Monday, March 5, 2018

Light Burdens | Guest Post With Missionary Julie McCrum

Thank you, Julie, for this guest post. I heard Julie speak at my church during an event for ladies and asked her to share her message on my blog. Enjoy!

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.



Each one of us who have trusted the Lord has a different calling or burden from Him, something He wants us to accomplish in this life. The Lord gives grace to each one to do what He has called us to do...and it’s not so bad!

Last year, I was blessed to attend a ladies’ camp, where I heard an old (in her nineties) missionary lady, Louise Champlin, give her testimony. She had grown up as a missionary kid in the Congo, and later served the Lord with her husband in Suriname, South America. Boy, did she have the stories! In one of these she told how after arriving in the Congo, her mother passed away. The next day, the native people came to talk to her father about salvation, because, “we see you don’t fear death.” She recalled another time, when by God’s power, her quiet, tender-footed husband walked on hot coals unburned, as he challenged a local witch doctor’s power. Hearing her stories, I was tempted to think, “Wow, she’s a real missionary! She really gave up a lot for the Lord and His work.” But, you know when speaking with her later, I didn’t get that sense at all. She spoke as though all those adventures were just “reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

Tanya is a lady in our church in South Africa whose husband has recently been called into full time ministry. She and I went for coffee one day, and as we were discussing the challenges and joys of being a pastor’s wife, she said to me, “Julie, you’re so brave!” But I don’t feel so brave. Being a missionary wife in South Africa is what the Lord has called me to do, and He has prepared me for it in a hundred ways. I am just a girl, like any of you reading this blog, who is following the Lord by His grace. Jesus told us that His burden is light. The things He calls us to do are not so bad. In fact, we find our greatest joy in doing His will!

 As women, I think we are especially prone to compare ourselves to each other. We think, “Her life looks so hard! I could never...” But the Lord didn’t ask you to live her life. He asks you to live yours. He has given her all the grace she needs to do what He’s called her to do, and He’s given you all the grace you need to do what He’s called you to do (2 Corinthians 12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for thee...”)

I have another friend who recently transitioned from being an evangelist’s wife to a pastor’s wife in a local church. I thought she would be glad to finally have a “home.” But as we chatted, I realized that she was actually struggling with a bit of boredom...I mean, the same church every week! She’ll find her feet, I know, but my point is that she was perfectly suited to being an evangelist’s wife... something I think, “I could never...” If I’m honest, I would feel a little bored and out of place if the Lord ever called us back to the USA. I mean, running water and electricity every day? Where’s the challenge in that?! 

So what should you do with these verses and stories I’ve been sharing?

 • First, try not to compare yourself to others. It rarely helps, as you can never really know the burdens that another lady might be carrying, or the journey that brought her to where she is.

 • Second, don’t feel sorry for those who seem to be doing something hard. In Acts 20: 24, Paul has just told his friends that he is headed for Jerusalem, and he knows trials are waiting for him along the way, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul said that the trials were nothing compared to the joy of spreading the gospel and doing God’s will for his life. The Lord had given him special grace to endure those things...with joy! If your friend whose life looks scary to you is walking with the Lord, she is probably happy and fulfilled. Don’t feel sorry for her!

 • Third, don’t feel sorry for yourself, either. I mean this in the kindest possible way, but really, ladies, the Lord has prepared you with the exact experiences and gifts you need in order to do what He’s called you to do. So rely on His abundant grace, and do it. You will find great joy in doing so. 

• Fourth, let me encourage you, especially if you are a young person, with all your big decisions ahead of you: trust Him with your life. You will never regret it! Maybe putting your “all on the altar” sounds too scary...will you ever have any fun?! I’m telling you, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. The burden is not nothing, but it’s not so bad, either. You can do it, by His grace. 

In conclusion, I want to challenge all of us today to believe what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 11:28-30. Whatever your burdens may be: endless laundry, busy schedule, financial strain, health issues... lift up your eyes from those things and look to the Savior. He said His burden is light. He said we could find rest for our souls. Let’s choose to trust Him today, and serve Him with joy in the place where He’s called us. 

Thank you for sharing, Julie! You can visit her at their family website HERE.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What It's Really Like to Mourn a Child

This post contains affiliate links.

There have been so many thoughts on my heart and mind lately, but finding the time to write here during the Christmas season has been difficult. But today I need to write, time or no time. I have a Christmas party coming up, my house is in shambles, but the words must come. It be rambles, but those of you who have grieved understand.

Everyone's experience is different. But I know SO many mothers will relate to this post, in part, if not in whole.

Empty arms (and womb) during the Christmas season is much harder than I think most people who have never miscarried can even fathom.

I don't know what it's like to lose a spouse, a parent, or a grandparent. All grief is different, and I don't know how to relate by experience to that kind of pain. But I do know what it's like to lose a baby. And a first born baby at that.


Grief is a funny thing. It's almost something that must be learned as you go. It something that is always there, but triggers the strangest responses. Most of those responses are unpredictable and even uncomprehendable.

It's been strange, being fine one moment and sobbing the next. 

I can't understand why some days I just want to stand in the baby center at Target, basking in the cuteness and thinking happy thoughts for the future. And then there are other days when I can't even look at a baby or a baby outfit.

One day I can sing my heart out and it comforts me. The next, I can't whisper a word without crying. Comfort comes in different forms on different days, even different hours.

It's odd how life becomes a strange combination of being truly happy for other people's joys, yet discovering that their birth, baby announcement, or even family photos are such a painful reminder. You see yet another baby announcement on social media and feel this awful pang because, no matter how happy you are for them, it's also another reminder that you didn't get to keep your baby. You don't want people with babies to keep away from you and you don't want people to be paranoid of hurting you, yet anything baby related does hurt. This very post has a diaper ad in it and, for goodness sake, it hurts!

The grief of losing a child is a different kind of grief because, for a woman, it's also physical. Your body changes chemically, physically, emotionally. Everything changes to prepare for a baby who never comes. Your thinking is different. Your instincts are different. The desire to nurture that many women instinctively have becomes a hundred times stronger, only there is no baby to nurse, bathe, cuddle. 

Arms ache without warning because they're supposed to be holding something that isn't there. You want to rock, to move, to clasp a baby that is real in your mind and heart but not tangibly present. You see another mother with her baby and simply ache all over. 

It doesn't matter how long or how short one is pregnant. When you become a mother, you stay one forever. Grace is always with me. I still put a hand on my stomach because it feels like she is there. Even though we didn't lost her after birth, it still feels like someone is missing in our house, at our table, and beside us in church.


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One thing I've observed is how rushed our culture is about death and loss. After a few short weeks, it is as if one is expected to move on--to resume life as it was. Only, few seem to realize that you can never go back. Life will never be the way it was, you will never be the way you were, and you are not supposed to.

In time's past, black was worn for at least a year (if not longer.) While I know that forcing mourning upon someone is not the best idea, I do think folks had the right idea of some of the customs. By your attire, folks always knew you were mourning. They couldn't forget. It was a constant reminder that you had lost someone very precious, were grieving, and respect needed to be shown. You weren't expected to "get over" it. Time was given and extra sympathy and respect was paid.

I think of the Jewish people, who, in the Bible, would lay aside everything to cry and mourn for an entire month. There were other signs too, such as ripping their clothing, but what struck me is how passionate Eastern culture was about grief. There was a deep, emotional response that we Americans have a habit of shrinking from. 

To someone who has ever mourned in any way, you understand why those traditions could actually be nice. 

As a mother of a baby in heaven, it's my instinct to want to preserve my baby's memory. I don't want people to forget or cease to talk about her or act as if I am no longer grieving just because, well, life does go on. That's one of the hardest points of grief--the sun does keep on rising and setting. You can't stay in bed the rest of your life (although I've been sorely tempted.) You have to keep going. Yet, when you do--when you're smiling, brave, and continue to be as involved socially as possible--it feels like the memory of your loss is forgotten. It might actually be nice to constantly wear black so, even when I am smiling, folks understand the pain behind it. 

I guess I just want to say that I understand this season hurts for many people. It's a season of unceasing joy in the midst of your pain. It's even a season of talking about babies--Baby Jesus. 

Yet, behind all the twinkling lights and gifts and the joy of celebrating Jesus coming into the world, a LOT of mothers were crying, brokenhearted, during the first season of His birth. Countless mothers lost their babies to Herod's cruelty. There was in Ramah a voice heard, Rachel weeping for her babies because they were dead. If I think losing my baby was senseless and even cruel, imagine how those mothers felt. We're not told if anything good came out of that awful, awful event. 

Mary did get to keep her baby and I'm sure it was a joyous event for her. Yet her baby was born to die. I've often thought that my baby died to be born, born in heaven. But Jesus was born to die--and the Bible tells us that Mary had to watch. If I think my baby dying was excruciating pain, I'm not sure what it must have been like to watch your son die nailed to a cross. 

Christmas is a hard time, because it feels like your loss in swallowed up in celebration. But the very first Christmas held a terrible amount of suffering too. Those of us who have lot a baby during the holidays can know that we are not alone.


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I've learned a lot. I'm still learning. This kind of grief is different and walking through it is a daily learning process. But here is what I've gleaned so far and may it help other grieving mothers too:
  • Give yourself time. Too many people rush healing. I've seen it. And it results in hidden depression, breakdowns, and even bitterness because being strong didn't really help anything. It just kept grieving people going to do what other people wanted them to do, not necessarily doing what was best. So don't. You don't have to be strong (although God does definitely give grace and will be strong for you if you let Him.) 
  • You don't have to say yes to every social or ministry obligation. Really. Keeping insanely busy does not promote healing, just forgetfulness. Serving is good to a point (it's therapeutic!) but not if it's replacing healing. Saying no isn't easy (trust me--I tend to be a people pleaser and feel guilty if I'm not doing what everybody wants me to be doing.) But it's good to step back from things that may hinder healing or add frustration/stress during a time that needs to be a little quieter, a little less busy.
  • Don't stay in bed all day. At the same time, serving others (to a healthy point) is very beneficial. Serving alongside my husband at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission has been very healing. Christmas shopping and endeavoring to do little things for those the Lord places on my heart has also been good for me. 
  • Recognize you will never be the same. I'm okay with never being the same again. Losing a baby when you don't have another child at home is so hard because you're a mother with completely empty arms. I'm not going to be the person I was before. We're not supposed to go back. 
  • Find something/somebody to nurture. I got a puppy. It's different for everyone. Maybe you'll find comfort in serving in a nursery or volunteering at a nursing home. 

If you have any tips for healing and plain old surviving grief, please share them in the comments. You never know how it may help someone. 

And, if you're grieving this season, I'm sorry. Really. Message me. Ask for prayer. Or find someone who will pray with you and support you. Don't try to be strong alone. And by that, I mean, yes, we have God and the Bible. But we also need people. We're relational and we were never meant to survive grief alone.

"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 40:31

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." --Isaiah 43:2

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

And Love Goes On


I don't know how to even start. 

Several years ago, my friend Erynn went through a terrible loss. I remember appreciating her transparency, her realness during the time. I remember being grateful that she put her story on her blog so we could pray. During this last week, I've looked back on her story and been even more grateful that I had her story to refer to. 

Now I want to do the same. It hurts to share our story and it hurts to be real. There is a hole in my heart--in our hearts--that will never heal. But I'm fine with that. I'm okay with realizing that we'll never be the same. 


Samuel and I believe that every life is precious. We believe that life begins at conception and that a child is a child no matter how small. When we shared our news on our blog and with everyone we know and love, we wanted to give you a chance to love our baby too. I'm glad we did. I'm glad y'all got to know our little baby in just a tiny way before it was time to say goodbye.

Last Saturday, I remember feeling a strong urge for Samuel to just put his hand on my tummy. I don't know why. He did. And it was the last time we both got to experience that beautiful moment when the father of a baby places his hand on the place she's nestled in.

Sunday the 29th started like any other Sunday, except, if possible, crazier than ever. We picked up the shelter guests from the rescue mission, took them to early service, I played the piano, we sang in the choir and I played the offertory for the second service, then I taught Children's Church--all the while feeling very sick and pregnant. But by the time I got home, I was bleeding. 

It's a very normal part of pregnancy for many women. I knew that. But I knew it wasn't for me. That night, while Samuel was at work, I knew my baby had died. I don't know how I knew. It was the most awful feeling in the world to be alone and know that the little life I wanted more than anything was gone and I couldn't stop it or save it.

I had done everything right. I had taken my prenatal vitamins for three months before conception. I had cut back on caffeine. I was eating protein. I was drinking orange juice and cut out essential oils and strenuous exercise. I had done everything right. We had prayed over the baby. We wanted that baby so bad. But I knew Sunday evening that she was gone.

Getting into a doctor was a challenge and yet so much easier than it could have been.

I had not had my first prenatal visit yet. We literally walked into the OB-GYN office of Erlanger hospital and requested an emergency ultrasound. Within 2 hours, they had established me as a new patient, confirmed my pregnancy, and got me an ultrasound. 

The tech left after my ultrasound and came back with two doctors and some nurses. I had two more ultrasounds and the doctor confirmed that my baby was dead. It was nothing I already didn't know, but I was not prepared to be told that I needed surgery. In total, three doctors looked at me and said that my lining was three times thicker than it needed to be. They said I was full of big blood clots, some the size of the pregnancy sack. They said that my body was not likely to go into labor for at least a month--if not longer--and was not likely to expel everything. And that I was likely to hemorrhage if the process started naturally. And, even then, my body might not finish the job and fully recognize the loss of my baby. 

It was really scary for me to realize I had such huge blood clots and that there were abnormalities that are not usually in a 8 week pregnancy. I knew that DNCs were something that were normally not done until 10-12+ weeks and for them to detect so much tissue that should not have been there was unnerving. They had no answers for the stabbing pain I've had or why my lining was three times too thick. 


And, so, another doctor visit later (one that included a LOT of blood being taken and my passing out), my surgery was scheduled for Friday.

I'm not going to even pretend that the DNC was easy. Frankly, it was the scariest, most painful thing I've ever experienced. It was scheduled for 1:30 PM; I showed up at 10:30 AM after experiencing the confusion of hospital valet parking and trying to figure out where the surgical services even was. 

After almost three hours of waiting, they got me in and took me back for surgery. About then, the computers went down. They told Samuel I was in surgery when, in reality, I was waiting alone in a very cold pre-op room. I waited there for two hours, alone, no glasses, no phone, no Bible.

Nothing but waiting for them to take my little baby away. 

Samuel told me later that he was panicking because my surgery was supposed to take less than an hour. They took me away before 1:30 and I did not get back from surgery until 6:00. 

The doctors, nurses, surgeon...everybody was so sweet, so professional, so kind. They took my family history seriously and even prepared me with a blood band to be ready to do an emergency transfusion and had all the medicines ready to go--something they don't do with every patient. But the DNC was still the most painful thing I've ever endured.

Two of my friends who had DNCs experienced no pain. But my body didn't respond that way. However, some of my friends who have had abortions have described their pain as being out of this world and, as the two procedures are similar, I was not completely unprepared for it. I woke up to the worst pain I've ever felt and they ended up giving me morphine. I normally do well with pain, but not then. I think the combination of having never delivered a baby, my cervix not being ready, and the anesthesia all played a part in why it hurt so bad. I don't know. I do remember thinking back that I would never have wished that kind of pain on even my worst enemy. Not on anyone.

I'm thankful to Samuel's friend and boss for coming to sit with him. It meant a lot. 

I don't know what the physical recovery is supposed to feel like, but I suppose it's been normal. High emotions, crashing hormones, dizziness, pain, the feeling of everything moving around inside me as if it's going back to normal, headaches, disorientation. From everything I've read, it feels like I'm recovering well. 



I know this all seems so matter of fact. But there are no words -- even for a writer -- to explain what last week felt like and what we feel like now. Words have dried up. There is no way to eloquently explain gritty things like surgery, what it feels like to carry a dead baby for days, or physical pain. There is no way to explain a loss like that of someone you loved with all your heart but never got to meet.

I saw a drawing of a woman with a hole through her body. That's what it feels like. 

There were so many dreams centered around our little baby. We were planning a nursery. I already had a few baby gifts. There were so many prayers, so many wishes, so much love. 

It kills me to wonder if she had pain. That she died and I didn't even know. That it might have been my body that rejected hers. That we had to say goodbye before we even got to say hello. 

When we came home from the first ultrasound, God spoke clearly to my heart that my baby was a girl and that her name was Grace. That wasn't the name we had picked out for her. But it was the name God wanted her to have. 

My pregnancy verse had been Psalm 84:11-- "The Lord God will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Grace fits in with that. But it's so hard to explain the rest. It's so easy for me to believe the lie that God snatched my baby away from me because I somehow wasn't "upright" enough. That it's somehow my fault. It's taken a lot of prayer for me to realize that Grace was still God's blessing and His best for us. I believe in my heart that Grace is a blessing--that God did not withhold a blessing, but, rather, that He gave us one.

It's just a blessing that's waiting for us in heaven.



I've never been mad at God before, but I was in the days before the surgery. I know four months is not a long time to try for a baby, but it felt like an eternity to me. And then I carried Grace for two months before losing her. I really struggled with wondering why God would let me get pregnant only to take my baby away again. At first, I was convinced that I'd rather not have gotten pregnant at all.

The surgery was rough because I didn't feel that God would protect me. I honestly didn't feel that I would even wake up. None of the Scriptures I turned to comforted me. There was zero peace, zero comfort  before the surgery. It was the strangest thing for me. I am normally so close to Him, so able to hear His voice.  But in this case, I almost felt as if He wanted me to rely on the faith I knew to be true rather than the faith I could feel.

When I woke up from the surgery, I felt peace. I was in horrible pain, but that was the first time I felt peace. It was as if God wanted me to trust Him when I could feel no comfort, feel no assurance. 

For some reason, it changed everything.

Not that it's been any easier. I cry every single day and I probably will for the next year...or ten. I cry every night at bed and wake up every morning "holding" a baby that isn't there. I can't look at babies in the store or at church, and I'm torn between feeling so happy for my 6 friends who are all due around the time I was and feeling so broken that my baby is gone. There are no words to describe loving someone so much and knowing you will never see them on this side of heaven. 

A miscarriage is not just a loss of a baby you never met. It's the loss of all the hopes, dreams, wishes you had for that baby. It's the loss of every single birthday party, every smile, the first lost tooth, reading books together, every moment of life. For me, it's even a loss of direction in my life, since so many of my plans for myself were centered around the little life I expected to join us.

But I'm grateful now. 

I'm very grateful to be a mother. I'm very grateful to have a child. Even with all this horrible pain, I would not go back and wish that I had never gotten pregnant. Not any more. I'm glad I did now. I'm a mommy. Samuel is a daddy. And we got to love a little life that we created more than anyone will ever know. We still love her and always will. We are parents and we have a child. She's just waiting for us, that is all. 

People talk a lot about the love of a mother for her child. Not a whole lot of people talk about the love of a parent who has to give her baby back. It's a very special kind of love that cherishes someone you've never met and can never touch, never hold.

Love hurts. It always has and always will. That's why there is so much selfishness in relationships. People are afraid to get too close. They're afraid to love because they might get hurt. But you miss out on so much when you guard your heart against loving. It hurts us so much the more because we loved her so much, but it also comforts us to much to know that she never knew anything but unconditional love. 

Not only that, but she never knew the pain of this world. It may have been the best gift anyone could give a child--to see Jesus and heaven first and bypass all the suffering the rest of us have to go through. Not that I would have chosen that. I wasn't exactly jumping up and down to volunteer for this pain. But it does help that, for some reason, God wanted to spare her from life down here. I'm not sure why God needed her more than me, but it's definitely true that heaven is sweeter for her being there.

Today I pictured my Aunt Lydia and my Papa Sam holding her. I'm pretty sure Aunt Lydia was first in line to hold her. She would have wanted to be. This is my Papa Sam's first great grandbaby to make it to heaven. He loved me so much--I know he is loving my baby too. And Grace is probably playing with all my brothers and sisters who are in heaven. 


I'm not going to pretend that I don't struggle or won't in the future. Grateful as I am for the blessing of carrying Grace and just for the time we had with her, I do struggle. The media stories of parents killing their children, the abortions, the girls who get pregnant with children they don't want and can't provide for, the mothers screaming at their kids in Walmart... A lot seems very unfair and will probably always feel very unfair to me. I feel like God has enabled me to still be happy for my expecting friends, but I occasionally do feel singled out for a trial I can't handle.

I struggle with the comments about how we can get pregnant and have another one -- as if another one will ever replace our firstborn child and the unique, beautiful, special person she was. I struggle with wondering if I will ever get pregnant again and, if I do, if I will lose that one too. I struggle with the hospital bill that seems so high and so unfair when it was all for a dead baby. I struggle with the empty room that was going to be a nursery, but realistically may not be filled for at least another year. I struggle with my heart telling me that I'm a failure when I still KNOW that it wasn't my fault.

We're going to struggle for a long time. 


I say all this because it will help someone someday.

It will. 

We can't allow our trials to encourage someone if we refuse to be real about them. And I know that one day, somewhere, a grieving mother is going to read this blog and be encouraged to know that she is not alone. Maybe someone else will read this and get a glimpse into the pain and be better equipped to be a comforter. 

I've had SO many friends be there for me. Our church provided meals (oh my goodness, churches, do this for friends who miscarry. You'll never know what a blessing it is.) We've received such sweet cards, flowers, and words from people who loved our baby. I've had friends text me all during this, praying for me and encouraging me as I went into surgery and checking in on me during the moments I needed it most. Some of these friends I've never even met, but they cried for me and felt my loss. You know who you are.

Friends, I'll be there for you too. I know someone is going to read our story and need to talk. We're here. Everyone's loss is different, everyone's pain is unique. We won't pretend to say that it all feels the same to everyone. If it comforts you to talk about the past or the present, share your story on this blog (or in a private message.) Tell us your baby's name. Not everyone is willing to talk about their baby because it hurts so bad, but if you care to share your story or anything at all, feel free to share. It may comfort someone else someday. I know the stories I've heard have helped me. It really does help to know that other women understand this pain, other men have cried and been brokenhearted over the loss of their baby, other babies have beautiful names. Some people have never had the opportunity to talk about their baby. They're holding in a lot of hurt because they don't feel that anyone ever cared. We do. God does. And you can share it if you want to.

Pray for us. We're praying that God lets us see the beauty out of the ashes one day. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

To My Friends Struggling With Infertility

I'm not necessarily writing from the experience of infertility, although I am fairly certain I have lost a baby in the past. But some of my friends are struggling with it. I feel their hurts. Whether we understand from personal experience or not, we should always seek to stand in the shoes of others. And, for those not classified dealing with infertility but desiring a baby with all their hearts, this post is for you too. 

To my friends struggling with infertility.

My heart goes out to you. 



It's a struggle in many ways people don't often think of. I don't know all of the ways. But the struggles are there, each unique to you personally. 

It hurts when you're asked for the millionth time if you're expecting. The gazes of curious, yet well-meaning acquaintances travel your belly, scrutinizing every fluctuation of your weight during those delightful times of month when you're a little rounder, a little plumper than normal. They nod if satisfied that something really is going on--or shake their head in disappointment.

It hurts when a newborn near you in the store cries that delightful squall that kicks up a flutter of maternal instincts in your stomach--and heart. It hurts that you have to blink back tears as you race to another aisle, only to come face to face with those wee booties, diapers, and bow-trimmed socks.

It hurts when children innocently ask you when you're going to be a mother.

It hurts when you log into your social media, only to be bombarded with articles glorifying motherhood and placing it on a pedestal above wife, daughter, and beloved servant of the King. You know in your heart that the articles were well meant to encourage mothers who are struggling with their worth, but you wonder if people recognize your worth as just a wife faithfully serving her husband and her God.

It hurts when people tell you of all the emotions you cannot possible understand because you have never loved your own child or--worse--insinuate your selfishness in not having one, when they cannot begin to understand how desperately you want one. 

It hurts when infertility begins to affect your marriage, as oneness with your spouse begins to slip to the overwhelming powers of charting, temperature, and the right time of month.

It hurts when you're doubled over in cramps, each one reminding you that this is not the month, this is not the time. 

It hurts when you see the disappointment in your spouse's face when you tell him about yet another negative pregnancy test. You see the wheels working behind his eyes, wondering if it is somehow his fault. You see the way he looks at children at church, the way he talks about taking his future son fishing and of cuddling his baby daughter. 

It hurts when friends and acquaintances who did not want or were even trying for a baby announce their pregnancy. It hurts when they complain about the children they have.  

It hurts when you've lost a baby to miscarriage, but are brushed aside with comments of "maybe it was only the stomach flu", "there's always next time", and "at least you were not very far along."

It all hurts.

And I'm sorry. 

I'm sorry for all the pain. For all the prying into your personal life. For all the monthly hopes, the agonized waiting period, then the grieving stage. For all the hurtful comments, made whether purposefully or in innocence. For all the feeling that being a wife is not enough. For, in some circles, all the judgment. For all of the nursery themed Pinterest boards that just seem like a wasted dream. 



"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart..." --Psalm 34:18

"Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." --Matthew 11:28

 "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." --Psalm 55:22


It doesn't always feel like God is there. It doesn't always feel like He understands. It may not be until far, far down the road that you can look back and see that He was carrying you. 

But you will. Grace is best seen looking back. And He does give more grace. 

He does understand. 

And so do others. Maybe not perfectly, because no one can perfectly understand your unique set of trials, but others have walked this path before. It hurts. But you're not hurting alone. So often in our grief, we forget that others are walking through the storm too. 

If at all possible, find someone else struggling with infertility. Pray for them. Pray with them. Talk about your dreams together. Point each other to verses of healing. It may be that a little bit of healing, a little bit of hope, a little bit joy will surface from you helping someone else.

If nothing else, know that I am praying for you. My readers are always free to message or email me with their prayer requests. Your hurting heart is never alone. 


"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." --Revelation 21:3-6


How Can I Be Praying For You Today?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mentor or Manager? (And How to Tell the Difference!)

When I say manager, I am not referring to managers in the work force. Managers in that field are, obviously, right, needed, to be respected, etc. Those are not the managers referred to in the context of this post.

Mentor or Manager?

We all have managers in our life. We all answer to authority. There are right and good authorities in our life that we obey. There are also mentors in our life: people who teach, exhort, and encourage us. If we're wise, we want godly mentors. And a lot of godly people want to be mentors. (We're commanded to exhort and mentor others by Scripture, after all!)

The problem is that a lot of people who want to be mentors are actually being managers. 

We never want to give someone false authority in our lives. After all, a person of maturity does not want to give false authority to someone who is just vying for the privilege of telling you what to do (when they don't deserve or ought to have the right.) Being a leader yourself means recognizing who is and who isn't an authority in your life. It also means recognizing when someone wants to be your mentor or just your manager.

So how do you recognize when someone wants to be a mentor or just wants to be a manger? There's a huge difference between a leader and a dictator. Sometimes you don't realize the difference right away, though. Here are a few thoughts.



In general, here are the characteristics of a manager:

  • A manager usually tells you what to think. They are usually pretty dogmatic about their beliefs -- especially ones that are grey areas and should be open to debate. When there is an issue upon which there are many varying opinions and many possible correct conclusions to come to, they will usually insist that their opinion is the only correct one.
  • If you chance to disagree with the manager, he/she usually endeavors to change your mind. Obviously, if your position conflicts clear Scriptural teaching or moral ethics, this is a good thing. However, many managers want your complete agreement on issues that are not always clear cut. Tactics such as guilt, manipulation, or personal disappointment often follow. If these do not work to change your mind, some managers will refuse to meet with you any more or express that you are not the person they thought you were (i.e. you had a mind of your own.)
  • Managers may say they want you to think for yourself, but, in all reality, they want you to agree with them upon just about every subject. 
  • Managers tend to be unreasonable with your time. They may expect you to be at their beck and call on their schedule. They may demand large portions of your time without taking into account that, if you're a mature leader, you have learned to balance your time and cannot devote all of it to any one person.
  • Managers may expect you to follow all of their suggestions, as if a suggestion were the same thing as a command. 
  • Managers don't always respect your season of life. They may be overbearing or condescending, treating you like a stupid kid or assuming you know nothing about life in general. They expect to be revered, although they would never say this.
  • Managers ultimately want followers, not leaders.
  • A manager may be someone you follow simply because of reputation. Reputation is not a bad thing, but it sometimes overlooks character.

In general, managers tend to be focused on feelings: feelings of gratification when you align your thinking to theirs, feelings of pride to be considered a mentor, feelings of superiority when they instruct, and feelings of dominance by controlling another person in the name of mentorship. Managers can be more self-oriented.


Compare all this with the characteristics of a mentor:

  • A mentor teaches you how to think, not what to think. They are usually firm on their beliefs on issues that really matter, but don't claim to have all the answers in grey areas. They respect other people's opinions and are not offended when you may think differently from them. They usually focus on teaching you how to think wisely and make mature decisions, rather than simply telling you what to do based on their personal life experiences and personal convictions.
  • A mentor is gracious with disagreement. If the disagreement is over a major Biblical or moral stance, he/she calmly gives solid evidence on why your position is wrong. If you disagree on issues that are not vital to fellowship and friendship, they listen to your side and generally point out what they both agree and disagree with on your stance. When everything is said and done, they are not angry or disappointed you disagree and do not throw you out for having your own mind.
  • In fact, mentors are usually surrounded by people that do think at least somewhat differently from themselves. They are able to converse graciously with people they disagree with and are not easily angered by debate or disagreement. They encourage you to study, to search the Scripture, and point to several sources for continued research. 
  • Mentors respect your time. They realize they are not your first priority, even if they are important to you. They realize you have family responsibilities, work, relationships, and other daily activities that are a natural part of life and take up your time. While they may expect some commitment, they are not unreasonable in their expectations for your time and energy.
  • Mentors make suggestions, but are not hurt or angry if you do not always follow them. If the matter is a spiritual one, they will counsel you to read the Bible and follow the Holy Spirit's leading for yourself, rather than give you absolute directions to follow.
  • Mentors respect your season of life. They understand you may actually have more life experience in some areas than they themselves do. They do not assume you are poorly educated, without life experience, and/or ignorant. As they are guiding you on how to think Biblically, maturely, and wisely, they recognize that the best teachers learn from their students. They are not above learning with you.
  • Mentors want to shape fellow leaders, not followers.
  • A mentor is generally someone you want to learn from because they have demonstrated great character and have made wise, mature decisions in life. They tend to focus on wanting to help, not to control.

I personally know some great mentors. They are truly fabulous people that I (we) have learned so much from. 

Are you being managed or mentored? 

There are some tips for figuring out if someone (or you!) is being managed instead of mentored.
  • A managed person usually does not know his/her own mind. In conversation or when attempting to teach others, they usually refer back to their manager and repeat what they've been told. They don't usually have evidence of having studied anything out for themselves. When asked probing questions, they are often at a loss for answers because they were only repeating what they had been told to believe. Their conversations lacks evidence of research from multiple perspectives or any research whatsoever.
  • A managed person who exude pride at being "mentored." Rather than being humble and grateful for what he has been taught (a characteristic of someone who is being mentored), he feels superior simply by rubbing shoulders with the person managing him.
  • A managed person will generally not think outside of the box his manager has set for him. They are reluctant to disagree with their "mentor" figure, generally because they fear repercussions, are not being taught to think for his or herself, or are afraid of being unpopular.
  • A managed person may be unable to say no to the expectations of his manager. He may sacrifice responsibilities (those that the mature person would recognize as being at the top of the priority list) to be at whatever event, doing whatever thing, completing whatever task his manager told him to do--most of which should have been lower on the priority list.
In general, a managed person feels good about himself while being controlled, rather than being a mature person who receives wise counsel and searches all things out for himself while still fulfilling his obligations in a responsible manner.


Is it possible for a single individual to be both your manager and your mentor? 


Not equally, no. 

Your boss may mentor you, but his primary and always underlying role is your boss. When everything is said done, whether he mentors you or not, he is still your boss. It's always a blessing when a boss has a heart for mentorship, but his primary position in your life is an authority. 

A parent may mentor their teens, but, ultimately, they are still a parent and therefore a manager. They set the rules. Mentoring may and should happen, but an authority still has a responsibility to BE the authority. 

A manager has the prerogative to be the manager first and foremost. Mentoring may or may not happen on the side. However, a mentor does not have the prerogative to be a manager. When this happens, the one seeking to be a mentor has assumed a false authority and lost sight of what mentoring is really all about.

It is up to the mature leader to recognize his authorities and obey them, guard against submission to false authorities, and humbly seek the advice of a true mentor--one who will point him to the Lord, not self; teach how to think, not what to think; and seeks to shape leaders, not followers.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Created To Be His Helpmeet: Discovering the Dangers

Disclaimer: We believe in marriage as described in the Bible. We believe in a marriage built on Jesus, mutual love, mutual respect, submission (both mutual and the reverence a woman is to sweetly offer), the leadership of the husband in the home, the mutuality of sex, and that we are heirs together of the grace of God. We neither identify with the modern feminist movement nor the patriarchy movement. 

We are open to discussion. However, we reserve the right to delete comments that promote abuse, misquote Scripture, or promote falsehoods that have been promoted throughout the centuries.


Before Samuel and I were ever officially dating, we were given a copy of the dangerously popular Created To Be His Help Meet. I had been warned that it was a less than Biblical book and didn't read it. However, after our marriage, we heard more and more about the bad fruit of this book and decided to read it for ourselves. 

We both read and reviewed it. Samuel and I talked for weeks about this book. But we were hesitant to publicly review it at first. After all, so many other people have come out against this book. There are many excellent articles on the subject. Who are we to think that anyone will care what we have to say? But we were reminded that there are some people who will only hear the truth if it comes from someone they actually know and love. We have much to learn and are far from perfect, but we believe that a person is never too young to recognize truth and error. Our goal is to express the truth in love.

So here we are to share why we think Created To Be His Help Meet is not only erroneous Biblically, but dangerous to the Christian woman and marriage. Please consider our thoughts with an open heart and closely evaluating what Christ and the Word have to say.

The false teachings of the book are as follows:

  • hermeneutic errors in which stories of the Old Testament are allegorized and misused, as well as a return to patriarchy and the law.
  • women are created solely to fulfill a man through marriage.
  • all man's sin, sexually or other, is a result of women. 
  • wives must submit to abuse and reverence their husband even in the midst of his foolishness and a lifestyle of sin.
  • women are responsible to help their husbands without actually having a say and must maintain the order and attitude of the home without ever assuming any kind of authority. They are responsible for everything that goes wrong without having the authority to actually fix it.
  • women are not capable of discerning the Scriptures for themselves and must agree with their husband at all times.

There is neither time, nor space to address all of the issues of the book, but we wanted to hit on some of the deepest issues. 


Samuel: 


Created to be His Help Meet, written by Debi Pearl, has been a popular marriage book targeting women in conservative Christian circles since its publication about 12 years ago. Pearl and her husband Michael oversee No Greater Joy Ministries. They publish material on marriage, child rearing, and other aspects of the Christian family.

Pearl says that her motive in writing Created to Be His Help Meet is to teach young women as described in Titus 2:3-5.

“The aged women likewise...That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

It is true that older wives should be sharing wisdom and insight with younger women. This is commanded by scripture and something that seems to be lacking in modern churches. 

However, a person attempting to influence others in this area has a great deal of responsibility to lead people properly according to the mandates and principles of the Word of God. While Pearl does have some good advice (though not enough to make the book redeemable), there are some underlying assumptions  in the mind of the author that did not come either in command or implication from God. 

Also, there are some hermeneutic errors as far as some of the truths presented. Are these just slight errors, or serious problems? Does the book promote healthy husband and wife relationships? I read this book and spent a great deal of time in trying to understand what is being taught. And I found many unbiblical errors.

Alicia:

As a young married woman, I am pretty passionate about learning all I can about being a godly wife. I've had some great role models in my life and continue to seek for new mentors to pass on what they've learned. 

But, when I picked up a copy of this book, I was startled by the overwhelming bondage Debi Pearl attempts to thrust upon women. Her every point was made by the underlying assumption that women are to obey man rather than God, that woman are created solely for the pleasure of man, and that we are still living in some kind of Old Testament, patriarchal system. Not only is this unbiblical, but it really is dangerous and brings women back under the yoke of bondage Christ died to set us free from.


Samuel:

The title and synopsis of this book contain several assumptions which are neither presented nor defended in the book itself. 

“Somewhere over the passing years and changing culture, women have lost their way. This book is written to bring them back home. Regardless of how you began your marriage or how dark and lonely the path that has brought you to where you are now, I want you to know that it is possible today to have a marriage so good and so fulfilling that it can only be explained by a miracle.” 

Here is a glaring first problem. 

According to the Pearls, all women are intended by God's will to marry. God evidently created each women for the sole purpose of being a “help meet” for a man. On page 38 she states: “When a woman gets old and realizes that there is no man to to love and cherish her, it is sad indeed, for she has failed in the very purpose for which she was created – to be a suitable helper for a man.” And again on page 73: “What is God's purpose for your life? - To be a good help meet.” This thinking comes in part from a poorly researched, allegorical application of Adam and Eve to married couples today. Nowhere in the Bible does God claim to have created all women for the sole purpose of being a help meet for a man. 

Additionally, the underlying theme is that being a wife is the only acceptable life and calling of a woman. In the synopsis, women are assumed to be married. This narrows the will of God for a woman, allowing her to only be a wife. This is in direct opposition to the words of the New Testament by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:8,34: 

“I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I (single)... There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” 

A wife can be pleasing to the Lord, but a single woman or even a married woman acting outside of her role in marriage, can also be pleasing to the Lord. 

Women in scripture were sometimes recognized for leadership roles outside of their homes. Deborah is one of these (Judges 4-5), also Rahab (Joshua 2, 6:17,23,25), the woman who washed the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:37-50), and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-30) This is just to name a few! 

Alicia:

For me, this was just really sad. I love being married. I am definitely one of those people who is called to the ministry of marriage and can really serve the Lord better by being married. I love being a wife and wouldn't trade it for anything. 

But I know that God did not create me solely to fulfill a man. God did not create me primarily for marriage. He created me for a love relationship with Himself first, to honor and glorify Him, and to serve Him. True, I do fulfill part of that calling to honor Him by being a wife, but only partially. My role as a Christian woman is much bigger than just being married. I have a walk with God to follow, a Great Commission to fulfill, a life of ministry outside of the ministry of marriage. 

Imagine telling a woman who never married that she missed her only purpose in life. Can you imagine how devastating?! But that is exactly what Debi Pearl does. She literally preaches a message of hopelessness to every girl who is yet unmarried and to every woman who is a widow or never married. 

The following quotes are just a few that filled me personally with extreme sadness for any woman who listens to Debi Pearl.
  • “If you are a wife, you were created to fill a need, and in that capacity you are a ‘good thing,’ a helper suited to the needs of a man. This is how God created you and it is your purpose for existing.”
  • “The only position where you will find real fulfillment as a woman is as a help meet to your husband.” 
  • “God’s ultimate goal for you is to meet your man’s needs.”
  • “God has provided for your husband’s complete sanctification and deliverance from temptation through you, his wife.”
  • “No single man completely expresses the well-rounded image of God.”
  • "God's original intention was that a woman would spend her life helping her husband fulfill his dreams and ambitions."

I'm sorry, but that is NOT what the Bible says. Isaiah makes it crystal clear that we were ALL formed for God's glory. We don't exist suit the needs of men. "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

Women do not exist solely to be wives. Our lives are to honor and serve God, not fulfill our husband's dreams, and, although it is special and wonderful when we can, it is not our purpose for existing. We do not exist to be sexual slaves, nor is that God's ultimate goal for us, nor do men alone have sexual needs. And upright single men are not less of "men" because the Lord has not brought them their wife yet. That statement alone causes serious issues for Paul...and JESUS.



Samuel:

According to Debi Pearl, a woman is always at fault when she is the object of a man's lust. This is one of the most alarming points of the book. 

The first paragraph on page 202 begins: “Jesus said that a lusting man commits adultery WITH a woman, not against her, meaning that the woman is included in the lusting adultery.” 

There is no indication from the English translation or the underlying Greek text that this is the case. This would tend to lead a woman to unhealthy extremes concerning her dress. If her sole purpose is to keep poor men from stumbling, she would avoid wearing anything attractive. She would dress in burlap sacks to keep men from lusting after her, and if she was exceptionally beautiful, she would just wear a burka. But, alas, some poor fellow would be captured by her beautiful eyes and she would be responsible for another round of mental adultery! If a man could pervert his mind to the point that he imagines cleavage when he sees a woman's bare toes, a woman cannot be held responsible for making him stumble by wearing open-toed shoes! 

Pearl uses the story of David and Bathsheba on page 207: “Because Bathsheba was indiscreet, she caused great calamity, resulting in the bloodshed and suffering of many. Her lack of discretion cost her husband his life, his comrades-in-arms their lives, her baby son his life, and the integrity of one whom God upheld as a man after his own heart.” 

Nowhere in scripture does God correct Bathsheba for being careless or indiscreet. God places all the blame squarely on David. The Bible clearly says: “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD”. If Bathsheba was responsible in part or whole for David's actions, God could have told us of her correction. 

A woman is responsible for the way that she dresses. She will surely answer to God for any evil motives. But, as men, we cannot blame a woman for our sinful thoughts. If her motives are pure and she seeks God's direction for the right way to dress, then what more does God expect? He does not expect a woman to change something right and wholesome based on whether or not a man can still manage to lust after her. A man saying “I am a normal male with a normal need, and the problem lies with females dressing so godless”(page 200), is a man that refuses to take responsibility for his own actions and seeks to blame his shortcomings on anyone but himself.


Alicia:

I was blown away by some of Debi Pearl's quotes. Honestly, her view of men's sexuality is crude and low. Her entire book writes about men as if they are naturally some kind of beastly, fleshly sex addicts who cannot see a woman's natural, God-given shape without lusting or worse. 

She gives a very disgusting example of a man who was once exposed to porn and, therefore, the poor fellow simply could not control his thoughts when he saw a Christian woman dressed in a short skirt (page 204.) It is a section of the book I could not in any good conscience describe due to the pornographic nature of her descriptions of a lusting male. Additionally, while her description of what presumably could happen to a man who sees a woman in a short skirt is not only disgusting, it's also physically impossible. However, a young, unmarried woman reading this book would know no better and would be trapped into the lie that she is responsible for any sick and lewd thoughts of a man. 

The above lie (in which a woman is somehow responsible for every thought of a man) has provoked real-life rules I personally know of. These rules include no wet hair in the presence of a man, no open-toed shoes, no lettering of any kind of a shirt, and so forth--all designed because a man somewhere, in some place, had sick thoughts. Many extreme rules are imposed upon women because churches have bought into the lie that women are 100% responsible. However, as my husband pointed out, this teaching would really require a woman to dress in a burka and wear sunglasses, lest any man should ever "stumble" by catching a glimpse of something that he might lust after. Both men and women are responsible to be modest, but it is for a far purer, higher reason than the lie that men are sick, animalistic lusters who continually see woman as sex objects.

Forgive me if I refuse to approve of a book that both gives a sick, low, and false impression of our wonderful brothers in Christ and binds women in guilt, legalism, and fear.



Not only does she take the stance that men somehow have a greater sexual need than women (a lie introduced to the church throughout various generations), but she claims that we exist for the purpose of fulfilling them. Therefore, if your man lusts after another woman, you are at fault for somehow not fulfilling him. And the other woman who was lusted after is also at fault. Never the man.

She even goes so far as to claim that women are solely responsible for all the sin of man. I quote: “Adam, the first man, Samson, the strongest man, Solomon, the wisest man, and even David, the man listed as being after God’s own heart, were all brought down by the women they loved.” This is wrong. These men were not brought down by the women they loved. They were brought down by a lust and disobedience that was brought about by their own bad decisions, not women in general.

Debi Pearl claims that a lack of sexual desire is actually a sin in her quote, "Hopefully, you didn't realize that your lack of sexual interest in your husband was sin, but you know now." 

Um, hello, where does it say that in the Bible?! Any simple study of both men and women's hormones and the different phases of life reveals that sexual desire is not 100% controlled in the mind. It simply isn't. Stress, sickness, change, hormones, and much, much more contribute to a lack of sexual desire. Yet, she ungraciously and unbiblically terms it "sin" for a woman to say no. Not a man. Apparently, it's his right to do whatever he wants. But a woman can never say no. Not only is this nothing short of abusive, but the Bible talks much about the mutuality of sex and never claims that one spouse has more say than the other. This goes against everything the Bible teaches on marriage as a representation of Christ and His church, true charity, and what it means to mutually submit to each other.

She additionally teaches in page 170 that women have no right to their own comfort. Their husband should total access to them even if they are in extreme pain. That's abuse, folks. 

Another quote that blew me away was as follows: "Wife, it is your God-orgained ministry to your husband to be his totally enthusiastic sex partner, ready to enjoy him at all times. To do less is a grave error. If you love your husband as God commands, you will always seek to give him pleasure. In so doing, you will fulfill your role as his suitable helper."

I sincerely though that marriage was more than just being sexually enthusiastic for him at all times. I really thought it was about mutual love, mutual respect, friendship, strengthening each other for the ministry, and serving together in the ministry. Yes, sex plays a huge part of the marital relationship. It's great. It's beautiful. It's awesome. But it's also mutual. Women have as real of needs as men. The mere idea that we exist to fulfill sexual needs is low and blasphemous to the God who created us for His pleasure--not man's.

Serving one's husband is a beautiful thing and, of course, is to be encouraged. However, it is never to be encouraged in the abusive level this book takes it. Marriage is meant for both man and woman to love, edify, honor, serve, and respect each other, not just women.



Alicia:

One of the scariest issues of this book is Debi Pearl's take on abuse. I quote:


“Mr. Command Man: They are known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot. A Command Man does not want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from serving him... Command Men have less tolerance, so they will often walk off and leave their clamoring wife before she has a chance to realize that she is even close to losing her marriage... She is on call every minute of her day. Her man wants to know where she is, what she is doing, and why she is doing it. He corrects her without thought. For better or for worse, it is his nature to control.”

“A husband has authority to tell his wife what to wear, where to go, whom to talk to, how to spend her time, when to speak and when not to, even if he is unreasonable and insensitive."

"Dominance and control are always masculine characteristics."


In other words, she categorizes away a selfish and narcissistic husband, titling him a Mr. Command Man. However, Jesus did not categorize away sin by giving men different titles and thus making allowances for bullying or abuse. Nowhere in Scripture are men given the right to demand submission or obedience. There is no place in Scripture that gives men the right to break their wife's spirit and curtail all liberty. Instead, we are to be heirs together of the grace of life and give honor to each other. 

Girls, if you meet a man who wants to control every aspect of your life, run. And run fast. He is not a Mr. Command Man. He is exhibiting sinful dominance, control, and the attitude of a tyrant--not a godly husband. Dominance and control are not attributes of a godly man in Scripture. There is a world of difference between a confident, God-fearing leader and a dynasty-minded tyrant.

But it gets worse. 

"To those of you who are enduring verbal and physical abuse, we realize that statistically, you are likely to remain with your husband. It is therefore important that you understand how to speak and conduct yourself in a way that will maintain your physical and emotional safety and ultimately win your husband."

In other words, you are responsible for your own safety by treading on tiptoe around your hostile man, saying what he wants to hear and anticipating his every want to ease his anger. 

Michael Pearl weighs in on this issue and actually says the following:

"Has your husband reviled you and threatened you? You are exhorted to respond as Jesus did. When he was reviled and threatened, he suffered by committing himself to a higher judge who is righteous. You must commit yourself to the one who placed you under your husband’s command. Your husband will answer to God, and you must answer to God for how you respond to your husband, even when he causes you to suffer. Just as we are to obey government in every ordinance, and servants are to obey their masters, even the ones who are abusive and surly, ‘likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands’…You can freely call your husband ‘lord’ when you know that you are addressing the one who put him in charge and asked you to suffer at your husband’s hands just as our Lord suffered at the hands of unjust authorities…When you endure evil and railing without returning it, you receive a blessing, not just as a martyr, but as one who worships God.” 

Yes, ladies. If your husband is beating and raping you, you must respond by continued obedience as a martyr. Unbelievable.

Please, ladies, never believe the lie that God demands you suffer as some kind of martyr enduring abuse. That is not the heart of the God of the Bible. There is no command in Scripture that imposes this upon women. God never commands women to remain in danger. 

There are many, many quotes commanding women to love, reverence, and stand by their man through his "troubles" of lust, adultery, and fornication. I'm sorry, but marriage is not a licence to enable sin. Women were never meant to be enablers of sin, turning a blind eye to sins Jesus strictly forbids. We as Christians are instructed to edify, exhort, disciple, and even discipline each other (church discipline.) We were instructed to obey God rather than man. Ladies, you are never called to be an enabler of sin.


Samuel:

So, a wife who sticks it out through abuse from her husband is more spiritual than the one who leaves because of abuse?!

On pages 126-127 in “Queen for the Day”, Pearl uses a letter from “Judy”. Judy's husband committed adultery against her many times, yet she did not leave her husband. Judy is held up as a wonderful example of a faithful, submissive wife. However, according to Scripture, fornication is grounds for divorce. There is nothing wrong if a woman chooses to stay with her husband, but there is no obligation for her to stay according to Scripture. 

Also, there is a story about “Sunny” (pages 132-134.) Sunny suffered various physical abuses including attempted murder before winning the heart of her husband. She chose to submit and love instead of leave, and her husband eventually came around. 

In both of these examples, Pearl fails to give a balanced view. The wife who stays is seen as good and spiritual, but her rightful grounds for leaving are not given the same attention. A woman reading this book would be inclined to believe that she is a better woman for staying. However, a wife is permitted to leave her husband according to 1 Corinthians 7:11, “But and if she depart [the wife from her husband], let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband...” She is allowed to depart in all cases. There are times when a wife should leave her husband. There are times when she can remarry. Sometimes, a woman just needs to get out to protect herself or her children. One is not necessarily a better wife for staying, nor less of a woman for leaving. 

(Nor does the woman who stays have the promise that her husband will repent. Abusers are not rational people who just need extra respect in order to turn their hearts toward their victims.)

Alicia:

What if your husband molests your children?

Debi Pearl admits you may call the police, but instructs women to take their children to see him in jail 3-4 times a year (page 174.) Apparently, the child will heal from sexual abuse by having the satisfaction of seeing his father in jail and will be able to forgive him. 

Wow. Absolutely not. If a man molests a child, he loses all rights to ever see them again. (As far as I am concerned, he loses right to his own life, too.) A child will NOT heal by visiting the man who molested them. A child deserves the safety and healing of only being with those who love and honor them. It breaks my heart to think that a woman who calls herself a Christian would dare teach that children be exposed on a personal level to their molesters.



Samuel:

On the issue of spirituality, Debi Pearl states that women are unqualified to seek spiritual knowledge for themselves. On page 107, she states: “[Eve] was meant to be Adam's helper, but she helped herself to spiritual knowledge and acted independently, becoming his downfall instead of his help meet.” 

On page 231, Pearl holds up a conversation between her daughter and husband as a good example of submission: “When our first daughter was just two months away from being married, she asked her daddy a theological question. Remember now, she was a graduate of Bible college and had spent three years on the foreign field as a missionary. But, rather than answer her, as he had been doing for the previous 26 years, he told her, “I cannot answer your Bible questions, for you now believe what your husband believes. He will be your head, and you will follow him...”

Not only is a wife forbidden to have an opinion slightly different than that of her husband concerning some apparently minor theological point, but also she is assumed to be incompetent in discerning spiritual things on her own. If she is not allowed to get theological insight from her own father, it is assumed that she should not get insight from any other sources apart from her husband. Is she permitted to reference a Bible commentary in her personal Bible study? Is she even capable of understanding the Bible when she reads it for herself? 

A theological view that attempts to prevent a woman from thinking for herself in spiritual matters is strangely reminiscent of a time in church history when only a certain elite group was allowed to interpret the scriptures. God wants every man and woman to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. Every believer has access to the throne of God and the rich promises found in the scriptures.

Alicia:

I was once told by someone that God did not create me in His image and that women cannot have as deep a relationship with Him as men. I was also told that all women are silly and continually prone to deception, unable to function spiritually without a man to teach them.

The above teachings are the heart of Created To Be His Help Meet. Laying aside the dangers of the physical abuse, misogyny, narcissism, and dominance this book teaches women to embrace, the teaching that women are incapable of interpreting the Bible for themselves is dangerous enough to throw the book away over.

Ladies, the Holy Spirit is your teacher. You have the Word of God and a brain. Yes, ask your husband your questions. Study them out together. Enjoy the beauty of having your husband point you to Jesus when you need it. After all, as your head, your husband is supposed to gently point you to Jesus and be a spiritual example. But you are ultimately responsible for your own spiritual growth. Your husband cannot force your relationship with God. You have a conscience. And Jesus is as real and open to you as He is to your husband.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

Oh, by the way. It's okay to have different opinions. It really is. I'm not talking about one spouse being a heretic. I'm simply saying love and respect are built on honoring each other and understanding that God created each of us to have our own likes, dislikes, opinions, consciences, and brains.


Samuel:

This is a small point, but it bothered me. According to Pearl, wives are to submit to their husbands at all times, yet they are still somehow responsible to take the lead in “fixing” broken/dysfunctional marriages. Why write a book about taking the lead to solve marriage problems and address it to the one in the relationship who has neither right nor responsibility to resolve issues? Pearl would tend to make the average wife in a rocky marriage feel responsible for the condition of her home.

Alicia:

There were a LOT of underlying themes of female manipulation that really bothered me. Since wives are taught to stand by their husbands when he is committing adultery, Pearl instructs women to win them back with seduction. When husbands are blatantly sinning, wives are taught to woo them from sin with charm--instead of confront sin. Apparently, their goal is to simply get their husband back, not point him to Jesus and repentance.

Additionally, wives are not to give an opinion or have healthy conversations with their husbands. They are never to give a different opinion or even raise concerns if their husband is watching porn in front of the children. Pearl literally calls women who question the righteousness of exposing children to wickedness Jezebels.

Scary. It's as if she forgets that we as a Church are to be sharpening and encouraging each other in the Lord--especially in our homes.

Samuel:

Lastly, I think all Christians would agree that mentorship and teaching others must always be in the spirit of love. It is never God's intention for us to beat someone over the head with our conclusion (the only correct one, of course!) and call him foolish, dumb, or ignorant when he does not agree.

Pearl shows a distinct lack of love in many areas covered in the book. She includes a “Dumb-cluck test”(P. 218) for one woman to communicate that she needs to learn to fix things around the house, she calls “Sunny” dumb (132-134), kids dumb (184), and others. She refers to a lady on page 27: “[T]here was an overweight hillbilly woman who worked in the local store in our hometown...this woman was ugly, I mean, hillbilly ugly, which is worse than regular ugly.”

Talking down to people and rude perceptions of their actions seem to be a recurring theme. I understand that it is necessary at times to communicate tough truths, but leaving off common courtesy is not the way to go! The proper attitude is shown in Ephesians 4:1-2:

“I...beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”

Also, 2 Timothy 2:24-25:

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”

A leader that takes his role seriously according to scripture will be firm, but still meek, gentle, humble, and patient.

I do not feel that Mrs. Pearl is competent to be a leader for women or families. What do you think, men? Should she mentor your wives and daughters? Why or why not?






Lest you think that we are the first to delve into the dangers of Created To Be His Help Meet, we've added additional links for you to read. We may not agree 100% with every word from these fellow bloggers, but they've all done great jobs on presenting similar/more errors than we had the time and mental energy to expose.





We do not believe that Created To Be His Help Meet is redeemable. There are far too many excellent marriage books and blogs out there to compromise the safety and discernment of young women and couples by in any way endorsing anything about this book. This is not a book in which people can simply pick out the good parts. The entire foundation is built upon error, poor hermeneuticsabuse, shame, and legalism. We hope and pray that more churches see the light of God's liberty and stop promoting abuse and dominance in the name of Jesus.