When I was writing Every Woman a Theologian's verse by verse Revelation study, I noticed a repeated statement made by Jesus to the seven churches. Here's one of them:
“Nevertheless, hold fast to what you have until I come. And to the one who overcomes and continues in My work until the end, I will give authority over the nations.” Rev. 2:25-26
Some translations say the one who “overcomes”, others say the one who “perseveres”. The sentiment is consistent obedience against all odds.
Today you may have heard news that one of the most famous preaching pastors of our age has passed away: Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries. I tried to talk about it on Instagram and it's a good thing I don't have my fake eyelashes on because I would have cried them off. This man has led and discipled me from afar in ways he will never know. Maybe God can tell him for me?
Dr. Stanley's death reminded me of this verse in Revelation. It's a verse telling us that obedience, consistency, and long-term faithfulness are what God is really after; not more hype, more experiences or even more intellectual understanding, though those are good in their own way. God is after people who hold fast until He comes.
I saw that kind of steadfastness in Dr. Stanley. Perhaps because of childhood experiences steadfastness - of life, character, and emotion - is something I'm drawn to. I don't think it's any coincidence I ended up marrying Josh, a man so steady and unflappable it takes the whole world crashing around him to find out he is, in fact, a little stressed.
I think we forget what a gift our steadfastness is to the those around us. In an age of selfishness and chaos (and chaos caused by selfishness), the steadfast, faithful, perseverant people really are the ones who overcome. Think about it: Who do we love to return to? The grandparents, parents, and old friends who never left the small town we couldn't bear to stay in. We may not be called to or want to stay, but their staying power is our security.
Or what about the man who stays? Many of you reading this came to my blog years ago though my viral post “Marry the Man Who Stays”, about which I said this:
"We’re trained to look for the movers and shakers, the leaders and the loud. We think spiritual leadership means holding the microphone – but it’s more about holding the fort. The man who stands on principle isn’t en route to anywhere else; he’s neither moving nor shaking. He simply stays.
“We think of faithfulness as something practiced once we’re married, but it doesn’t just happen when the rings slip on our hands. It’s a discipline of the heart that begins early. It’s the choice to stick with it when things get tough, when you’re overlooked, when your work is ignored and you’re left standing there. It’s choosing to stay when you have every reason to leave.”
Or what about the person who day after day follows through on their habits, who abstains from the thing causing addiction, who perseveres in seeking God when it isn't fun or pretty or life is “too busy”? That person comes out on the other side an overcomer, not because he never missed a day but because when he did, he didn't use it as an excuse to give up. He kept his eyes on the prize.
In our spiritual lives that prize is “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14) And I think that's what Dr. Stanley always kept in mind. If your eyes are fixed on that high call, it's a lot harder to get distracted. It's a lot harder to put God off yet again. And it helps to remember that in being steadfast, we are seen by God - even if it feels unseen by people. The only way to truly remain consistent is to do it for the One who rewards you rather than working for the shifting opinions of people.
I don't know about you, but I'll take the unglamorous, often unseen, overcoming life any day.
This is the biggest news for me this week, as Dr. Stanley was a mentor from afar to me as a young person and now as a woman in ministry. Dr. Stanley came to Christ through the preaching of a female evangelist at age 12. In his life, he discipled me to do what I do today. Heaven rejoices to receive him!
This week's faves will all be travel related since we just came home from Nashville!
The Time Saving Mom by Crystal Paine (pictured below!): I have followed Crystal for over ten years! I learn much from her as a mom who is ten years ahead of me (her oldest is 18). Crystal is a WHIZ at time management and systems but is also flexible and humble about changing with her life's demands. We have a podcast episode coming soon and you should check out her newest book!
The one and only Pack n Play Crib Cover: I showed this on insta last week! We swear by this and it's not that expensive. Stretches over the crib and hooks to the legs, with a zipper top to pop baby inside. It darkens their crib but has air vents on the sides. It's thin enough we can actually pack it right in the crib when it's collapsed.We use it with this portable sound machine!
Baby sleep on the road: I am asked this every week but especially when we travel. And I will be honest with you: Josh and I sleep train our kids (and if you think that's some harsh, cry it out neglectful model, you don't know what sleep training actually is!). Sleep is important to us - for my hormonal health post-autoimmune disease, for having time together in the evening as a couple - and for our kids. Because of that, we use Sleepwise Consulting. Consultants provide science backed and evidence based help to babies and children (and adults!) to get the sleep they need. We used a consultant with both Ivan and Eva and I will never go back. Other than regressions and the occasional brainchild of dancing with a flute at 2 AM (true story), our kiddos sleep through the night, stay in their beds and have a short consistent routine. It makes travel much easier!
Car Garbage Can: Before our 40 hour road trip with all 3 kiddos two years ago I bought a trash can similar to this and it's my favorite thing in my car - ha! It's easy to dump out, convenient and keeps the car picked up. We do a trash clean out after each use of the car and at rest stops on the road.
These Car Hooks: I have these on all the seats. I use them for the diaper bag and for the girls, to hang their bags of toys on the seat in front of them.
At Home with Phylicia
A little glimpse of what's bringing us joy at home: routines, books, kitchen and home life.
Last Week of Homeschool Co-op: It was a bittersweet day! Week 24 marks the end of our homeschool group and my year teaching the 9-11 year olds. After our lessons we did a big celebration where the kids showcased what they learned and all the art they made this year. It was so sweet and I am going to miss seeing these kids every week during summer. Feeling so blessed to raise kiddos alongside such great parents!
What I'm Reading: Are you bored of me saying War and Peace yet?? I only have 700 pages to go! Ha! With the kids we are reading Green Ember and I hope to add some more nonfiction in once I get back from Italy in May.