Every Woman a Theologian
— The Church is Not the Building —
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Dear friend,
I stood on stones older than anything I've stood upon before and my eyes were drawn up, up, up to the light. It pooled and poured through the window, resting at last on a wooden crucifix and the altar in front of it. I gasped a little. There were no words.
There's nothing spiritual about a building, really. It's just ancient stone and architectural accomplishment. I've been in many beautiful churches that are dead and gone, hollow testimonies to faith that chose not to persevere. But beneath the vaulted ceiling of an abbey, and under the ornate paintings of a gothic cathedral, I was reminded of the deep, abiding hope in every faithful Christian. The building isn't the sum of it and the building can't contain it, but somehow the building reminds us of it.
I was in Italy last week for a writing retreat we've been planning for almost a year. Of the twelve ladies who attended, only two knew each other before attending and I had the privilege of meeting three of them through Verity Conference. It's a big deal to fly across the world and spend 5 days with women you don't know. I would almost say it's impossible to do such a thing without faith - faith in Christ, but also faith in His people. And that faith is what made this retreat as impactful as it was.
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The women at this retreat came from many different states, stages, and walks of life. Half of them were single and half were married with kids. Some were fresh out of college and others were almost a decade into their careers. Their denominational backgrounds ranged from Reformed to Mennonite to Baptist to Nazarene.
So how could thirteen women (adding myself into the mix) with so many differences talk, write, sing, pray, and play together in such peace? I have a guess, and His name is Jesus.
As trite as it sounds I've seen the simplicity of this truth proved real over and over and over again. Women who love Jesus, and who recognize His love for them, have a lot of grace for other people. As different as we all were and are there was a beautiful unity between us. There was something so profound in both the joy and the weeping, in the spontaneous worship we sang, the hysterical laughter and the deep questions about singleness and marriage. 
As the week went on, the Lord affirmed what I was seeing: This is my Church.
And this is how the Church offers something so completely different from the world. To see women refuse to be biting, condescending, bickering and petty and instead carry one another's burdens, share their hardest stories, talk openly about the challenges of their season, and laugh with abandon is completely foreign to most people in our world. 
There is little we had in common apart from the Holy Spirit - and yet the Spirit was, and is, enough. 
I continue to be in awe of the stories shared and blessed by the vulnerability and bravery of the twelve women I met this week. Next time I stand in awe beneath a gaping arch that points to heaven, I'll remember: the Church has never been the building. It has always been the Spirit-empowered people gathered and sent. Gathered to worship, sent out to share His love. 
I fiercely hold to the truth that Christ is who He says He is and because of that, His people have a love that “bears all things”. For those in Christ, deep calls to deep. Those who know Him deeply attract those who love Him deeply too. If that day has not yet come, it's still coming. Keep seeking His face, keep growing in grace and truth, and hold out hope for His Church - just like Jesus does.
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Around the Christian World

My Five Faves

  • Hazelnut and Pistachio Gelato straight from downtown Florence deserves a spot here. My first time… and it's everything everyone said it would be!
  • Pointed Toe Knit Flats: These flats are the GOAT. I have large feet, high arches, and had surgery on both feet when I was fourteen so I have to be a bit picky with shoes… especially walking EVERYWHERE in Italy. These are not only super cute, they are SO comfortable!
  • Lululemon Dupe Belt Bag: I wore this the whole week and it was a lifesaver! I wore it across my chest like the kids do to prevent pick pocketing, but it's also great worn across your hips. Amazon find
  • Stuff I'd Only Tell God: My friend Jennifer Dukes Lee has a new book out… except it's a journal! This guided journal is exactly what I needed. It asks deep questions in an approachable way. I'm not a journaler and if you struggle with knowing what to write, this is for you! 
  • Tightrope by Jon Guerra: This came on my Spotify as I was driving home from the airport and I couldn't contain the tears. If you're in a hard season or struggle with striving, this song is for you.
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At Home with Phylicia

A little glimpse of what's bringing us joy at home: routines, books, kitchen and home life.
  • A few things I'm loving from the Shop:
    • Farmer's Market candle: I keep this in the bedroom and on my living room coffee table - nontoxic!
    • Gold Ear Cuff: This is a slide-on cuff which is perfect because I don't have a cartilage piercing! I pair this with some of the earrings we've previously sold in shop.
    • Long Handled Washing Brush: We use this daily for dishes! 
      • All our shop items are ethically made. While Every Woman a Theologian specializes in theology and bible resources, our shop also highlights companies that manufacture beautiful, ethically made items!
  • What I'm Reading: I did not bring much reading on this trip since I knew I'd want to spend time with everyone! Now that I'm back, here's what's on my shelf:
    • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    • Now is Eternity by J.C. Blumhardt
    • But Then She Remembered by Katie Westenberg
    • The Time Saving Mom by Crystal Paine
    • A stack of Leviticus commentaries for the new study!
  • Podcasts I'm Loving: This week I listened to a few episodes, including some I didn't agree with.
    • Teaching Your Kids to Pray on At Home with the Beveres // Loved this one!
    • The Power of God by Dr. Charles Stanley // In honor of his passing I listened to some sermons last week. His voice will always encourage and comfort me.
    • Should Women Teach Theology to Other Women? by Dale Partridge on Real Christianity // I did not agree with Dale's take and might respond on Verity, but it was good to hear his perspective and how he arrived at it.
“long obedience” 
is not for the faint
but for the victor.
Fortunate for us
the victory is 
already won.
Sanctification, PDM






for the awakening,