Hope in a Sexually-Broken World

Written By: Kimberly - Feb• 21•15

Hope in a Sexually-Broken World

Sex. God created it. Blessed it. He saw that it was good.

Then sin destroyed it. Sin distorts and kills everything.

There is only one hope for sin: Jesus.

In the Fall, I heard Dr. Albert Mohler give a talk at my church.  He shared the trauma and results of living in a sexually-broken world. How far and wide its affects are. This one area touches so many other avenues in the churches, our homes, our societies, and our world.

Allow me to explain what I mean when I say a “sexually-broken”: anything outside of God’s amazing plan for a hope-filled, Christ-exalting sex life within a marriage of two people: a man and a woman, for life.  Everything else is sin.  And that leads to a sexually-broken world.

This brokenness can come in the form of physical/sexual abuse, pornography, lust, rape, addictions (think 50 Shades of Gray), homosexuality, sex-trafficking, prostitution…the list could go on.

Some of you might not be aware of how pervasive this brokenness is.  But, look that the Super Bowl for example: one of the highest profiting days for selling sex.

Some of you might not think that this brokenness affects you.  But, I assure it does.  Sexual sin affected me starting in college.  Not my own, but someone else’s.  This still affects my thought life to some degree.  Then my own sexual sin left scars of guilt in my heart that I still carry now (and I fight with the truth of forgiveness and the power of the Gospel).  You probably know friends who have been raped, abused, who are addicted to pornography, who struggle with lust, who have had sex before marriage, who do not have wonderfully fulfilling sexual relations in marriage, or who bring sexual scars into their marriage and suffer mentally and physically from them.

Now, that we know a little of the problem, how we do fix our sexual-brokenness? Hownestly – we can’t.  We need a Fixer. That’s why Jesus came.  During His time on earth, he did ministry in the life of at last three women who were sexually broken: Mary Magdelene, the woman at the well in John 4, and the woman who was caught in adultery.  His blood on the cross covered all of our sins – not just our sexual sinfulness.

You may be the cause of your own brokenness (your sinful addictions, etc), or the brokenness may come from the outside (rape, abuse, bondage, etc).  Once we have that relationship with Jesus, there are a few things that will offer hope in Christ and the Gospel:

  1. First, if you are in a dangerous, life-threatening, abusive relationships, get help now.  Exit the situation.  Cry for intervention.
  2. Realize your own brokenness.  This is something that has been helpful for me in the past year: admitting my failures and admitting how I am feeling.  Know that sin is sin.  If God would mark iniquity who of us could stand (Psalm 130:3)?  Here is an example: I am angry or hurt.  How often are we encouraged to hide our hurt or made to feel ashamed of it?  This admittance is helpful and not a sign of weakness.  We can confess our brokenness and engage our feelings with the Lord.  The Holy Spirit dwells in us and helps us in our weakness.
  3. Seek counseling. I personally would recommend a biblical counselor (See ACBC for help).  Another go to would be a Christ-exalting pastor/wife you know.  One of my sweet friends recently suggested this to me.  Find someone whom you can confide and who will weep with you and feed you truth (not let you continue in sin).
  4. Journal.  This is a form of meditation which is definitely recommended from the Psalmists.  This has been a huge help to me this year.  My friend and also a pastor friend of mine encouraged me in this and it has been a tremendous blessing.  The Psalms are a great place to start!  There are so many trials, blessings, Godward-cries, even sexual sin in this gem (Psalm 51).  Its answers are the very healing words of God.
  5. Seek repentance.  He is faithful to forgive (1 John 1.8)  If you are the committing the sexual sin then turn from it.  Keep turning from it.  My husband mentioned the idea of starving your sinful appetites.  They will diminish if you starve them. Satan may have you in a snare but Christ is the chain-breaker.
  6. Forgive.  Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting.  Truely forgiving means not holding it against that person for the rest of his/her life.  Christ can and wants to bring healing.  In the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6), Jesus instructs his followers to pray that God would forgive their debts as we forgive our debtors.
  7. Believe God at his Word.  There is hope!  He is the deliverer.  He is the chain-breaker.  He is the Healer.  He wants your good!  Love protects.  God wins.  Heaven is real. You are precious and beautiful and bought with the blood of Christ.  I loved this quote in Megan Cox’s book Give Her Wings: “Hard men believe that Jesus is a hard man.  Which means they do not really know him.  Believe if you know Jesus you understand His mercies.” (p 100)

Please know that there is no easy answer for sexual brokenness.  Healing is hard.  Jesus brings freedom and healing and hope and love.  That doesn’t mean we still don’t live in a sin-plagued world that wreaks of death.  We will have the consequences of sin.

Jesus offers hope.

Jesus’ love protects and is faithful.

You can be victorious in Jesus.


(This post is sponsored by heart.hope.justice and Give Her Wings.  Megan Cox has just written this new book as a devotional for those who have been affected by abuse.  In is she shares her own story, or years of counseling, and Gospel-focused hope.  What I found helpful in this book is the Christ-exalting message on so many of its pages.  Counseling won’t solve all your problems.  Jesus is the answer for everything.  heart.hope.justice is a dream of mine.  Its partial goal is to bring healing and financial help in the area of sexual brokenness by an artwork that I did – and the proceeds will go to help some sex-trafficking end it movements.)

Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family

Written By: Kimberly - Feb• 08•15

Spiritually Healthy Family

(Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour for this new parenting book and giving me a copy in exchange.  All blog content in my own opinion.)

Can I just tell you that parenting is the hardest job…EVER.  I keep telling people that now that I have two toddlers of my own (whom I love very much and would do anything for) – I wouldn’t be a nanny for a million dollars for the rest of my life.  Every day I am challenged in my sanity, patience, grace, and knowledge and experience of the gospel in loving on these two littles.

Michelle Anthony, who has many years of parenting and ministry in her pocket, has written a helpful and engaging book for parents.  If you live in this world, you must think that everyone is dysfunctional – and basically, we all are.  Sin is a problem with all of us.  And now that I am a parent, I definitely see my sin patterns and struggles and strongholds coming out in my parenting.

Do I desire to be in control?  Do I want to be liked?  Do I want everything my way?

Dr. Anthony takes these and many more thoughts and scenarios and helps us as parents think through them.  Not only does she help us think through them, she also helps us identify answers to strengthen our parenting.

And the best news of all: we are not the Director. I’m so glad Michelle started out with this truth because it is one of the most discouraging and encouraging truths to hold on to as a parent.  It is discouraging because as person who likes to be in control, I can’t do much about it.  But it is infinitely encouraging because the Director I know (God, the Father) is a perfect Director who has a marvelous plan and He never needs a “take 2″.

The best I can see using Michelle’s book Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family is getting together and reading it with your spouse and reading it, talk about it, answer the questions at the end of each chapter – and then discuss it with a small group.  This even might be a great evangelistic tool to use in engaging especially single moms who are struggling to do this parenting thing solo.  This book is written for the average parent – you don’t have to be seminary trained to understand her terminology.

Either way, read this, identify yourself in this book, and find hope in the Gospel.  I’m thankful Michelle wrote this and I look forward to re-reading this at each stage of parenthood that I am in.

 

I am not a Middle School Parent…

Written By: Kimberly - Feb• 03•15

 

 

 

judahsmith

But some of you are, and many of you have been there (bless you).  I have worked with middle school students in the past via my church and Young Life – both where I was on staff for this particular age group.

I’ve learned a couple of things since that time (early twenties):

1.  I didn’t know anything then.

2.  What I know about teaching the Bible and the importance of the Bible – I wish I would have known then.

3.  Middle schoolers are all different – yet all the same.

4.  Some adults have a special gifting to reach middle schoolers – and some don’t.

5.  Jesus loves middle schoolers.

I think it is tough right now parenting toddlers – but I know in some ways it will be easier – and some ways harder, as they grow up.  Most people say that the middle school years are the hardest, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

One thing I do want from my middle school boys (when they get there) is open communication, personal attention (not trying to force them to like and be the same as his brother), and for them to have a growing relationship with Jesus.  For them to own and search for their faith – not just take mommy and daddy’s faith as their own.

Judah Smith, a fabulous communicator about Jesus, has a student edition of Jesus Is ______.  In it he explains his writing style (a little ADD) and hits on the main points of what he is trying to teach middle schoolers: that knowing Jesus for who He is will radically change your life.

This book is interactive, uses timely illustrations that middle school students will relate to, and teaches the truths about Jesus on a level most middle schoolers will understand.

I’m glad I have this book – that I can keep and have as my boys get older (ok, a decade away), but you can have one for your very one by leaving a comment here or on facebook (Tommy Nelson is glad to give a copy of this away – as I am a part of Tommy Nelson Mommies – but all opinions in this review are mine). So, here is the question you have to answer in the comment: what is one way you engage your son or daughter with the gospel.

Teaching Young Boys How to Be Men

Written By: Kimberly - Jan• 30•15

Building God's Kingdom: Tipper Tells a Lie, Andy Holmes

My life is full of balls, choo-choos, and bulldozers.  If you are a mom of young boys, you know what I’m talking about.  I live in the Atlanta area and many times a week I’m driving around specifically going to the site of the new Braves stadium just because my son wants to see the bulldozers.  He squeals with much delight.

So, when I saw these books (a new series) by Tommy Nelson for young boys featuring bulldozers and other machines – I knew my older son would love them.  And what is better yet, they teach them morals: not to lie, telling the truth, etc.  And these are great qualities for young boys – who want to grow to be men.

When I’m training my little boys – I want to train them up in the Gospel – for sure (which is where I think these little books lack), but I also want to train them in good morals in ways they can grow to be men.  Telling the truth and being honest is definitely something God desires and a trait they should have their entire lives.  Another trait I want to teach them is to be gentle and to be good stewards of their toys and possessions.  This is something that God told Adam in the Garden – to tend the garden and take care of it.

Do you have young boys – how do you teach your young boys to be young men?  To teach them morals?

If you do have little boys who love bulldozers or cranes, etc, and you want to win your own set of these books – then just leave a comment on the blog or on facebook and you will be entered.

Thank you Tommy Nelson for these books (all opinions are my own) and for giving an opportunity to win them!

Why We Still Want?

Written By: Kimberly - Dec• 26•14

Christmas Heart

This is really just a post on where my heart is this morning!

The past few weeks have been great!  We’ve been given so much, some unexpected, some found in our stockings.  We’ve enjoyed God’s goodness to our family another Christmas.  Our boys unwrapped toys and trucks and books – and only one pair of socks.  I got stuff I wanted.  The Mister got stuff he wanted.  The boys got stuff they didn’t even know they wanted.

We spent time with friends.

And then I get on Instagram this morning – and I look at what others got – or places they are going – or how gorgeous their photos turned out.  I look out at people filled with hope of a good future.  I look at those poised on a new take on life – and they don’t realize all that lies in store for them.

And then I remember that God came.  Immanuel. Light to shine in darkness.  In the darkness of my ever wanting heart.  Amazingly – this year – not for material things – but for time, peace, and healing.

I do pray that each of you can look at what you have, never take it for granted, and savor each moment.

This Christmas Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Dec• 22•14

IMG_4383

Merry Christmas week everyone!  We do celebrate Christmas in this home – Jesus!!  So thankful that Jesus came and that we have a reason to love this holiday season.

One of the sure ways that I love is through food.  So, this is a busy cooking week:

Balsamic Pot Roast, crockpot mac and cheese, veggies, oreo brownies with fun Christmas Sundae toppings

Meatballs and pasta, salad, and lemon mousse cups for Christmas day lunch with some sweet friends who are coming over.

Affogato and hot chocolate for the mister on Christmas Eve (part of his Christmas present)

 

Hosting Your Neighbors for Christmas (Giveaway)

Written By: Kimberly - Dec• 15•14

God Bless Our Christmas

Happy holidays everyone. I was reminded very much of this today when I went to my annual physical and had a Jewish female doctor.  I didn’t say Merry Christmas, but I did talk about how the Scriptures help me when I’m fearful.

Anyway…

We live in a suberb of Atlanta, in a culdesac of townhomes.  And I approached my neighbor (long time seminary friend) about hosting a holiday party for the ladies and children in our neigbhorhood.  My pastor had challenged us to share Jesus 5 times this holiday season (felt like Doc Reid was going to have us fill out evangelism reports like I was in Intro Evangelism).  And then I got this book from Tommy Nelson Mommies – and thought that it would be a perfect reason to have everyone over.  So, I dished out the invitations and my friend passed them out this weekend.  Be praying, because Saturday morning hopefully we will have non-believers in our home.

Here is what we are doing – and maybe some ideas will give you a creative spark to reach out to your neighbors in the next few weeks.

1.  I am hopefully going to have the opportunity to read God Bless Our Christmas.  This is a new book by Tommy Nelson (a book publisher for children) written by Hannah Hall.  It is a non-threatening, winter-fun-loving book that is illustrated for children and would be a lovely book to have all the kids gather around.  While, I didn’t think it hit on the Gospel hard enough, barely mentioning Jesus – I thought it perfect for our gathering.  Where we want to be inviting to our neighbors, winsome, and have a conversation starter that we can take (winter, snow, gifts, Christmas, trees) to then talk about the Gospel.  I’m so thankful to have conversation starters when sharing the Gospel.  I find it intimidating to walk up to someone and say “Hey, you know Jesus?”

2.  One of the precious and yummy things that book highlights is sprinkles.  Cookies and sprinkles.  So, we are going to have goodies at our holiday party and we are including a cookie decorating station for the kiddos.  This holiday season is already crowded and packed with friends and functions, so I want to keep it easy.  My friend and I are splitting the tasks.  And usually I would use this recipe and roll out the dough and make the buttercream – but I’m buying sugar cookies, and tub frosting – and having sprinkles and icing!  Fun for all the kids – and adults too.

3.  Another activity for the children is Christmas tree decorating.  We put our Christmas tree in our dining room this year.  So much happens around our table so I thought it perfect to include the tree.  So, I’m going to have construction paper, stickers, markers, glitter – you name it – for them to decorate Christmas trees.  Hopefully with the children busy with activities, my friend and I can get to know the moms and have opportunity to talk with them about Jesus.

4.  Presents.  Christmas is about presents – in some sense.  God gave us a present.  We give each other gifts.  And during the Black Friday madness, Lifeway Christian Stores was selling the Jesus Storybook Bible for 5$.  We bought several and will have bows on them.  Be praying that we will get to give all 4 of them away this weekend.

I’m thankful that my friend is doing it with me.  It is scary to share the Gospel.  Shouldn’t be – but it often is.

How are you planning on engaging your neighbors or lost friends this holiday season?  Comment on the blog here or any of the social media sites of mine – and I will draw a winner on Friday (19th) night and you can have your own copy of God Bless Our Christmas!  I love getting children to read and this is one your kids will love for every holiday to come!

Disclaimer: I am a Tommy Nelson Mommy.  That means I get to review, blog, and giveaway new books for kids!  Its exciting – but all opinions are my own!  Thanks Tommy Nelson!

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Dec• 01•14

Coconut Cupcakes

Boy this blog has been slow.

Honestly, I’m getting disillusioned by blogs and I’m so busy.  My life is noisy.  So when I have down time, I don’t necessarily want to open a computer and work.  Even if it is just spouting my opinion.

I do still love recipes, love to cook, love to write, but I just am more selective about what I put on here.

Thanks for reading – just sharing with you what’s going on!

I’m doing no breads this week so if there are breads here it is for my Misters and my MIL who is still here.  I may break it for a bite of a Sublime donut for donut day, but that’s about it!

Spaghetti

Leftover Pot roast with rice and veggies – this is so good and easy!

Brinner

These granola bars

This kale and avocado salad

And leftovers.

 

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 17•14

Train cupcakes

Sorry for the absence all week.  Last week was the toughest week of parenting to date.  And I know there will be more.

But, when life is tough I’ve come to not turn to blogging.  I really did find solace in the Word last week and journaling some prayers for mommas this morning.

But, I also didn’t turn to cooking, either. When I’m trying to eat healthy, I don’t always want to cook.  So, poor husband didn’t have a lot to eat last week.  One of my comforting things to do is to bake – well, that means I eat it – which won’t go well for me when I’m struggling because then I will eat all the cookies.  NOT GOOD. But delicious.

So, this week, here we go again!

This leftover soup tonight with some homemade hummus.

Chicken Korma – finally, if I can find Paneer without haven’t to go to every grocery store in Atlanta.

Turkey enchiladas.  I didn’t get to make them for my friend who visited this past weekend, so since I have all the ingredients I will make them for us this week – and my boys like them.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange muffins for our end of the semester Bible study brunch.

A strawberry elmo cake for a neighbors birthday party.

What are you cooking this week?

 

Weekend Link Love

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 08•14

Pumpkins and Link Love

It is a beautiful fall day here in the Atlanta Metro area.  The blue sky beckons you to be outdoors (but my littles are asleep) and we are heading to the river later on today.  The crisp morning air gives way to cooler sunny afternoons.

Here are a few posts for your weekend viewing:

We went on a two week road trip for our honeymoon and loved it all.  One of the meals in Prince Edward Island has turned out to be a much requested (never made) meal for my mister.  I’m going to aim at fixing that this week with this recipe.

I passed by a sale feature today at TJ when I went of Raspberries. My older son could eat them all in one sitting if I let him.  I give him some at each meal if I have them on hand.  I tell him the reason I give him those is because I love him.  Baby brother doesn’t like them. His daddy sure does.  I’m making this granola to go with it this coming weekend for a special breakfast before family pictures and donut day

Definitely would consider this a tasty way to use up the two acorn squash sitting in my fruit bowl on my island.

Just because into every life must come the perfect sugar cookie.

One of the reasons I love to travel is to taste all of the food that the city I’m going to has to offer.  I’ve been to the Bay Area one time and I so want to return. Actually, one of my dream trips is to fly into San Fran and mill around and then drive up the coast or however you get to Napa and Big Sur.  Oh, to dream.  But, reading this post, I at least know which stops to make with a fork in hand.