Every Woman a Theologian
— It's Not Less Holy to Enjoy Your Life —
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Dear friend,
Yesterday I laughed till tears came to my eyes when I discovered this picture (above) in the bundle of shots we took before the Easter service. Streaming sun, coordinated outfits, and… Adeline exercising that oldest daughter energy to sleeper hold her brother for the picture. This will be on the cover of our 2023 photo album for sure. 
As I laughed and laughed and laughed I recalled a question someone asked a few weeks ago about makeup. Bear with me; it's connected.
The question asked if it is vain to enjoy wearing makeup occasionally. As someone who wears makeup more than occasionally (I wear it almost every day) I replied that, according to Scripture, vanity is a heart attitude of pride. Putting on makeup is not guaranteed evidence of pride; you might wear it because you love it, or you see it as an art form, or it's just fun for you. (It is all the above for me.)
But the real issue –  anytime we ask questions about the “sin” in something we enjoy –  is this: Deep down we believe that God doesn't want us to be happy. Or at least, our happiness, joy, and pleasure are not His priority. Any joy we experience is just a nice side effect of living in His world – that's the lie, anyway.
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Before we go further let me be clear: If the thing you enjoy is getting drunk, numbing yourself with food or weed or alcohol or sex, God is clear about this in Scripture: these things damage you, damage others, and grieve God. I'm not talking about sin issues here. When I refer to the things you enjoy, I mean:
  • reading a good book on the porch
  • baking a rich and gorgeous chocolate cake (and eating it)
  • finding the perfect maxi dress to wear out with your friends
  • Saturday brunch with your besties
  • taking pictures of your kids on your iPhone
  • long walks with your dog
  • running that half marathon you worked so hard for
  • watching your favorite show in the evening
  • eating soup and bread by candle light in winter
  • playing music that lights up your soul
  • doing your makeup once in a while - or every day
Can you overeat, watch gross media, spend too much and get addicted to your phone? Sure. But excess is a choice. None of the above, on their own, are evil. They are in fact the opposite - evidence of God's creative, joyous, beautiful, inspiring love.
What if we stopped running scared of our own enjoyment? What if we let it permeate our souls? 
What if you shut your eyes halfway down the page and let His sun soak into your skin? What if you sat in awe of the author's ability to make ideas appear through words?
What if you ate that chocolate cake and delighted fully, with no guilt or thought to do otherwise - because He designed you able to enjoy it?
What if you spun in that dress and watched the ruffles fly like the little girl you once were, knowing He rejoices over you with singing NOW as much as He did THEN?
What if you saw His smile as you laugh and cry with godly women over waffles?
What if you accepted that He delights in your children's faces as much as you do?
What if you embraced that His character is on display in the forest where you walk your dog? That God did not have to design an animal so loyal, so devoted, and He did it anyway - for you?
What if, like Eric Liddell, you could say: “When I run, I feel His pleasure?"
Enjoying God's gifts changed me a few years ago. I stopped saving the things I loved for later. I wear white pants and white shirts because I love them and I won't wait till my kids are grown to wear them - instead, I learned how to wash them. I used the flour sack towels I got for my wedding, the ones I didn't want “ruined”, and instead ruined them over the course of a few years of use…delighting in them each time I scrubbed the dishes. I gained 10 lbs. eating the ice cream I couldn't have for five years of a restricted autoimmune diet and instead of lamenting it, I've learned to celebrate my changed body and accept my husband's delight in it too.
It is an act of faith to accept God's goodness, to revel in His revelation, to delight in His design.
When I look in the mirror in a purple dress with my makeup done and my hair just right, I feel joy –  and that joy carries over to my kids and husband and work and home. It's a joy He gives me. A joy in the smallest of things, not required for my salvation or necessary to a life well lived. That's the best part: Christ is not utilitarian. He doesn't only give functional gifts. 
He grants us joy in the seemingly meaningless, the “wasted time”, the sugar and the fat, the crescendo and the crocus, the stanza and the sonata, the brocade and the butterfly. 
He is the author of all beauty, light, and joy. His holiness is not in spite of our enjoyment; our enjoyment of this life is holy. 
Let your laughter peal and your feet beat the grass, friend, because it's not less holy to enjoy your life.
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Around the Christian World

this old article by Dr. Michael Brown on the Trump election “prophecies”
Why circumcision? from Bible Study Magazine
My Five Faves

  • Bible Study Mini Pen Bags: We JUST got these in the mail in time for me to take one on vacation! These mini bags go with my larger pen bag for the Bible study basket we launched last shop. I use them for my comfort crosses and sticky notes, and use the larger one for highlighters. Coming to the shop Monday!!!
  • Kristin Ess Curly Shampoo: One of the questions I've gotten as my hair has grown back out is “what's your curly hair routine?” I have been so happy with my results following Sophie Marie Graaf's curly hair method, and right now I am using Kristin Els curly shampoo and conditioner. I will add some Young Living Mirah Hair oil if it gets frizzy after air drying.
  • Iced Latte Love: My latest Starbucks drink has been a venti iced nonfat caramel latte (decaf) with vanilla cold foam on top. I am normally an Americano or hot latte girl but this has been my road trip treat!
  • This article by Francie Winslow on how a flourishing wife calls forth holy masculinity in her husband.
  • This episode of At Home with the Beveres on helping your child find their purpose is good for anyone wondering about calling and purpose.
At Home with Phylicia

A little glimpse of what's bringing us joy at home: routines, books, kitchen and home life.
  • Tennessee Vacation: This week instead of week 23 of school we are visiting family in Tennessee - and enjoying a real spring! The kids were so thrilled to see green grass. Our Airbnb is adorable (I will share it when we come home) and our plans are to spend as much time outside as possible!
  • What I'm Reading: I've shortened this section since I'm not reading as much lately with War and Peace taking up my reading time! I did recently start Loving Your Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. At the time I started it I did not know who he was affiliated with but the content of the book itself is great so far.
  • Travel hacks with kids: This road trip is 12 hours each way and our kids do it without screens. We aren't particularly against screens on long trips, but our van is old and DVD players aren't built in. Here are a few of our road trip hacks with littles:
    • Encourage them to make their own travel bags! We had the girls pick out their favorite books, coloring books, and toys for the trip. All these items are stored in between their car seats in a kids' activity bin.
    • Make a snack bag to save on stops. We stocked ours with cheese sticks, beef sticks, apples, granola bars, and bought a massive water bottle (over a gallon) that we fill with water to refill tippy cups. I use an Aldi cooler bag for storing.
    • Play audio books and podcasts: When Ivan is awake, the favorite is Thomas and Friends (on Spotify). The girls love Paws and Tales Paws-Cast by Chuck Swindoll. Josh and I are honestly astonished at the production quality of Paws and Tails! Another good one is Lamplighter Kids.
    • Car Quiet Time: During our 1-3 PM drive time when it would normally be Ivan's nap we have “car quiet time”. They can nap, read, or look out the window, but we keep talking minimal and turn off podcasts.
  • Meals on Vacation: It's so easy to eat out constantly on vacation but that adds up! We try to stick to the same weekly budget we have at home with a little extra room for eating out. I pick 4-5 paleo dinners to make at home, leftovers or sandwiches for lunch, and oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
This quote from my pastor's Easter sermon is sticking with me:
“In the gospel… the one you wronged is the One who saves you.”





for the awakening,