Wrangling in the Pew

HEATHER MOLENDYK|CONTRIBUTOR A modified journal entry from not so many years ago… Today’s church service was such a blessing! Getting to witness my four children fight each other using subtle gladiator-style battle strategies to be the ones to sit right next to me in the church pew totally validated my worth as a human being. It was an enriching experience to helpfully point out each word in scripture to my younger children only to realize at the end that they had been studying a small ant crawling on the floor the entire time. It was so joyful to sing those old hymns as a family while my small ones bounced mosh-pit style, accidentally knocking my hymn book to the floor. I took such pride in the generosity of my offspring as I pried open his little fingers from the dollar bill that belonged in the offering plate instead of his snug, little pocket. But then, like the eye of a hurricane, I was able to buy myself a limited amount of uninterrupted time when I passed out a small suck-on candy to each child. The winds hadn’t stopped blowing quite yet. I knew full well that when the eye finished its journey overhead, the storm would continue with the winds blowing in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, while their little legs swung back and forth, their little fingers twisted empty candy wrappers, and their little mouths were momentarily occupied, I was able to take that deep breath I so desperately needed. I opened my Bible to the sermon text.

Wrangling in the Pew2022-05-04T00:21:58+00:00

Parenting as Our Father Parents Us

CHRISTINA FOX | EDITOR When my son was little, he was prone to wander. Those days, he lived more in his imagination than in real life. This often led him away from us when we were in a crowd. I remember during a visit to Disney World I urged and cautioned my son in the importance of staying beside us as we navigated the crowded park. Yet not long later, I watched as he meandered away from us. Rather than going after him, I kept an eye from a distance. I wanted him to realize what he had done. So I followed him, ensuring he was safe, but waited for him to stop and look for us. Eventually, he did realize he had gotten separated from us and I could see him searching the crowds, a look of worry stretched across his face. He spotted us and ran up to us in relief. I then reminded him of the rule of staying together. And he did so. At least for the rest of that trip. Prone to Wander So often as a mom I grow frustrated when I have to teach and reteach my children the same lessons. I find myself impatient with how easy they forget. After all, how many times does one have to get lost in a crowd before he learns his lesson? How many times does a lesson have to be taught before it sticks? In my own heart, far too many times.

Parenting as Our Father Parents Us2022-05-04T00:33:31+00:00

Big Picture Parenting

SHEA PATRICK|GUEST Lately, it seems I am often at wit’s end in my parenting. We have five children in the home between the ages of 8 and 13, and many days it is a struggle to keep my head above water. In the midst of this chaos, I have found that an understanding of covenant theology—the big picture of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to His children— provides real gospel hope for parents just like me. These three specific truths have anchored my mind and heart: God has not left me alone; he is with me. I often feel crushed by the weight of the responsibility of parenting these children God has placed in my family. I desperately want to make the best decisions for them. Fortunately, I can rest in the fact that these children are the Lord’s; he loves them and is more committed to them than even my husband and I are! Even more, the promises God made to Abraham apply to my family because we are part of the covenant family. In Genesis 17:7, God promises “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” Through my union with Christ, this promise is extended to me as well. As Paul wrote in Galatians, “if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise” (3:29). What this means practically is that God walks with me as I parent my kids— as I try to address the needs that arise moment by moment. He does so as my Father, parenting my own heart as I then seek to parent my children. My elder brother, Jesus, is an ever-present friend and intercedes for me in my weakness and failures. The Spirit is at work in me, transforming and changing my heart even as he works in my own children’s hearts...

Big Picture Parenting2022-05-04T23:06:25+00:00

E-119 Gospel Friends Roundtable Edition Carols of Christmas with Vanessa Hawkins, Ronjanett Taylor, B.A. Snider, Robin Stevens, & Sherry Lanier

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E-119 Gospel Friends Roundtable Edition Carols of Christmas with Vanessa Hawkins, Ronjanett Taylor, B.A. Snider, Robin Stevens, & Sherry Lanier2020-10-20T17:27:10+00:00

The School of Sovereignty: Heart Preparation for an Uncertain School Year

Honestly, when I was asked to write this post, the first thought that came to mind was, “I am an unlikely person to write an encouraging article about going back to school.” I prefer the predictable. I am quite uncomfortable in the unknown. I still order chicken nuggets with a coke “no ice” at restaurants because chicken nuggets with a coke “no ice” was what I ordered at fast food restaurants as a child. I seldom swim in oceans, lakes, or rivers because I am not exactly certain which creatures may be swimming near my feet. I struggle when I cannot see every nook and cranny of the waters in which I am swimming. So, now you know my secrets and why I am an unlikely author for this post. I would rather live everyday like it was Groundhog Day—again. When it comes to uncertainty in my life, there is a gospel gap between my theology and the way I live in the unknown. As a mom to four elementary-aged children, God is inviting me into a season of uncertainty. Like many of you, I will be swimming in all the unknowns that come with a new school year during the global pandemic.     Here are some promises I am intentionally massaging into my heart as I learn and grow to trust God in the school of His sovereignty. The Gap Is Filled The gospel gap between what I know and how I live is filled by Jesus. He has already filled the gap; I just fail to remember His power is the only thing that sustains my every breath and stills my every storm...

The School of Sovereignty: Heart Preparation for an Uncertain School Year2022-05-05T00:22:27+00:00
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