A Wise State of Mind, Part 3: Her Tongue

(1 min read)

Lifted right out of Nancy Wolgemuth’s “Adorned,” here are some of her practical examples of a wise and unwise woman, specifically her tongue.

UNWISEWISE
Says whatever comes to mind without hesitatingSlow to speak, words are measured, thinks first
Talks too much Good listener
Quick to vent anger/frustrationQuick to praise/give thanks
Wounds/belittles/tears downWords minister grace/blessing/encouragement
ExaggeratesCareful with the truth
Speaks roughlyGracious, pure words
ArgumentativeHumble/yields the right to be right
Excessive shyness/fearful to talkBlesses others by speaking good words in due season

I realize these are true of us at one time or another, thus the importance of saying sorry unto the Lord and then unto others (especially our husband and kids!)

Now this takes a bit of intentionality. But definitely, bridling our tongue, and being a blessing by way of words isn’t accomplished by more self-will & determination, but rather a dependence on God and His Spirit’s enabling grace.

Lord, may we call on to You for bridling our tongue, blessing people with our words, in season and out of season, may You enable us to continue building people up, bring healing with our words to all around us, and especially spread kindness and loving discipline to our kids too, in Jesus name, Amen!

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Proverbs 12:18

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29

A Wise State of Mind: Her Mindset and Attitudes

2 minute read

Titus 2: 3-5,10

They are to teach what is good, so train the young women to love their husbands and children, and to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Previously I’ve posted about the wise woman’s state of mind, specifically emotions. To continue on the series of the wise state of mind, the next segment is: mindset and attitudes.

Lifted from Nancy Wolgemuth’s amazing and beautiful book Adorned, which talks about the Titus 2 woman, these are a few of the hundred examples she has outlined on what a wise woman’s mindset ought to be.

UNWISEWISE
Self-centered:
How does this affect me?
Others-centered:
“How does my behavior affect others?”
Discontented;
entitlement mindset:
“I deserve better”
Contented, humble, grateful,
gives thanks in all circumstances
Seeks escape from pressures and problemsWilling to endure hardship for the sake of ultimate gain/reward
Lacks discernment, not careful about what influences her; lets anything inCareful, discerning regarding what she reads, watches, listens to
Feeds the flesh, flesh controls the spiritFeeds the spirit, restrains the flesh, spiritually, morally, mentally vigilant – heart and mind are grounded and guarded
Impulsive, impetuousExercises restraint and self-government
Victim of her circumstances and pastUses her past as stepping stone to greater fruitfulness
Has good intentions but doesn’t follow through; commitments are short-lived Follows through on commitments, develops godly disciplines
A Sophron woman’s mindset and attitudes

Couldn’t they be more polar opposites? How did you fare? 🙂

Well, this was written before the pandemic! It certainly has been a roller coaster of a year and a half! A ton of man’s plans has changed, but then again the Word is unchanging and eternal!

I’m again thrilled that there is encouragement for those of us painfully aware of our failings amidst our sin nature and circumstances.

Most gratefully, the book continues: “God has never left us to His will on our own, not by our sheer willpower and determination.”

Paul made it clear in this letter to Titus as he was left in Cretan church, that “the wise woman’s state of mind is initiated, produced, and enabled by His Spirit and grace.”

My prayer for us is that we become Titus 2 women, as enabled by His Spirit and grace!

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:3-5

Routines! Until the Day I’m Old and Gray

“Your routines have to be in order because from there rides the other things you need to learn.” I can’t remember how many times I’ve repeated this to my kids.

There are a ton of things we do everyday that need careful routinary mindfulness, or faithfulness. Waking up and self-care, having 3 meals a day, daily discipline of Bible reading and prayer, brushing teeth, and in recent years, checking your preferred messenger and Zoom meeting list.

Pandemic living necessitates mindfulness of soul care & for some, mental health. That could mean therapeutic and calming music, playing or learning to play an instrument, (or getting back to it!), control of social media and news input, a few minutes of exercise, and certainly catching up and checking in on friends and relatives.

Why does God give us one day at a time? Maybe He knows in our finite nature we need small manageable chunks of time.

In our parenting we surely have had to work on many habits these past few years. A large chunk of the early years is geared towards habit training: sleep 10 hours AND in your bed, finish your plate, daily bible and prayer time at breakfast, 10-15 minutes of Phonics and numbers, and tidy up your toys at night.

Some months we do them all, and some days we botch them all! Consistency is the thing that requires the most effort!

As the elementary years dawned on us, there was added the habit of attention and homeschool manners. In marriage, it is about cultivating the relationship, dating, and intentionality. It is indeed a work in progress, well, aren’t we all?!

A helpful one for us adults would be what Apostle Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ.” Until the day I’m old & gray may I continue getting to know the Lord through the Bible! In 1 Thessalonians 3 it is proven that we never graduate from growing in our faith. What an exciting journey this is!

With this I thoroughly admire my mother-in-law. It is one thing to be with the Lord for a decade, but totally another to be walking the straight and narrow for more than 4 decades!

Certainly I am a fan of Nancy Wilson’s Femina podcast. In one of the episodes she highlights sanctification – New City Catechism defines this as a gradual growing righteousness. Nancy would say, I’m paraphrasing here, that no sooner had you grown in some area or aspect than you see another creep up on you. Sanctification is a constant reliance on the grace of God.

I’m imagining that decades from now on our empty nest, I will still need to keep some form of routine, such as daily quiet time, keeping the home, exercise, accompanying Jd in a fishing trip, & maybe I’ll have more time to cook elaborate and dreamy vegan meals.

I’m pretty sure I’m still being sanctified by then!

Putting Marriage and Family before God

Idolatry in marriage and family? Is it possible?! Yes, it can be, and it is possible to fall into this temptation; for we do value the opinion of those we love the most.

Idolatry is defined as excessive devotion to or worship of something other than God. An idol is anything that replaces the one true God. It is wrong and it’s a thing we need to say sorry to God for, and fight against.

What if husband and wife do not see eye to eye on some things yet? What if, as you lead, homeschool and discipline your kids, they hate you? Would it still be possible to honor God still, to make marriage and family life work? YES!

Jan 25, 2021; Intimate dinner at a Thai restaurant for our 8th wedding anniversary

Persevere in the work despite pain

Pastor Steve Murrell, in addressing Every Nation NA leaders, said that “If we let our pain, rather than our purpose become the center, we will quit the ministry.” Isn’t our marriage our first ministry as Christians?

To what do we persevere in? For us wives and mothers, it can be all things – even the simplest ones. Is it the office work lying on your desk? Is it the lunch or dinner that needs to be cooked and served? It can be the pile of dishes waiting in the sink, or the floor-full of toys waiting to be tidied up, in prayer and in surrendering to the Lord the things we can’t control, we can persevere.

Nancy Wolgemuth would differentiate a wise woman’s emotions and habits from an unwise one, calling it a “sophron state of mind.” I have been chewing on this list of 100+ qualities and its mighty helpful.

UNWISEWISE
Impetuous, impulsiveExercises restraint and self-government
Self-centered – “How does this affect me?”Others-centered – “How does my behavior affect others?”
Choices driven by feelings, external pressure, circumstancesChoices driven by the Word of God
Fearful Trusts in the Lord
Wounds, belittles, tears down others with her wordsWords minister grace, blessing, encouragement to the hearer
Argumentative Humble, yields the right to be right
Struggles to maintain consistent disciplines and routinesDevelops and maintains healthy, consistent disciplines and habits
Easily distracted – flits from one thing to another, inability to focus, concentrate, or finish a task Focuses on what God has given her to do at the moment, and brings tasks to completion
some examples of Nancy Wolgemuth’s list of “A Sophron State of Mind”

The bible does call us to act in wisdom by persevering in various trials, I’ve had this verse plastered on my clothes cabinet growing up, it has helped me a lot!

“Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

Your identity is still true in Christ despite what others may think

Today’s most erroneous value source is in social media likes, comments, subscriptions and repost/retweets; but not so in the gospel. Ultimately this rings true even in the disagreement of those closest to us.

Victory Morning Devotions has been a constant source of encouragement during this pandemic for many Filipinos, including me, and the July 14 devotion on Ephesians 1:18, is about us believers being God’s treasured possession or inheritance. I learned that the three qualities an inheritance has to have is:

  • a recognized or perceived value,
  • defined ownership, and
  • a paid price.

All of those Jesus has already purchased and declared for me on the cross, and it stands true no matter our dreary daily circumstance. If we look all around us, it can be easy to see dreary circumstances, good thing the gospel reminds us that our first priority is to God, and making the family go first is indeed an idolatry.

It’s also incredibly hurtful and draining for your family to bear the brunt of your perceived identity and security, these can only rightly be gained from Jesus.

As you do the right thing, whether your kids believe, trust, obey you or not, your value in Christ remains the same. Your value in Christ remains the same even in relational stress with the ones you hold most dear, husband and kids included.

Kevin DeYoung would say that our commitment to family must not come before our commitment to God. He says that family is good, necessary, and foundational, but not ultimate.

I love my family to pieces, and I would surely do all I can to enable them to fulfill their purpose in life, but indeed, a function of that love for them, is putting them second only to God. To be honest, I’m not sure how I can function well as wife and mom at any rate if Jesus wasn’t my Lord and Savior.

Should we really rely only on visible results?

A ton of things we do daily/weekly/yearly will not have visible results. In time they will, but should we pin our satisfaction in visible changes, it’s unwise and may cause our emotions to go haywire!

We can’t merely resort to stifling our emotions, or even exalting them, instead we can pour them out to God. Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre writes in their book True Feelings: “when Christ restores our emotions, they can work the way He always intended, to work in harmony with our other faculties: the mind and the will. On one hand we musn’t despise God’s gift of emotions by stifling what we feel, we should receive this gift, make use of it, enjoy it; on the other hand we must not favor or exalt our emotions. We must not live only to feel, but we should appreciate and apply our minds and wills in equal measure.

We can continue to press on, despite not seeing the results we work on and pray for, just because pressing on honors the Lord as he enables us to persevere.

Speck vs Beam

What is the speck in your husband’s eye? Granted, it’s clouding his vision. But what about the beam of wood in your own eye? For us Christian women married to Christian husbands, we are blessed that God is their Lord and they listen to Him. If not, it still holds true that the wife’s godly behavior can win them over to Christ.

It’s extremely helpful to examine ourselves if we are sorely lacking in something, and for us women, it somehow can be distilled as an inadequacy in respect in conveying our thoughts and feelings.

Surely the gift and mystery of marriage is something I try to cultivate and seek to honor Him everyday in, all by His grace!

Family life is busy, but fun and fulfilling!

Was this helpful? Feel free to shoot me a message or a comment!

Prayer and Patience

Recently we had our friend’s bridal shower and it was as sweet as it gets! Weddings are truly lovely and displays a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church.

With marriage of course comes character formation.

The message I wanted to send across to our bride-to-be is the importance of prayer and patience.

Sabi pa sa Filipino class, “Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi biro, ‘di tulad ng kanin, iluluwa kung mapaso.” Marriage is difficult, its not like food that you can spit out if it burns.

So therein lies the message of prayer and patience. Prayer can bring you patience even.

As we pray, persevere, we can be patient and surrender the results to God.

What do we pray for?

We can pray for our own character flaws, we can pray for his character flaws.

We can ask God for grace and perseverance to overcome and rise above challenges, as a tagteam.

I’m afraid no one has “arrived” in this. I’m talking to myself even as I’m talking to you dear reader.

Provision financially is a common grace and its a means to an end. A heart check here seems in order.

What is your end in what you’re believing God to provide for you?

Will it be used to honor him? Will it be used to live your life in such a way that advances the Kingdom? Does it glorify you, your skills and capabilities, or God?

Having a husband is quite an all encompassing word, the wife has him as best friend, forever teammate, workmate toward goals, intimacy partner, safe zone, co-parent, counselor, leader, and so much more: what a pleasure. What a joy it is to have that!

Cultivating a godly marriage and raising up kids in Christ, arguably, could be the two most difficult things we could do in life. Yet they are the most fulfilling, and sanctifying.

Marriage is such a challenging but beautiful mystery that portrays Christ and the Church, His bride, to partake in it is such a joyful honor.

Its greatly refreshing to celebrate with a friend who’s getting married! JD and I are blessed to be part of this couple’s lives!

Marriage is such a challenging but beautiful mystery that portrays Christ and the Church, His bride, to partake in it is such a joyful honor.

"My love is mine and I am his.."
Song of Songs 2:16A

Where is the Love? (Or the Respect?)

Why is it that when we get married its all ok, and then a few years later when we have kids, things start to change?! It’s like things tend to divide dad & mom! So therein lies the need for teamwork and unity within dad & mom!

Its easy to not date anymore, its easy to get caught up in the myriad things to do, the tasks pile up, and when you get to bed its far too easy to just crash and sleep hard.

How can marriage be like this? How can it be all good in the beginning and then all of a sudden the responsibilities add up, and we have drifted apart.

Dated recently? Had alone time without the kids?
(Photo by Lon Christensen on Unsplash)

Well I think that the biblical way of doing marriage adequately provides a solution to this dilemma.

 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Ephesians 5:22-24

Have we submitted to our husband recently? Or do we diss him a lot? Have we listened to his insights? Or just do our own thing without consulting him?

Have you ever done anything around the house that he has no idea about, and he’s not totally supportive of? Well have you asked him about that?

Do we tell our kids how to show respect to their dad? Do we tell them that when Dad works, he is doing it for us, he is not leaving us all alone but working for us.

Do we translate that provision to meals, clothes, and a loving atmosphere in the home? When he says he would love to have more of this and that in the home, do you obey that or still do things your own way? Have we been a good helpmate to our husbands?

Helpmate doesn’t at all mean helper. Its coming from the word ezer kenegdo, meaning lifesaver, a warrior opposite to him, a match in front of him. Elsewhere in the bible it is only used as in the way God rescues humankind. The woman isn’t at all inferior, man and woman were created equally, and yet uniquely, each fulfilling a different role. Same value, but with differing roles.

The woman isn’t at all inferior, man and woman were created equally and yet uniquely, each fulfilling a different role.

Same value, differing roles.

In the same way that the church submits itself to Christ, we must submit ourselves to our husbands, knowing that God’s command of the headship of the man is trustworthy. This is indeed a profound mystery, Christ is the leader of the church, and the church is the wife who submits herself to the leadership of the husband.

If you know me, this is very hard for me! My fallen Eve sinful nature is naturally averted to authority and rebellious. But only by God’s grace, this is something my husband would thankfully say I’ve grown in.

This is a command that isn’t dependent on how the husband acts, although it sure is easy (I’m blessed!) when he is a godly Christian man. We are to respect and obey even in times when it can be difficult, when it is difficult; our “direct report” is primarily to God. We are by Jesus, in the following passage, to obey Him first, costly as it is to our ego.

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 9:23

If we would think that our submission as our direct report to God is too difficult, just look at his direct report to God: “how did he lead his wife and family?” O that is heavy!

I am a firm believer that a strong marriage is the best gift one can give their children.

So its my hope that we work on this respect everyday, even when we don’t necessarily feel like it! It’s not a respect that is only when things are smoothly going, and on Father’s day or his birthday. (This is one of the reasons I’m not such a big fan of human constructs such as valentine’s, mother’s or father’s day)

Love and respect is supposed to be worked on every single day. Though I do understand the point of those celebrations such that we give honor to whom honor is due.

In this state of mutual love and respect, what is supposed to keep mom and dad apart is the thing that keeps them close. The matters they need to work on, to cultivate, to decide, and to believe God for, are the very same matters that if taken together as a team, will keep them tightknit and superglued.

In this state, as it is practiced through the years, and the kids grow up, see the strong marriage, and they begin get sharpened to successfully hit their targets in life, dad and mom are closer as ever than before.

Was this helpful? How about you, what are your thoughts on these?!

Always One Foot Out the Door: the Case of the Flaky Pastry

I absolutely love flaky pastries! Otap and croissants are treats for us. The former has even recently become one of our kids’ favorite snacks. Sugary, sweet, beautiful in texture, easy to devour.

As we continue to eat otap on a daily basis, sometimes I am reminded of how I later took a bad turn as a young Christian, new in the faith.

I can honestly say that, by God’s saving grace, Christ was all I wanted when I began my walk with Him. I wanted Christ for Christ’s sake even if it meant leaving a lot of things, including the possibility of marriage, behind.

I loved knowing Christ more and more in discovering the basics of the faith (salvation, Lordship, repentance, etc.). I was like, so this is what it is to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

As time went by, in differing seasons, cities, and circumstances, I discovered a certain flakiness in me—not the good kind, but the kind that the devil seems to love munching on.

In His wisdom, the Lord used the ever-increasing challenges marriage and parenting, of “adulting,” to teach me how my shallow understanding of Christ and Christianity just couldn’t cut it. Whenever a challenging trial would be served on the table, I would easily fall off of it. Nevertheless, I am still grateful, for those years created in me a deeper longing, a deeper desire to dig deeply into the Word.

God’s grace in those moments has taught me that I needed sound teaching and doctrine everyday to keep me from crumbling, falling off, and being eaten by a clean-up crew of hungry ants! Those moments taught me that if I am to live out God’s purpose for me, I need to get my bible right.

John Piper would say, “Do not settle for wimpy theology. It is beneath you. God is too great. Christ is too glorious.”

A decade ago, I had falsely believed that if I just believed Jesus enough, prayed hard for this and that enough, fasted long enough, then I would have everything I needed, as Jesus would be pleased enough to give them to me. Then I would be free from hardships and see no trouble afterwards.

Unfortunately, that’s not the Jesus from Scriptures—that’s a genie. So, yes, somewhere along the way, in the busyness of life, I actually had lost sight of the true Jesus. The fact is, I have everything I needed in Christ, and I totally missed Him.

Nevertheless, God was still at work, birthing something in me.

You see, what we believe inevitably shapes us—truth (or half-truths and lies) always flows, first, into our heads, then, down to our hearts, then out of our hands.

Those false notions were why I was constantly reconsidering, flippantly and easily giving up in my pursuit of holiness, and why I lacked the willingness to fully obey, and obey persistently.

I had Jesus in me, and I could have communed with and enjoy Him deeper everyday, but I settled for being that modern-day snowflake Christian, “a mile wide and an inch deep”, as the late great JI Packer described it.

It nowhere says in Scripture that life would be breezy, easy-peasy. In fact, Jesus Himself said:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

And His victory over this world also means Truth’s victory over error, He is Truth Himself.

Apostle Paul pounds on the importance of “sound doctrine,” and it simply means truthful teaching.

In almost all of his letters, we see the pattern to be “Here’s Who God Is and what He has done. Then here’s who you are in light of Who God Is and what you are to do in response.”

I had to unearth what wrong beliefs I had ignorantly embraced and gotten lazily off the internet and heard from people around me. I needed to always check if what they say coincided with what the Bible says.

Sound doctrine is radically transformational. Lived out, it changes everything about us.

Nancy Wolgemuth

I honestly have fallen of the cliff of error. But the good news is, the Lord is a Great Shepherd who pursues sheep prone to wander.

He always finishes the good work He begins, being in the business of daily sanctification, (what?!) that wondrous gift of salvation which the New City Catechism calls our “gradual, growing righteousness”.

And so, praise God for His sanctifying grace!—instead of the usual taking in of chapters and verses, I began to read the Bible from left to right, to see its whole story, the metanarrative. I began to appreciate, understand and embrace its whole counsel (Acts 20:27).

All of us believers are works in progress in having sound doctrine, and today’s easy and instant everything culture is not really helping the progress at all. Reading, studying, meditating, praying, and applying God’s Word takes much time and intentionality.

May we use our time during this pandemic to deliberately dig deep into Scriptures for an increasingly sound and solid footing for our walk, that “we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:14).

The Gift of Marriage and Parenting

What happened to that thin lady who used to work in the military? Salvation happened. Marriage happened. Kids happened. Life happened.

It’s been 10 years with Christ, 8 years with JD, 6 years with the kids around, the gift of marriage and parenting has grown us a lot, in ways I never would’ve experienced as a single woman.

Motherhood has grown me in ways I never would’ve imagined, emotional agility is being exercised everyday. I grow as they grow, we laugh, we play, and we fight and makeup. It’s all part of the package.

Children are wonderful blessings, granted they need a ton of care, discipline, and hard work, but in God’s wisdom, I think He put children as babies that need a lot of care as a form of test for us.

We depend on him more, to get up each day from a long night of breastfeeding woes, to get up and work to provide (in the case of husbands) and still, to get up, even if sick and work to present meals, activities and maintain a certain home rhythm. We depend on him more to work in us, as we raise and disciple our kids, to lead us parents, as we lead our kids, to grow in our walk with Jesus, as we show our kids the narrow path, by God’s grace, into their salvation.

We hurdle through the hill of difficulty, stumble through mistakes, all through the recognition that Christ is our righteousness, our redeemer, our wisdom.

We hurdle through the hill of difficulty, stumble through mistakes, all through the recognition that Christ is our righteousness, our redeemer, and our wisdom.

As the days draw near to start my firstborn on “formal” grade school homeschooling, I can’t help but feel excited for the all the more shall I say, “serious” fun we get to have as the lessons become a tad longer, a lot deeper, and wider in scope; then it isn’t just going to be letters, numbers, and finger painting anymore. As it unfolds, I am certain of my hope, that God is with us, and that’s just what makes it all shall I say, doable.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 90:12,14