This article originally was published on Whole Magazine.
In the quiet of night and the darkness of dusk, it calls out for you. It lures you in with its whispers as it begs to be pondered. The saying is true that “sin crouches at the door,” offering sweet lies but seeking to devour you (Genesis 4:7).
I don’t know your reason for tuning in. Maybe it’s curiosity. Maybe it promises satisfaction to your sexual appetite. It could be a way to find out what men seem to desire in a woman. Whatever your reason is, it’s not a good one. There are no good or logical reasons to watch porn. Anything seemingly pleasing it offers you is permeated with deceit.
Don’t be deceived, it will indeed take you down and destroy you.
Porn Will Kill Your Conscience
Did you know, every time we look at sex on a screen, our conscience dims a bit more?…
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3 ESV)
The sum of prayers whispered to heaven asking God to sustain our baby boy’s life are innumerable to my little mind. I can’t even begin to count them. It started from the moment I knew another child had taken root in my womb. Faithfully, my lips repeat it during every morning prayer, bathroom break, mealtime blessing, bedtime thanksgiving, and many moments in between. Many times, it’s followed by a heart that pleads, “I trust you, Lord. Help me trust you.”
The more his tiny body moves across my hand from within as if to say “hello mama,” the more I’m simultaneously confronted with two thoughts: 1. I love this little boy so much my heart could explode. 2. Oh, how it would hurt to lose him now.
Deep love + deep fear.
Pregnancy after losing three unborn babies for me has been filled with peace that truly surpasses understanding, but also fear that tries to wrap its arms around my heart.…
This article originally appeared on Gospel-Centered Discipleship.
I once heard a speaker call a fellow Christian an “EGR,” i.e. “Extra Grace Required.” In my immaturity, I followed suit in using the acronym when confronted with my own “EGR’s” in daily life. How unloving; How hurtful.
Surely, in the Christian life, we’ll face those who frustrate us whether it be by action on their part or due to the wickedness in our own heart. We aren’t going to naturally love everyone. But in the Bible, that’s exactly what we’re called to do.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
I wanted to share an update but felt unsure of how. The typical “Baby Allen coming soon!” announcement just isn’t within our reach. We hope the above statement is true, but only God knows. So, this is the best way I found to say…we’re pregnant again.
I was hesitant to share this. I feared what people would think of my decision to announce our fourth pregnancy to the world so early, given our struggles with miscarriages. “They’ll think I’m presumptuous or just plain stupid. What if I miscarry the day after I share the news? Then I’ll be so embarrassed!” Most people would advise me to keep quiet, reminding me the world doesn’t need to know. But I feel this urgency to push past the discomfort.
If I’ve learned anything in this season, it’s that pregnancy isn’t really about me anyway. It’s not about 9 months of pampering and getting everything I want, it’s not about receiving my ticket to the mom club, or the attention you get from virtually everyone—strangers included.…
Before my mind could muster up some Christianese answer like, “God is good all the time.” or “You know, it is well with my soul.” my flesh spoke for me, “It sucks and I hate my life.”
I hated typing those words as much as you probably hated reading them. Words so ungodly I feel the shame of them even now. They uncover what lingers in my heart: discontentment.
I thought about the state of my hardened heart as I watched everyone at the table eat their cake. I envied the ease of being able to eat what you desire and bear no consequence. If I would have grabbed a slice, I’d be sick later, not to mention all the other symptoms that would erupt, including those which contribute to our fertility issues. Then my mind pondered the unbelieving women who pop pills and smoke or take illicit drugs as their bellies flourish with life inside.…
There’s a permanent indentation in my couch. The toll of first-trimester exhaustion from two pregnancies, as well as the miscarriages that ended them, has made its mark on our lives. That once new couch is just one evidence of it.
It’s been there from the beginning, delivered with it’s appalling “new furniture smell” as I fought off morning sickness. But as my nausea faded, along with the little life inside my womb, my body sunk deep into the fleeting comfort it provided. It comforted for a time, but as all false refuges do, it left me unsatisfied.
A Time to Mourn
As Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes, there’s a time and season for all things. Certainly, there’s a time to mourn and a season for healing, both emotionally and physically.
…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Eccl. 3:4 ESV)
When sorrow swoops down like a hawk in hunting, stealing our health, taking our loved ones, and breaking our hearts, we must weep for what was lost and mourn what will never be.…