Every Woman a Theologian
— Why the Christian Life Doesn't Feel Easy  —
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Dear friend,
I got back from Italy Sunday night and life swept me into its current; it's hard to believe I've been home a week! I'm ready to do a full Spring Cleaning (TM) of a house that desperately needs it… which is exactly what I plan to do when I finish this newsletter.
This weekend I had the honor of subbing at an event for my friend Karen Ehman, who was sick (pray for her!). The theme of the event was “victory in Christ”, one of my favorite topics, but coming into the event late I wasn't sure what to speak on. So I prayed. The Lord continued to impress me that the focus should be the Holy Spirit.
 I talk about the Spirit quite a bit. That's mainly because I think He's not taught often or well in most Christian churches. He's either ignored or He's only good for big, sensational experiences. Scripture presents His work as somewhere in between: the quiet, faithful, development of Christ's character in us. The Spirit is in the business of victory, but we have to submit to His leading! To illustrate this point I told the story of my first (and last) sailboat experience.
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I was six years old. We lived in a remodeled cottage on Crooked Lake and my dad had borrowed my grandpa's Sunfish sailboat. It had a bright orange and yellow sail that flapped brilliantly against the clear blue sky. Dad packed me into my life jacket, into the boat and steered us into the lake. We were near the middle when the wind completely died. The sail hung limp and lifeless – and stayed that way.
“What do we do? Will we get home for dinner?” I glanced anxiously toward shore.
“I'm sure the wind will pick up in a bit!” He said calmly, in that way dads do when they have no idea what is going to happen next.
Minutes passed. The wind didn't reappear.
“We could maybe kick-paddle our way to shore!” Dad joked. I wasn't enthused. I was hungry and wanted a snack and thought I'd probably never eat again. As minutes continued to tick by I became more and more anxious. We were adrift in the glass-like lake, up a creek without a paddle in the most literal of ways.
“There's one thing we haven't tried yet,” Dad said. “We could pray!”
There on the Sunfish we bowed our heads and prayed. We prayed for wind to blow us home. 
No sooner had we said “amen” than a gust of wind billowed up from the west. It blew so quickly and so hard it toppled the Sunfish on its side, tilting the sail into the water. I went from whining about snacks to holding the side of the boat for dear life, screaming bloody murder as the Sunfish desperately tried to right itself. Dad was in the water, pushing the sailboat upright, and after a little struggle we were back in the boat clipping our way home.
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The Spirit, I told these ladies, is like the wind. Scripture uses a word for the Spirit that literally means “breath” or “wind” - ruach. Without wind a sailboat is stagnant. Without the Spirit, a Christian is too. 
We cannot accomplish ANYTHING without the Spirit's strength and power.  A Christian who does not understand the Spirit's leading and strength will be the one kick-paddling to shore, wondering why the Christian life doesn't feel “easy and light” (Matt. 11:30).  But Holy Spirit also can't be contained. He is God! Sometimes he topples our safe, tidy plans, calls to something bigger or braver than we feel capable of handling. But He always equips us for what He calls us to do.
One of my pastors was the chaplain at this event and after I concluded my session, he furthered the analogy: “The Christian needs the Spirit like a sail,” he said. “But they need the Word like a keel. The keel keeps the boat upright and headed the right direction.
 Without the Spirit, you are stagnant. Without the Word, you wander everywhere, blown about by every wind of doctrine.”
We need both, friends. We need to be open the Spirit's wisdom and specific leading and grounded in the truth of His Word. If you struggle with understanding this, check out these episodes:
Also check out
 in the Every Woman a Theologian shop or Chapter 6 in my book, 
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Around the Christian World

History of the Small Group Movement: I found this when researching for an episode and found in fascinating.
Woman's Right to Preach the Gospel (1858): the sermon I mentioned in last week's podcast episode!
Can Women Teach Theology to Other Women? Don't miss the episode.
Make Your Verity Conference PLANS!
I have spoken to more and more of you who are STOKED for Verity Conference 2023! I did, however, talk to someone who said she missed out on tickets because she waited until the last minute… so be sure to grab yours before the ticket prices go up! We are refining the schedule this week to expand on our offerings, so stay tuned for even MORE to come, all for the same price ticket.
My Five Faves

  • It was my birthday this past weekend and my “fave” this week has to be how well my friends know me. One of my friends got me a perfume I used to wear and couldn't find at an affordable price, and the other got me a Latin Vulgate bible. Sometimes the perfect gift makes you feel SO SEEN!
  • If you're in Petoskey, JoJo's Cookies are a MUST. These cookies are the perfect texture… chewy, thick, and they come in so many unique flavors! Josh and the kids got me a box for my b-day and we devoured them.
  • Have I shared with you about Brandi McIntosh? I found her Instagram account a few months ago and have been so blessed by her parenting insights. She's not an influencer or teacher, just a loving mom who has a wide range of ages in her home.
  • I recently bought Ginger Hubbard's “Wise Words for Moms” charts (I listen to Ginger's parenting podcast now and then) and it has been so helpful as we discipline our kiddos. I reference the chart and have a moment to calm myself and pray; the verses and phrases give me some ideas for talking points. Win win.
  • Single gals, I haven't forgotten you! If you're in college or beyond, I have really enjoyed the approach Grace Valentine brings to Instagram. She might be an encouragement to you.
    • PS single ladies: many moons ago I released an ebook called Fruitful: 12 months of fulfilled singleness (I think I wrote it 7 years ago, when my single years were still fresh-er in my mind). We are planning to edit this, expand it and re-release as a print book, but I'm taking suggestion for any additions. We may even include testimonials from our single readers about how YOU are living a fruitful single season. Input welcome!
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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.
  • Summer School Evaluation: I am sitting down this week to decide on our rhythms for summer “school”. Because I want to be free to take breaks during the school year and because my kids do better in the fall if they don't completely QUIT school for three months, we do reading and math all summer + nature walks and “nature school”. I'm planning our summer schedule this week.
  • In the Kitchen: Lately Josh has been planning our groceries and making dinners and I'm supplementing with some of our other homemade goodies. I'm back to making my homemade yogurt and kombucha and hopefully in the fall - when Brandy has her baby goats! - we can start making goat cheese and yogurt too. We've also made a lot of puddings and quiches now that eggs are picking up again, and we just bought our pig for the year! Bunnies will be bred this month so we will have our meat rabbits for the fall as well.
  • The Garden: We have a lot of work for this year and it's a domino effect: we have to clean out the rabbit, chicken and goat barns, move the manure to the garden, till it in, then put down landscape fabric before we put up the fence. It's a lot but each year our garden gets better!
None go with me.
I close the door with no handle and
gather, gather
the fragments of myself together.
Beg God to make
something whole,
something beautiful
from broken.






for the awakening,