Sunday, July 29, 2012

Boy Names

Yesterday I found myself chuckling at an old note I wrote to myself when we were considering boy names. May these suggestions amuse you as well.

John MacArthur Henchey
John Owen Henchey
Jonathan Edwards Henchey
John Calvin Henchey
John Piper Henchey
John theBaptist Henchey
First Choice:
Christian Hedonism Henchey

My husband's preference prevailed, however, and we went with Stephen. :)

What are some baby names you've imagined?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Walk in Wisdom Toward Outsiders...on Facebook

I got over 200 likes when I posted the first picture of my newborn. Since then, almost every picture of my cute baby has received about 30-60+ clicks of approval. And those numbers only represent people who publicly acknowledged interest. Who knows how many eyes actually saw my Facebook page?

Or, to put it another way, how many souls are (through social media) observing my life?

For many lost people, Facebook might be their only exposure to Christianity. Granted, most Christian Facebook users are not going through such a newsworthy, stalkable life event as having a child, but we cannot be negligent of the fact that we are being watched by believers and non-believers and we must be careful to not waste our platform.

1 Corinthians 5:19,20 says "we are ambassadors for Christ, God making Hos appeal through us" and that He has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. It is very easy to, in trying to impress our churchgoing Facebook friends, forget our lost audience and send mixed messages.

We Calvinists especially might unintentionally show the world an inconsistent view of God. In the morning we'll post an encouraging verse or quote about God's sovereignty, then by the evening we'll have a witty/sarcastic post complaining about the incompetent fast food employee and the guy who cut us off on our way home. "Well, which is it?" a lost person might wonder. Does God withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly, or does He regret that those inconveniences happened to you?
Philippians 2:14,15 never fails to convict me, and I think it's helpful to apply it also to my Facebook statuses.
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

We also can be insensitive to the weaker brothers (who are merely in the same place we were probably not that long ago) by posting humorous pictures or videos about the latest theological fumble a Christian public figure made. It's important to contend for the faith (Jude 3) but there are more effective ways of combating false doctrine than poking fun at it. If an Arminian brother or sister sees that we publicly belittle their soteriology, they might feel ashamed and we might become unapproachable. Far more seriously, if someone is being misled by the prosperity gospel, cheap jokes about Joel Osteen's white teeth won't help anyone come to knowledge of the truth and might only leave confusion. May we embrace the exhortation of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 to "admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."

Top 8 Ways Breastfeeding Leads Me in Worship

This is kind of a strange thing to talk about but it's National Breastfeeding Week and I really want to brag on the LORD about His beautiful design for nourishing babies. This is appropriate for all audiences.

Disclaimer: I totally believe breast is best, but I know a lot of women more Godly than me who chose/choose to use formula. You do not hate your child if you do not breastfeed, and my goal here is not to bash formula. My goal is not even primarily to advocate breastfeeding, but to lead in worship. Many liberal feminists have inadvertently done this for me as they taught me about this beautiful natural way of feeding babies!

Here we go.

1. It forces me to stop what I'm doing, sit (or lay down!), rest, and snuggle with my baby.
God knows that mothers need little breaks throughout the day. And get this: in the first six weeks or so after your baby is first born, he isn't very efficient at nursing so it might take 30-45+ minutes per session, every 2.5-3 hours (or less!) That's a lot of much-needed breaks that I don't have to feel guilty about taking. As he gets older (and the mother is more recovered from childbirth) he will be a more efficient nurser and each session will probably be about 15 minutes or less! This gives the mother just the amount of time she needs for a break. Nobody (including my condemning own self) can blame me for being lazy during these times; by just sitting there I'm doing something very profitable!

2. I feel useful.
I am the only person who can feed my baby. I am 100% responsible for his sustenance. At first this thought daunted me and I became really stressed out and even loathed my feeding responsibility. But then I remembered the verse I read a few years ago that made me desire to breastfeed in the first place:
"Yet You are he who took me from the womb; You made me trust You at my mother's breasts. "
Ultimately it is God who is sustaining my baby's life, and by breastfeeding I am just a tool in His hands to accomplish that. What a privilege and joy!

*It's free!
Babies are not supposed to be a financial burden, or else my "quiver of arrows" (aka number of children) would be scarce. (And since we use cloth diapers at home and friends bought us disposables for when we're out, our monthly expenditures are almost the same since before our baby was born!)

4. Breastmilk itself is unbelievable.
Breastmilk is like blood; it simply cannot be duplicated. Secular molecular biologist John Medina wrote in his book Brain Rules for Baby, "If America knew what breast milk can do for the brains of it youngest citizens, lactating mothers across the nation would be enshrined, not embarrassed. Though the topic is much debated, there's little controversy about it in the scientific community." Not only is it super nutritious in giving my baby the nourishment and immunity he needs, but it's effective for other issues as well. He has pinkeye? Apply breastmilk. Congestion? Insert some milk up his nostril (I've done this multiple times and it works almost immediately!) I've also read that direct application of breastmilk helps diaper rash, eczema, ant bites, and even ingrown toenails! Is God incredible or what!? I'm my own pharmacist for a lot of things hehe.

5. I lost weight really quickly!
I've pretty much been back to my pre-pregnancy weight since the week after my baby was born. When you breastfeed, it releases oxytocin, which makes your uterus contract and shrink. (Even after I gave birth, my womb was a cantelope that shrunk every time I nursed until it was back to normal size after no time at all!) Breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day...umm that's a lot for sitting on the couch holding my baby and going on Pinterest or reading. Bonus: If you follow some rules (frequent nursing, baby-wearing, no pacifier, etc.) , breastfeeding can be a 98% effective method of birth control for the first 6 months post-partum! God knows that moms need spacing between their babies!

6. Pretty much any woman can breastfeed...even adoptive moms!
Breastfeeding isn't always easy, but it is almost always possible. Stephen had a lot of trouble nursing at first. I tried a million different techniques and positions but he was still shaken up from birth and it was almost 12 hours before he ate for the first time. (I consulted multiple knowledgeable people and they said it was unusual but okay.) The pediatrician suggested supplementing with formula or water. Thankfully I had read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which thoroughly convinced me to trust my body, so I stuck with it and nursing was decently established after a few days. But some babies have even worse trouble, at which point mothers can use a tube system or rely 100% on pumping. Breastmilk works by supply and demand, so if you increase demand (by pumping or other methods), the supply WILL most likely come after awhile. Isn't that awesome? God loves adoption, and He has made a way for an adoptive mother to connect very intimately with her non-biological child!

7. It forces you to develop steadfastness.
At the beginning, I despised breastfeeding. So when it was late and I was tired and Peter and I were having a turbulent discussion, the LAST thing I wanted to do was stay awake another 45 minutes and feed a crying Stephen! But I couldn't just hand him off to Peter then storm off and pout in another room. I had to grow up and deal with it or our baby would starve. God really used the necessary perseverance to make me holy!
8. I enjoy it!
As previously stated, at first I loathed breastfeeding and wanted to switch to formula, but it got better. I was really insecure about parenting since I'm only 20 and I don't feel like I'm motherly at all, but breastfeeding has made me feel so womanly because I've been able to bond with my baby in a very exclusive, intimate way. Some of my sweetest moments with Stephen have been while he's nursing. God has so effectively distinguished the roles and established that the mother is the primary nurturer by nature.

So yes, the LORD is so incredible! I hope that through learning about His design in breastfeeding you are left in awe of His creativity in making such a useful way of giving joy to mothers! Maybe I'll build up the courage to write about the worship-leading aspects of childbirth next. ;)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Redefining Womanhood

"Why don't women wear watches?"
"Because there's a clock on the stove!"

"Why do women get married in white?"
"So they can match the kitchen appliances!"

"Why hasn't NASA sent any women to the moon?"
"Because it doesn't need to be cleaned yet!"

I used to think woman-in-the-kitchen jokes were funny. I even delighted in telling a few. If I vacuumed, I jokingly called it "wife training"; if I cooked for friends, I racked up "woman points." I viewed the wife's role lightheartedly and irreverently.

Then I got married.

Now I am the woman in the kitchen.
Now when my man wants a sandwich, it's my job to make him one.
My occupation is cooking, cleaning, nursing, and changing diapers.
Needless to say, I view the job of "housewife" in a very different way than I did less than two years ago.

A lot of unmarried Christian women (my unmarried self having been one of them) unfortunately may tend to join the world in poking fun at the role of housewife, thus having a skewed and perverted perception of submission and service.

I would like to write this blog to Biblically correct that misguided view of womanhood and encourage all women, especially new wives and women who want to be wives, through scripture and experience that homemaking and serving our husbands is what we do but not who we are.

A little background: I have never been very feminine.
When I was younger, my little brother picked out my clothes for me because I mismatched on purpose.
I've never been one for "home accents" and I cried when my husband wanted to paint our walls.
I currently do not own any necklaces or nail polish.
My [patient and gracious] husband Peter has to ask me to make my hair look a little nicer or for my clothes to match a little better (I still struggle with that hehe.)
I've never prioritised a clean room and I didn't do my own laundry until I went to college.
I've never enjoyed cooking.
I never thought much about my wedding day, and I left the decorating part up to Peter and my mom because I didn't care one bit.
I'm not sure if any of that is bad (though at least some of it most likely is) but very early on I learned that my husband really desires for me to be elegant, feminine, and efficient...and he deserves for me to be as such. It doesn't mean my new favourite colour has to be pink or that I have to wear dresses all the time, but in submitting to my husband I must embrace femininity and the womanliness with which God created me, and that's never come naturally. Thus is my quest.

Maybe you're in the same place I found myself (and still struggle with today.) Maybe you're a stay-at-home-mom and homemaking just isn't as fulfilling as it used to be---or maybe it's never been fulfilling at all.
Let me tell you, you can spend all the time you want trying to be a Pinterest wife, with all the best recipes, the most classy decor, the most organised closets...and you might even succeed in fooling everyone into thinking you have single-handedly created a thriving home environment.
However, if you idolise serving your household and your ultimate aim is anything other than to glorify Jesus, you will be very quickly burnt out and joyless (and no fun to live with!) If the good news of Jesus does not drive you, you are missing out like you wouldn't believe.

I've only been on this journey for 13 months so I am definitely still a student! But please join with me as God teaches me about the Gospel and how that translates into this new role of mine.

I hope to mostly post scriptures that encourage/convict me and words from other Christians that uplift/challenge me, but I plan on also posting things I've learned from homemaking so far: practical tips, recipes that actually worked, fun stories, pictures, etc. I desperately want to lead others in the adoration of Jesus, and if He chooses to use me through this medium of blogging, that would gladden my heart!!!