Reblogged from Radical Womenhood
by Carolyn McCulley
April 6, 2007

A good friend of mine is undergoing serious surgery today, and I am understandably distracted in my concern for her. She is the subject of many prayers as she is deeply loved by many.

Her suffering is inexplicable in many ways, but I can testify that God has been using it. One of the most obvious fruits in her life is that she is not identified by her suffering, but rather by her passion for Christ. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself that she is indeed seriously sick for she does not wear her illness as a badge.

Stockxpertcom_id86922_size1We are praying to One who has known far more suffering and injustice. Jesus suffered incredible physical torture while being flogged and hung on the cross, nailed through fragile appendages and left to suffocate by the weight of His own body. But that must have paled in comparison to bearing the just punishment from the Father for the sins of those He came to save. The cross is the answer to that question we whisper in the dark night of the soul--"Why, God?" The cross is our justice for the grievous ways we've been sinned against, for God is not an unjust God. Sin will be punished: either it will be visited upon a Savior who was our sinless substitute, or it will be visited upon those who committed the sin.

Since we have all sinned and fall short of God's perfect standard, the cross is our glorious and divine rescue. What we could not atone for on our own has been paid for by our Lord Jesus Christ, for those who repent and trust Him for this awesome gift. Because mercy triumphs at the cross, it is also our greatest hope--especially in times of great trials or suffering.

That is my attempt to articulate the reason we celebrate Good Friday and why my friend can be joyful in the midst of tremendous suffering. But I've never found a more heart-wrenching portrait than that found in When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes. The first time I heard these words, they were read aloud in a sermon by my pastor, C.J. Mahaney. No one was dry-eyed by the end. It is a powerful recounting of what Scripture teaches us. For those of you who know the profound truth of this scene, may you rejoice in what has been done on your behalf. And if you are suffering, may this account refresh your faith. If, however, you have not yet put your trust in this divine exchange and repented of the sins that separate you from God, I pray that the Lord will open your eyes and heart, just as He did unexpectedly for me one Easter several years ago.

The Savior was now thrown to men quite different from the eleven. The face that Moses had begged to see--was forbidden to see--was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20). The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth's rebellion now twisted around his own brow. His back, buttocks, and the rear of his legs felt the whip--soon they looked like the plowed Judean fields outside the city. . . .
"On your back with you!" One raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier's heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner's wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier's life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the soldier live on--he grants the warrior's continued existence. The man swings. . . .
But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being--the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father's eye turns brown with rot.
His Father! He must face his Father like this!
From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.
"Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped--murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten--fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk--you, who molest young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp--buying politicians, practicing extortion, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves--relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, I loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath?"
The Father watches as his heart's treasure, the mirror-image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah's stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.
"Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!"
But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply. Two eternal hearts tear--their intimate friendship shaken to the depths.
The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled him. The Father rejected the Son whom he loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted his sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished. . .
This is who asks us to trust him when he calls on us to suffer.
Why is He Worthy of Trust? James 1

James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of you faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:5-6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and if will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
A recent Bible study on the book of James divided chapter one into these two passages. A week was given to each of these sets of verses. As we slow down to make detailed observations of this chapter, we must be careful to notice that these two passages are not separate from each other. They flow coherently together. 

The first passage challenged me to consider hard situations as joy and told me that it will test my faith and produce steadfastness until I am complete, lacking nothing. That sounds great and is true! But as those especially difficult situations come to our minds, it leaves us asking how these things are possible in this situation? How could I count this for joy? It seems impossible for good to come out of it and seems ridiculous to consider it joy!

Well James knew we would ask these questions. So immediately in verse 5, he says, “If any of you lack wisdom…” If you are like me, buzzers are going off in your head saying, “That’s me! That’s me! I lack wisdom in this situation that is supposed to be considered as joy. I want to be made steadfast and complete. But how?”

Ask God for wisdom in the face of trials! Ask with trust and with no doubt at all. Once again how can we ask without any doubt at all? A better question is—Do we realize Who we are asking? James 1:5 says this God is one who “gives generously and without reproach.” Do you know what without reproach means? It means without scolding me for asking and without naming all my deficiencies in wisdom or faith. How can this be? I know my faults but He knows my heart better than I do! How then can He view me without faults and deficiencies? The answer is justice and mercy.

God’s wrath is satisfied in Jesus’ death. God did not forgive my sin by saying, “Oh, just forget it” and then erase it. He did not deny His own character by forsaking justice. Justice was carried out until the consequence was fulfilled completely in Jesus and I walk out free from my sin. I am free of fault and deficiency in the eyes of God, who gives generously without reproach, because of Jesus.  BECAUSE of His great justice and mercy.

So in light of this great gospel, do you think this God is worthy of asking for wisdom? Worthy of trust? Do you think He may really be generous? Think of the way He carried out that justice! Do you think this God of justice and mercy is one you can place confident trust in that He will respond?
Sometime trials overpower my mind and cloud my vision. How can I trust God in those times? James 1:6 says to ask for wisdom in the face of your trials with faith and without doubting. But how can I get to that place through the clouds? Return to His justice. Recognize that it should have been me receiving that cup of wrath, not Jesus. Return to His mercy. Reflect on WHO He is and WHAT He has done! Then the truth of the gospel turns us to a deep, safe trust. How can I NOT trust this God to give wisdom generously without reproach?

 Katie Kasey is a 2+2 (International Church Planting M-Div) student at Southeastern. God has given Katie the privilege of serving Him in Ecuador on several occasions, as well as Ukraine and East Asia. Katie serves at North Henderson Baptist Church in Henderson, NC, with her family.  She is excitedly preparing to serve God both at home and overseas. Katie’s greatest joys in life are her two sisters Britney & Meredith and their wonderful husbands- John Marks & Ricky, and her parents Brent & Teresa. She also loves using photography and writing to encourage others and promote God’s glory among all people.

September and October's Topic is Trust

Many Christians Struggle with Trusting God and Other People. 

We decided this month and's all about TRUST! Visit the blog to find new posts throughout the month about trust!

Jerry Bridges wrote the book, "Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts." 

This is what he says:

“Because obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases, His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don’t want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us. But the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation. When unexpected situations arise that appear unjust, irrational, or even dreadful, we feel confused and frustrated. And before long, we begin to doubt God’s concern for us or His control over our lives. Grappling with His concern for us we ask, “Why is God allowing this?” Adversity is hard to endure and can be even harder to understand.”

Why Pray for a Husband?

Reblogged from Radical Womanhood
by Carolyn McCulley
September 7, 2011

1345271_flores__flowersOver several years of ministering to single women, I’ve heard one question asked repeatedly: “Should I pray for a husband?”

On the surface, it can seem an odd question, but I am sympathetic to the reasons why it is asked. Lurking behind that one question are many others: “What if God doesn’t answer this prayer?” “Is this something I should even be focused on?” “Is it selfish of me to want a husband?” “Is God still good if I pray and I remain single?” and so forth.

My short answer is: Yes, you should pray! And don’t just pray for yourself. Pray for your other single friends (men and women). Pray for the marriages among your friends and family.

Then open your eyes to the many, many prayers He is answering. Every day, God is bringing people together. So instead of sighing with self-pity when you get that next wedding invitation, rejoice for the evidence of answered prayer!

To be honest, I have not always rejoiced at the weddings of others. At least not initially. But the more I’ve encountered the faithfulness of God, the easier it has become. Taking note of answered prayers is the best antidote I know for overcoming the forlorn assumption that your own prayers go unanswered. Soon you will see an abundance of prayers are answered every day, which balances out the long wait for other prayer requests.

In fact, these days I typically find it very easy to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Over the years, I’ve been in many formal and informal prayer groups where women have petitioned the Lord for husbands, asked God to bring more single men to their churches, and interceded for the single men who are already there.  The majority of each group is now married. I can list dozens and dozens of men and women alike who now have spouses—men and women of various ages, ethnicities, sizes, shapes, abilities, and temperaments. And I take great delight in saying that because God is no respecter of our arbitrary standards of who is “marryable” and who is not.

So, praise the Lord! Seriously! I’m not being flip. It’s actually quite difficult to take two self-centered people and move them toward making a lifetime commitment to each other. Marriage is an act of grace in action.
Inevitably, though, when I talk about praying for husbands, someone comes in a theological tangle, wondering if God is good to me and to anyone else who is still praying and still single. Should we even pray for husbands? Is that acceptable? What if we pray and we remain single—what then??

My first answer is that of course God is still good if we pray and remain single. Marriage is a gift for this life alone. If we have received forgiveness for our sins and life eternal, we have already received the biggest and best gift and one that is for all eternity. We didn’t miss out on God’s very best.

Secondly, if we are still alive, the story of God’s grace in our lives is still being written. We don’t know the future. Only He knows the beginning from the end (Is. 46:10 and Rev. 21:6) and so it is arrogant to assume we can survey our circumstances and conclude we know what God is doing. (See: Naomi. A woman who was so very sure God’s hand was against her that she wanted to be called “Bitter.” But as she stood complaining, she had no idea that God was already at work to provide food, a kinsman-redeemer, an heir, and even far more unexpectedly, a place in the lineage of her Savior!)

Thirdly, we have no other option, according to Scripture. Philippians 4:4-7 makes this very clear: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This passage makes it very easy for us to understand that all we can do is pray, be thankful, and avoid anxiousness, which leads to bitterness. We’re not in charge of the answers. We’re in charge of the petitions. So, petition away!

But be thankful in those petitions. Since we’re not the omniscient, omnipotent, perfect, holy, just, and merciful Being in these transactions, we get to be the grateful recipients. All the time. Without ceasing. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

What circumstances do you find yourself in today? Give thanks and pray without ceasing. For as we keep our eyes on Him and praise Him in all circumstances (the good, the happy, the hard, the confusing, the horrifying), we silence the Accuser, the one who exists to blame God for not being good and blame us for not being good enough.

Of this I am supremely confident: When we see our Savior and Redeemer face to face, we will not regret being thankful for trusting Him, even in circumstances we could not control and would not have chosen. We will see then by the light of His glory all that He was doing in and through those very moments. What seemed like unanswered prayer will be set against the grand tapestry of His grace coursing through history. We will see what He was doing … and we will eternally praise Him for it.

So pray without ceasing and eagerly await what God does in and through these prayers.
During our time at Southeastern, we wondered how God was going to use us and where He would send us. Would we go overseas after graduation? Would we serve in a local church close to what we knew as home? Or would that local church be far away from where we grew up? Through all of these questions for what we would do and where our family would be lead, I also often wondered what my role in our ministry would be and what it would look like. I will jump ahead and tell you that my husband is a church planter and we live in downtown Denver, Colorado where we planted The Summit Church beginning in January 2011. That means for eight months, I've been a pastor's wife. And considering my limited experience, I felt it was appropriate to share with you what I've discovered this year about what a pastor's wife is not, rather than what a pastor's wife is.

A pastor's wife is not someone who finds her identity in being a pastor's wife.

I often feared that I would be defined by my role in the church, being known more as a pastor’s wife than just plain Megan. However, something that I’ve learned quickly in Denver is that finding my identity in my role (or even myself) will ultimately fail, and the gospel declares that I’m given a greater identity by God. The identity that has been given to me and the identity I must continually return to is my identity in Christ and what God has declared true of me through His work.

I’m learning that my role doesn’t make me more important in the church and that my role doesn’t make me less needy of God’s grace. While I once feared the pressure, extra responsibilities and expectations that I associated with the title “pastor’s wife,” I’ve learned that when I fall short, God’s opinion of me doesn’t change, because His favor is based on Christ’s work and not my own. And I’ve learned that when I succeed, I have no reason to boast because I can’t add onto the favor God has already extended to me in Christ.

Practically, this has meant that instead of my contentment being contingent on how I’m succeeding or failing at my “role,” God has given me consistent joy in finding my identity in Christ.

A pastor's wife is not someone who ministers just because she's a pastor's wife.

I also feared that my role would mean that there would be a greater pressure from myself and others to do ministry, when I wasn’t sure if God had “called” me into ministry. However, I’ve been learning that faithfulness to a lifestyle of ministry is a call on every Christian woman’s life, not just for those who happen to be married to pastors.

There are no special commandments given to me because of who my spouse is. Rather, because I am a Christian, I have been given a call to be a minister for Jesus. I have been given commandments such as being a good student of God's word and learning (1 Timothy 2:11), being a disciple-maker for Jesus (Matthew 28:19), and teaching what is good to younger women (Titus 2:3). These are lofty commandments and they come from a God who knows our strengths and weaknesses and finds joy in seeing us serve Him and one another. God is teaching me that he has given ALL women these lofty commandments – not just pastors’ wives.

Being so new to this role, I often wondered if I was qualified to do all this, especially when it came to teaching younger women (Titus 2:3). This was a verse that I used to dismiss and promise myself that I would take to heart once I had gray hair - once I have more life experiences, once I have children, once we have been in ministry for a bit longer, I would do this.

My dear pastor (who also happens to be my husband) broke this down in a recent sermon. Bryan explained that there are areas in each of our lives where we are "older" than others. Sometimes this looks like teaching a newer believer what it means to really memorize scripture when you have been a Christian for a bit longer, or it could mean spending time talking with another woman about her two year old marriage when you have a four year old marriage.

When I was in nursing school, one of my professors gently told us that as nurses we will never be through learning. I’ve learned the same applies in the Christian life. I once thought that the ongoing learning and studying of the Bible were meant for those guys who went to seminary. But In 1 Timothy, women are given the commandment to "learn quietly with all submissiveness". Ladies, that wasn't a typo. Megan Barley, as a woman within God's family and not as a woman whose husband is a pastor, has been given the commandment to learn! You, whether your husband is a pastor or a plumber, have been commanded to learn, to be a student of God's word, and to put Scripture on your heart.

Women, let us follow God's commands. Let us follow these commands because we have the privilege of being a woman in God's family. Let us follow these commands because of that privilege and not because of a role.
Megan Barley lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Bryan, and their chocolate lab, Penny. Megan graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a Registered Nurse who works for the Denver Public School system as a School Nurse. Bryan is the lead pastor of the Summit Church. You can keep up with the Barleys through Megan's blog at

Target Gift Card Winner

Congratulations Cas Monaco for Winning the Target GiftCard! 
Please come by the Women's Life Office any time next week to pick up your prize. 
 Our office will be closed Monday due to Labor Day.

What do you want to talk about?

What is it that you want to talk about?  We want to hear from you!  Is there anything specific that you would like to talk about on the blog during the month of September?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!  

We will also be drawing a name for the Target Gift Card from New Student Orientation!  Check back tomorrow to see if you are the winner!  

Also, don't forget to go ahead and mark your calendar for our kick-off Connecting Point event, Hi, My Name Is... on September 12th at 7 pm.  We will meet in the Ledford Center.  FREE childcare is available, but you must register by September 9th.  Register your child by contacting the Women's Life Office at (919) 761-2340 or