Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Why Women Pastorship is Anti-Biblical

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I was talking with a friend and sister in the Lord last night about the concept of women pastors and this morning it was on my heart to go ahead and share why having women in a pastoring role is not in alignment with God’s Word. Now I know there are all kinds of movements and justifications out there for allowing women to teach, lead or pastor a church, and I could go through each one of them one by one and explain what makes them invalid points, but I don’t need to do that. I don’t need to know those arguments, nor do I need to dispute them and that’s because I know and believe what the Bible says on the matter.

Reading the Word in its most basic form shows us God’s plan for church leadership/teaching, and anything added to it is merely man’s logic, ideas, thinking, etc. God’s ways are above ours. Pleasing Him should be our primary focus. So, I look at what the Bible says and I get the answer to the question of whether or not women should pastor or teach a church. I don’t need anything more than that and I trust that God’s plan is perfect.

“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…” 1 Timothy 3:2

Why should a woman not pastor a church? Because the Bible makes it clear on several accounts that an “overseer” (the word means pastor, elder, leader) is to be a man. A husband of one wife. In every passage that talks about the role and qualifications of a pastor, the person is referred to in the masculine format. He is a male. God clearly desires men to be leading the church under His (Jesus’) headship.

This makes perfect sense, after all, because we see a pattern in scripture. God refers to Christ as head of the church, He being the groom and we are the bride. He always refers to Himself as masculine. Then we see God making the husband as leader of the household. Male leadership. So it makes perfect sense that God’s will is for men to lead the church. We will talk more about why in a moment, but for now we can trust the Lord and submit to His Word that women are not to pastor. Still, we go on…

“11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” 1 Timothy 2:11-13

The Bible says here that women are to learn in silence. People have asked me, “What does that mean? Are women not allowed to speak in church? What about prayer? What about worship?” The scripture here isn’t talking about worship or prayer. It is talking about learning and teaching. Women are to learn in silence. We have seen elsewhere in scripture where women were worship leaders. We don’t see scripture against women praying aloud during times of prayer. We don’t see scripture stopping them from using spiritual gifts. We simply see that when it comes to the teaching aspect of church, they are to learn in silence.

In verse 12 there in 1 Timothy 2, we see that there are three separate things women are told not to do in this church setting:

  1. Teach a man
  2. Exercise authority over a man
  3. Remain quiet

We therefore see that it is not Biblical for women to teach Biblical principles to men or to be in authority over them, as a pastor role would allow. Again, there are many theories and ideas out there to justify women teaching under the authority of male leadership, but ultimately this scripture doesn’t just talk about authority. It also talks about teaching. So I cannot agree with those theories that seem to add their own opinions to God’s Word.

You may  be wondering why God commanded this? Why can’t women teach men if they are good teachers and feel called? Wasn’t it just about the culture at the time the Bible was written? No. It wasn’t. First of all, God doesn’t change. If you believe the scripture is God’s very Word, then there is no reason to believe He had a different plan for the structure of the NT church than He does for today. He’s never wrong, ergo He never needs to evolve or change. His ways are perfect always. Also, we don’t need to ask why because He already told us.

Why????

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” 1 Timothy 2:13-14

God answers the question. It wasn’t about the culture. It wasn’t about whether or not women were “good” teachers. It was because Adam was formed first and then Eve, showing a progression of leadership and authority. It can be related to how Jesus is referred to as the first-fruit. It shows His pre-eminence and His position as first in rank or leadership. So Adam was created first and given his jobs and callings and instructions. Then God created Eve and made her to be a perfect helper for her husband. She was to help him in the calling God had put on his (and thus their) lives.

He also says there in verse 14 that Adam was not deceived but Eve was. That’s the truth that I think makes everything perfectly clear and gives me such a sense of harmony with God’s Word on this topic. Eve was deceived because she was a woman led by emotions. Let’s face it, we ladies tend to be more led by emotions than logic. God says we are easier to be led astray or deceived than our men. He created them to be less emotional and more logical.

So logical-thinking men are placed in the positions of authority and teaching in the church. Are we ladies left out? Certainly not. You see our emotional and nurturing side makes us perfectly suited for other roles we are to carry. We support our husbands. We nurture our children. We teach other sisters in the Lord (Titus 2). We feed people. We clothe them. We make them feel welcome. We have SO much to offer ladies and God wants to use our emotional and nurturing side so powerfully. He made us this way for a reason! It’s beautiful!

I believe God’s Word. It’s pretty clear on this issue of ladies teaching, and yet I know there are wonderful believers who disagree. This blog isn’t meant to offend or to come against them. However, in a world where men’s theories and ideas are being taught as if it were scripture, it’s important that there are still voices out there proclaiming what God’s Word really says. To my sisters in the Lord who have claimed the role of pastor, pray hard and be open to God turning your heart. He has a perfect plan for His church, and scripture says it isn’t with a woman at the helm. God has great plans for all of His daughters and He wants to use them, but His way. Not ours.

I encourage you ladies to share this and also to look it up for yourselves. Just remember, this isn’t my opinion. This is a very simple look at what scripture says. It’s black and white. Be careful that you do not allow the theories and justifications and concepts of men and women to be more important or valid than God’s Word on the matter. God bless!

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Admonish One Another

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“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:5-6

There is a lot of confusion these days about the function and design and purpose of the church. Let me clarify that when I use the word “church”, I am not referring to a building. We are the church. You and me. The church is the brethren of believers that are scattered here and there, meeting in fellowships nearby and around the world. So when I talk about the church here, I’m talking about God’s people. The Church of the Way, as it was called in early church history.

The Church has many functions, as described by the New Testament books. Yet, it seems we have all but abandoned certain aspects of, what the Word of God said, were important roles and responsibilities towards each other. You see, we are called to love one another, to build relationships, and to allow the Lord to knit us together into a beautiful woven, open and welcoming community. We are called into closeness and family…not Sunday morning smiles and empty greetings. We are called to something deeper and more real. Real church.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17, ESV

We are God’s chosen ones, and therefore we are called into a certain type of relationship with each other. Let’s make a list of some of the aspects of this calling as stated here in this chapter of Colossians:

  1. Compassion
  2. Kindness
  3. Humility
  4. Meekness
  5. Patience
  6. Bearing One Another’s Burdens
  7. Forgiving
  8. Loving
  9. Peaceful
  10. Thankful
  11. Teaching
  12. Admonishing
  13. Praising God Together

This is a great list, and we could do a study about each of these aspects, but today I want to focus on the one word on this list that people seem to really shy away from in the church: admonishment. Throughout the New Testament we see admonishment and yet in the modern church we rarely see it. I believe there are a few reasons for that: 1. People don’t often build the type of relationships in which it’s appropriate; 2. Many churches don’t make this Biblical practice a part of their culture and therefore people just don’t understand the importance and benefits; 3. Many churches are all about getting people in the door and less about the spiritual growth of the congregation; 4. People are not used to being confronted about their sin; and 5. People are unwilling to move past their comfort zone into all that God has for them.

Admonishment is not a bad word when you understand the meaning, purpose and benefits. The word “admonish” doesn’t mean to discipline someone. The actual translation is more like “a warning”. In other words, when you admonish someone you are warning them about sin they may not see and/or the possible consequences of that sin. It is not a harsh spiritual lashing, but a loving warning from a friend…an encouragement to turn away from a sin that is detrimental and in order to grow spiritually.

The benefits of admonishment are beautiful. When my husband and I first got married and lived in Scotland, we were part of a church that truly believed in discipleship and New Testament relationship. My pastor’s wife, a wonderful sister who encouraged me in so many ways, admonished me at times in my walk and in my marriage. While no one’s pride enjoys their sin being brought to life, I was open to her warnings and they ultimately brought me into a deeper relationship with God, a much better marriage and a more full church life experience. We are called to admonish one another for the sake of edification.  The scripture is full of examples and instruction in this way.

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” Acts 20:29-31

“I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.” 1 Corinthians 4:14

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you…” 1 Thess. 5:12

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” 2 Thess.3:15

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Proverbs 19:20

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2

 

In order to build a community and a culture in which admonishment is  a normal part of life, we need to build close relationships. I know that as a believer I want my closest friendships in the body to be with others who want all of what God has for us. Therefore I want to build up relationships where speaking the truth in the love (even admonishment) is welcome and expected. We have to build relationships for this to happen. Admonishing someone you barely know is not always wise or expedient. We don’t run around warning everyone of their sin. This is an aspect of the church family that is found in close knit relationships, where iron sharpens iron (usually making a spark) and where the entire relationship is covered in love, prayer and truth.

Pray about it brethren. Pray about building relationships within the church family that are strong enough to be real with one another. Walking in love and unity, take on the call to admonish, confess, edify and help one another grow up into spiritual maturity. It’s what God wants. We know that from the scripture. We need this blessed benefit of the church family in our lives. We certainly do.

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Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

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“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Proverbs 20:12

This week in our home school my daughter learned about the senses. Our theme song, as we explored the use of our senses, was the old children’s Sunday school song: “Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” We added hand motions and really made it fun. She loves the song. I do too. I also thought about the words. We are cautioning these little ones to guard their eyes, ears, tongue and hands from doing and experiencing evil. Those are important concepts for them to grasp and use throughout their lives. Still, as much as we caution them, a huge amount of that responsibility rests with us while our little ones are in our care.

As parents, what are we allowing our children to see and hear? I have found over the years that my daughter hears and sees more than I’m aware. Whenever I think that she’s not paying attention, she is! Whenever I think I’ve whispered something softly enough, I haven’t! Or what about those super embarrassing moments when your kids rat you out to an outsider about how you said this or that? Yeah, they are listening. They are seeing.

My daughter is a little sponge, soaking up everything around her. I confess I’ve made some bad choices over the last couple of years with what I’ve allowed her to see and hear, even in the background. I’ll never forget a night when we were watching a movie at my mom’s house. The kids were off playing and we didn’t think they were paying any attention to the television. The movie had some cursing in it. I was horrified when my sweet, little toddler walked up to my brother and repeated one of the not-so-appropriate words she had just heard on the TV! I talked to her about how the man on the TV had said a bad word and that we didn’t want to say bad words like that. Still, I felt convicted, and still do when I allow her to overhear and oversee things that are not edifying for her.

It’s my job to guard her eyes and ears. It’s also my job to direct her hands and tongue to doing and speaking what’s right. She isn’t going to always live up to the standards the Lord has given us, anymore than I do! She is going to need re-directing and discipline, and if I truly love her I will provide it. I will teach those hands to serve the Lord and that tongue to preach His love.

Our children are in our care, and it’s a huge responsibility. Knowing that what we allow them to hear, watch and do is going to affect their lives is a heavy burden. Still, we have the greatest resource in parenting in the Word of God. The book of Proverbs is packed full of wisdom for parents in raising up Godly children. I know I’ve made many mistakes in my raising of my daughter thus far, and I’m sure I’ll continue to make them. I pray only that I am strong enough and wise enough to guard her mind and her heart until she is old enough to do it herself.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ” Proverbs 22:6

 

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A Keeper of Your Vows

The Word of God has a lot to say about the importance of a person keeping his or her word and living up to their commitments:

   “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

            “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22

            “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds…” Colossians 3:9

            “If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Numbers 30:2

A vow is a promise. When a woman breaks her wedding vows, she is breaking the promises she has made to her husband, the witnesses and her God. There is no sugar-coating this fact. A vow is a serious matter. Let your “yes” be “yes”. Lying lips are an abomination. Do not lie to one another. If a man (or woman) makes a vow to the LORD….he (she) shall do according to all that proceeds out of his (her) mouth. This is what God’s Word says on the matter.

In case there is anyone who is misled into thinking that the vows she pledged at her wedding were to her husband alone, I encourage you sister to bring to remembrance that a wedding vow is always made in the presence of God, whether it be in a church or a courthouse. The moment you spoke those wedding vows to your husband, you were married in the eyes of the Lord. He took every word you uttered seriously that day. The question is, did you?

That’s a question we wives have to ask ourselves when we are tempted to break our vows in any way. I know I have had to ask myself this question from time to time. I have had to meditate on the importance of my vows and remember that I was speaking those vows to God and my husband alike. The truth is, keeping those vows for a lifetime is no easy undertaking. We see that every time there’s a news article reporting the upsetting divorce rate. That’s why we have to be reminded of the value of a vow and to whom we have made those vows. When the storms come and the home is being rattled and shaken, will be keep our vows to the Lord? When our husbands are not living up to their part of the deal, will we keep our vows to the Lord? When we face a life that is not what we anticipated, will we keep our vows to the Lord? That’s the question that matters most.

If a vow is a promise, and one that is made to spouse, witnesses and God Himself, then what is the penalty for breaking that promise? What can we expect to be the consequences of breaking our vow to the Lord? Just like with any other sin that we allow to enter into our lives, one who breaks her marriage vows will no doubt feel a great hindrance in her relationship with the Lord. Sin hinders our prayer life and quenches the Spirit.

Not only are their spiritual consequences to sin, but history and statistics have shown us that those who break their wedding vows and divorce their spouse oftentimes suffer from hardships, depression, loss of other familial relationships and more. Children of divorced parents usually have a hard time in school, struggle with thoughts of guilt and depression, sometimes lose contact with at least one parent and often have trouble maintaining healthy relationships themselves later in life.

Am I proclaiming that these trials will come to all those who divorce their spouses for reasons that are not permitted in the Word of God? Of course not. I pray these hardships do not come to pass, but they do nonetheless. One thing I find to be particularly troubling is that Christians who divorce seem to suffer a great deal more than unbelievers who divorce, generally-speaking. Perhaps this is because Christians are held to a higher accountability, as Jesus often spoke of in the Word.

“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

It’s quite clear throughout scripture that making a vow, oath or promise before the Lord and failing to live up to it is sin. A wedding vow is no different. While a wedding vow may seem to some to be nothing more than a sweet declaration of love for another, it is far more. It is a spoken contract that should be entered into when a person is thoroughly dedicated and committed to fulfilling those vows.  We come back to that ever-lingering question: will we keep our vows to the Lord?

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What Does it Mean to be in One Accord?

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1

The day the “church” was born, one of the greatest days in church history, it says that the disciples of Jesus were together in one accord in one place. This is important, because God is going to perform great miracles and show His mighty power on this day, but it seems important that the disciples were in one accord and together to set the scene. Throughout scripture we see the Lord calling us to be in “one accord” with one another in the church. We accept this, but I think so often we do so with our own idea of what “one accord” actually means. What does it mean to be in “one accord”? Does it mean we agree on every single issue? Does it mean we are mindless robots without having any understanding of our own? Does it mean we have to agree on each and every theological issue in order to be in fellowship? Instead of forming our own opinion on what God means here, we need to search the Word for the answer.

In Acts 2:1 when it says “one accord”, the Greek word is “homothymadon” which means “with one mind, with one accord, with one passion.” Blue Letter Bible gives a beautiful description of the use of this word here: “A unique Greek word, used 10 of its 12 New Testament occurrences in the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community. Homothumadon is a compound of two words meaning to “rush along” and “in unison”. The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concert master, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ’s church.”

As a musician myself, I love the way this is described. I direct a choir, and I’m always telling my choir that each one of their voices is unique and different. The sing different parts. Not all of their notes, rhythms, tones or words are the same all of the time, but when brought together they make a beautiful song. In the same way, God knits His church together with a variety of colors, flavors, strengths (and weaknesses), visions, gifts, preferences and callings and He brings them all together with One Mind, One Accord, One Passion to make Him a glorious song.

So this word for “one accord” is used several times in Acts. Let’s see what these men of God are doing in one accord:

Prayer and Supplication – “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Acts 1:14 

Fellowship and Community – “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” Acts 2:46

Praised God – “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is…” Acts 4:24

Experienced Miracles – “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.” Acts 5:12

Raised Up and Sent Out Missionaries – “It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,” Acts 15:25

And in Romans…

Glorify God – “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6

These disciples of God were most definitely in one accord and had one passion: Jesus Christ. They were rushing along toward one goal: Jesus. Praise Him. Serve Him. Love Him. Love His people. Bring others to Him. Glorify Him. It was all about Jesus. We lose sight of that so often in the church today! We think we have to agree on every single issue to be in “one accord”. I say that we don’t see that example in scripture. We don’t see division over minor issues. What we see is humble men and women coming together in one place and uniting with one passion, one goal and one mind to serve Jesus. That’s what being in one accord means. It means setting aside your differences and following Jesus together.

Another word for being in “one accord” in the NT is found in Philippians 2:2, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” The word for “one accord” is “sympsychos” and this is what Blue Letter Bible has to say about the etymology of the word: “This word is made up of two words syn (together with) and psychos (soul, self, inner life, or the seat of the feelings, desires, affections). So the word refers to being ‘united in spirit’ or harmonious (BDAG). Paul desired the Philippians to be united in their affections—one in Christ in all desires! Phl 2:2 is the only occurrence of this word in the NT. (Wayne Steury)”

It’s such a beautiful picture, and in it we see the heart of the Father. He desires His people to be in one accord in their desire to follow Him, serve Him, know Him and love Him. Do we have to agree on every issue to do this? We don’t see that in scripture. Being in one accord doesn’t mean we will always agree on every issue that comes our way. There’s just no way for that to happen. We won’t always agree. Awesome, God-fearing Bible scholars have studied the Word their whole lives and come to different conclusions on issues like the balance between predestination and free-will, use or cessation of spiritual gifts, worship preferences and expressiveness, eschatology and so forth. We study the Word to show ourselves approved, being Bereans, and we stand on the truth of God’s Word, but that doesn’t mean we cannot and should not be in one accord with other Christ-followers who know and love the Jesus Christ of the Bible. We do not embrace false teaching/doctrine by embracing men and women who may be getting it wrong in some areas. As Jesus did, we love people. We spend time with them and we encourage them in the Word. We see them as God does…His children, His people, the Bride of Christ and our fellow heirs.

* I’ll say something that is a bit controversial here: some churches seem to think being in one accord or in one mind only applies to the people in their church body. They think it means we are to be in one accord on every single theological issue that pops up or we can’t be in one accord. I say with confidence that this is not at all what God is showing us here in scripture, but rather a skewed understanding based on man’s logic. Actually, it takes great maturity, grace and love to be able to put the “unimportant” or “secondary” issues aside and be in one accord with our brothers and sisters who serve the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Last point and clarification – when I say “Jesus Christ of the Bible”, what I mean is that for a person to be a brother or sister in the Lord, he or she must confess the Jesus we know from the Word. They must believe He is God, part of the triunity of the Godhead, born of a virgin, the Messiah of prophecy and the Messiah of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the author of salvation and the author of the inspired Word of God (Bible), who was sinless but died on the cross for our sins and rose again, standing at the right hand of the Father. These are foundational truths that we must agree on to be in one accord. Can we be in one accord with people who follow another, false god or who follow their own version of Jesus? No. We have to be in one accord in the Spirit, which means we have to have the Spirit of God inside us and that happens when we call upon the Jesus of the Bible.

God desires His people to be in one accord. He wants us to be able to join together to worship and serve Him in one accord. We need to stop looking at believers from other churches, or those who differ on minor issues, as outsiders or enemies. This harms the church as a whole and hurts the heart of our Father.

God bless!

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Infertility – My Story

When I got married, I had no idea I would struggle to conceive. I figured I would try for a few months and be able to have a baby without a long delay. I did not foresee the struggle and pain that the next four years would bring, nor anticipate the amazing work of the Lord through this trial in my life. I share this story now to bring hope, encouragement and comfort to my sisters who have experienced, or are even now experiencing the pain of infertility.

My husband and I had no plans of waiting to have a child when we were married. We wanted to get a family started right away. I had dreamed of a large family with five plus kids. We never prevented pregnancy in any way. Three months passed and nothing. I wasn’t too concerned, reading online that it took healthy when up to a year to conceive at times. We were living in Scotland at the time and I figured the stress of moving to a new country may be putting my body on hold.

As time went on, I struggled with watching friend after friend conceive and deliver precious babies, while for me it wasn’t happening. My husband and I prayed and tried to leave our concerns in the hands of the Lord. As a woman I found the struggle to be particular painful because there were so many shades of emotion. I struggled with impatience, sadness, longing, jealousy….I confess these are not attractive or righteous attitudes. I prayed. Released the pain to God. After a time it would return like a haunting spirit.

For years the pain and fear built upon itself until the point came when I realized the seriousness of what was going on. A dear friend of mine announced she was pregnant with her second child. I had been trying to conceive since before she was pregnant with the first. Suddenly I was no longer a healthy woman being impatient….I was a woman struggling with infertility. I cried more tears during that time than at any other time in my life. I asked God why He had excluded me from the blessing of being a mother when it was all that I wanted. I begged Him for my womb to be open. I cried out in anger when His answer wasn’t an immediate “yes”.

During this time I found it very difficult to be around my pregnant friends. I could hardly handle a baby shower. I grew bitter and was so emotionally tender. I was highly affected by every flippant comment made by people telling me I should have a baby or asking me why we were waiting. We moved back to the US and I found myself at a church that was highly “fertile” ground, as it were. Women were having babies nearly every month and yet I sat by, an incomplete and defective woman in my own estimation. I felt that people looked down on me, that they assumed I was infertile because of my own failure or sin, and that they treated me like a child because I couldn’t to conceive. Some of this was the wayward imaginations of my own mind, and some of it had some merit, I will say.

I hit rock bottom and came to the point when I had to really give it all over to the Lord to be able to function. He was faithful to take my burden. While I still struggled with the pain, God went through it with me and gave me comfort.

Then, four years into my infertility….

I was at a woman’s Wednesday night Bible study and we came across a verse Psalm 113:9. “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!” The verse, meant to encourage, broke my heart. I wept to my sisters and allowed them to minister to me. Then at church on Sunday, my pastor read the same Psalm again. I was surprised to hear it again and filled with emotion. Tuesday morning I found out I was pregnant.

The realization of what God had done hit me full force. I knew there was no coincidence. He had given me that verse and confirmed it to prove that it was Him and Him alone who opened my womb. He is the opener and closer of wombs and the only Creator of life! My first feelings weren’t as much of joy as they were of fear. Cramping had led me to the pregnancy test in the first place, so I feared I was miscarrying. Praise the Lord that it wasn’t so and I my daughter, Tabitha, was born a little over 7 months later.

If you struggle with infertility and are reading this, the victory at the end of my story may cause you the same pain that I experienced at hearing of the pregnancies of friends. I’m sorry for this and pray that you will be comforted as I was. My prayer in sharing it is that it will bring you hope and comfort. You are not defective or unworthy of being a mother. God has reasons above our understanding for why He gives children to some and withholds from others. I did nothing to earn my daughter. God had a plan and a time.

Since my daughter’s birth I have again been unable to conceive, and it has been over four years. Again, my husband and I have not tried to prevent pregnancy, so I would now be considered as having secondary infertility. Of course, these words are just terms to define your current state. God is as much in control now as He was when He gave me my daughter. He could give me another child, or He could say no. While I would love to have more children, I believe wholeheartedly that God’s purpose and plan is what’s best. Perhaps He will allow my husband and I to adopt? We are open to His leading.

I wrap this testimony up by sharing three encouragements:

1. God is sovereign and He is the one who opens and closes wombs. Our hope is in the Lord. Just like Hannah petitioning the Lord for a child, we cry out to Him and receive from Him what He wills. We must trust Him and we need to allow His comfort to minister to us and bring us peace and contentment.

2. If you are struggling with infertility, please know that you are not defective or incomplete as a woman. You are complete in Christ. In Christ all fullness dwells and you are in Christ my sister. You lack nothing. God may be allowing you to go through this trial for a purpose that is far beyond what we can see or imagine. I pray fervently that the Lord will open your womb if it be His will. I pray even more so that, no matter what He chooses to do, that you would receive a flood of comfort from the Throne of Grace.

3. If you have a friend who is barren, I pray that you will seek to understand and be sensitive to what a painful struggle she is likely to be going through. Guard her heart by being cautious of your words. Don’t make light of it or joke. I guarantee that, while she may smile on the outside, she is weeping on the inside. Pray for her. Remember her.

For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

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No More Strength Left

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” – Psalm 73:26
Have you ever had one of those days? Do you know what I mean by “those days”? It’s as if every time you turn around something is falling apart. Every time you get a phone call it seems to be more bad news. Your body is tired and your heart becomes weary. You feel like you have nothing left to give, and yet you’ve got others counting on you and depending on you to meet their needs. Have you had one of those days? Maybe you’re having one today. Maybe it’s been one of those months or one of those years. Maybe it feels like it never stops.
We all have days like that. Some of us have more than others. Some suffer for long periods of time with various trials and tribulations. Life on earth can be hard and cruel. Sin ravages our land and the sin of others can bring us great suffering. Our own sin can cause long-lasting consequences that persist even after the blood of Jesus brings us complete redemption. On days like these, when it seems that everything is coming up against us, we have to choose to look to Jesus. The truth is, everything IS coming up against us but, if God is for us, whom shall we fear?
There will be days that we have no more strength left. Our heart fails and our flesh is weak and weary. At those moments, when we just feel like we can’t take another step, we must remember that God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. God is our strength. He is our endurance. When we fall upon Him, He is the One that lifts us up and carries us through to the end. He renews our strength.
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
God doesn’t faint or grow weary. He never will. He is our strength. You know, I think the truth is we would never fully understand that concept if we never get to that point of utter exhaustion. If we never grew weary, would we ever experience the supernatural strength of God filling us up and renewing us? If we never fell apart, would we recognize how much we need Him?
If you’re having one of those days, beloved, fear not. Your God is mighty and His strength is everlasting. Fall into His arms and let Him carry you. Be weak and let Him be strong for you. It’s like that Savage Garden song says, “If you need to fall apart, I can mend a broken heart. If you need to crash then crash and burn, you’re not alone.” You’re not alone. God is your strength, your portion, the mender of your heart and your loving Father. So if you have no more strength left, fall on Jesus.
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