Identity Crisis

October 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living, Submission) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Identity crisisI knew that coming home from Nathaniel and Lauren’s house might be difficult. I’d been away for two weeks, basically managing another home while poor Lauren struggled to survive gestational pemphigoid. So I’d steeled myself. The truth is that God created people to leave and cleave—not to leave and come back and leave and come back. But sometimes we must stretch ourselves to serve others. Mentally I’d reminded myself that my home ran on a different schedule—not just whatever schedule I wanted to create. Like an expert pilot, I glided into the landing without a bump.

But what I hadn’t prepared for was my Mom’s homecoming. See, we’d traded places, and while she took care of my sister-in-law and nephew for a week, I ascended to the throne of Scottsburrow as Queen by proxy. When she returned a week later, it was as if Richard the Lionhearted had come home and I, the pretender, was back to the millstone. Or so it felt. Suddenly tasks I’d been successfully completing for the past three weeks were being scrutinized and redesigned. One morning, two days after her return, I broke down and started crying. “Seriously, can’t you even trust me to make a salad? I’ve been running this house for a week and you come home and act like…” Like what? Like you own the place?

I felt like a newlywed daughter when her Mom comes to visit and takes over the kitchen. Except for one problem: it was Mom’s kitchen. Not mine.

It’s a sad fact that, the older I grow, the more difficult it seems to share working space with my Mom. People who quiz me about being a grown daughter in the home or press me about being single ask all the wrong questions. Actually, I have plenty to keep me busy. And I’m not in a hurry to find a man. But sometimes, I sure would like some elbow room. And I’d like to put things where I would put them to find them, instead of having to think like someone else to find them. When my biological clock starts ticking, it almost invariably sounds like an egg-timer.

The truth is, ladies, I don’t believe it was God’s perfect intention for adult daughters to be at home. Judging from the science of the matter, I suspect His original intent was for us to marry much earlier than is the current mode. However, I know for certain that He works through our circumstances and in my case, I am quite sure that I am exactly where I should be, in obedience to Him, when I’m standing in the middle of my mother’s kitchen.

The difficulty facing me is actually not that I need my own kitchen, but that I need to be reminded of the laws of ownership.

Throughout my entire life I have struggled against the “bonds”, trying to snatch the pen to rewrite both the story and the byline. In my early teens this identity crisis took a different form as I wrestled with God over an unalterable fact: I am a woman. That might seem obvious to you, but to me it seemed an obvious mistake. What in the world was I supposed to do as a woman? Have my own cutesy little kitchen with gingham curtains? If I’d simply been given that elusive Y chromosome, I’d have been a man, able to decide my own destiny, chart a path for my own life and serve God! In fact, I knew exactly what I wanted to be! I’d have gone to the dirtiest, lowest, poorest, most violent streets and neighborhoods and poured out God’s love and truth. I would be able to give myself entirely to God!

Then one day I had the rare enlightenment that scripture and the Holy Spirit conspire to bring. “Shall the clay say to the Potter, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” In that misty, moisty morning, staring into the cool, blue sky I had an epiphany. I rephrased my wish to express the true tones behind my sentiments. “If only God had made me a man, I could really be what He wants me to be!” Actually, I could do what I want to do. A simple truth arrived home on the whisper of a fall breeze. Serving God means submission to His will.

He made me a woman. I must be the most obedient woman I can be. For now, at least, that doesn’t include street-preaching in the ghetto.

That was my identity crisis. Well, my first one. My most recent one came when my Mom arrived home to invade the cozy little nest I’d been maintaining. I’d been enjoying managing “my” home and suddenly I felt as if I’d been cast out on my ear. I didn’t fit into my own house. And just as suddenly I wanted to get out and have my own kitchen. My own laundry room. To do things my own way. And then came the despairing reminder that marriage simply transferred my allegiance. Instead of being stuck in my Mom’s kitchen, I would still be subject to some man telling me what to do and when to do it. I’d almost thought the old thought of complaint, the “I’ll never get to do things my way” thought, when the horror of my attitude bombarded me like a stampede of overweight elephants.

I despised God’s order of authority, forgetting that even Jesus was under authority. He’d praised the centurion for understanding this elusive truth. Jesus didn’t please Himself. He pleased the Father. And with that realization came the reminder of God’s authority, laid out by the pen of Paul. “Children, obey your parents.” And then, “I want you to understand that the head of every woman is a man, and the head of the man is Christ and the head of Christ is God.” Children are subject to their God-ordained authority. Women are subject to their God-ordained authority. Men are subject to their God-ordained authority. Even Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered. All things are subject to God.

I shame-facedly admit that, but for the grace of God, I’d have been a feminist. Thank You, Lord, for Your great mercy. But the fact of the matter is that when we reject any tiny part of God’s authority system or God’s creation or what God has done, we reject God’s authority over us. We deny God’s ownership of us and of all creation. Because it’s not my life that could have been so wonderful if I’d been a man—it’s God’s life that He created in a way far different than I would have. Wonderfully different. With a divine purpose that will likely keep me forever wondering. And it’s not my Mom’s kitchen—or my kitchen. It’s His. And He has put my Mom in charge of it, for now, and He has placed me under her. And someday when I have “my own” kitchen, it will still belong to Him. I will still be under His authority structure. I will still be His creation.

And in the same ponderous truth of nature that proves that life is not a totem pole but a circle, I will belong to God. And He will belong to me. In a personal way, God has promised to be my God. He will be my Creator, my Master, my King—and my authority. In my longing to have something to call “my own”, He is the only thing I can claim, and all creation belongs to Him. I just need to understand where my identity lies.

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His Perspective…On Respect

February 14, 2009 at 1:00 am (His Perspective) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Valentine’s Day conjures up thoughts of red foil, powdered candy hearts, oozing chocolate cakes and over-the-top sentimentalism all wrapped up in a hazy misunderstanding of the word “love.” To the world, love is a feeling, coming and going on the winds of time, age, business and beauty, pronounced in words that pass away and proudly displayed through things destined to perish with the using. The disciple Jesus loved gives those of us who would understand true love a great reminder: “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in action and truth.” (1 John 3:18 ) English teachers will insist that love is an abstract noun—an idea. Scripture tells us it’s a verb. Sisters, let’s stop just using empty words to express love. Let’s really get active about loving according to the truth of scripture!

Paul, the bond-slave of the Lord, never mentioned flowers or chocolate or candlelight dinners, but he did give some excellent advice for godly love and relationships. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…and let the woman see to it that she respect her husband.” (From Ephesians 5:22-33–we really recommend reading the whole passage). In the literal Greek the word for “husband” is really just “man”, plain and simple, and we believe that the respect factor applies to young women under the authority of their fathers, as well. After all, what better way is there to prepare for respecting a husband, some day? Could there be a better way to prove respect for the Lord than to respect the authorities He has placed in our lives?

Some of the men who are seeking to work out this Biblical pattern graciously agreed to help us in digging up some great insights on the issue of respect. We’ve included a few prime quotes below as a sort of appetizer and we’d encourage you to take a look at what they had to say and put your love into action, guided by the truth of God’s word! Just follow the link at the bottom to visit the “Respect” page and see the whole survey! Feel free to share what you find, and don’t be afraid to ask your own men the same questions to discover what honors them and proves to them your love and respect–for God’s glory.

Are candy hearts and red roses wrong? Not at all. They are thoughtful. They are romantic. They are even pleasant. Only to call those things “love” or even “expressions of love” which never even come close to scratching the surface of the love of God, who sacrificed His Son for sinners, is to cheapen a word which should be reserved for gifts of much greater worth. This Valentine’s Day, we challenge you to give more. We challenge you to lavish your man with respect—all year long.


“Biblical respect is the humble, intelligent, joyful response of a wife to God’s placement of authority expressed by esteem for, encouragement of, and submission to her husband’s leadership.”

Shai Linne, Philadelphia, PA


“It is possible to have a surviving relationship without respect because I could choose to love them [wife/sister/daughter] even if they refused to respect me, but to have a really healthy flourishing relationship both must fill their biblical roles.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10


“Leaving me would be the highest rejection of my leadership and provision. But in absence of legal separation, complete emotional and relational separation would be basically equivalent.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

We hear much about men having a built in need for respect and similarly women having a built in need for love … as if men and women are designed by God with the frailties of tiny egos and frail emotions that need constant stroking by the other lest we suffer the consequences. This is nonsense. Respect and Love in the context of Marriage have everything to do with God given roles and authority structure. Respect and Love are what bring about God’s desire that we use our position selflessly for the benefit of our Spouse.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)


“’Love is of God,’ I John 4:7 says. God’s love is not natural to man, as the Scripture continues: ‘everyone who loves has been born of God.’ So husbands are to love, not by human product, but by the love of God. Likewise are wives, according to Titus 2:4, to love their husbands, not by natural love, but God’s love.”

–Glenn Schreiber, Central Illinois, (very happily) married for 18.5 years, father of two daughters


It is the ‘picture’ of Christ and His bride. The relationship for the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Sacrificial love, a love worth respecting because it is wonderful and it knows the love is acting in the best interest for the wife. How do they differ? The love is the leading action which makes the respecting enjoyable.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“The Bible says that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. I think this word is a great way of summarizing how a wife is to respect her husband. She treats him as someone who is very important; as someone who she means to serve and obey, and who is worthy of her service. No other person trumps him; he is the #1 person she is meant to help, to love, and to give her time and affections to. What is important to him becomes important to her, simply because he values it. This all comes out of an ultimate desire to serve her Heavenly Lord, because this is His command to her; ultimately, she is serving Him through demonstrating a giving over of her desires to the desires of her husband, and treating him as the authority God has given her.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)


“God’s originally-stated purpose for creating mankind was to rule over the earth (Gen. 1:26). His special purpose for man was to cultivate and keep the garden (Gen. 1:26; 2:15) and for woman was for her to be a suitable helper of her husband (Genesis 2:18). It follows that she must learn to help her man. This is the major distinction between the husband and his wife’s roles–he is the leader and she is the helper. More descriptively, he is to be her loving leader and she is to be his reverent helper.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)


Trust and respect can be shattered by failure to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.”

Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

We found the answers sometimes surprising, often enlightening, sometimes encouraging, often convicting.   We’d love for you to take a look at the comments and the survey (when you can) and tell us your thoughts!

His Perspective on Respect: The Survey

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Lessons from Wisdom: The Art of Availability

December 27, 2008 at 9:03 am (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living, W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

art-of-availability

“In the fullness of time, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that He might redeem those under the law.” (Galatians 4:4) When time was ripe, God sent His Son—born of a woman. A simple virgin from Nazareth. Why? I can’t peer back in history before the visit of God’s messenger, but God reveals His sovereignty in shaping this young woman, throughout her entire life, to be His servant and to give birth to His Son–the perfect Servant and the ransom for mankind.

The Lord’s work in Mary’s heart and life is summed up in her words “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” The Lord’s slave. Devoted to Him. At His bidding. Available. God uses those who are available. As the story of Jesus unfolds, Mary’s quiet part in this perfect drama is this: quiet availability to God’s needs. Humble. Pure. A servant.

Behold, the Handmaid of the Lord. (Luke 1:38)

Mary stood on the verge of a Jewish maiden’s ideal future when the angel appeared to her. A Jewish woman’s identity was wrapped up in her marriage—to a good man, a righteous man, a man with a trade, a man of good reputation and good family. As she listened to the angel’s declaration, the Lord revealed to her something not generally understood by the Jewish nation—that the Messiah would be the Son of God. He would not belong to her husband. When Mary bowed her head and expressed her willingness to do whatever the Lord asked, she opened herself up to heartache and loss. She could have lost her entire future. A woman pregnant outside of marriage was an adulteress and could be stoned. A righteous man could not, in good conscience, marry her. Forever she would be looked down upon, ostracized and whispered about. Still, she made herself available to God, trusting His eternal plan for her life—and that of the child she would bear. I remember the day that the realization dawned on me: Mary and I are not so different. The Lord’s call came to me as well—and I have been chosen to carry the truth of God’s Son as well! God seeks those who are available—empty of their own plans and dreams, so that He may fill them with His Spirit and overshadow them with His power!

Mary rose and went to Judah…and greeted Elizabeth. (Luke 1:39-40)

The angel had left Mary with another piece of news—Elizabeth was also miraculously with child. Seeking encouragement and to be an encouragement, Mary rushed to her side and spent the next three months with her. Why? As Elizabeth reached her time to give birth, she must have needed help, encouragement and companionship. Mary made herself available to this godly woman, to help her and to learn from her to be a godly wife—and mother. The Lord has placed in our lives those who are doing His will, seeking His glory. “You should serve each other,” He told His disciples in His last night with them. His desire is to see us become servants, available to encourage, assist and pour out His love to those who love Him.

Joseph rose and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:24)

Even when it seemed that Mary might be abandoned, Almighty God intervened to give Mary a protector and provider. “Don’t be afraid,” the angel told Joseph. Immediately he rose from his bed and took Mary as his wife. What had her feelings been a short time before? About to be divorced by a man she admired—likely loved deeply. Suddenly he was at her door, calling her name to take her as his wife—early. Catching up her covering, she made herself ready. Available to follow his lead, to trust that he was following the Lord’s command, knowing that in following Joseph, she was doing the Lord’s will. When the Lord transferred Mary’s authority to her husband, He also began speaking to her husband and leaving Mary to hear from Him second-hand. Not because Mary was no longer worthy to hear from the Lord, but because the Lord had sheltered her under the authority of a righteous man. Joseph was her God-given head. Joseph stood under God’s authority and Mary trusted Him. Even Jesus spoke of being under the authority of the Father. The Lord places authorities in each of our lives and leads us through them. Our part is to be available to His leading through them—no matter how inconvenient.

Joseph had to travel…and Mary went with him. (Luke 2:4-5)

God had also placed Joseph under authority. No matter how ungodly the Roman empire was, God was in control and was using the decree of Caesar to accomplish His eternal purpose. As Joseph obeyed the decree, Mary made herself available to her husband, to travel with him, to be with him, in spite of the fact that she was about to have a child. Inconvenient is an understatement, I’m sure. With the discomfort of pregnancy–swelling, water retention, constant bladder pressure, dizziness, nausea–traveling the dusty roads from Nazareth the Bethlehem could hardly have been a pleasure trip. Yet Mary went accompanied her man, so fulfilling the words of the prophets of old in her availability to her husband who was also obeying the government.

They found the baby and His mother. (Luke 2:16; Matthew 2:11)

Alone and cold in a foreign town, the middle of the night she gave birth could not have been the time Mary would have chosen for visitors. Yet as she watched her baby, she opened her heart and arms to the smelly shepherds who had come to see God’s good news. Some time later, finally in the privacy of her own home, she was invaded by a crowd of foreign magi. Again she opened her arms and heart and shared Jesus with those seeking Him. God has called each of us to carry the truth of His Son—and to be available to share Him with anyone who seeks Him.

Take the child and His mother and go to Egypt. (Matthew 3:13)

The Lord’s commands don’t always seem convenient, but they should always be treated as urgent. Joseph took God’s commands seriously and immediately obeyed. His instant obedience produced a wild ride for his wife, Mary. But think how strenuous obedience would have become had Mary balked, complained, dawdled or refused. The quick cooperation of a woman who trusts her man to lead her in the Lord is the encouragement and blessing that can empower that man to do whatever the Lord has called him to do. First the move to Egypt and then the move back, turned Mary’s life upside down. As she learned to be a servant, she recognized Joseph’s obedience to the Lord and his desire to protect her and the baby, Jesus and cheerfully made her place by his side.

Didn’t you know I must be about My Father’s business? (Luke 2:49)

When Jesus was a baby, he depended on His mother and she gave Him what she thought He needed—food, sleep, baths. As He grew she had to constantly re-learn the hard fact of service: a devoted servant is attentive to the Master’s desires, wishes and needs. A devoted servant seeks to know the Master. And she learned that Her Son came to be the greatest servant of all–to give, to love, to sacrifice and to pour out His own life for the glory of God, His Master in heaven. From the mouth of her perfect twelve-year-old came this humbling reminder, “Didn’t you know…” Jesus’ first responsibility was to be about His Father’s business. Mary had offered herself available to serve the Lord. Her Divine Son was calling her to know Him. The Lord has called us to know Him as well and to serve Him by learning Who He is and what His desires are. As godly women, He has called us to know the men in our lives, to seek to understand them and the ministry to which God has called each of them and to support them in that ministry–their service to God.

Woman, My time has not yet come. (John 2:4)

When Mary informed Jesus of the lack at the wedding in Cana, His words nearly seemed harsh. Like He was irritably saying, “Leave me alone, Mom” in the very tones that used to earn me a sound spanking. But Jesus’ words are so much different than my bad attitude. His was a straightforward reminder that He did not belong to her. Her ways were not His ways. Often we seek to tell God what to do. We try to point out to Him the way in which He can serve us. Mary took the response, digested it and commanded the servants to do what? To be available. What she was learning, she was teaching. “Do whatever He tells you to do.” Then she was silent. When our heart is available, our attitude ready to do whatever He tells us to do, God can take our water and turn into the wine of life!

My mother and brothers are those who do the will of My Father. (Matthew 12:50)

How difficult it must have been for Mary to loosen her mother’s hold and let her Son be in control of the universe. When she and her sons came seeking Him, His words seemed like rejection. “Who are my mother and my brothers? He who does the will of My Father.” But Jesus was not rejecting Mary as the one who had given birth to Him and nursed Him. He was reminding her what it was she had committed herself to do. “I am the Lord’s handmaid,” she had said. Even the Lord’s mother must learn to trust Him and entrust herself to Him. She had made herself available to serve the Lord. It’s easy to imagine service as doing what I think should be done. What I think is best. What I think will bring God glory. Jesus corrected this misconception with truth: service is doing whatever the Lord asks. Doing whatever He wants. Simply put, obedience. Availability to His needs and requests.

Jesus saw His mother standing nearby. (John 19:26)

From His birth to His death, Mary was available. Even as Jesus hung from the cross, paying for the sins of the world, she stood by, watching and weeping. He saw her and He provided for her care. Did Jesus love His mother? He gave His life to redeem her, to purchase her back from sin and from slavery to the law and to make her a child of God. He bought for her, with His blood, an eternity with Him. Once upon a time, she thought He needed her. Finally she understood that she was lost without Him. As He had once been helpless in her arms, so she was helpless without His intercession. Favored of God—because of Her Son, Jesus.

Mary stored up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:51)

As Mary watched Jesus grow and fulfill God’s purpose in His life, she treasured every moment in her heart, storing it up. Later she shared all she remembered with Luke, the beloved physician, who sought to write a thorough account of all that Jesus began to do and teach. She made herself available to listen, to watch, to remember, to treasure and available to share the precious life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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As I studied this woman of wisdom, I wept over her sacrifices—constantly giving up her dreams, her comfort and finally her Son. “I am the Lord’s handmaid,” she had said. “Do to me whatever.” The life of a servant is availability to the Master, always near, always ready, always cheerful, always eager. Long before Gabriel visited Nazareth, God had been at work in Mary’s heart, shaping her into an empty vessel that He could fill. From the day she accepted the Lord’s call to carry the Savior of the world, Mary made herself available to the Lord, available to the authorities He had placed over her, and available to anyone who sought Jesus. Pouring herself out as a sacrifice before the Lord, she found favor. Jesus told His disciples the secret of true greatness, “He who desires to be great, must become servant of all.” (Matthew 23:11)

Read the story:  Behold, the Lord’s Handmaid

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Installing More Filters

September 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm (Announcements) (, , , , , )

Hello Ladies!

We just wanted to let you know that we’ve decided to run all our articles by our men–Lauren’s husband, Nathaniel, and Abigail’s father, Lane.  We had already been discussing many of the topics/scriptures with them and found much (if not most) of our inspiration and learnings from both living with them and listening to their teachings, but they both agreed this would be the best way to stave off any accusations that we are “not under authority” or “not in subjection” to our men.  We also hope it will help to keep us accountable to them and insure that we ARE honoring them and joyfully submitting to their authority.  It may slow our pace down a little, since our men are both super busy providing for and caring for their families, but we appreciate them being willing to come aboard to help us out!  Please bear with us!  And also feel free (in fact, encouraged!) to likewise run anything we say by YOUR authorities!  Our goal is to encourage our sisters to honor the Lord, to honor their authorities and to honor His people!

Blessings!

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