Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007


Rhett and Link are the type of guys you wish you went to College with. Link's third grade music teacher must be sooo proud that he's kept up with playing the recorder.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

just friends (married edition)

The post just friends below has morphed into a discussion on the phenomenon of married individuals catching a cup of coffee with a close friend of the opposite gender.

So we'll transform this post into an arena to have a go at discussing this topic.

here's a bit of what's occurred so far:

Angus:I would think catching up with a good friend of the opposite sex, as long as you and your partner trusted each other, wouldn't be a problem. Of course, it all depends on the particular couple and what everyone is comfortable with I suppose.

Me: Angus, I read that and so many red flags fly up ...
i believe that generally it is not so much a matter of trusting one's partner as it is a matter of wisdom.

Swil: But why is that limited to cross-gender friendships? UST* is not the only element that can make a friendship dangerous to a married couple. Does this mean the couple should not have any friends outside the relationship, because it might be dangerous? Of course not. It just requires wisdom, spent on a per-friendship level rather than on a blanket rule level.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

just friends

Tonight, I was asked to put this scenario before you in order to get feedback.

Man: (hangs head) I got turned down by someone. I was interested in her and thought I was going about it the right way, however, through a friend I heard that she was a bit unsure of my intentions. So, I decided to make them known.

Me: And she turned you down?

Man: Well, she sort of freaked out and gave me the "friend" spiel.

Me: (eyes wide) Oh, no. I'm so sorry. ... (pause) ... may I ask how old she was? 19 ... 20?

Man: (a bit nervous ... had I guessed her identity) What?!

Me: (Content with that answer) Well, I only asked because that's the sort of reaction I would have given when I was 19/20.

Me: (continued ...) At that age it wouldn't have mattered how absolutely amazing you are. I would be just so unsure about so many things in life that I'd be more comfortable with not thinking about you in a complex way.

Man: So how should I respond?

Me: Well, when you let your intentions be known you obviously had planned on investing a lot of time and energy into making this relationship go somewhere, yes? Is it worth maintaining a friendship with her when you know there will be no return? You could always stick around and be her pal and bring it up again later ... but if that's too painful for you or you see it as a waste of time, just let her go.

Man: So, I should say (tongue in cheek) "Sorry, your loss."?

Me: Ha ha ... well, to put it more tactfully, you could say ...

How should he respond?

not tonight, honey ... i have a headache

The ladies of Mars Hill's women's ministry blog have written a blessing of an article. They share that there are many reasons why a wife may not desire sexual intimacy with her husband. Those reasons include:

1. lack of desire
2. hormonal fluctuations
3. abuse
4. physically exhausted
5. no reason

However, they encourage women to move past these things and begin by seeking the Lord.

Make sex a priority, rearranging whatever is necessary in life until you have given it the proper place; remember, it’s a priority in God’s eyes and an entire book of the Bible is devoted to it! (Heb. 13:4)

The entire article is well worth the read.

from Reforming the Feminine

i married wonder woman ... now what?

Wow! I'm so curious about THIS book.

There are so many books out there that God is using to transform the lives of women that I've often wondered ... how must the man feel when his wife morphs into a woman clothed in godliness and humble beauty.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

worship links

a fabulous list of links from Sojourn's music website.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

fruit and veg night

Two weeks ago, Mike preached a sermon from Titus 1 in which he really challenged the guys at FOCUS to "stand up and step up". While the girls were encouraged by this and were challenged themselves to look for such characteristics in their future husbands, they still felt a wee little bit jipped. "What about us?"

But just as Mike finished his sermon and someone prayed, I jumped up and promptly invited the women to come around to our place in a week's time and we'd have a chat amongst ourselves about what God desires for women.

A few men scoffed that women could possibly have fun together minus the presence of chocolate ... but tonight we proved them wrong.

As the girls from FOCUS arrived (bringing news of the fire in Hobart), we chopped veggies and juiced fruit and got to know one another better.

Later, in the evening we read through 1 Peter 2:13-3:12.

We discussed that a godly woman

1. hopes in God (not in self, or husbands, or looks), which leads to
2. fearlessness, which leads to
3. an inner tranquility (gentle and quiet spirit), which leads to being able to
4. humbly submit to one's husband's leadership ...

for the glory of God and the sake of the Gospel.

John Piper defines submission as "the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband's leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts" in his sermon The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission.

Next month we're going Op-shopping (thrift store shopping)!

Friday, September 21, 2007

$2500 later

I am now the proud owner of a (temporary*) Spouse Visa.

*In two years time our relationship will be re-assessed by the government (to be sure it's genuine and ongoing), at which time I will then be a permanent resident.

how to fight with a friend

click here

from Reforming the Feminine (Mars Hill)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

when you're learning a lot, sometimes you think you know it all

I would like to publicly retract the word "selfish" from this previous post.

Below is a comment in response from the welcomed criticism of a good friend (from the comment section).
I've come to realize through correspondence over the past week that "selfish" is the wrong word.

Every woman is unique and in a unique relationship.

My advice would do very little to help a woman who is a virgin, finds it very easy to communicate with her fiance, and looks forward to the journey (whatever that may be ... whether laughing the first night because they JUST can't figure it out or enjoying each other passionately).

On the other hand, many women are afraid of the unknown. Should the woman afraid of the penetration of needles much less the thought of her husband penetrating her remain in her fear? No, this would be an example of a woman who ought to speak with a woman she trusts and respects and visit a doctor to be assured that her body will survive a wedding night.

Is she selfish if she does not go to a doctor ... no, just fearfully ignorant. Not the bliss you described.

2 women, 2 expectations, neither selfish.

Those who are afraid do not need to remain in fear. They can speak frankly with their fiance about their fear and seek reassurance and understanding from him. They can speak to a trusted woman that can disciple them in placing their trust in God and his purpose for marriage and advise them on what to expect. And they can seek out medical advice about their own anatomy whether from a book or a physician.

Like I said [before], in many situations just having sex is not the answer. But there are many underlying fears and expectations that need to be communicated (like Shiloh recommended above, as well) before being married.

Love and communication.


I would still recommend women visit a physician beforehand but from now on my advice would definitely lack the edge of pressure with the risk of labeling a friend "selfish" ... God forbid I harbor a mentality that communicates "If you don't do what I do, then you're wrong."

I have been amazed and humbled by the public and private response to this topic. I now understand that to use such judgmental language as selfish is indeed uncharitable, and I am sorry and apologize to those I offended.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

reforming the feminine

A fabulous list of links of Mars Hill talks especially relevant for women.

Check out the audio resource links in the sidebar of i'd rather laugh than cry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

when ignorance is fearful

WARNING: may be controversial but definitely worth thinking about. (Male readers may find this post uncomfortable.)

I love my husband.

Before I married him I knew that it was important for me to go see a doctor. (At this point some men [if they are reading] may break out into a cold sweat and close the window.) I was blissfully ignorant of sexual intimacy and yet looked forward to that new expression of love that Mike and I would soon share. The doctor, a kind Christian man, asked me if I was afraid.


Afraid of what?

Hundreds and thousands of women underwent this sort of examination on a yearly basis. Surely, there was nothing to be afraid of.

But women are afraid.

And many of them blissfully ignorant.

Sexual intimacy for a virgin often contains a fantastic world of unknowns. But this fantasy world has its ogres. There are tales of pain, blood, tears, embarrassment.

After an unsuccessful attempt to examine my body, my doctor was very frank with me.

Christine, do you love your fiance? Do you wish to express that love to him on your honeymoon?

Yes, of course I do!

Then listen to me. If you remain as you are you will be miserable on your honeymoon. You will not enjoy sexual intimacy and nor will your husband. As things are now, you will not even experience penetration. Even if you did, it would bring both you AND your husband pain. But it doesn't have to be that way.

He began to explain to me what I could do months in advance so that I could enjoy wonderful intimacy with my husband. Did he explain various sexual positions that Mike and I could try to keep the romance alive? No. But he did instruct me very honestly concerning various exercises I could do so that there would be little or no pain and much enjoyment for both Mike and me.

I took his admonition very seriously. I was not afraid of sex because I knew that it did not have to involve tears or a great amount of pain. I love Mike. And to selfishly hold back sex from him when it was in my power to make it a joyful experience was not an option. So everyday for two weeks I did as the doctor told me, and returned to his office to hear the glad news that I could now expect a blissful honeymoon (which we did).

My friend Sherrin recently posted about the joys of being ignorant concerning things sexual. A commmentor shared about her own experience at the doctor:
[My doctor] had offered to have an honest conversation with me about s*x and give me some info about methods that would make it easier for me. I was of the opinion that this stuff was wrong and refused it. . Then I had a horrific honeymoon and wish I had taken her advice. I did a lot of book reading an internet serfing to try to figure out what in the world my problem was only to find that this was very normal for virgins.

My husband and I are sad that we never really had a honeymoon. I am still very upset that that time was stolen from me.

Sherrin follows up this post with When Ignorance Is Not Bliss in which she discusses the importance of open communication between the soon-to-be-married couple and a couple they trust to counsel them on what lies ahead.

Some might think, "Oh, I'm willing to put up with a month or two of discomfort in order to avoid seeing a doctor. I intend to go into the honeymoon with both a virgin mind and body."

You can keep your thoughts from lust and yet still understand the biology and ability of your body. Holding onto your ignorance in the name of purity is depriving your husband (and yourself) of a great joy meant to be experienced in matrimony. Beware, your ignorance may inadvertently breed frustration and discontent in the man who loves you more than anyone else and desires to show you that love with his body.

Take for example the anonymous comment on Mike's post (one of the many) about his pet peeve.

UPDATE: Sherrin linked to this excellent article on Boundless titled Prep for the Wedding Night.


clicking heels in the air

Not only am I pumped for the upcoming release of the book Vintage Jesus but I actually shouted for joy when I read THIS from the Resurgence site:

Also coming in 2008 will be the book Practical Theology for Women written by my friend and deacon in our church, Wendy Alsup. Her book will address how women can and should be theologically informed. Curiously, she is a strong Reformed complementarian and stay-at-home mom with a degree in mathematics who is also a college professor.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Oh, what an amount of discontent is there between man and wife! If they are crossed in their possessions at land, or have bad news from across the seas, or if those whom they trusted are ruined and the like, or perhaps something in the family causes strife between man and wife, in reference to the children or servants, and there is nothing but quarrelling and discontent among them, now they are many times burdened with their own discontent; and perhaps will say one to another, It is very uncomfortable for us to live so discontented as we do. But have you ever tried this way, husband and wife? Have you ever got alone and said, 'Come, Oh let us go and humble our souls before God together, let us go into our chamber and humble our souls before God for our sin, by which we have abused those mercies that God has taken away from us, and we have provoked God against us. Oh let us charge ourselves with our sin, and be humbled before the Lord together.'? Have you tried such a way as this? Oh you would find that the cloud would be taken away, and the sun would shine in upon you, and you would have a great deal more contentment than ever you had.

I cannot recommend the book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs enough!

The entire book may be read here.

my wild island home

Yesterday Mike and I arrived back home in Hobart after spending three days exploring the island we live on. Tasmania has it's small cities, cute country towns, and middle-of-no-where settlements. But it is also still quite wild.

Here's a map of the route we took.

And here are pictures from the trip.