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


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 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…

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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.


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!


Salsa and Submission

I love salsa! No, not the stuff you eat with tortilla chips and tacos! I mean the dance. I love the music, the poise of the dancers, and how easy they make it look! I’ve never had salsa lessons, but Thabiti and I have talked about taking lessons for years.

So, I was in conversation with a friend today, trying to explain biblical submission and contrasting it with the world’s skewed view of what submission really means. We’ve spoken on this topic a couple of times now, and she admitted being helped by the discussion. I was satisfied, so we moved on to lighter conversations regarding life and free time and such. I discovered that she loves to dance salsa! Not only does she love the dance, but she even goes to the salsa conventions and attends workshops on everything from rhythm and technique to ladies styling to various turn patterns, lifts and tricks.

I asked her why she loved salsa so much and she began to describe how beautiful the dance is, especially if you have a good partner who knows how to lead well. As she elaborated, she talked about the importance of the man’s leadership in the dance. She said if the guy does not lead well it’s disastrous. The man is to “show the lady”, meaning he makes her fluorish, he leads with gentleness and he leads smoothly without sudden, strong jerky movements. It also means it’s the man’s job to have the choreography in his head, and to lead in such a way that she anticipates and follows through on the couples next moves. The man is responsible for keeping proper tension in the dance, so that the entire dance is elegant and beautiful. The woman wants her partner to lead well. She doesn’t want to have to work to figure out his next moves; her responses come naturally without even having to think consciously about it. She improvises and adds appropriate fluorishes and motions to keep the dance going and to help with smooth transitions.

As my friend described the role of the male leader in salsa, I said to her, “So you do understand submission!” So much of her description fit the biblical pattern of male leadership and female submission. I tried to do a search to find out what makes a good follower in the salsa dance, and there was nothing! This helped me realize that the man’s leadership is crucial to how well she submits. So, I found this article, and thought it basically highlighted what biblical leadership/and salsa leadership looks like (emphasis mine).

• LEADING VS. MAKING. Most girls will be familiar with guys making you do the turns and combinations. After all, when you go home after a night of salsa dancing, you feel that your whole body is sore as you if were beaten by a gang of wild monkeys. Guys! Lead as if you were showing the way, not as if you were making her play catch up. It’s ok to be toned and firm, guys, but not rough. There is a line between those two concepts and believe me, it’s not a fine one. There is a big difference when it comes down to making versus leading. Want to know what kind of lead you are? Do a survey among the girls you dance with. They’ll be happy to tell you.

• BE SPECIFIC. This one baffles me: the guy places the hand up and somehow, by magic, he expects the girl to turn. What kind of dance instructor teaches this concept to their students? Every move has to be specific guys. If you want to move a chair from point A to B, you have to make it happen right? So lead as if you were making the turn happen. But remember: guide vs. make. Be assertive in your moves as if she were to close her eyes and still be able to follow you.

• PUT YOURSELF IN HER SHOES. Guys, guys, guys!! If she is falling after the same turn patterns, or she feels uncomfortable with some of your moves, then don’t do them. Try combinations and moves that help the girl feel more comfortable, and are at her level of dancing. Always adapt to her, without expecting her to adapt to you. It’s funny to see some guys doing the same endless turns until the girl is falling down. You guys, this is not your signal to stop those turns. If she is loosing her balance, don’t keep going on and on.

• IMPROVE YOUR LEAD VS. SHE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO FOLLOW. Changing this perspective will help you see opportunities to be better at leading. Often times, I hear guys make comments like: “I don’t like dancing with her, she can’t follow”. Instead why don’t you say to yourself: “What can I do to improve my lead in this particular move, so that she can follow it next time?” After all you want to improve as a lead right? Then start by working on yourself. Thinking this way helps you be the guy who can lead everybody. And ladies will enjoy dancing with you because of that.

• BE CLOSER TO HER. Let me put it in other words: be within reach. Dance at a distance that will make it easy for you as a lead so you don’t have to be running after her. I suggest a one-foot distance between your body and hers as you dance. You will feel more in control and this will help her feel your lead. In addition to this, don’t over extend your arms when you dance, especially in your open breaks. This creates extra distance between you and your partner, making it hard to reach or lead the next move.

• BE IN TUNE WITH THE WAY HER BODY FEELS AS SHE DANCES. Pay attention to how she feels, her movement, her momentum, her resistance, her body language, her distance, and her styling. You will be able to place combinations and moves that flow and fit the moment versus placing moves or combos for the sake of the move.

• PAY ATTENTION TO THE MUSIC. If you don’t, you are just going through the motion – you are not dancing. Remember that we dance to the music, and so does the girl. You will also be able to coordinate your moves better, and trust me, your dancing will improve dramatically.

• LEARN HOW TO BE AN EFICIENT LEAD, AND THEN APPLY STYLING. Many guys out there get so into the moves and styling that they end up forgetting about leading the girl, or end up confusing her. Sometimes styling can interfere with the girl’s following, so be aware of it. Assertive leading helps you be in tune with your dance partner. Do you feel in tune with the people you dance with or are you just dancing with yourself?

• KEEP LEARNING. Learn other dances: It improves your favorite dance. Think you know it all? Then you must be a world champion and everyone enjoys dancing with you! Not your case? Not to worry! We can all improve and learn new things, even as a professional dancer I will always continue learning. Take some private lessons, work on your technique and try learning a new dance.

And the final one:

• LEARN HOW TO FOLLOW. This is the best thing you could do, if you are really serious about dancing. Do you really want to be exceptionally good at leading? Then practice following. Take your dancing to the next level and understand dancing from the follower’s perspective. True leaders know how followers feel. What better way to know than by being one?

All these little tips will help you get there as a great leader. And always remember: when it comes down to being a successful dancer, the stronger the foundations, the better you will be able to build upon them. So get to it!


I would add my own suggestion to this great list–
• ENJOY THE DANCE! A well-placed compliment, smile or encouragement goes a long way towards making the dance fun for all!

As I reflect on this and try to make application to my own life as a wife desiring to submit to my husband as to the Lord, I’ve learned that:

Submission is hard. It’s especially hard when my desire is for my husband’s position as head (Genesis 3:16) and I want to pursue a different route than the one he deems best for our family.

Submission is for my husband. There are few ways to encourage my husband more than to show my respect for him as a man by trusting him enough to follow his lead. Of course, the Lord is at work, causing him to lead our family in an honorable way, or causing him to learn hard lessons that could only be learned through his mistakes in leading our family. But I must respect him enough to know that his intentions for our family are good, even when things don’t turn out as we’d planned or hoped for.

Submission is for God’s glory. He calls me to submit to Him so that the world would have a glimpse of his headship over the church.

Submission is also for my faith. When I would have chosen a different course of action than my husband, I must trust the Lord to work out His good purposes in that situation.

Submission is for my joy. When my husband loves me with a Christ-like love, giving himself for me, taking interest in my spiritual life, showing tender care and love for me, it brings me great joy. Joy in being his wife, and joy in knowing that Christ’s love for me is infinitely greater having demonstrated His great love toward me in that while I was still in my sin, He died for me.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:22-33