Friday, March 31, 2006

Unashamed

Fellowship of the Unashamed
(The last words of an African martyr)

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The descision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

I'm finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.

I won't give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I've preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.

I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ."
--Extreme Devotion, Voice of the Martyrs, page 150

"My Lord was pleased to die for my sins; why should I not be glad to give up my poor life for Him?"
--Girolamo Savanarola, martyred in Florence, Italy, 1498

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fun 'n Fellowshippin'

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us
encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. -Hebrews 10:24-25
Yesterday was Day #1 of the Girl's Bible Study that I am helping to lead during the lunch hour at our homeschool co-op. After sending out e-mails to every Jr. High to Highschool age girl, I recieved only one reply. My friend (who was co-leading it) and I both shrugged it off and figured that we would be having only a very small Bible study (This relieved my nerves as I had never led anything like this before. Only a few girls did not sound so intimidating! :-) ). Soon the girls began to trickle in for the Bible Study. First there were five, then fifteen, then almost thirty! I was so amazed at the turnout.

The study went well (the topic for the day was "being devoted to God.") Several of the girls shared their hearts and it was very sweet to hear their different testimonies of how the Lord had worked in their lives.

I realized after the Bible Study of the great opportunity older girls have to help guide our younger sisters in Christ. I do not think we usually realize how much power we have. As older girls, the younger ones often look up at us for example. Often, we are unconsciously setting an example for them. I feel shame as I consider all of the times in which I behaved irresponsibily and did not consider how my actions might effect the people watching me.

We are all constantly being bombarded by deceptive philosophies that try to undermine the truth that God has shown us. Still, we can help have this opportunity to help lead and encourage our sisters in Christ to draw nearer to Him and to stand on this truth. Let's not waste this opportunity.

I would appreciate prayer for the hearts of these girls at the Bible Study and that God would give the other leaders and I the right words to say.
If you need prayer in anything, please let me know! I'd love to pray for you!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tune in!


This Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Leslie Ludy (author of When God Writes Your Love Story and Authentic Beauty) and Dannah Gresh (author of And the Bride Wore White ) are going to be on the Focus on the Family radio show to discuss modesty and purity.

You can listen online here.

EDIT: Whoops! I thought Leslie Ludy and Dannah Gresh were going to be on the radio today, but I read the schedule wrong. They're actually going to be on April 26.
Sorry for the confusion!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Homeward Bound

There has been much discussion over at my personal blog (Spunky Jr) about the "Let's Talk" post here at Beauty from the Heart. One commentor, Wild Child, has posted an interesting article titled "Can Femininity Become An Idol?" which I would like to examine.

The title of Wild Child's post is really what caught my eye. He/she says (emphasis added),

"What happens when these young women, who are so obviously brainwashed by each other, (check some of their blogs, they uphold each others right to ignorance and the use of mops...(fearlessly feminine, spunkyjunior, feminine beauty, and unconformed) really do grow up and become adults? In Christian churches where the single male ratio is 1 man to 5 single women, what in the world are they going to do with themselves if they never marry? They take a stand saying that they will stay at home and serve their fathers. What if their fathers die? What if they have no
means to support themselves?...

Of course I think it's normal and healthy for young women to dream about husbands and families and that includes taking care of a home, but there is also each person's calling that the Lord gives us and my experience is that to live an abundant life we need to be submitted to Christ and find out where He is calling us to serve in the body of Christ. I don't think that adolescent fear of the future should be a cover for young women who are called as Christ's disciples to grow like Him, make more disciples and tell the world who Christ is and what He did for them! I also am afraid they are focusing on being feminine to the point that they are making it an idol in their lives. I truly believe if young Christian women today want to make an impact for Christ in the world tomorrow, they need to be submitted to Christ, educated, focused, disciplined, and ready to serve Christ and heed whatever calling He gives them . Motherhood is not an end to a girl's character. It is just one aspect of a woman's personality. I pray that these young women will wake up and become real adult voices for Christian women around the world."

First of all, Wild Child is correct that femininity can become an idol, as can anything else. Exodus 20:4 says,

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."
This applies to everything in our lives that takes our attention away from Him. However, I do not see a woman's femininity as something contrary to Scripture; I see it as an affirmation of her focus on God by wanting to be the person God has made her to be.

Secondly, I agree that if women today want to make an impact for Christ they need to be "submitted to Christ" and must be "ready to serve Him in whatever calling He gives them"; but there are two sides to this coin. Godly women must be ready to serve God wherever He calls them, and that includes inside as well as outside of the home. If He wills that I become a mother and burp babies and clean the house then by all means, then I should obey. Raising children for God is an honor, and I am more than willing to do it. Many people have brought up the argument that I'm just "wasting my life" and "I don't really want that life" or that "I'm just throwing away my life for children." These arguments are self-centered and untrue. Again, raising children for God is an honor.

I would also like to make it clear that I am not against women receiving a higher education. Yes, I believe that the Bible directly points to women to serve their families at home, yet this does not mean that there is a Biblical mandate women must remain at home all the time or that we cannot serve outside the home. In Proverbs 31 "ideal wife" keeps the home and is also industrious outside of it.

Proverbs 31:13-19,27 says:

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

For this reason, I believe that it is fine for a woman to attend college, and I am planning on attending college myself. However, I do not believe it is always necessary for a woman to attend college in order to fulfill God's calling for her life....

Any thoughts?


by Hannah and Kristin

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Let's Talk (About Trust and Other Things)

In the previous "Let's Talk" post, "Anonymous" made an interesting comment regarding preparing to be a worker at home:
"I guess it would be smart to do that but who knows if I'll ever get married? What if God doesn't bring the right [sic] person for me, would planning for being a homemaker be a waste of my time? "
It is possible that any and everyone who hopes to get married someday has doubted at one time or another if Mr. or Ms. Right is really out there. I've wondered that. Probably you have, too. We fear our hopes being disappointed. What could be worse than planning on marriage and never finding "the one"? Sometimes we may just want to say, "God, show me this person, please, so that I can really know he is there and that this waiting for him will be worthwhile."

But if God shows us beforehand how He will plan our days, then where would be the growth? He does not give us His plans for the future because He wants us to learn to trust in Him; whatever happens, He wants us to lean on Him. I can't preach on this (or anything for that matter.) I can't speak on this as someone who has her hope completely, unshakably in Christ all the time. But I can say as someone who has struggled and still struggles with giving everything to God, that once we do surrender our fears to Him, something beautiful grows in the place of our fears:
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
(
1 Peter 2:3-4) In Girl Talk by Nicole Whitacre and Carolyn Mahaney, some good insight is offered concerning this verse. It is pointed out that a 'gentle and quiet spirit' is referring to trust in God. If the spirit is trusting God and resting upon His faithfulness, then it is beautiful in God's eyes. That is the beauty that God wants us to nurture, so that whatever happens in life, we will still be depending on Him. He may choose not to provide us with a spouse. He may call us to a single life of being devoted to Him. Yet whatever it is, we can know that what He chooses is best, and that He will not leave us to face our struggles alone.


Now, "Anonymous" does pose another interesting question: Is it worthwhile to pursue learning to be a homemaker when you believe that it is possible that you will remain single for a long time, or perhaps for the rest of your life? Carolyn McCulley is a single Christian woman whose insight I respect because she seems to base her views on the Bible. In a recent post on her blog she wrote,
"I'm a big proponent of single women cultivating a love for the home. Not only does this help balance the over-emphasis on the public sphere of life (a job is not everything that defines us), having a heart for the home means we will invest in the private sphere in terms of skills, time, and money--and thus be prepared to offer hospitality to both bless God's people and to reach out to others. "

Ms. McCulley's point was reiterated by Lydia T.'s comment, which states:
"Learning how to be a homemaker is more than preparing for the future. It is a way to minister to your family. Cultivating relationships is not only done through spending time with someone, it is also done by serving--your family and your friends through hospitality. By sharing some of the responsibility in your household, you are opening up more opportunities through which your whole family can minister. By working together, more can be accomplished as a whole than if each person is only looking out for himself.

Keeping home is education in and of itself! Not that learning physics and Latin is wrong, but neither requires the exclusion of the other. This would be where time management comes into play."

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Let's Talk

Keepers of the Home

In Titus 2, Paul exhorts older women to teach younger married women to be workers at home. While I'm not expecting to get married and have the responsibility of managing my own household within the next few years, now is the time God has given me to be cultivating those skills that I will need when I do have a household of my own. This is something that I know I need to be focusing on more than I currently am, and I would love to hear your thoughts/advice on this topic.

Is learning to be a keeper at home something you are actively pursuing?


PLEASE PRAY: Kristin has severely hurt her ankle and is a lot of pain. Please pray that God will give wisdom to the doctors that they will know exactly what is wrong and how to treat it, and that He would heal her.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rebelution Recap

Our very own investigative reporter (Lindsey) gives us an inside look at The Rebelution Conference in Sacramento, CA.

9:00 AM:
The Rebelution - a rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.


Alex Harris

Alex explained that our culture has created an entire new category of age: the teenager, an irresponsible and immature young adult. The teen years are considered to be a vacation from responsibility, but it isn't. These years can be the launching pad of life! Alex pointed out that just 100 years ago, there was no such thing as the 'teenager': You were either a child, or an adult. He then gave two examples of young adults in the past- David Farrugut, and George Washington. David was only 12 years old when he was given command of his first ship, and told to take the captain, crew, and prisoners back to the United States. And he did. He was given an adult's level of responsibility at 12 years old, and he rose to the occasion. And when George Washington was 11 and 12 years old, he began to learn geometry, trigonometry, and surveying. When he was 16 years old, he became the official surveyor of a county in Virginia. These young adults did hard things at an early age, and we can too!

Alex showed that even though the expectations of our culture for this generation have been lowered so much that they are almost non-existent, we don't have to stoop and meet them! We can rise above our culture's expectations of us. History proves that it is possible! In 1 Timothy 4:12, we see what God's expectations for us are: "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." We can start making a difference for the glory of God... now.

11:00 AM: Gospel of the Kingdom- How a proper understanding of the gospel shapes our future.

Mr. Harris

Mr. Harris began by describing how important character is. He said that moral character is an expression of what we believe, and belief leads to action. What we do belies what is in our hearts; if we believe that God is good, and that all his commands are for our own benefit and protection, we will obey his commands. He likened the corruption of our culture to a tsunami that is approaching quickly, a tsunami so powerful that it will sweep away anyone who is not firmly grounded in the gospel. Being grounded in the gospel is the only way we will be able to withstand the tsunami of our culture. He challenged us to examine our hearts, and ask ourselves if we delight in fulfilling God's will. If we believe so much that we will obey God, we have entered His Kingdom. His Kingdom is not a geographical place; the coming of the Kingdom occurs when His will is done. Salvation is the obedience of faith! We're saved by faith alone, but faith doesn't stay alone; it is accompanied by works, and our works validate our faith. In the end, we were challenged, "Do you believe the gospel? Do you believe enough to obey?"

1:30 PM: Do Hard Things- Practical steps towards taking our teen years back from the culture.

Brett Harris

Brett explained that good intentions are not enough for a rebelutionary to have- they must be accompanied with competence. Why? Because the side with the most competence will always win the culture war. We are called the salt of the earth- preventing the decay of our society-and we must have competence to match our good intentions if we are to do this! Brett explained that Christianity is not about feelings- it's about action, and results. In Matthew 5:16, it says that we need to let our light shine before men, so that they can see our good works and give glory to God. The goal of our works is for men to glorify God. So... what is competence? The dictionary defines it as simply, "the ability to do something well." But Brett continued to say that a rebelutionary should not be content simply to do something well; a rebelutionary should strive for excellence. Then he posed a question: "How do we become competent people?" The answer was this: "By adapting a rebelutionary mindset- a mindset that accepts a challenge." This is the very opposite of the mindset our culture has-"Take it easy, just get by." Do Hard Things!

Brett continued to say that we can learn an important lesson about this from the Vikings. They rowed themselves to battle, setting them apart from the Greeks and Romans, who used galley slaves. Since the Vikings rowed themselves to battle, they developed muscle. How you prepare yourself before the battle determines your performance at the battle. He explained that a failure in competence is due to a lack of prior exertion. Stretch yourself, challenge yourself! Every small stroke of the oar pulled the Vikings closer to the battle. So don't become discouraged with the small hard things- instead, embrace them. Those who are faithful in little things will be faithful in much. This is how we can develop competence.

He said that competence is most often not talent, and it doesn't always come easy. But when things do come easy, it is very difficult not to become complacent. Brett explained that the reason behind this is that it is hard to concentrate on achieving excellence when people think that you're already there. It's easy to stand out in a society with such low expectations, so we need to fight against complacency. He challenged us never to become satisfied being 'above average'. There will always be something harder to do! Keep raising your standards! He said that the important thing is that you are always challenging yourself. And so we face a choice every day: We can adopt the "take it easy" mindset of our culture, or we can adopt the "Do Hard Things" mindset of a rebelutionary whose goal is to glorify God.

3:30 PM: That's What Friends Are For- The power of companionship in light of Proverbs 13:20.

Alex Harris

2 Timothy 2: 20-22 says, "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Alex explained that when we put off dishonorable things, we will be ready to become a holy vessel prepared for any good work. Separate yourself from sin, and pursue faith, love, and peace- along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. He said that we need to surround yourself with these like-minded people. He explained that when you feel like giving up, you will need good companions who can encourage you to keep going! Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." And Proverbs 13:20 says, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." But what are some practical ways that we can collaborate with others?

Brett Harris

6 Practical Ways To Collaboration

1. You must have a hero.
You need to choose someone that you aspire to be like. Having a godly hero helps us heighten our expectations and achieve hard things.

2. Make friends with dead people.
Or, in other words, make friends with books. Many authors of excellent books died a long time ago- thus the phrase, "Make friends with dead people." Books are important in our development as rebelutionaries.

3. Read the Rebelution blog.
You can read more at the Rebelution, a co-authored blog by Alex and Brett. This is a wonderful resource, so let me encourage you to take advantage of it!

4. Find the secret rebelutionaries!
There are "secret rebelutionaries" all around you... your job is to find them. Most often, they won't come to you, so you have to go to them. Share with them the vision of a rebelutionary, and help them along the way as they join you.

5. Find godly, wise people who are older than you.
Seek out these people- then serve them, and learn from them.

6. Remember that God is the ultimate companion!
God, who has supplied all these incredible resources, is the ultimate companion. Spend time in His Word, and develop a relationship with Him.

Mr. Harris

Psalm 127:3-5 says, "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." He then continued to explain that since we are likened to arrows, there is going to be the most tension between you and your parents in the teen years- right before the arrow is released. So we need to cooperate with our parents in order to go in the right direction. The Rebelution is not just about teens; it's about families working together to spread the glory of God.
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My parents and I were very encouraged by our time there, and I know that God used Alex, Brett, and their father powerfully. One of the points that impacted me the most was when Brett spoke about complacency... an issue that I have been struggling with recently. I was inspired to keep heightening my standards and challenging myself. My mom and dad have raised their standards for me, also, and we're learning how to work together as a team to Do Hard Things for His glory.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Yet Another Hannah...

Another Hannah (not the one listed in the previous post, and not me) has written two very sweet, inspiring posts about waiting for her future husband.
Read Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

There must be some virus going around, making girls by the name of Hannah write beautiful posts. If so, I want to be infected too!

UPDATE: I just realized that Hannah (the one who this post is about) is celebrating her blog's first anniversary! Congratulations, Hannah!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Made in His Image

Hannah at Doing it for Him wrote an excellent post today called Made in His Image. This is one awesome post that Lindsey, Hannah and I all enjoyed. Here's a peek at this wonderful article:
Everywhere we turn the world is shouting at us, “You have to be thin, tall, tan, have a flawless complexion, perfect, white teeth, etc. And if you aren’t that way, do anything you have to in order to become that way.” It is very sad how much focus and praise is put on outward beauty instead of inward beauty.
Please make sure you read the rest of this wonderful article!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Servant's Heart

Mark 10:45: "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
What is a servant? I think that the answer, at least in part, is 'a person who puts the interests of others above his own.'This goes completely against our entire culture. Our culture today is turned inward- How can I better my life? What can I get that will make me happy? What about me? But this is not what the Bible teaches. We are called to be servants to one another. When we concentrate on Jesus, making Him the main focus in our lives, service will begin to flow naturally outward from us and into the lives of others.

  • Ephesians 6:7, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men."
  • Galatians 5:13: "Serve one another in love."
  • 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
While I was thinking of an example that I could use to illustrate servitude, one woman came to mind immediately. This woman goes to my church, and her husband has recently passed away. While he was alive, he had numerous health problems that were very serious. His wife lovingly took care of him day after day... for ten years. I never heard her complaining or grumbling. Instead, she patiently and lovingly served her husband every day during the years of his illness. Especially during this past year, she was rarely able to leave the house because someone always needed to watch her husband, making sure that if anything went wrong someone would be there to help him or call 9-1-1. And yet she was not resentful. Here is a beautiful example of a true servant's heart! She did not place her own interests above those of her husband, but willingly sacrificed her time for him. Her example was Christ-like, and anyone who knew them could see it.

  • 1 Peter 4:10-11: "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ."
  • Galatians 6:9-10: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
  • 1 Peter 4:8-10: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

Notice verse nine, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." I think that this is key in developing a true servant's heart. You can go through all the motions of servitude without having a servant's heart. You can wash the dishes with a sour look on your face, doing it only because you would get in trouble if you did not... Or you can wash the dishes with a smile, doing it cheerfully because you take joy in serving your mother. I myself can easily fall into the "serving grudgingly" category, and it is not true service--even if you offer it voluntarily.

I can remember very clearly one night last year, when my parents were discussing servitude at dinner. I felt convicted that I was failing miserably as a servant, and so I reluctantly decided that I would offer my help in the four-year-old class the next day at church. Even as I went to the four-year old-class Sunday morning, I was complaining inwardly. Ugh, I hate this. I just wish this would be over soon. These little kids don't even pay attention to me! They're always goofing off during class! I just wish I could be sitting in church instead. I was not serving at all.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service, and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity....The man who is cheerful in his service of God, proves that obedience is his element; he can sing, "Make me to walk in thy commands, 'Tis a delightful road."...Reader, let us put this question-do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master."

In Philippians 2:1-8, we see that Christ himself is the ultimate example of a servant's heart:
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!"
How can we cultivate a servant's heart like this? The answer is in verses three and four: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

This is not an easy thing to do! It will take practice. The woman who I used as an example did not become a servant overnight. She served her husband even before he was ever ill, thus cultivating the character trait. So what about you? Do you want to have a servant's heart? You can start practicing today. Train yourself to look for needs around you. Do you see your mom washing dishes? Ask her if she would like some help! Is your little sister struggling with a math problem? Offer to help her figure it out. When you begin to look for needs, you will start to see that they are all around you. Then reach out, and try to meet them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Uh-oh

I was playing with the blog template and was trying to add on to the sidebar when I accidentally corrupted the template. (Oops.) I do not have the faintest idea of how it happened....I guess this goes to show what happens when I mess with things I know very little about.

I'll try to work on it today and find the problem, but for now, this template will have to do.
Please be patient with me!

Also, if you have not yet checked out Regenerate Our Culture, hop to it! Its officially launching the magazine tomorrow!

UPDATE: Kristin has saved the day! There are a few icons and links to be fixed and checked again, but we're nearly done.

(Newer) UPDATE: The site has been completely restored, thanks to Kristin and everything is fully operational. We should have some new posts coming within the next few days. Thanks for bearing with us!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Movie Premiere

Announcing a movie by Beauty from the Heart!
(Okay, so its only a minute long, but its a start!)

Click here to view the movie.

Special thanks to Jason Braun (also known as "Kristin's Brother"), who spent many hours composing and recording the score to our short film; and many thanks to Jake Smith for his invaluable technical assistance.


The Weight of Wings

Elisabeth Elliot is one of my top ten favorite authors. You might have already figured this out since I seem to quote her very often.

This quote is from her book, Let Me Be a Woman. It seemed to perfectly encapsulate the idea of being content with womanhood:
"Perspective makes all the difference in the world. If you catch even a glimpse of the divine design (and who can see more than a glimpse of any part of it?) you will be humbled and awed at least. I believe a true understanding of it will also make you grateful. But there are those to whom being a woman is nothing more than an inconvenience, to be suffered because it is unavoidable and to be ignored if at all possible. Their lives are spent pining to be something else....The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird--up, away from the world, into the sky, into freedom--so the woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations, her gifts, her special calling--wings, in fact, which bear her up into perfect freedom, into the will of God. You have heard me tell of Gladys Aylward, the 'Small Woman' of China, whom I heard speak many years ago at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta. She told how when she was a child she had two great sorrows. One, that while all her friends had beautiful golden hair, hers was black. The other, that while her friends were still growing, she stopped. She was about four feet ten inches tall. But when at last she reached the country to which God had called her to be a missionary, she stood on the wharf in Shanghai and looked around at the people to whom He had called her. 'Every single one of them' she said, 'had black hair. And every single one of them had stopped growing when I did. And I said, 'Lord God, You know what you're doing!'"
--Elliot, Elisabeth. "The Weight of Wings" Let Me Be a Woman: Notes On Womanhood for Valerie. Tyndale, 1976. 31-32.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More On Modesty


A friend showed me a copy of 'Modesty Check' (PDF file) by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre (both of Girl Talk) a while back. I thought it was excellent and wanted to share it with you, especially this quote from John MacArthur:
How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshipping God? Or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.
-- John MacArthur

Thursday, March 02, 2006

IRL: Lady Jane

Many have heard of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, a book recording the stories of Christians who had been martyred from the time of Christ until the year 1583. It was written by John Foxe, a notable English Reformer. Yet many do not know a great deal about the young lady who inspired him to write the book.

Lady Jane Grey, Foxe's inspiration for the book, is also known as 'England's Nine Day Queen.' Her life story has been the subject of several books and even a movie, but in these mediums her faith in Christ is often greatly understated. According to John Foxe, a personal friend of Lady Jane, her faith was the reason that she was executed. When she gave him the idea for his book, she most likely did not realize that her death, too, would be chronicled within its pages.
Lady Jane Grey was the oldest daughter of Henry Grey and Lady Frances Brandon. Sadly, her relationship with her parents was painful and strained. In Daughters of Destiny, an excellent book compiled by Noelle Goforth, there is written an account of Lady Jane's treatment by her parents. It says,

"Her parents acted upon the maxim that to spare the rod is to spoil the child; and not withstanding her amiability and honorable diligence, subejcted her to a very severe discipline. She was rigorously punished for the slightest defect in her behavior or the most trivial failure in her studies. Her parents taught her to fear, rather than to love them... It is no wonder therefore, that she turned with ever-increasing delight toward her studies."
And how she studied! Under the guidance of her tutors, she became extremely well versed in theology as well as several foreign languages, including Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.
Centuries later, the famed poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, would praise Lady Jane's knowledge and most of all--her character. He wrote this of her:
'Seventeen--and knew eight languages--in music peerless--her needle perfect, and her learning beyond the Churchmen; yet so meek, so modest... Seventeen--a rose of grace! Girl never breathed to rival such a rose; rose never blew that equaled such a bud?'
It has been said that it is the most beautiful flowers that grow in adverse conditions. Lady Jane is an example of this, for the time in which she lived was dark and tumultuous. Queen Mary (also known as 'Bloody Mary') was given the throne by Parliament after her brother, the king, died. However, her brother had named Lady Jane as his successor and as a result of several nobles who did not desire the throne to go to Mary, Lady Jane was temporarily given the title of queen. Her reign lasted for nine short days and was ended when Queen Mary, with an army of twenty thousand men, took the throne. Queen Mary seemed disposed to spare Lady Jane's life on the condition that she convert to Catholicism. This, Lady Jane refused to do, boldly citing Bible references contridicting Catholic doctrine. For this, Mary ordered her execution.
The following is an excerpt of the record of Jane's death from Foxe's Book of Martyrs. It includes a letter which she wrote to her sister, Katherine, before she was to be executed. The letter in which she bids 'farewell' to her sister, eloquently displays Lady Jane's love for God, firm faith and immense courage:

I have here sent you, good sister Katherine, a book, which although it be not outwardly trimmed with gold, yet inwardly it is more worth than precious stones. It is the book, dear sister, of the law of the Lord. It is his testament and last will, which he bequeathed unto us wretches; which shall lead you to the path of eternal joy: and, if you with a good mind read it, and with an earnest mind do purpose to follow it, it shall bring you to an immortal and everlasting life. It shall teach you to live, and learn you to die. It shall win you more than you should have gained by the possession of your woeful father's lands. For as, if God had prospered him, you should have inherited his lands; so, if you apply diligently to this book, seeking to direct your life after it, you shall be an inheritor of such riches, as neither the covetous shall withdraw from you, neither thief shall steal, neither yet the moths corrupt. Desire with David, good sister, to understand the law of the Lord God. Live still to die, that you by death may purchase eternal life. And trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life; for as soon, if God call, goeth the young as the old; and labour always to learn to die. Defy the world, deny the devil, and despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord. Be penitent for your sins, and yet despair not: be strong in faith, and yet presume not; and desire, with St. Paul, to be dissolved and to be with Christ, with whom even in death there is life. Be like the good servant, and even at midnight be waking, lest when death cometh and stealeth upon you as a thief in the night, you be, with the evil servant, found sleeping; and lest, for lack of oil, you be found like the five foolish women; and like him that had not on the wedding garment, and then ye be cast out from the marriage. Rejoice in Christ, as I do. Follow the steps of your master Christ, and take up your cross; lay your sins on his back, and always embrace him. And as touching my death, rejoice as I do, good sister, that I shall be delivered of this corruption, and put on incorruption. For I am assured that I shall, for losing a mortal life, win an immortal life, the which I pray God grant you, and send you of his grace to live in his fear, and to die in the true Christian faith, from the which, in God's name, I exhort you that you never swerve, neither for hope of life, nor for fear of death. For if you will deny his truth for to lengthen your life, God will deny you, and yet shorten your days. And if you will cleave unto him, he will prolong your days, to your comfort and his glory: to the which glory God bring me now, and you hereafter, when it pleaseth him to call you. Fare you well, good sister, and put your only trust in God, who only must help you."

A prayer made by the lady Jane in the time of her trouble, and also a letter to her father, a part of that to Mr. Harding, are here omitted for want of space. It remaineth now, coming to the end of this virtuous lady, to infer the manner of her execution, with the words and behaviour of her at the time of her death. First, when she mounted the scaffold, she said to the people standing thereabout, "Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact against the queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me; but, touching the procurement and desire thereof by me, or on my behalf, I do wash my hands therof in innocency before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day. I pray you all, good Christian people, to bear me witness that I die a true Christian woman, and that I do look to be saved by no other mean, but only by the mercy of God, in the blood of his only Son Jesus Christ: and I confess, that when I did know the word of God, I neglected the same, and loved myself and the world: therefore this punishment is happily and worthily happened unto me for my sins; and yet I thank God, that of his goodness he hath thus given me a time and respite to repent. And now, good people, while I am alive, I pray you assist me with your prayers."

And then, kneeling down, she turned her to Fecknam, saying, "Shall I say this psalm?" and he said, "Yea." Then said she the psalm of "Miserere mei Deus," in English, in most devout manner throughout to the end. Then she stood up, and gave her maiden, Ellen, her gloves and handkerchief, and her book to Mr. Bruges. After this, she untied her gown, in which the executioner offered to help her; but she, desiring him to let her alone, turned towards her two gentlewomen, who helped her off therewith, and also with her frowes, paaft and neckerchief, giving to her a fair handkerchief to knit about her eyes. Then the executioner kneeled down and asked her forgiveness, which she willingly granted, and said, "I pray you dispatch me quickly." Then she kneeled, saying, "Will you strike before I lay me down?" The executioner said, "No, madam." Then tied she the handkerchief about her eyes, and feeling for the block, she said, "What shall I do? Where is it?" One of the standers-by guiding her thereunto, she laid her head down upon the block, and then stretched forth her body, and said, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit;" and so finished her life, in the year of our Lord 1554, and 12th day of February, about the 17th year of her age.

--An excerpt from Foxe's Book of Martyrs. For the detailed account of Lady Jane's death and for other letters that she wrote before her execution, the full version can be found here.

Sources:
Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Queen Mary and Harold
Elliot, Elisabeth. "The Weight of Wings" Let Me Be a Woman: Notes On Womanhood for Valerie.
Goforth, Noelle. Daughters of Destiny
Foxe, John. Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Wikipedia's entries concerning Lady Jane Grey, Queen Mary, and John Foxe

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Flurry of Announcements!

Hello Everyone!
Long time, no see, eh? In spite of having a very fruitful blog hiatus, I'm very eager to get back to posting here. However, there are several changes to Beauty from the Heart that I would like to update you on.


  • Contributor. This is the most important change that I have to announce, and it is one that I am most excited about. Many of you might have visited Daughter of the King. It is a fairly new blog on the block, but a very well articulated one. Lindsey, the owner of the blog, states that her chief desire is to glorify God in all that she does, and this is reflected in her posts. I had the pleasure of talking with her on the phone and I am very pleased to announce that she has graciously agreed to become Beauty from the Heart's newest contributor! I cannot wait to read her first post!

  • Feed. If you are currently subscribed to our old feed, I would like to welcome you to the year 2006! Our old RSS feed is a thing of the past. Its time to update! On our sidebar there is a link to the new-and-improved RSS feed.
  • Frappr Map. Also on our sidebar is the link to our Frappr Map. I really enjoy looking at these things (not just because I'm a geography buff...okay, that might have a lot to do with it) because it shows the general vicinity in which each reader is located. Please be sure to sign the map!

  • Post Frequency. Though all of the contributors to this blog like contributing, we also have a lot on our plates right now (school, school, school, etc.) so at times, posts may be few and far between. If you ever have any post ideas or guest posts that you would like to submit, please email us!
  • Something else really neat! Regenerate Our Culture is a new organization/web-magazine (or webzine, if you will) launching onto the internet today. Their purpose is "regenerating our nation’s worldview away from the post-modernism holding it and back to the Christian worldview it was first built on." Kristin has worked tirelessly on this project and has had a great part in founding the organization. Please check it out!
Anyways, we hope to have some new posts up within the next few days! Thank you for visiting!

May the love of our Lord be with you,
Hannah
(...for Kristin and Lindsey too!)