Dolce Devotions is our family devotional time—it is our effort to teach our children “when we lie down.” We share it with you as an encouragement and picture for one way the bedtime routine might be used for teaching Christ and the gospel to children. May it stir up your own affections for Christ as you seek to love and commend Him within the everyday routines of your life!
My two young daughters discovered glow sticks a few years ago. Bendable gleaming rods you can wear as bracelets became the craze in our home and an addition to our nighttime routine. My daughters would go to bed with a glow stick around their wrists but would wake up to find the light long gone. In many ways, Lysa TerKeurst’s What Happens When Women Walk in Faith reminds me of those glow sticks.
Happy New Year!
I’m excited to debut a new website template at Motherhood & Sanctity. The website layout has been simplified to allow for clearer navigation. In addition, updates have been made to every page of the site. Please see below for specific changes or simply explore! In either case, thank you so much for subscribing to and reading Motherhood & Sanctity. I’m excited about the new focus, new features, new series, and new videos coming in 2019. I hope that you will visit often and as always, thanks for sharing!
After being slandered, mocked, spat upon, and beaten, Jesus is led to a Roman cross. There, the soldiers strip Him of His clothes and divide His garments among themselves, casting lots for His tunic. The baby of Luke 2 is the Man hanging naked in John 19:23-24. All this, for the sake of our atonement.
This year I’m partnering with 24 other women to create a gospel centered Advent Devotional designed specifically for moms and it's available at no cost to you! The devotional is designed to come straight to your email inbox. Each morning between December 1st and Christmas Day, you'll receive a short devotion on how the coming of Christ fulfills a specific longing common to motherhood along with questions for application/reflection. You don't have to remember anything, pay for anything, or print anything. Just visit this LINK to sign up!
“The warlike nature of our time on earth has to be kept at the forefront of our minds. We’re fighting for truth and beauty with our humble talents--all of us! Knowing what’s at stake, and knowing the unearthly smell of lies (sometimes told beautifully!), we become grateful to see people fighting for our own team… maybe even especially if they’re better warriors than we are! A warrior cheers when a good stroke--a great song, a truthful painting, a masterful piece of writing--is made on the side of truth and beauty. Envy has no place in this scenario, only rejoicing.” - Tilly Dillehay
Is it biblical for a mother to work outside of the home?” The question was pitched at a small-group Bible study where I sat as the only mother working outside of the home. The women around me held strong opinions on the subject and my instinct was to defend myself. I didn’t want to be viewed as “unbiblical,” so I worked hard to justify my employment status. In the end, this question—offered as a “Bible discussion”—felt more like a test I had to pass.
Sadly, this scene is all too common. I’ve been in similar spaces before. Sometimes, I’ve played the part of the defendant, as seen above. Other times, I’ve been the plaintiff. I measure a sister by her position on some matter of secondary importance, and I’m tempted to define her by that one issue. Perhaps you’ve been there.
Journeywomen is a podcast hosted by Hunter Beless. Each week, Hunter and a guest explore how believers can "gracefully navigate the seasons and challenges we face on our journeys to glorify God." It's an honor to appear on Episode 61 of her show. I enjoyed chatting with Hunter on the topic of sanctification and hope that you are encouraged by it.
Many of us, regardless of our season of motherhood, are hard-pressed for time and energy. Our schedules are filled with homes, husbands, children, churches, jobs, friends, and the constant temptation to stay in-the-know of the hashtags, the trends, and the news. We are busy mothers with full hands. And somehow, amid the juggling of responsibilities, we are to nurture our children in the instruction of the Lord. The call to obey Ephesians 6:4 can feel like a tall order for the frazzled mom. A busy mom with full hands might “minimize” scripture for her children, teaching the Bible the way we teach our fairy tales—with a quick and simple “moral of the story” in view.
Reading 2 Kings 14 brings to mind Jonah 4:2; there, Jonah calls God gracious and merciful, “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” The description captures God’s hesed or steadfast love. Jonah’s phrasing is seen throughout Scripture but first appears in Exodus 34:6 during God’s covenant renewal with Israel. The Northern Kingdom was called to belong to a patient God who relents from disaster. God’s far-reaching kindness elects to help a rebellious king and his people. In Jonah’s ministry, we can see God’s mercy extended to those who are far and near: wicked Nineveh and wayward Israel are helped. Who then is beyond His grace?
The One for whom all things were created; the One who is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of all creation; the One in whom all things hold together and is preeminent above all (Colossians 1:16); that Person condescended to be born as a poor carpenter! He made Himself nothing and suffered that He might make His enemies members of His own family. Jesus’ “hospitality” is out of this world!
Often in our homes and children’s ministries, there is a temptation to “relax” Scripture for children. Perhaps we think that they are unable to understand “meaty” ideas and so we point them to quick moral applications and good behavior. This kind of Bible teaching however misses the intention of the Scriptures themselves, which is to bear witness of Christ (John 5:39).
The story of God’s redemption of sinners through the person and work of Christ Jesus is the best story we can tell our children. Let’s make sure that they hear it clearly in our Bible teaching. And may God, by His grace, make that narrative the framework from which they engage with all other stories.
As I read the story of Christ’s birth, I wonder: what “looks” did Mary endure when “found” to be with child in Matthew 1:18? Did her cheeks burn under the gaze of Nazareth? Did she suffer shame at the eyes of a doubting Joseph (Matthew 1:19)?
It’s amazing to consider that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” and under the ignominy of a curious pregnancy (Galatians 4:4).
To evangelize is to share the message of the gospel. Our acts of service and mercy glorify God and are encouraged by Scripture (see James 1:27). Yet simply serving another is not evangelism. Evangelism requires words. It necessitates a message. And in truth, many of us do not always know what to say. What is the gospel? How does the Bible define it? Let’s look now at the below four-point-summary; I hope the following proves helpful as we seek to faithfully share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others!
As Israel uncovers herself to whore with Baal for the price children and rain, the God of heaven and earth looks and declares: “no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them till none is left. Woe to them when I depart from them (Hosea 9:11-12)! Yet His burning anger in Hosea is graciously weaved with the hope of His salvation. And so He beckons: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12). Like a loving Husband longing for the contrition of His adulterous wife, God, through Hosea, calls His people to return (Hosea 14:1-4).
Grateful for the chance to write for Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Paragraphs from the piece are below and the full article is found here. Thank you for reading!
My practice of faith, like most things in my life, is sustained by a propensity for difficult work. I’m a hard driver, often choosing the coarse road. As a mother, I give birth without epidural, nurse for fourteen-months, make my own baby food, homeschool my little ones—all the while working part-time and teaching small groups. It’s admirable—if not for the pesky tendency to pride myself by the praise of these efforts.
Why is Elijah sent to this widow? There is no indication of her earning God’s election and favor. She was not among the people of Israel and she herself testifies of her sins. Clearly, she doesn’t choose God but He chooses her (John 15:16). He saves her just as He has and will redeem all those He has predestined for adoption as children through Jesus Christ; this is according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His own glorious grace (Ephesians 1:5-11)! Sisters, salvation is of the LORD. I will sing of the glorious grace that saves sinners like me!
As a member of the Black church, it seems we have passed by to the other side of the road too often on this issue. Where is the outrage? And where is our heartbreak for the little faces missing from our own congregations? I’m sorry to say that, before today, I had never cried for the children aborted in my church. Who is missing today who may have stood next to my own daughter to declare: “God made me!”
I'm thankful to the Reformed African American Network for their re-post of my 2014 article, Parental Failures and the Gospel. The beginning paragraphs follow and the full post can be found here. Always grateful for your read!
I could begin this post with countless descriptions of my parental failures. Moments when anger got the best of me; times when a little patience would have made all the difference; or just plain insecurities in making the right decisions for my children at every moment and at every stage of their development.
You might agree that feelings of inadequacy are common to parents; whether relatively new like me or seasoned with experience, we feel the weight of the responsibility and the immensity of the task. But in some ways, feelings of inadequacy can be a blessing!
For some time, David appears perfectly indifferent to these shocking events (2 Samuel 12:1-23). What were Bathsheba's thoughts? How did she experience the stages of grief and change? Were there feelings of guilt and shame? Did she pray similar words as those prayed later by David in Psalm 51:1-2? “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love...Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” A washing of the soul that no one but the LORD could see.