Convinced

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:38-39


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To Women Who Feel Guilty About Their Abortions

I have purposely been avoiding most of the press and debate surrounding the Gosnell trial. It’s too painful to think about, let alone watch on tv or read in print. I don’t want to drum up controversy. I’m just thinking about women I know who have had abortions and wondering how they are processing this. I want to offer hope to women who feel a sense of guilt over their abortion. To those women, I would like to say:

I know this must be painful. Reliving your own past, revisiting the circumstances that led to your abortion, telling yourself again and again that you did the right thing at the time for yourself and for your baby. Trying not to think about it too much for fear of the reality of your actions hitting and breaking your heart. Crying into your pillow at night, thinking about how old your baby would be right now, and the times you have missed caring for your own. Coming to the realization that the better life you hoped would result from not bringing a child into this world, is not that much better. Wondering if the better life would have been one in which you joyfully embraced motherhood and allowed family and friends to help you as you finished school and worked long hours. Imagining what it would have been like to hold your baby, cuddle him to sleep, watch her take those first steps, cheer him on in football, encourage her in academics. It must be painful to consider what actually happened in that abortion clinic—to you and to your baby.

My heart breaks for you. My heart longs for you to be free from guilt.

The great news is that God is willing to forgive you of this particular sin, but He is willing and able to forgive you of all your sin-past, present and future. In reality, there are many other sins for which we would stand before the Lord as guilty. Jesus died so that we would not have to pay the penalty that we deserve for our sins. When we repent, meaning turn away from a life of sin, and trust that Christ’s death satisfies God’s anger over our sins, then the Lord clears us from the debt of death we owe God for our sin, and makes us new and holy people.

If you’re already a Christian but struggle with the weight of guilt over your sin, remember what Christ has already done for you. Live in the freedom that He purchased for you. Remember that though your sins were like scarlet, Christ has made you white as snow. Pray on behalf of others who are considering the path you have walked. Pray that they would run the other way and trust in the Lord to care for them and their baby.

May this be your comfort, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter” (2 Corinthians 7:10-11).

You may wonder how you could “prove yourself innocent” when you feel so guilty. Three hundred years ago, a pastor named Matthew Henry offered this clarity and encouragement to you who feel the weight of guilt, and to us who don’t want to hold you in condemnation:

“Not that they were innocent, but that they were penitent, and therefore clear of guilt before God, who would pardon and not punish them; and they ought no longer to be reproved, much less to be reproached, by men, for what they had truly repented of.”

May the Lord give you a heart of repentance, and may He give us a heart to care for you in love.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss - Niles, MI

Revive Our Hearts is a ministry dedicated to helping women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. They have a wealth of helpful resources to help women grow in our relationship with Christ and for that growth to flow out in loving service to those around us.

One resource I’ve greatly benefited from has been their “30 Day Challenges”. I’ve completed several of these challenges over the years, some of them multiple times! They are always such a balm to my weary and wandering soul, and an encouragement to persevere in my trials and to pursue holiness with renewed passion. They are Scripture-saturated challenges that will encourage your heart. Give one a try for the next 30 days!


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Learning Submission on I-95

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It was a joy to share with Domestic Kingdom readers, some of the lessons the Lord taught me about submission on I-95! Please add www.domestickingdom.com to your blog rolls, readers/feeds and to your prayers!

Here’s a snippet:

When we moved from Washington, DC we took a long road trip down the coast to visit family along the way and have our car shipped to the Cayman Islands. We were embarking on a new phase of life and ministry together.

After visiting family in North Carolina, we decided to stop in Savannah, Georgia (I wanted to go to Paula Dean’s Restaurant) and also in Orlando, Florida (for Disney, of course).

Weeks in advance, I started asking Thabiti about our travel plans. Should I go ahead and book hotels? Where would he like to stay and for how long? What other stops should we make along the way? His response– silence.

Click here for the rest of the post…

FBC at TGC


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The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

It was such a joy to attend The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference with my pre-teen daughter and the women of FBC, soaking in God’s Word from amazing Bible teachers from all over the world. It was a spiritually fruitful time and I am still working my way back through many of the plenary sessions and workshops.  Take some time and have your soul enriched by listening to these sessions at the conference website.


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Young, Restless, Reformed, and Female: An Interview

Recently, I had the pleasure of sharing some thoughts on women in academia with Katie Fischer and Whitney Waldemar, students at Bethlehem College and Seminary. It was an honor to encourage women to pursue biblical studies as a way to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ, and to enhance their service in the home and in their local churches.

Here’s the interview re-posted below:

[Recently, BCS senior Katie Fischer and junior Whitney Waldemar interviewed Kristie Anyabwile for her perspective on education for the home, church, and world.  Kristie is a North Carolina native and graduate of NC State University with a degree in History, as well as a B.A. in African American Studies. She and her husband, Thabiti, live in the Cayman Islands where Thabiti serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman. This post has been edited for length.]

How does theological or worldview education equip women for service in the church?
Biblically…the primary means for this equipping is [through leadership at] the local church. That said, theological education can help women to understand and engage the world from a biblical perspective. Then, we can pass this knowledge and perspective on to other women and to the next generation in our local church. Being knowledgeable about worldviews can be very helpful in counteracting much of secular, feminist thinking that has been the steady diet of most women ages 60 and younger.

How does the church body benefit from women who are well-trained in the Bible?
…The body benefits as each person’s gifts are used to equip the saints and build up the body until we all reach maturity in Christ (Eph. 4:11–16). [As] pastors [are faithful] to teach sound doctrine to the entire body, women are given special charge to train each other in areas that are specific to women, and likewise for the men (Titus 2:1–5).

Do you see a need for more women in biblical studies?
It would definitely be helpful for the body of Christ, especially in answering egalitarian and secular women scholars. They are wreaking havoc on women’s studies programs and making very compelling but disastrous arguments for their positions. They continue to entice women toward feminism and unbiblical egalitarian views of women’s roles in the home and in the church.

Why we should encourage women to study in rigorous, academic settings?
If a woman has interests in that regard, we should encourage her to do it as a means to grow in her knowledge of God and in her love for God and in her service to God. This in no way means that academia is the only or even the preferred way for women to grow. The bottom line is that we should encourage women to study as hungry and thirsty babes, tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.

Why is it important for women to be in ministry? How does women’s ministry in the church strengthen male leadership?
[It is important because] we’re all called to minister to one another through teaching, correction, singing (Col. 3:16); loving one another (Rom. 13:8); encouraging and building one another up in the faith (1 Thess. 5:11); accepting and welcoming one another (Rom. 15:7); being kind and forgiving one another (Eph. 4:32); comforting and living at peace with one another (2 Cor. 13:11), and so on.

There are a myriad of ministry areas for women to be involved in that support the overall vision of the elders and leaders of their local church. In fact, I would argue that all women’s ministry activities should be directed under the guidance of the elders and leaders of the local body. Women’s ministry should serve as an example of biblically submitting to the authorities over us. Godly submission frees both men and women to be and do all that the Lord calls us to in the church and in the world, for His glory and for the building up of His kingdom.

Women in ministry can actually extend and strengthen the ministry of the elders, and the church as a whole. As women disciple, mentor, and counsel each other, they are able to minister to a greater number of women in those relationships than perhaps the elders would be able to.

Is it important for women to be scholars? Is there a place for women scholarship in the church?
Yes! Christian women are present and productive and serving in all spheres of [secular academia and other occupations]. In the same way that women seek to be excellent in their fields of secular scholarship, as Christians they are called to use their gifts and expertise to advance the kingdom of Christ. This is the call for all Christians—women included.

Women can bring their scholarship and expertise in teaching other women, encouraging their brothers in Christ, as well as in how they listen and respond to the preached word. They can also become biblical scholars, bringing another level of thinking and inquiry that would serve to strengthen the church against false philosophies and ideas that threaten it from inside and outside its walls…

What is the place for women feeding themselves? (Not to the exclusion of being fed by pastors, husbands, etc., but not being wholly dependent on them for it.)
“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Women are to seek the Lord while He may be found (Isa. 55:6). We don’t ultimately depend on our elders, but on God Himself, through His Word, by the power of the Spirit, and through the other means of grace He gives us to feast on God’s Word. We use all the resources the Lord has given to us—His infallible, all-sufficient Word; our own study and devotional life; the local church, the academy… conference & seminars; [various media tools]. We are so blessed to have these resources available to us. We should use them all to taste the goodness of the Lord and to enjoy sweet fellowship with Him.

What are temptations that women should guard against as they pursue a biblical or worldview education?
Secularism. Feminism. Egalitarianism. Pride.

Especially for women, there is the temptation to use their biblical/theological studies in ways that undermine male headship. …As a part of the fall, women have a sinful desire for the man’s place of leadership. This desire is manifested in the church when we fight for positions of authority and leadership that are outside Scripture’s teaching. …Women often become discouraged and bitter when don’t see opportunities to use their gifts in the local church. …There could [also] be a real temptation toward spiritual pride and self-righteousness… (Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 8:1) or deceiving ourselves into thinking that we’re wise… (1 Cor. 3:18)…

How do you encourage women to think about education as you mentor them?
…Women should keep in mind that they have freedom in Christ to pursue or not to pursue higher education. Here are some questions to consider:

    • Are there any stage of life concerns you should factor in your decision (single, married with small children, etc.)
    • How much time will you be able to devote to your job, family and church while you’re in school?
    • Will this course of study help you in spreading the gospel?
    • Will you have to go in debt to finance your education? If so, what’s your plan for paying it off?

Education is one building block for helping women to think critically and to love God with all our minds, fully engaging our thinking “to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things.” (Piper,Think, p. 83). Education should be a means to this end.


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My Husband Tattletaled on Me…to the Dance Teacher!

Remember the salsa and submission discussion? Well, we actually had the opportunity to take a salsa dance class recently, and it was so much fun! My husband describes some of the lessons we learned about dance and submission here.

One thing in particular stood out to us as we began to dance together. I didn’t realize it at first, but I was holding back our ability to dance well together by anticipating his next move and trying to “go there” before he gave me the appropriate signal. To get us back on track, he actually tattletaled on me to the teacher! This is what we discovered:

 Submission and anticipation are contradictions. Now, this little lesson was eye-opening for me.  For a while, I kept complaining to Kristie that she wasn’t doing what I wanted.  One problem was the close tension issue above.  But another problem was her attempt to anticipate my next move.  She was actually trying to help and dance with me.  But her efforts to “help me lead” were hampering my ability to lead.  Let me say that again for any wives that missed it: Her efforts to “help me lead” were hampering my ability to lead.

I was trying to signal a turn, but she would be millisecond a head of me into a side step.  I noticed something about myself at that point.  First, I was growing irritated and frustrated but didn’t quite know why.  I knew I was trying to do something and, even though she was trying to dance with me, she wasn’t with me.  I’d try again, but it still wouldn’t work.  Second, I kept trying the same “adjustment” rather than something different.  Like, say, talk about it.  I kept saying, “You’re not letting me lead.”  She kept saying, “What are you talking about?”  I’d say, “Stop leading.”  She’d say, “What do you mean?”  When I asked for a little coaching from the teacher, she’d even watch the teacher and try to do the step, too.  Even that frustrated me because I felt like she was interrupting my efforts to learn to lead.

Then I told the teacher on her!  Great move.  Best move all night.  Our salsa instructor pointed out that in no circumstance was she to anticipate my next move.  Anticipating was, in effect, leading–which wasnt’ her role.  Her efforts to “help me lead” were actually blocking my ability to lead.  A marvelous thing happened after that.  We put the healthy tension and closeness in our dance, she stopped anticipating, and I was able to lead.  We danced well together!

Point: Ladies, ask your husband if there are ways you’re trying to help him that seem to hinder his efforts to lead.  That may be an area where your well-intended anticipations actually usurp leadership and ruin the blessing of submission.

Well said by my dear hubby!


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Here is Our God: God’s Revelation of Himself in Scripture

Registration is now open for The Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference. From the conference website:

The Gospel Coalition’s 2012 National Women’s Conference is for women but not all about women. It’s about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a time to learn more of what Scripture says to us—and to say it to each other. A time to dig deeper into the character of God and his purpose for his people. A time to gather together and share biblical encouragement  as sisters, daughters, wives, mothers, and friends.

I am excited about this conference and have the privilege of teaching a workshop while also sitting under the teaching of mentors and colleagues. More postings on this to come later!