about to deliver a baby and they had three young children. They were homeless and staying in a fish packing shed at night.

The children were often hungry and asked, “when are we going back to our homeland?” When we lived in Kerala we had so much food. We begged our children to eat. Now, we had to beg to get food that was never enough to fill our stomachs. The children cried in hunger and longed for food… Sarojam (his wife) would have to go out into the jungle area to find wood to build a fire to cook over. As the food was cooking, the children would lay on the ground and cry, “Please, give us food to eat.” As Sarojam served the food, the children would plead with her saying, “Please, momma put more rice on my plate. Don’t put so much water, put more rice.” Sometimes they went as many as three days without food… There was a two week period that we only had one meal a day. (p.62)

He constantly challenges what so many of us believe about serving the Lord. Many of us would think that if something is really difficult or puts us (or our children) at risk that the Lord must not be asking us to do it… But Moses’ testimony bears witness to the fact that’s not true.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

Moses’ story continued in hardship and persecution. But everywhere people came to Christ through their witness. Miracles, healings, and deliverance from impossible situations followed them wherever they went. After many years of toil God fulfilled the vision that He gave to Moses. Today in Rameswaram there is a ministry called Unreached Villages/Body of Christ Ministries that encompasses what God put onMoses’ heart many years ago.

This book really did challenge me… Even more so because I actually know Moses Paulose! Our interaction with him started in 2003 when he taught at a school I was attending and every few years we’ve been able to see him- in 2005 Jeff was able to stop through Rameswaram, India to visit his ministry center.

I sometimes think that this sort of testimony is only for the spiritual giants, the kind that you’d recognize in a room.  But Moses Paulose is not someone you’d be able to pick out in a crowd (in India :)). But I guess it isnt the might of the man that determines his affectiveness is ministry- it’s the might of his God!

I highly recommend reading Missionary Challenge. Check out their ministry too!

http://www.unreachedvillages.org/index.htm

The Raw Experiment

Vegetarian? eh.
Vegan? inconvenient.
Going Raw? crazy.
I have never been attracted to any of the host of alternative diets. Why then are Jeff and I going raw for the month of April? We have our reasons…
DETOXIFICATION:
Last year my body underwent a lot of strain. This month we joyfully celebrated the first birthday of our youngest daughter, Hope. With that we also marked the anniversary of a health crisis that provided me with three surgeries, a barrage of synthetic medicines including very heavy antibiotics, six blood transfusions and several hospitalizations. I am glad to be completely recovered now, but I feel it’s nigh time to focus on detoxifying and rebuilding mineral stores in my body. Jeff’s along for the ride with this one but surely he could use a little detox too. He does have a family history of high cholesterol so I guess the diet could help with that.
WEIGHT LOSS:
Going raw for a time can have the benefit of shedding a couple of excess pounds and both of us like the idea of slimming down and toning up. We will also be incorporating more exercise throughout the month so we are assuming this will assist the process.
ENERGY:
Eating fruit, vegetables, nuts and sprouted foods will provide superior nutrition. The huge amounts of vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes, coupled with increased exercise, should give our energy levels a boost. This is especially important to us since Jeff is currently working three jobs and I’ve been dragging my feet daily trying to stay ahead of our two small children.
Basically, we feel like we’re in need of some revamping. We want to be healthier now so we can stay healthy and full of energy as we get older. Going raw for a time is our little experiment to see how it helps us toward that goal. You may ask if we’re considering it as a lifestyle- no. Meat and other cooked goodies, in our opinion, are part of a varied healthy diet as well. If you do the research though, you can’t deny the benefits of eating ample raw and living foods.
CONCERNS:
I really like coffee. I think this propensity is partially an acquired taste but I’m convinced it’s also heavily genetic 🙂 Going without caffeine and my delicious morning coffee will be a struggle. But if the weather warms up I am not opposed to trying to brew full leaf black sun tea with a splash of raw honey and lemon!
I have heard that people switching to a raw diet ‘cold turkey’ (ha ha) can have adverse affects for a time stemming from detox and cravings- like irritability, headaches, mental cloudiness and so on. I’m not excited about these. Needless to say, I’m holding out for a issue-free transition.
I also will be experimenting a lot with preparing our meals. I bought a food processor to assist me in this and have plenty of jars and containers for sprouting foods. I think the transition to not cooking will be harder than learning to cook in the first place. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this as the month progresses. I’m just thankful that we’re keen on salads and have the internet to get raw recipes!
ONE MORE THING:
There can be a propensity (as with anything) to make healthy food a sort of idol. I am not talking about those out there who have allergies, celiac disease etc. I am talking about making what goes into the body (be it good or bad) rival the importance of what comes out of it (our actions and words). I am talking about making what we eat with our friends more important than just being with our friends and sharing a meal. We are not going raw to make a statement, be weird or to make something of secondary importance an issue. We are going raw for a time to see the benefits of it- think of it as a boost, a healthful jumpstart.

Reading Update…

I finished three really great books this week. I’ve been working on them for a couple of months now, so it was really exciting to flip those last pages and wholly consider the contents of each. Each of them have changed my life! I am hoping to write blurbs about each book I read, as I finish them. As of yet I’m 6 reviews behind, but not to worry. I plan on posting them on my book list page.

6 down, 11 to go!

Memories and Questions

Sleepy-eyed we walked down the stairs and got our coats on. We were still wearing our red and blue footed pajamas, but we didn’t care. It was cold outside and the middle of the night, but we didn’t care about that either. My cousin Joe and I had been sleeping for hours when our moms came to wake us up for impromptu french fries and hot chocolate at a local 24-hour restaurant. They had been up all night talking over coffee, like they always did when we visited. I remember sticking a butter knife down into the glass ketchup bottle to start the flow, something my mom had taught me. Mostly I remember the feeling of spontaneity and of being wanted and special.

Middle of the night excursions weren’t the norm with my mom but the adventure and inclusion I felt with her was. Maybe this memory is profoundly etched in my mind because it embodies those feelings. I knew that I was important to her.

My mom died eighteen years ago this week, and as expected, she has been on the forefront of my mind. I have a lot of memories of her that I am truly thankful for, but I know that my understanding of who she was is shaded by circumstance and my perception as a child. I was seven when she was killed and now I am twenty-five, the age she was when she died. What I can understand now is much more complex than what I could then, but trying to decipher my childish memories of her in my adult mind paints a picture that is incomplete and mysterious. This understanding has summoned questions of all sorts. I wonder what it would be like if I had grown up under her guidance. I wonder how my life bears her fingerprints even now. And what is more, I wonder about her faith. Scattered in her various journals, poems and old letters are prayers, struggles and longings. She struggled and resolved to change, seeming to hang on to Jesus. Yet out of pure curiosity I wonder why decisions like getting into a car with her drunk boyfriend the night she was killed characterized her life in those last days. What was her experience with Jesus and was she reconciled to him in her last moments? These things are all unanswerable this side of eternity. Though I deeply miss my mom, I trust God with the outcome. I am thankful that my joy isn’t based on seeing any other person in heaven, whether it be my mom, my children or even my husband. It is based on the fact that on that day my eyes will see Jesus.

We all have things we admire in our parents, as well as things we don’t. There are things that were true of my mom that I want to be true of me. I hope that I make mundane things exciting and that I make people feel special. And I hope I’m spontaneous and adventurous enough to wake up my own daughters for middle of the night french fries and hot chocolate.

Eight months ago I had one of the most profound experiences of my life. I had just given birth to our second child, a daughter, Hope Avniela. Seven hours after her birth, when in normal circumstances we would have been resting and celebrating, Jeff and I found ourselves exhausted and looking into one another’s eyes for what could be the last time. After suffering from a severe postpartum hemorrhage, losing more than three liters of blood and with transfusions not helping fast enough, we were given a three-minute warning for surgery. The doctor didn’t give us a choice- it was surgery or at this pace my kidneys, heart and other vital organs could start to shut down. There was a possibility that during surgery I could die. Ironically, as my body was failing I had one of the most spiritually healthy experiences of my life. What if I don’t make it? I can’t explain the thoughts that flooded my mind… Thoughts of my children losing their mother, as I also did as a child. Thoughts of Jeff and of our marriage and of our short time together. Thoughts of how it would effect the other dear ones in my life… I asked Jeff to pray for me. We talked briefly about the possible outcomes through tears. And we said goodbye. As I was wheeled off to surgery, by the grace of God, I was able to let go of my own plans for my life. And as I closed my eyes, complete peace came over me. If when I opened them again I saw the face of Jesus, then I would rejoice! Or if I saw a hospital wall, tubes or a familiar face, then I would rejoice! Who am I to question the artist of my life, path and death?

The following poem was written about the experience of my pregnancy and delivery with Hope. I look back and can truthfully say, even though it was a difficult experience and recovery, that I am thankful for it.

The Artist of You and Me

The beginning of you was like a secret conversation amongst God,

Words and Whispers of an artist wielding a masterpiece –

Undetected by the canvas, the medium and the room.

Part by part you were created and became more like a melody

as others noticed the sway of my walk and

your little knees cradled in my warm skin.

Your first breath was a cry as you were lifted from the water.

This mystery of you, encompassed by me, revealed

And you and I now connected by nature and twisted flesh.

Vessels that saw you to life soon gave me a vision of death.

What ensued was like a secret conversation between me and God.

As I savored what seemed my last delicacy of life,

its sweetness gave way to true richness – peace.

This masterpiece working in me the release of control

and surrender to the artist of both you and me.

I don’t know Greek or Hebrew, nor do I know Latin despite the fancy blog title. However, it isn’t a competency in ancient languages that makes someone a theologian. Rather, a true theologian strives to think accurately about God, with the hopes that those thoughts might cultivate affections, which in turn would promote even further investigation into the object of her study. I believe that there’s nothing left untouched by one’s theology. What God has revealed about Himself has implications for me as a wife and mother and beyond into all areas of life.  That’s what this blog is about- how knowing God (theology) effects all of life. Don’t be surprised to find subject matter ranging from thoughts on my own journey with God, to poetry, church history, biblical texts, biographies, and of course musings on my joyful duties as a wife and mommy.