Not Just Pretty Flowers: A Reformed Girl and Her Masculine Theology

Breaking the mold of the reformed woman

Register to win a Kay Arthur Study! February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 10:21

The Lifeway Women blog is giving away a Kay Arthur study! Check it out and register!

http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/womenallaccess/2011/02/free_friday_give-away_3.html

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Out of the tornado October 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 23:04

About a month ago, I felt a change brewing in the air.  Just like the calm before a tornado, I felt the peace and knew that it wasn’t going to be here for long.  I felt like God was behind the scenes working on something and I knew it was going to be big.

It was about that time that I felt like I should start blogging again.  I had felt the year before that God was calling me to create a blog directed toward Christian women to challenge us to dive deeper into His Word and not be afraid to study dead guys’ thoughts on God.  Truthfully, a year later, I don’t know if anyone has even read it outside of a few very great friends who wrote encouraging words on my wall.  I did feel, however, that the blog was for me, if not anyone else.  I could use the blog to deal with topics that I wanted to study and actually write down what God’s Word had to say about them.  If the posts helped others in the process, that’d be awesome. 

I needed some help to get started again – a jumpstart.  Since I posted about three weeks ago, I have asked around to see what I could possibly write about that would be of interest to other women.  The results of my poll on the blog said that women mostly want to read and study about Women’s issues.

I also did some investigating on other blogs and Twitter.  It was through Twitter, I believe, that I discovered an author by the name of Anne Jackson (@FlowerDust), who wrote a book called “Permission to Speak Freely”.  In it, she writes about people’s responses to the question “What is one thing that you feel you can’t say in the church?”

Then the tornado hit.

I started seeing in myself (and others) how easy it is to think that I am the only one who feels broken.  I tend to think that the women around me seem to have it all figured out.  Or I do not want to burden them with my issues.  Or I do not know the women around me well enough to be honest. 

God convicted me that I really needed to start reading and believing His Word when it comes to darkness. The Bible teaches that sin loves darkness.  It is scared of the light.  It is scared of judgment from God and others.  It is scared that coming in the light may mean pain and vulnerability. 

But the Bible says that God calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).  It says that God, even while we lived in the darkness that we created for ourselves to live in, sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8), and through His death and resurrection, He gives us the grace to leave that darkness and run toward His marvelous light. 

Sometimes the darkness gets to be too much.  Sometimes we poke our heads out enough to say that something is wrong, that we are broken, but something inside us says that we deserve it.  Who are we to ask God to get us out of this darkness?

Jesus says over and over again in the Gospels that He came for sinners, for the broken people, for the people who need to be rescued from the darkness.  “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” Mark 2:17, again in Luke 5:32, ESV).

So why are we so scared of the light?  Why are we scared to talk to God and tell Him that we need Him?

I want to spend some time to challenge myself through this blog and to you, who happens to be reading it – trust God.  Even in the middle of what feels like the darkest dark, God already knows.  He just wants us to trust that He can handle us.  His light chases away the darkness.  His love envelopes us and we soon find that the darkness could never protect us like it promised.  We cannot get out of the darkness without Him.

I want to put another challenge out there – get in a place where just you and God can be alone.  Use your voice and tell God about your darkness.  Ask Him for forgiveness and for healing.

Psalm 86 (ESV):

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.

If you want to take another step out of that darkness, one way that you can do it is comment below and share what areas that you find yourself broken and in need of God.  Please do not feel like you have to leave your name.  I encourage you to also share with a godly woman who can help you with finding prayer, accountability, and a counselor if necessary.

Love Ashley

 

And We’re Back! September 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 19:33

After a year of being away, we are back with some great blogs, if I don’t mind saying myself!  We will have guest bloggers, articles, as well as thoughts and reflections from yours truly.

I like to research, study, and discuss, so I hope that you will join me!

We will be covering different topics, such as women’s issues, marriage, media, and Jesus!

Please drop me a line if there is a specific topic that you would like to research together.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Also, for the sake of completion, I will post the remaining articles to finish the Proverbs 31 study!

Please take a look at the heart behind my blog with my first blog entry: http://wp.me/psYvy-1

Ashley

 

A Girl’s Guide To Marrying Well August 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 10:27

Here’s a link to a free download of “A Girl’s Guide To Marrying Well”. Check it out!

http://www.boundless.org/girls/

 

The Single Woman and the Modesty of Personal Restraint by Lydia Brownback April 3, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Uncategorized,Women's issues — ashleylavalette @ 12:25

Although it is speaking directly to single women, I believe this is also for married women as well.

This article was found on the following website: http://www.thisisnext.org/webzine#article1

As the spring season blooms, talk about modesty heats up in Christian conversation as fast as the weather. Bloggers, radio hosts, and the rest of us lament the shorter hemlines, deeper necklines, exposed bellies, and bare bottoms in thong bikinis at the neighborhood swim club. But immodesty deals with a lot more than revealing too much skin. We are just as prone—if not more so—to overexpose what’s under our skin. Revealing too much about ourselves is immodest too. When Peter painted his picture of godly womanhood, it included outward modesty—how we handle “the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing”—but it also included the modesty of personal restraint—“a gentle and quiet spirit,” which, he said, is very precious in God’s sight (1 Pet. 3:4).

I wish Carrie had known the wisdom of Peter’s words. Fresh out of college and starting her first “real” job, she came to work each day eager to be part of the team. But after just two months of work, Carrie experienced a personal crisis, and it began to affect her performance. Carrie was never at her desk. Instead, she spent the better part of the workday pouring out her struggles to her colleagues behind closed office doors. Finally, a female colleague was asked to talk to Carrie and to put a stop to it. But Carrie didn’t understand. What was wrong with being open and honest? Were office friendships forbidden? “It’s not appropriate, especially with the men,” she was told. “After all, how would their wives feel if they knew you were pouring your heart out to their husbands?” Carrie had no boundaries because she lacked a “gentle and quiet spirit,” the modesty of personal restraint that Peter taught. Happily, Carrie learned through the experience and went on to cultivate a godly self-restraint.

There is a time and place to open up and share our sin struggles and personal concerns, and if we are careful to apply Peter’s words about the modesty of personal restraint, we will be wise not only about the time and the place, but also about the people we choose to share our hearts with. The book of Proverbs warns us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). Along with this there’s general biblical call on all of us to love one another, which means that we are called to guard the hearts of others, too. We might be tempted to think that this verse is guiding us toward self-protection, but it is not. What we are called to guard is our heart—our passion—for God, and we do this primarily by holding at bay anything that would compete with that passion in ourselves or in those around us.

Sharing confidences and personal experiences with someone forms a bond. There is always an element of vulnerability when we choose to trust another with our confidences and with not rejecting us when our weaknesses are exposed. If we share a little bit with someone and all goes well, it seems safe to share more, and before we know it, a bond has formed. This can be a great blessing, but when we allow it to happen in the wrong context, it is unwise, and great hurt can result.

Single women are free to enjoy the company of single men, but there is a way to go about it that reflects Peter’s idea of modesty and keeps hearts guarded. Time spent in groups is always wise because group conversations tend to be less personal. The group dynamic provides a safety net for the heart. On the other hand, private conversations and e-mail chats lead naturally to bond-forming, and if you overexpose your soul in a relationship where there has been no stated commitment, you are risking the hearts of both involved. 

Single women are not free to enjoy the company of married men—other women’s husbands–in the same way they are with single men. This includes pastors. Pastors are our God-given shepherds, certainly, but many if not most are also husbands. We are free to take our concerns to them, but there is a way to open up that shows appropriate personal restraint.. It’s one thing to seek our pastor’s counsel, perhaps repeatedly. But there is a difference between a genuine need for his wisdom and our desire for his attention and involvement in our lives. Countless phone calls and endless e-mails are probably going too far. This is the point at which most pastors will wisely redirect us elsewhere.

Inward and outward modesty is also a must in the workplace, as we saw with Carrie. Many women today are likely to spend some portion of their lives out in the job market. This means that men in the workforce spend more waking hours with their business colleagues—a significant number of which are women—than with their wives. Those of us in the workplace ought to consider that one of the primary motivations for modesty is safeguarding the marriages of our colleagues. A low-cut blouse isn’t necessarily going to lead to an extra-marital affair; however, when we recall Jesus’ words about what constitutes adultery—“everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28)—we see the need to be extra careful about what we wear in the office.

Modesty of speech is also crucial in the workplace. Office banter can be a slippery slope. Working together is also a bonding experience, and, naturally, friendships arise. But because this is so, it is all the more reason to restrain what we share about ourselves with our coworkers. “Wait a minute,” we say, like Carrie did. “We’re just friends! There’s nothing wrong with that.” Oh, but there is. Sharing verbal intimacies with a man is the exclusive right of his wife. It takes something away from her when we focus her husband’s attention onto ourselves, however harmless our intent. The best of marriages takes work, and because of that there are certainly seasons in which a man can be especially tempted by an illicit attraction. The new and different is exciting to almost everyone, so even the most innocuous revelations about ourselves can prove distracting.

Of course, there exists the very real possibility that friendship with a man—a single guy or another woman’s husband—however innocent at first, will morph into something more. But if there is no commitment to accompany the attachment that has developed, or the attachment violates a commitment made to someone else, heart destruction is sure to follow. Believing that this can’t happen makes the possibility of it happening even greater. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” Paul warns (1 Cor. 10:12). We’re not above it. None of us is. No one intentionally seeks out a destructive relationship, but they happen all the time. And they typically develop one conversation, one shared laugh, one lunch meeting at a time.

Are you as modest with your heart as you are with your clothing? It is a great way to love your brothers in Christ. It is also the best way to guard your heart and the reputation of your Savior. 


Lydia Brownback is the author of the On-the-Go Devotional series (Crossway); Fine China Is for Single Women Too (P&R, 2003); and Legacy of Faith: From Women of the Bible to Women of Today (P&R, 2002) and a speaker at women’s conferences. Lydia is an editor at Crossway Books, and she blogs at The Purple Cellar. Previously she served as the writer-in-residence for Reverend Alistair Begg and as the broadcast media manager for Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, where she produced The Bible Study Hour radio program with James Montgomery Boice. Lydia holds degrees from Syracuse University and Westminster Theological Seminary and resides in Wheaton, Illinois.

 

3 Guesses…but you’ll only need 1 March 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 04:44
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If we were to just start a new blog for women, and I wanted to start with a Bible passage, what passage do you think I would choose? I’ll give you 3 guesses, but you’ll use one. That’s right. Proverbs 31.

Now, I have to admit, I have a tendency to be a little like the cartoon character Daria from MTV. I tend to stand back and roll my eyes at anything that seems fluffy and surfacey. So when you hear about women’s groups going over Proverbs 31 yet again and letting out their she-man roar, or when you see the greeting cards at the store, it’s enough to make you want to just stop at Proverbs 30 and be done with it. It’s just always seemed to me like chapter 31 had a the perfect ultra-feminist “I don’t need no man” attitude problem.

But that is just my automatic response to how people have used the infallible, God-breathed Word, not the Word itself. I know that this part of Scripture is just as inspired, just as strong, and just as meaty as any other part of Scripture (especially Ephesians 5:22).

I also know that Scripture compliments Scripture, so we cannot put away one section when reading another. Every piece must fit together to show the picture of Christ. So what does Proverbs 31 teach? Let’s go through it slowly together…

Check back on Monday for the first part.

 

Why Blog? March 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleylavalette @ 21:56

Women's Ministry in the Local ChurchSo I am finding out that the first blog is always an explanation of why the blog exists.  I suppose that it is a good way to start by explaining why people should care about what I have to say.
Basically, I have never fit in with women’s ministry in the church.  Depending on the group, I always have stuck out.  I was not married when others were.  Then I was married when others were not.  I was the youngest.  I didn’t have kids…or a bob haircut….or like Joyce Myers…
Finally I gave up on women’s ministry all together.
Then I started reading…a lot.  I read a book called “Women’s Ministry in the Local Church” by J. Ligon Duncan, III and Susan Hunt (find it FOR FREE at www.cbmw.org/Online-Books/).  God used this book to revive my heart for the church, especially for the women of the church.  In the book, the authors point out that the common American model of women’s ministry in the church teaches woman to be more independent than submissive, more of a clique in the church than a support group, and can easily turn into more of a gossip ring than a bible study.  These are all things that I want to stay away from.  No wonder I was not fitting in.  (Check out the book to find out their suggestions for a different model).
To make a long story a little shorter, I just figured that there might be more like me.  Women who would rather study the Bible at a Bible study instead of yet another self-help book.  Women who yearn to learn how to glorify God with their lives instead of how God can glorify us.  Women who strive to be the wives (whether married now or not) that God calls them to be for their husbands.  Women who seek to understand the culture without compromising Scripture.  Women who do not shy away from words like “reformed”, “theology”, “depravity”, “election”, “atonement”, etc.

It is for those women that I am starting this blog.