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setapartgirl

L E SLI E L UDY’ S

MAGAZINE

When God Writes a Love Story a set apart girl and her fiancé share their story p.36

An Intentional Vacation a summer without regrets p.66

Summer Fashion

tasteful alternatives for seasonal trends p.76

When een Going Gr Far Goes Too

MEET HANNAH & LEAH

sisters of the common life p.88

p.8

Copyright 2011 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.

M AY / J UN 201 2


letter from leslie ludy BESTSELLING AUTHOR FOUNDER, setapartgirl

Our house sits close to the edge of a lake. I can always tell summer is at hand when the bullfrogs show up. They begin to croak loudly at about 9 p.m. and don’t seem to take a break until the wee mornings hours. Though this causes some consternation and lack of peaceful sleep, in some ways I really like hearing their strange little song, because they seem to be announcing the beginning of summer. I greatly enjoy this fun and refreshing time of year, but I have also realized that with a slower pace can also come the temptation toward lethargy in our spiritual lives or subtle compromise in our set-apart walk. That is why I’m extra excited about this new magazine issue. These articles were tailor-made to help you launch into your summer with a Christ-centered focus. Within these pages, you’ll catch a fresh vision for letting God write your love story, learn how to be purposeful and God-honoring while in “vacation mode,” and gain practical wisdom in how to transform sensual fashion trends into tasteful and elegant style – plus a whole lot more. I pray you will be encouraged and inspired by what you read. And when you hear bullfrogs croaking in your backyard, or encounter other little evidences of summer’s arrival, remember that God has a wonderful plan for these next few months of your life – full of beauty, life, and more and more of Himself!

Leslie


letter from annie wesche CREATIVE DIRECTOR, setapartgirl

Let’s see - Bible, notebook, passport, camera, chargers, bug repellent, thank-you notes... As the finishing touches go into this issue, my suitcase lies open on the floor, ready to be filled for a trip out of the country. My mind is full of the little things that I don’t want to forget, all the errands that need to happen between now and my departure day, and how I can best organize my limited packing space. But when I set my thoughts upon where I am going, why I am going, and with Whom, my heart switches to a new focus of preparation. I know that the one thing needed for those I am going to visit is Jesus; not an organized, stylish, well-prepared visitor, but a soul-surrendered, prayed-up, given life that is ready to be a vessel fit for His use and spent for His glory. So I set before you, dear sisters, the challenge I pose to myself in these days of summer planning, changing schedules, and travel. Let us fix our gaze upon Jesus, maintain the abiding life, and remember in each moment that we are not our own. Our lives are His and, treasures of treasures, His Life is ours! When we give the Lord top priority, then all the details fall into their proper place (see Matthew 6:33)! May this issue challenge and encourage you like never before. It was designed to point you to Jesus and prep you for a summer filled with adventure, holiness, and and great joy! With love for you, great expectancy, and a fixed gaze,

annie


inthisissue set apart femininity

Explore God’s Sacred Intent for Your Life

8 | Top 10 Time Wasters, Part 10 - When Going Green Goes Too Far 24 | Becoming a Nurturer

set apart relationships

Honoring God in Love and Romance

36 | A Heaven-born Love: A Set Apart Girl and Her Fiancé Share Their Story

set apart walk

Cultivate Your Daily Romance with Christ

60 | Abiding in Him, Abounding in Love 66 | An Intentional Vacation: How to Have a Summer Without Regrets

set apart style

Showcasing the Radiance of Christ

76 | From Trashy to Tasteful: Elegant Alternatives to Today’s Sensual Styles

set apart motherhood

Discover God’s Heart for Home and Family

110 | The Discipline of Godly Motherhood 118 | Kiddo Spot

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

8

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this issue may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


76 0 6 36

110 4 2 6 6 ineveryissue 7

setapartgirl playlist

56

Q & A with Leslie

88

Sister(s) of the Common Life

117

Leslie’s Blog

120 Staff Book Recommendations


“We all need to add more nobility to our behavior, more majesty to our language, more elegance to our presentation, and more sacred decorum to our bearing.” - Leslie Ludy

about leslie

FOUNDER, setapartgirl

Leslie Ludy is a bestselling author and speaker with a passion for reaching her generation with the hope of Christ. She and her husband Eric have been writing and speaking together for the past seventeen years. Widely known for their bestselling classic, When God Writes Your Love Story, Eric and Leslie have become foremost voices on some of the most poignant issues facing the Church today, such as relationships, purity, holiness, and living a fully consecrated life for Christ. Together, they are the authors of eighteen books that have been translated into over a dozen languages around the world. For more about Leslie’s books, click here. Leslie and Eric are the founders and directors of Ellerslie Leadership Training based in Windsor, Colorado – an intensive discipleship training program that prepares future leaders for world-impacting Christian service, and draws men and women of all ages from around the world. Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


setapartgirl PLAYLIST

GET THE FULL LL U F E PLAYLIST ON H ON GETTITUNES! T S I YLTO PING PLAIN LOG S. & E N U IT ! SEARCH FOR E R E H LICK C“setapartgirl playlist”

Leslie’s PICK: O Sacred Head by Fernando Ortega is an older song, but

I return to it again and again in times of worship. It is so powerful and sobering to truly reflect upon His sacrifice!

TEAM

PICKS:

LAUREN: Listen to Our Hearts by Gilead Baptist Church MANDY: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty by Christy Nockels AMELIA: Turn Your Eyes by Jadon Lavik TESSA: I Need Thee Every Hour by Jars of Clay MADISON: There is a Fountain by Selah MARLENE: Before the Throne by Shane and Shane

AMY: Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega Copyright 2012 ANNIE: The ChurchCarry at Ellerslie. rights reserved. Your AllName by Christy Nockels

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10

TOP TIME WASTERS

Part 10 By Leslie Ludy

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n e h W n e e r G g n Goi o o T s e o G Far Getting God’s Perspective on Saving the Earth “…Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven...” Phil. 3:19-20 NIV Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Is. 65:17

“…For this world in its present form is passing away.” 1 Cor. 7:31 NIV

A

few years ago, Eric and I were walking out of a Whole Foods Market in Orange County, California, when suddenly two young women holding clipboards approached us. One wore long, blonde dreadlocks; the other sported a large nose ring. Their faces were intent and sincere as they asked for a moment of our time.

stalling on this,” she told me. “The lives of 50 animals are at stake and they are just sitting on their thumbs. If you sign this petition it will motivate them to action.”

Nose Ring held out her clipboard. “And if you want to give a donation, it will help toward the 18 million dollars we are trying to raise to build a safe “We represent Green Peace,” said haven for the whales.” Dreadlocks. “We have a very The two young women were so important issue that we’re letting passionate about their cause that they people know about today.” “That’s actually looked close to tears. You right,” Nose Ring chimed in. “There would have thought the 50 whales are 50 humpback whales in danger were their beloved childhood pets that right now off the coast of Japan. We were about to be ruthlessly murdered. are fighting for legislation that will They simply could not rest until the protect them.” precious creatures were saved. Dreadlocks shook her head mournfully. Hours later, when we drove past Whole “It’s so sad how the government is Foods again, the two young women Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


were still standing outside, earnestly pleading with everyone exiting the store to stand up and fight on behalf of the defenseless ocean creatures being overlooked and mistreated by a corrupt and lazy government. I couldn’t get past the irony of the situation. Only a few months earlier, Eric and I had studied the plight of orphans around the world. We learned that there were 143 million orphans – children alone and without advocates; children dying of starvation and disease without anyone to rescue them. The number was so staggering that we couldn’t even imagine how to put a dent in it. (That number has now increased to 163 million.)

I thought about the thousands of little girls forced into slave prostitution in Cambodia and South America. I thought about the hundreds of little boys kidnapped into the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, forced to murder members of their own family or else be killed in cold blood. I thought about the countless children in Liberia, dying on the side of the road with no one to hear their weakened cries for help. I thought about the more than 700,000 children trapped in the foster care system, longing for a stable and loving family, but instead being passed around from one short-term home to the next,

And here were two young women full of youthful zeal, willing to give their lives to save 50 humpback whales off the coast of Japan w h i l e c o u n t l e s s c h i l d re n around the world perished.

...willing to give their lives... Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


...I am not called to give my life, time, and energy to the cause of whales,

but to the cause of Christ.

a large percentage of them destined to fill U.S prisons. I thought about the 1.2 million babies aborted in this country every year. I thought about the estimated 150,000 people dying each day without knowing Christ, on their way to eternal separation from God. In light of these harsh realities, focusing on 50 humpback whales off the coast of Japan seemed nothing short of ridiculous. Sure, I love whales, dolphins, and ocean creatures, and think they are truly an amazing part of God’s creation. I have no desire to see whales, or any other animals, harmed. But I also know that I am not called to give my life, time, and energy to the cause of whales, but to the cause of Christ. The value of saving this planet is very small compared to the importance of rescuing the human souls on this planet. Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


Yes, I realize that it’s not politically correct for me to make a statement like that. However, Scripture has far more to say about standing on behalf of vulnerable human lives than fighting on behalf of endangered animals or trees. Like I said, it’s not that we should be intentionally cruel, indifferent, or irresponsible toward the plants and animals God has placed on this earth. In fact, God says in Proverbs 12:10, “A righteous man regards the life of his animal…” I’m all for being kind to animals and doing what we can to keep them from going extinct or dying untimely deaths. But we need to get our priorities straight. We need to start living according to God’s value system, rather than give our lives to the causes the world deems important. Going green is just about the trendiest thing in our society right now. You can’t walk out your front door without seeing “green” dry cleaners, “green” gas stations, “green” baby formula, or “green” toothpaste. Using catch phrases such as “preserving the earth’s natural resources” or “cruelty free” is a sure way to make your

company seem modern, enlightened, and culturally relevant. On the flip side, admitting that you forgot to recycle is like confessing that you are a convicted criminal. Failing to celebrate Earth Day with your children makes you an irresponsible parent. And using disposable diapers instead of cloth means you value your own convenience above the fate of this planet. At a recent nature museum we took our children to, a movie about dolphins was featured. In the movie, two sick dolphins were rescued by a team of over twenty marine biologists, nursed back to health, and released in a safer part of the ocean – which was then monitored for several months by the scientists to ensure their safety and well-being. As I watched 20 grown men and women tenderly stroking the dolphins’ rubbery skin with looks of deep concern on their faces, I grimaced with embarrassment. It’s not that I wanted the dolphins to be sick. But watching 20 skilled humans pour months of their lives into these creatures and lavish so much passion, concern, and emotion upon them just seemed a little extreme. You would

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have thought they were on a mission to save the world, rather than a quest to help two dolphins recover from pneumonia. When Eric and I took the kids to SeaWorld, the Shamu theme song was stirring enough to motivate even the most hardened ocean polluter to give his life to protecting the planet’s “family” and tenderly caring for every creature under the sun. The lyrics commissioned us to “think of the earth just like a child” and “join with one voice” in saving the earth.

We need to start living according to God’s value system, rather than give our lives to the causes the world deems important.

our planet was on the verge of total destruction due to global warming and a weakened layer of ozone. We were told that if we used aerosol hairspray we were personally contributing to the end of the world. I left class that day truly believing that within a few decades, the world would be an empty wasteland unless we all joined together to “make a difference.” Even many so-called Christian voices contend that loving and caring for this earth should be a primary focus for every believer. Author and pastor Brian McClaren, for instance, says: “[Jesus] taught us to see every creature as beloved by [God]…So let us learn to see and love this good earth as Jesus did, and to care for it, and enjoy it, and rejoice in it…” (from the song This Good Earth by Brian McClaren)

McClaren, along with many other postmodern church leaders, encourages believers to become environmental activists as an outflow of their salvation. This idea is not only unbiblical, but dangerous. John 3:16 This unified “save the earth” mantra does not say, “For God so loved the has been building for years. I will earth (meaning the trees, soil, and never forget the high school science animals on this planet), but rather, “For class in which our teacher told us that God so loved the world (meaning the

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lost human souls on this planet).” Jesus gave His life to rescue lost humanity; not to preserve the earth’s natural resources or save endangered animals. In Romans 1, Paul warns against worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. When we begin to worship and serve the things on this earth, we fall into the pit of idolatry and we “[exchange] the Truth of God for the lie” (Rom. 1:25).

of this planet, but as mere pilgrims passing through (see Heb. 11:13,16). First Peter 2:11 reminds us that we are to be “aliens and strangers” in this world; not seeking an earthly home, but a heavenly one.

...as a set-apart young woman, God has bigger, more important battles for you to fight.

Whether motivated by fear and social approval, or misguided by false Christian voices, young women everywhere are jumping on the savethe-planet bandwagon. It might seem Of course, during the time we are healthy and wise, but in reality it’s a temporarily here on this earth, we waste of precious time and energy. should be considerate of what God has given us. There is no reason to You can make yourself look so caring, trash and pollute the planet or responsible, and even spiritual (not to disregard the lives of animals just mention hip) by raising awareness for because our true citizenship is in endangered animals or aspiring to heaven. Christians who act this way become a marine biologist and rescue are only living selfishly and failing to the whales. But as a set-apart young represent the nature of Christ. w o m a n , G o d h a s b i g g e r, m o re important battles for you to fight. But when we invest major efforts into Despite what modern “greenies” trying to save and preserve this earth, believe, this earth is not our home. and stress over things like global God’s heroes throughout the ages warming, we are focusing on what is have lived not as long-term residents temporal and not eternal. God says Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


that we are to set our minds on things Whether you are an aspiring environabove, not on earthly things (see Col. mentalist, a dolphin lover, or simply 3:2). confused about how “green” your life should really be, here are some Modern environmentalists dream of practical steps for staying in alignment maintaining the earth for thousands of with God’s pattern: generations to come, because they believe this earth is their long-term residence. They believe that this is the only home we, and every future generation, will ever know, and thus it While it’s fine to recycle or take steps is our responsibility to make it last as to prevent animal cruelty, don’t devote your life to protecting the environment long as possible. or saving whales. In Eric’s upcoming But Jesus says that His kingdom is not book, Heroism, he writes, “God is in of this world (see John 18:36). As the business of delivering justice and children of God, we are called to build mercy, setting captives free, bringing and promote His kingdom. Rescuing health to the sick, clearing the debts of souls, washing the feet of the saints, the poor, and breaking the shackles of and defending vulnerable human lives slavery. God burns with fury when He is kingdom work – saving whales and sees the weak and the little ones being trees is not (see James 1:27). exploited. He cries with indignation when He sees child prostitution in Thailand, abortion in America, death squads murdering street children in Brazil, and little boys and girls struggling to live in a garbage dump in Central America.”

1. Fight the Right Battles

And His heart breaks for the hundreds of thousands of human souls that die each day destined for eternal separation from Him. These are the Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


life-or-death battles He has called us to fight. In Heroism, Eric goes on to say, “Our God is not passive, and He is certainly not unfeeling. He has entrusted His [children] here on earth with the job of expressing His indignation, His compassion, His generosity, and His love here in this physical world. Christians are supposed to be His hands, His feet, His voice, and His response to these atrocities in the natural realm. “If it appears God is doing nothing to halt these horrors, the blame for i n a c t i v i t y f a l l s s q u a re l y o n t h e shoulders of those of us entrusted to be His representatives. It’s Christians that bear the onus of culpability. We are the ones commissioned to carry out God’s epic agenda, and if we fritter our lives away pursuing puny goals and do nothing to stop these horrors, then we will stand before God in the end with a stain of responsibility upon our souls.” For a starting place, visit this LINK on practical ways to begin living out the “sacred claim” God has placed upon your life.

2. Set Your Mind on Heavenly Things When Amy Carmichael’s life was changed by God at the age of seventeen, she wrote, “Nothing could ever matter to me again but the things that were eternal.” As set-apart women of God, we must adopt the same attitude. Ask God to show you any habits or thought patterns in your life that keep your focus on temporal, earthly things rather than eternal, heavenly ones. Begin learning how to “take every thought captive” and set your mind on things above, not things on this earth. Don’t allow your thoughts to wander aimlessly or dwell on trivial issues, whether it’s saving the planet, the latest Hollywood gossip, or how many friends you have on Facebook. Rather, meditate upon the words of Scripture, pray for the salvation of the unsaved people in your life, and remain yielded and surrendered to the King of all kings as you go about your day. In addition, don’t fill your mind with the philosophies of this world. Articles, books, television shows, movies – even a trip to your local zoo or aquarium – are often filled with “save

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


the earth” messages. Sometimes the world’s perspective can be hard to escape from. But whenever you have a choice, steer clear of worldly information that pulls you away from God’s perspective. And if you have an incorrect message set in front of you, immediately counter it with Truth from God’s Word. This doesn’t always mean standing up in the middle of the zoo and preaching against evolution. Rather, it means filling your mind and heart with Truth and reminding yourself of what you really believe.

focused upon Jesus and not other “causes” that sound spiritual but steer you away from Him. Showing kindness to animals, being a homeschooler, or voting republican is perfectly fine, and it might even be an outflow of our walk with Christ, but it should never become our identity or primary focus. Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). If you make your life all about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, your life will naturally be built around the right priorities. He will Finally, be on guard against so-called cause your burden for lost souls to be “Christian” messages that exalt far greater than your burden for sick creation above the Creator. (Word to dolphins. the wise – most post-moder n, emergent-style messages are brim- For more about this principle, I ming with this idea.) encourage you to listen to Eric’s message The Poison of Political Correctness available HERE.

3. Build Your Life Around Jesus

It might sound like an overly simple piece of advice, but so often we as Christians try to “add” to our Christianity. We preach Jesus Christ plus environmentalism, or Jesus Christ plus homeschooling, or Jesus Christ plus republicanism. Be sure your life is

~~ “The earth is the LORD‘s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” Psalm 24:1 NASB

*

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


...make your life all about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...

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His Little Feet Children’s Choir travels the United States, being the voice for orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide. The purpose of the tour is to bring awareness of the millions of children around the world in need of care, as well as facilitate opportunities for us to respond to the needs of children through giving, sponsoring, going, and adopting.

get to know the ministry of

visit their website www.hislittlefeet.org see the children live in concert follow the blog find them on facebook

order their new cd!

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stay connected with us through facebook & our mailing list Follow us on Facebook! And share setapartgirl with your friends!

Join our mailing list. Stay posted on our progress in taking setapartgirl to print! Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


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{N } Becoming a

urturer

by Tessa Hershberger & Amy Meyers

W hen

a precious baby girl comes into the world, no one argues the fact that she is female. No tests are required. No second opinion is needed. Pink bow or no pink bow - it’s a girl! And while she is born fully equipped to physically function as a woman was intended, she is not yet able to operate in the same capacity as her mother. Rather, her fully developed womanhood is something that must be grown over time. A few years later that same little girl may have the tendency to wrap her blanket

around a baby doll and pretend to feed it, but you would never dream of hiring her to watch your fourweek-old infant. Her motherly nature has not yet matured to the point where she is able to effectively care for another. In the same way, while we may have that inherent propensity to show maternal care for others, it will not fully demonstrate the beauty of biblical femininity unless we purposefully cultivate it according to God’s design.

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At its root, the concept of nurturing is an outward manifestation of the Christ-like love, compassion, and selflessness that ought to mark the life of every professing follower of Jesus. But the biblical roles of men and women also make it clear that there is an aspect of this life-giving care that God specifically created women to possess. It goes beyond practical need-meeting and combines the act of service with the tender heart of compassion that God deposited in each of us “keepers at home.” Perhaps that is why we tend to envision “nurturing” as a doting wife bringing her sick husband a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup and a fresh box of tissues, or a sympathetic mother consoling her distraught child with an encouraging word and a chocolate chip cookie. And while this is an accurate depiction of nurturing, a closer look at God’s intent for femininity reveals that this cultural stereotype is merely a fraction of all He desires this womanly attribute to be.

31:27). But this woman does more than bring her husband soup when he is sick; she thoughtfully sets aside food for her servants (see vs. 15), and purposefully seeks out opportunities to assist the afflicted in love (see vs. 20), rather than just waiting around for a need to come to her. Her poured-out and nurturing lifestyle goes far beyond the walls of her home, extending to whomever God places under her care.

...an outward manifestation of the Christ-like love, compassion, and selflessness that ought to mark the life of every professing follower of Jesus.

We often view marriage as the grand opportunity to finally start cultivating the qualities of this remarkable woman. However, we do not have to wait until we have a family to allow the Lord to begin It is said of the virtuous wife in shaping us into virtuous women Proverbs 31, “She watches over the whose lives are spent caring for the ways of her household…” (Prov. needs of others. In Genesis 24, Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


{ } the Grand Opportunity Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.  

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Isaac’s future wife Rebekah took the initiative to attend to the stranger who showed up at the well, even before she knew who he was or why he was there. Not only did she fulfill his request for a drink of water, but she took it a step further by supplying water for his camels as well as giving him a place to stay. Because Rebekah had no idea who this man was, we can assume that her service to him was not simply a result of the fact that she would soon become a wife. Rather, her selfless attentiveness was already something she was practicing and had made a part of her daily lifestyle.

life, it is easy to overlook the open doors God consistently places around us. However, if we, like Rebekah, approach daily life with open eyes and a willing heart, we will soon discover how possible it is to become the nurturers God intended His daughters to be, before we even know if we will be married or have children. As God has begun to awaken the two of us

{

A heart for others comes first and foremost from the Lord...

Rebekah was likely at the well almost every day. But instead of just absentmindedly going through the familiar routine of fetching water, she was attuned to the people and needs around her and readily took the opportunity before her to care for this weary stranger. In the habitual patterns of everyday Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.  

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to this aspect of biblical femininity, He has pointed out several specific ways we can grow as nurturers every day amidst whatever season of life we find ourselves in.

Nurturing Physical Needs Though physical needs may be easier to spot, excelling in the art of nurturing involves more than watching the three kids of the single mom at church who came

}

down with the flu, or picking up a prescription at the drug store for your elderly neighbor who just had knee surgery. While those practical acts may be much-appreciated blessings, it is possible for such deeds to be done without the personal connection or empathetic concern that so characterizes a truly nurturing woman. A heart for others comes first and foremost from the Lord, but there are a few specific things you can keep in mind as you serve others that will transform your act of service into something that nourishes not only the body but the soul as well. Offer Your Time and Presence Sometimes the simple act of sitting with the sick person and having a conversation can mean more than anything you bring with you. Mind Your Attitude and Approach -

The person in need will be able to sense if you are acting out of duty and obligation rather than a genuine desire to put their needs above your own. Take the Time to Notice - Rather than just getting on with your day

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the second you have done what was asked, take a moment to consider any unrequested needs that would show the other person you truly care.

Remember to Ask Often - The person in need already feels needy, so help them feel like less of a burden by being the one to frequently ask how they are doing and if there is anything they require.

Nurturing Emotional Needs It may be easier for us to recognize and put into practice our God-given “nurturer instinct” when it comes to tending emotional needs, simply because women are naturally more in tune with their own and others’ emotions. However, it is important to remember that the tender comfort of a woman whose service flows from the love of Christ will appear altogether different than the flesh-coddling “nurturing” of the world, which often comes in the form of copious amounts of chocolate peanut butter ice cream and a corporate pity party. When a roommate is walking through a difficult family situation or a child at church loses a loved one, we have the grand opportunity to care in such a way that leaves them dwelling on the goodness of God rather than the bleakness of their circumstances.

...a woman whose service flows from the love of Christ will appear altogether different than the fleshcoddling “nurturing” of the world...

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Point Them to the Counselor Some situations may make us feel entirely inadequate to offer any useful advice or consolation, but we do not need a Master’s degree in counseling before we are able to give the Answer to anyone is hurting.

offer any advice worth taking, we must only speak as the Spirit leads and be willing to remain silent, if it is His will, and simply offer a listening ear and a hug.

Speak the Truth in Love - While we do patiently listen and speak with a gentle tone, we must also Weigh Your Words - As women, remain alert so as to detect any lies many of us excel in communication the person may be believing, ready and are very adept at using our wit to be the voice of Truth in their life. and wisdom to solve others’ problems. However, in order to truly Nurturing On a Daily Basis It is likely that you will not always have a sick friend to take care of, but there are so many small yet significant ways you can exhibit this beautiful and womanly attribute. This is more than a daily act of service for you to check off - it is a daily opportunity to grow as a nurturer, joyfully cherishing God’s unique design for a woman’s hands to be in concert with her tender heart. Purpose to Remember - It is amazing how much it can mean to someone when you remember that their mom is in the hospital or their sister is expecting a baby any day. Recalling those personal details Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


and making it a point to ask about them thoughtful questions and them is a sweet way to show others attentively receiving the answer. you care about them. Don’t be discouraged if you do not Put It Into Words - A handwritten y e t p o s s e s s t h a t “ m o t h e r l y n o t e w i t h g e n u i n e w o rd s o f instinct,” or give in to the tempencouragement, a purposefully tation to believe that you must wait selected Scripture, or a powerful until you become a wife and mom quote from Christian history only before you can. While it does come takes a few minutes to write out, more easily to some, every woman but never fails to bless the receiver. of God is called to be a picture of the compassionate and caring Ask With Sincerity - One of the nature of Christ. And we can be greatest evidences that a woman is certain that if we are called to be looking outside of herself is when nurturers, our faithful God will her everyday conversation is enable and equip us to live out this marked by a sincere showing of feminine role He created us to fulfill! interest in the lives of others, asking

*

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


{} ...our faithful God will enable and equip us...

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


Leadership Training

A Semester at Ellerslie wi! E"c and Leslie Ludy JOIN US IN COLORADO!

A MESSAGE FROM ERIC & LESLIE:

The Ellerslie semester-long intensive training program combines powerful biblical training with a set-apart, spiritually-rich environment, tailor-made for cultivating intimacy with Christ and becoming equipped for world-impacting Christian service. It’s a life-changing experience designed to super-charge your spiritual walk, ground you in a Gospel worldview, give you an unshakeable passion for God’s Word, and prepare you for a lifestyle of kingdom work. We would count it a privilege to personally invest in your spiritual life through this program!

upcoming sessions:

2012 Summer:

June 16 - August 19

2012 FALL: October 13 - December 16

2013 Winter/Spring: February 9 - April 14

a$ly at: www.ellerslie.com

Copyright 2010 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.  

No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


what %r &udents are saying...

JACOB SAYS: “Going to Ellerslie was a life-changing experience for me. Ellerslie is where men are men, women are women, and God is everything! And when it’s all over and you come home, you will hunger and thirst like never before after your Savior!” SHALEA SAYS: “He has vastly expanded my view of Him, and whereas one foot had been on sand, He has set both of my feet firmly upon the rock of the Gospel. I have been set free by the truth of all that He accomplished on the cross, learning how to take hold of His great and precious promises. This has been a season of consecration, giving up my life for His, allowing Him to have His rightful place of authority over every part of my existence.”

NIK SAYS: “Being here for this season of my life has radically changed me. Wimpy Christianity has no room here. God is in the midst of this place. However, this isn't an experience that, like the “summer camp high”, fades into oblivion once we return to the "real Copyright world." 2010 Ellerslie Thehas Church FAR at exceeded Ellerslie.my Allexpectations. rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


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36


a Heaven-born

Love

setapartgirl talks with our very own Tessa Hershberger and her fiancĂŠ Nick Thompson

q&a

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q&a

QUESTION: You recently became engaged. Can you tell us a little bit about how God brought you together?

NICK: It all started with a pair of big, green headphones. You see, Tessa has a neurological condition called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), which resulted in gradual hearing loss beginning in her teenage years, until she went completely deaf about five years ago. Another side effect of this condition is tinnitus, which is a continual and often intense ringing in the ears. During Tessa’s first semester of Ellerslie Training in the summer of 2010, before we even knew each other, God put it on the hearts of the students in her class to intercede for her healing. The men purchased a pair of noise-canceling headphones, which they had designed in such a way so that the person wearing them became deaf, and also had the ceaseless ringing of tinnitus. Each day a different student wore them and prayed specifically for the restoration of Tessa’s hearing. I came to Ellerslie in the Fall of 2010, and the students in my class continued to take turns wearing the headphones. When I wore them for one day that semester, I had no idea how much they would radically alter my life in the coming months. That whole semester we barely knew each other and only had one brief conversation the day I had the headphones on. Fast forward to the next semester, when we were both Advanced students. In this season, God called me to give myself fully in the prayer closet. Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


While seeking the Lord there, I felt strongly that God was telling me to put the headphones on for an undefined period of time and go to battle for Tessa’s healing. February 28, 2011 marked the beginning of seven and a half months of daily wearing the headphones and wrestling in prayer for Tessa’s healing. The next 222 days of walking in Tessa’s shoes were quite the adventure, and God used those months to stretch, challenge, and build me in a way that I had never experienced before. During this time, a casual acquaintance between the two of us began to progress into a simple friendship. Our interaction was limited mostly to meetings with Ellerslie staff regarding the biblical truths about physical healing. We did also have brief conversations here and there, but our friendship did not extend beyond a spiritual level. Though the headphones became a very meaningful part of our lives, the friendship that grew out of them remained guarded, and we did not jump to the conclusion that God was doing anything beyond that.

God faithfully made His will clear to Tessa as well, and a beautiful relationship was born... But He was. I realized that I was having feelings for Tessa that went beyond friendship, and after completely giving it to God and waiting upon Him, God pressed me to move forward in pursuing her heart. Before I wrote her a letter sharing my feelings, I went to the godly authorities in my life as well as her father and received their blessings to move forward. God faithfully made His will clear to Tessa as well, and a beautiful relationship was born in which He continued to be our most perfect Guide. On February 2, 2012, I got down on one knee and asked Tessa to marry me, to which she most joyfully said, “Yes!”

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


QUESTION: How did you respond when you began to realize that you had feelings for the other person that went beyond friendship?

NICK: When I first realized I was beginning to have romantic feelings toward Tessa, I actually completely denied them. I knew if I was to enter into a relationship with a girl it would be with the intention of a future marriage, not simply to casually date. And I was rather convinced that God was calling me to a life of singleness, so marriage seemed out of the question. Therefore, when these feelings began to arise my first thought was, “There is no way these are from God!” I continued denying them for months, giving them no place in my heart or mind. But the more I got to know Tessa, the more intensely the feelings began to grow. As our friendship developed, I began to see Christ magnified through her life in a way I had never beheld in another before. She was constantly pressing me into Jesus through her words and actions. I saw in Tessa, a woman completely sold out and given to Christ. And it was so exceedingly attractive! It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I could not get away from my ever-growing feelings toward her, so after months of stubborn denial, I began to seriously pray for God to make His will known regarding this beautiful woman of God. I spent many weeks praying and crying out to God for wisdom and discernment. I was very careful not to be hasty in moving forward but to patiently wait upon the Lord until His perfect will was made clear. Every day I would lay my feelings, hopes, dreams, and desires of a future with Tessa upon His altar in utter surrender. I knew my God was the great Author of romance and that He alone could script a heavenly love story. So I entrusted it all to Him not knowing whether He would for me and Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


Tessa or not, but knowing that “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him” (Jim Elliot).

TESSA: Throughout those seven and a half months, I quietly observed Nick’s life, and how he so joyfully carried the difficult cross the Lord had given him. He walked it out in such a way that showcased the abundant, daily grace of God upon a life completely yielded and obedient to the Spirit. And as I witnessed this, I was attracted to such a radical abandon to God, and found myself with a growing desire to talk to Nick or be around him. As these feelings began to more clearly surface a few months after Nick had first put the headphones on, I knew I needed to bring them before the Lord, rather than taking the situation into my own hands and trying to figure out what to do with them myself, or allowing them to become a growing distraction in my life. I asked the Lord for much wisdom and discernment, because I didn’t know if the feelings were coming from Him, my flesh, or simply a deeply personal connection with the headphones.

...It was not my place to initiate anything, and my job was to simply go on pursuing more of Christ. I remember one night in particular, when I was praying about what was going on in my heart toward Nick. Up to that point, this battle for healing had been marked by the beauty and purity of heaven, and I desperately desired for it to remain unstained by any human fingerprints. As I prayed that God would mightily enable me to leave all things in His hands, a light bulb went off in my head: I had absolutely no idea of Nick’s feelings. For all I knew, he was called to a life of singleness and had not the slightest interest in a relationship with me. This was actually comforting, because it

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


gave me every reason to go on assuming nothing. And even if God did desire to bring us together, I knew that, as the woman, it was not my place to initiate anything, and my job was to simply go on pursuing more of Christ. I trusted that if it was in God’s perfect will to script such a story, He would lead Nick in that direction as well.

QUESTION: How did God make it clear that you were supposed to move forward with entering into a relationship?

NICK: It is hard to describe exactly how it happened. God did not speak to me in a loud, booming voice saying, “Thou shall marry Tessa.” But after patiently waiting upon Him for much time in true and total surrender, God made it abundantly clear to me that I was to begin moving forward in pursuing and winning this lovely young lady’s heart. Even though I had great confidence it was God’s will for Tessa and I to be together, I told her nothing about it. I knew that I needed to receive the blessing of three godly authorities whom God had placed in my life and her father before I could ever share my heart with her. I first talked to a very good friend and mentor named Nathan. He said that before Tessa and I had even known each other, he had often thought of us being together because he had observed both of our lives and it just made perfect sense to him. Our conversation together was such a confirmation that it was indeed the will of God for me to move forward. I continued to wait upon the Lord and yield myself to Him and about a week later I talked to Sandi, the Dean of Women at Ellerslie and my Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


Love

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43


second mom. But our meeting got interrupted and I was only able to briefly share what I felt God was doing and did not give her any specifics. That night she wrote me an email, part of which said, “I have actually thought and prayed for you with a particular concern for this part of your life. And the prayers haven't been nameless. There is a young lady that has come to mind in relation to you…It is Tessa. Now, I don't know if this is the young lady that you have upon your heart, but if so, it seems this would be a significant affirmation that you may be headed in the right direction.” I read this email and was altogether blown away by how God was going out of His way to make it clear to me that it was indeed His will for Tessa and I to be together. With an ever-growing confidence, I prayed and sought the Lord for another two weeks. Then I had a meeting with Eric Ludy and after I shared my heart, he said, “I’m very excited. For some reason it is not a shock to me. It’s hard to explain but probably around five months ago or so, I just knew that this was something that God was doing.” It had been exactly five months since I had begun having feelings toward Tessa, and it was yet another great confirmation from the Lord. I asked all three of them if they thought I was ready for marriage and they all gave me their blessings to move forward. And so I wrote her father a letter asking his blessing to pursue and win his daughter’s heart. And about two weeks later I received a response giving me his permission to do so which led me to write Tessa the first letter.

TESSA: After I received that first letter from Nick initiating a serious relationship, I wrote him a reply telling him I would take some time to pray fervently about it. He had shown me much honor by making it clear in his letter that I could take as long as I needed to seek the Lord’s will in this. I

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


believe that when God writes love stories, He brings two people together for the purpose of a future marriage, and not simply to “date” for an undefined length of time. Thus, although I felt no check in my spirit that would cause me to question God’s hand in the situation, I knew the great weight of the decision I was making, and that I needed to be one hundred percent certain of the Lord’s will before giving Nick an answer.

...I knew the great weight of the decision I was making, and that I needed to be one hundred percent certain of the Lord’s will before giving Nick an answer. In the few days that followed, God showed me two distinct truths about Nick. Firstly, I could say with all honesty that I did not know any other young man who was more given to the Lord than Nick. He had laid aside his own comfort and agenda for a very narrow road of loneliness and extreme physical discomfort. He did not care if he looked like a fool - his one desire was to unashamedly and implicitly obey God, no matter what the cost. And on the days when it was incredibly tempting to throw those headphones off and give up, he rose up in the strength of God and walked forward in unchanging conviction of what the Lord had asked him to do, and unwavering faith that God would come and show Himself as Almighty Healer. Secondly, I could say with sincerity that Nick’s life had only made me desire to know God more, and pursue Him with greater intensity. The fact that I could say these things about Nick was very significant to me, and as the Lord coupled these realizations with His continued peace and much support from the godly authorities in our lives, I came to a restful conclusion that God was indeed scripting this most beautiful story between us! Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


I am to live a life of sacrificial love and pour myself out for my soonto-be-bride just as Christ serves His bride, the Church.

copyright 2010 The Church at Ellerslie, all rights reserved

46


QUESTION: How has God directed you to live out your biblical role as the man in the relationship?

NICK: Being the man in a God-scripted romance is no small task. And when God began to beckon me forward to pursue Tessa, I felt the full weight, seriousness, and honor of such a responsibility. As the man in the relationship I have many roles, which include: Initiator – From the very beginning of our relationship I have been the initiator. When I wrote Tessa that first letter sharing my heart with her, I had no idea if she had any feelings toward me at all. But I did not just wait around for her to throw some hint at me that she did. I knew girls like Tessa would never do such a thing and I loved that! She was waiting and guarding her heart for a true man of God who was strong enough to be vulnerable. I initiated the beginning of our relationship and I have continued to fulfill this role throughout our romance. Protector – My biblical role as a man is to lay down my life for my future bride, to protect and uphold her spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I am called to constantly stand for her in prayer, lifting up ceaseless intercession before the throne of God on her behalf. I am also to be very guarded in the things I say and do to protect her emotions. I did not tell Tessa that I loved her until that most beautiful moment when I got down on one knee to propose. I am very careful not to put her in vulnerable situations, which means not spending time together completely alone and not having any physical contact until we are married. I also am the one who is to stand and fight for her if someone was ever seeking to harm her physically.

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


Provider – Though we are not yet married, I am still called to begin taking up my role as provider both financially and spiritually. When Tessa and I get coffee or dinner together, I am the one who pays, without exception. And when we meet, I seek not only to give her physical bread but spiritual as well. Though we both encourage and press each other into the Word of God and the God of the Word, it is my responsibility to encourage her onward in her pursuit of Christ and to wash her in the truths of Scripture (Ephesians 5:25-27). Servant – In everything, I am called to serve Tessa. I am to live a life of sacrificial love and pour myself out for my soon-to-be-bride just as Christ serves His bride, the Church. I am constantly seeking little opportunities in which I can wash her feet and show her how much she is loved and cherished.

QUESTION: How has God directed you to live out your biblical role as the woman in the relationship?

TESSA: One of the greatest blessings in this relationship has been the way Nick so eagerly and prayerfully walks out his biblical role as the man. In doing so, he makes it clear that my femininity is cherished, and thus it becomes my increasing desire and joy to walk out my God-designed role while carefully honoring his. I know there is still much the Lord must teach me in this area, and I will be learning how to walk out biblical femininity for the rest of my life, but He has been such a faithful Guide thus far!

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


Probably the biggest way the He has directed me in walking out my biblical role is showing me how to let Nick be the one to lead and initiate. Before our relationship began, this meant allowing him to be the first one to share his feelings, and not dropping little hints here and there that I was interested in more than friendship. Since then, God has shown me other specific ways I can honor this God-given responsibility of the man. For example, at different stages of our relationships, there have been certain delicate subjects I wanted to discuss, such as the practicals of how our relationship should be walked out and what his thoughts were regarding God’s timing for engagement. However, the Lord directed me to let Nick be the one to bring up such topics, and I am so glad I followed His leading in that, because it gave me an even greater appreciation for Nick’s willingness to “be the man.” The Bible makes it clear that the man is to not only lead practically, but spiritually as well; and as the woman I am to humbly and gladly submit to that. This does not mean I can’t ask Nick how I can be praying for him, Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


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50


tell him what God is teaching me, or give him an encouraging Scripture or quote. However, there is a gentle and quiet-hearted way in which I can approach these things without making him feel as though I was looking down on him, trying to teach him, or manipulating him into meeting my expectations of what his spiritual leadership should look like.

QUESTION: What would you say to someone who is interested in allowing God to write their love story?

NICK: Our God is the Creator and Author of true romance. And He is worthy of all of your trust. The Psalmist says, “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). God’s ways are flawless! And if you will place your full confidence in Him and allow Him to define this area of your life, He will display His infinite excellency and perfection in it. I look at my and Tessa’s relationship, and I can honestly say that I don’t know how it could be any more perfect. It is not because we are free of imperfections, but because God is absolutely faultless and our lives and our relationship are radically abandoned to Him.

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


The verses which God has constantly hallmarked for us are Ephesians 3:20-21. They say, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory…” God has demonstrated time and time again, not only in our relationship but in our everyday lives, that He is the One who always does “exceeding abundantly” beyond anything we could ask or imagine. And if you will surrender this area and every area of your life to Him and relinquish all your hopes and dreams, He will be faithful to show that aspect of Himself to you, whether it’s His will to script an earthly romance in your life or not. To have a true, God-written love story, everything of self must go to the cross. The basis of a heavenly romance is the glory of God. It must be all about making much of Him! It is not about you, nor about the sweet bliss found between two lovers (though it is quite blissful!) - it is about exalting the risen Christ! And ironically when we are bringing Him the greatest glory, we are most greatly satisfied, for we were created to magnify Him.

TESSA: God does not require your help, but He does require your obedience. Almost two years ago, in July of 2010, I was nearing the end of my first semester at Ellerslie, and praying about whether or not God wanted me to stay for the Advanced program. While I did love the idea of continued training at such a wonderful place, it didn’t seem like the right time to come back right away. My sister’s family had just moved to Ohio (my home state) from Missouri, and I was finally going to experience the joy of living close to my adorable nieces and nephew. I also had a good job to go back to. My thought was, I’ll just go back to Ohio, get my Christmas bonus from work, enjoy time with my family, and then consider coming back to Ellerslie at a later time. However, God made it quite clear to me that I was not to delay in returning; though it did not make sense to me at Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


the time, I obeyed. After his first semester of Ellerslie that next fall, Nick also did not plan to stay. But he chose to follow God’s voice, which led him into the prayer closet, and eventually into a pair of very uncomfortable headphones.

...He is the One who always does “exceedingly abundantly” beyond all that we could ask or imagine. Susannah Spurgeon said, “It is mercy that our lives are not left for us to plan, but that our Father chooses for us; else might we sometimes turn away from our best blessings, and put from us the choicest loveliest gifts of His providence.” How true this is! When God is the Author, the stories of our lives are filled with these “choicest loveliest gifts,” that only His brilliance and sovereignty could design. As I look back upon this past year, I see that this story did not come about because we “helped” God by suggesting our ideas about how the story ought to look, but rather because of obedience. If neither of us had obeyed what the Lord was telling us to do, and had instead gone on planning our own courses, we would have missed out on this most precious gift the Father had chosen to give us!

*

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


take it deeper

When God Writes Your Love Story Order Now!!

When God Writes Your Love Story has provided the foundation for a whole new way of thinking about relationships for today’s younger generation. Rather than promoting a love story formed after the pattern of this world (with a few Christian morals tacked on for good measure), this book introduces readers to a far superior way of building a love story - God’s way. God doesn’t need to imitate the world’s way of constructing a relationship; He has His very own perfect, amazing, beautiful way of writing a love story, and it is far more fulfilling and romantic than anything Hollywood could ever concoct. Eric and I believe that the foundation for an amazing, lifelong love story begins even before you meet your future spouse, by allowing the Author of romance to script every chapter and show you how to love like He loves. Rather than chasing after temporary relationships, this book challenges readers to give the “pen” to God and allow Him to script their love story in His own perfect time and way.

allow God to script your love stor 54


setapartdevotionals

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Giving Our Best Hours to Him Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2 God has entrusted us with the precious gift of time. Twenty-four hours in every day; seven days in a week; every day significant, every hour important, every moment of value to God. Yet how many of those moments are truly being used for His glory? If we are honest, many of us would have to admit that though we profess Jesus Christ to be our highest priority, our lives proclaim something quite different. A Christian young woman recently confessed to me, “I spend more time on Facebook than I do in prayer or studying the Word of God.” That’s the sad reality most of us are living in. It’s easy to think of our time, especially our free time, as belonging to us; that it’s our right to do whatever we feel like doing in those “down” moments of the day. But when we come to Christ, we are to lay everything at His feet - including our time... Click here to sign up and read the rest of this devotional.

55


Q&A

with Leslie 56


Q&A

Q: A:

Do you think it’s okay for me to listen to my feelings and desires? How do I know if my desires are God’s desires?

As American Christian women, we hear lots of messages today about the importance of our hearts – messages that put great emphasis upon our feelings, our needs, our uniqueness, and our desires. We are often led to believe that it’s okay for us to build everything around our emotions and our wants. “Your heart is good,” is the message of one popular Christian book. “By living out your desires and dreams, you bring glory to your Creator.” But are our hearts really good? Should our own feelings and dreams and desires and emotions be nurtured and coddled the way American Christianity prescribes? I believe that our emotions and desires certainly can be instruments of God to help direct our lives, but only when they are fully yielded to Him. Most of us never truly die to self – we never really walk through the painful process of laying every hope, dream, and wish of our hearts upon the altar before our King, [or of] letting our identity become swallowed up in Him. And as a result, our emotions, personalities, and desires quickly take over and control us, hollering and bellowing and clamoring for us to build our lives around them. So we start dating worldly guys because we are following our heart’s desire for 57


Q&A

companionship. We start flirting with available men Emotions must because we are controlled become subservient to by the emotional need for earthly romance. We begin the Spirit of God... dressing seductively because of our inward longing to be found beautiful by a guy. And we forsake a life of total abandonment and service to Christ for a comfortable life of pleasure because our feelings and desires are telling us it’s the only way to be happy. Emotions must become subservient to the Spirit of God – to His will, His agenda, His purpose, and His direction. The vast majority of us have become enslaved to our own feelings rather than bondservants of Jesus Christ. We should never make decisions based upon what we feel like doing – but on what our Lord is asking of us. Loving Him is first an act of the will, a choice to put Him first – no matter what our feelings tell us. Once we learn to love Him with our will, our emotions and feelings naturally follow suit, and it becomes our greatest delight to give our lives wholly to Him. As the Psalmist said, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8 KJV).

) 58


May 25-27, 2012 ! s u n Joi

setapartgirl

annual conference

Windsor, Colorado OR Host a Live Simulcast in your area!

VIEW the online brochure and conference video!

Lily Among Thorns

womanhood that changes the world 59


abiding in Him

abounding in love

By Amy Meyers

60


I met a boy. He was four years old, autistic, malnourished, uneducated - and absolutely, overwhelmingly precious. Mere moments after saying hello to him, something strange took place in my heart. He took a piece of it before I even realized what was happening. I can only explain it in terms of Jesus Christ. He is the One who gave me compassion for that little one, eyes to see beyond his inability to speak more than one word, and a deep, anythingbut-human love for a child I knew almost nothing about. This boy belongs to God. But my King, in His sweet, gentle way has asked me to love him, to be the only picture of Jesus this boy may ever see. But the love He desires to pour out on this little life through mine is nothing short

of Calvary love - a love that stops at nothing; a love that gives all. Scripture is filled with verses telling us that we are to love one another as we have been loved by Christ. Except for loving God, this is the most important aspect of the Christian life - we must love others. As I pondered that undeniable command, I asked myself, How did He love us? "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us..." (1 John 3:16). He didn't just give us money or supply the practical things we lacked. Rather, Jesus Christ did nothing less than give absolutely everything, down to His very last breath, because He so loved. But could He truly be asking us to do the same for others? 61


"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:12-13). "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (Eph. 5:2).

...all those who call themselves Christians are commanded to love as He loved.

Loving others in this way is not optional or just for a select few who have a "special calling" on their lives, but all those who call themselves Christians are commanded to love as He loved. When we truly comprehend God's definition of love, we can say without hesitation that it would be absolutely impossible for us to imitate such perfection on our own. N o t h i n g s h o r t o f s a c r i fi c i a l , unconditional, give-all-you-have love will satisfy this mandate, and we have nothing in ourselves except limited human love which is rendered ineffectual by our self-seeking nature. But He is not asking us to muster up something we could never produce. Jesus already possesses more than enough love to fill every heart on this


earth, and He is looking for men and sweet presence every moment of the women who will allow Him to love d a y a n d b a s k i n g i n u n b r o k e n through their yielded lives. fellowship with Him that we are readied to freely give all He deposits within us.

...He will fill me, lead me, and teach me how to do the impossible - love as Christ.

Andrew Murray once said, "May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God's presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love." Such a desire is the secret to imitating the unconditional love of our Savior - remaining continually in the light of His countenance. For it is there, in His glorious presence, that we find the unending storehouses of His limitless love and are free to feast upon it without reserve. But our indulgence in His sweet delights is not merely for our own satisfaction. Rather, we are filled in order that we might lavish His perfections on those He brings across our paths. It is only by abiding in His

Jesus said His disciples would be marked by a peculiar love that would set them apart and make it clear who they belonged to (see John 13:35). That same love ought to mark each of us who call ourselves followers of Christ. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" (1 John 3:14). We are still in darkness if we do not have this love flowing out of our lives. But if we have truly been changed by His almighty grace, this boundless love will be an outward manifestation of the inward transforming work He has done. The disciples spent time with Jesus, they lived daily life by His side, and that is how they gained such love for others. The same is true for us. If we walk with Him - remaining in His presence, returning to thoughts of Him often, and rejoicing in His moment-by-moment care and guidance - the same indescribable love that marked the first followers of Christ will be evident in our lives as well.


This incredible LOVE compels me... I met a boy. It was unexpected, unplanned, unintentional - and absolutely, overwhelmingly priceless. T h ro u g h t h a t m e e t i n g a n d t h e subsequent grip of God on my heart, I have been learning to love. For now, my love is shown in small ways - a hug, an arm around the shoulders, a simple school lesson, a word of affirmation - but I cannot even begin to imagine what the future may hold. The way I have been asked to love this little one might not be the way I am called to love others down the road. But one thing I know for certain is that the secret to loving others with His love today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life is to simply yield myself without reserve as a channel of His marvelous love. And as I hide myself in Him, purpose to abide in Him continually, and heed His voice telling me how and when, He will fill me, lead me, and teach me how to do the impossible - love as Christ. This incredible love compels me to give all that I am, knowing that as I remain in the One who is love, the supply will only increase in my life and in the lives of those He gives me to love.

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take it deeper

Order Now!

Set Apart Femininity This is a powerful, candid, conversational book in which I pass on a compelling vision for femininity that can forever alter your existence and take you far beyond the unfulfilling trends of modern culture. This book is not the same old mediocre message you’ve always heard. It’s a radical call to a counter-culture lifestyle in which every aspect of your femininity – from the way you relate with guys to the focus and direction of your life – is shaped by an intimate relationship with the King of kings. It’s the kind of heroic femininity that the world-changing women of history understood. And it’s well within your grasp, no matter where you’ve been.

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Unlocking God’s sacred call upon your life Understanding God’s pattern for true feminine beauty Captivating the heart of a Christ-like guy Aligning your daily existence with God’s priorities Finding real fulfillment by living a poured-out life

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


An Intentional Vacation How to Have a Summer Without Regrets by Tessa Hershberger and Amy Meyers with the setapartgirl team Copyright 2011 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


By the time spring break is over and May arrives at last, visions of

ice cream dinners, poolside lounge chairs, and lazy mornings in bed begin to dance around in our tired minds overloaded with to do lists and meeting notes. As our thoughts drift toward summer, it is easy to automatically adopt the worldly mind-set that the next three months are a chance to finally relax and enjoy lots of quality time doing nothing. However, as daughters of a heavenly kingdom, we must embrace an altogether different outlook.

Copyright 2011 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


While the world is chasing after selfish pleasures, hollow entertainment, and fleshly indulgence, we are called in 1 Peter to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The enemy of our souls does not go on summer vacation. He does not sit back and take a break from his deadly hunt for weak and distracted souls who are completely oblivious to his whereabouts. In the same way, we do not take a “vacation” from Christianity when the last bell rings and school is out for the summer. There is never a time when we are allowed to “unplug,” disconnecting from constant communion with the Lord and letting ourselves go mindless for a few hours. If we go along with the world’s pattern of making pleasure and ease a top priority, it only results in an increasingly dull spiritual sense in which we are neither in tune with God’s agenda, nor seeking Him with a fervent and single heart.

a summer surrendered to the Lord becomes a grand opportunity for much spiritual growth and strengthening. Rather than twelve weeks of “me time,” a summer surrendered to the Lord becomes a grand opportunity for much spiritual growth and strengthening. Furthermore, it will be a powerful testimony to those around us of Christ’s transforming work in both the inward and outward lives of one who has chosen to follow in His steps.

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We asked the other members of the setapartgirl team to share their thoughts on how to purposefully spend the summer months in such a way that we can look back on them with a pure heart before the Lord, knowing He was our sole pursuit.

A Consistent Summer Maintaining a daily routine that honors Christ

Amelia says… For many of us, vacation has been a time to sleep in every day, eat whatever we want, and do whatever sounds like fun. But if we have given our lives to Christ, every aspect of our lives belongs to Him. Even during a break from school, we must choose to put God first. Such a decision will mean getting enough sleep in order to have time in the morning with Him, as well as not eating a large amount of unhealthy foods, remembering that our bodies are not our own. Our focus is not to be primarily on our outward appearances but on Christ; however, taking care of our bodies physically is taking care of His body, which Paul says is the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19). Keeping a consistent daily routine in eating, sleeping, and exercise is a discipline that needs to be maintained - even in the summer. We tend to think that these practical aspects of daily life are not as important, but if we let our guard down in these smaller areas, our spiritual lives will suffer as well. We need to be ready and equipped to serve God in whatever way He asks, and not be found taking a break from what He has called us to. No matter the season, may He be our focus as we strive to follow after Him in all things! “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).


Copyright 2011 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


A Socially-Wise Summer Seeking out edifying fellowship beyond your peers

Lauren says‌ When summer arrives with a flurry of invitations to fun picnics and parties, we girls have a natural tendency to gravitate toward the company of those our own age. While spending time with godly peers is certainly a blessing to be enjoyed without shame, it is also wise to seek out the friendship and fellowship of those both younger and older than us. I have found that this is something I need to be mindful of as I head out to group gatherings. Though I love to sit and talk with friends, I do not want to simply be wasting precious time with them on frivolous banter. There is a time and place for catching up on the fun, everyday details of life, but be watchful to not let insignificant chatter rule your conversations. In addition, be purposeful to interact with more than just the friends you are comfortable with. As you engage in the steady wisdom of your elders and the joyful company of little ones, you will reap the sweet blessings of new and growing friendships.


A Given Summer Spending your moments to further God’s kingdom

Mandy says… As the sun grins with glee, birds chirp with cheer, and sprinklers spritz with zeal, I can’t help but enjoy each moment of sweet, sweet summertime! A few years ago, I would dutifully plant myself poolside hour upon hour, roasting in the hot sun until I had enthusiastically achieved redness the color of rhubarb. Summers came and went, leaving me to discover the seemingly spiritual justification used to lavish time upon my own summer ideals. Whether we excuse having friends over constantly under the banner of “fellowship,” or pardon divulging in a booklist labeled as “uplifting,” the wellspring of our motives must be evaluated. Are our summertime activities the outflow of a life centered upon Jesus Christ and His priorities? Or are they contrived of our own self-interests? Spending the summer months in a worthy manner is easily achievable and does not necessarily mean radical elimination of pool-time. Turning outward is simply the Christ-driven, purposeful act of shifting our gaze from ourselves to those around us. Perhaps it is meeting the unspoken, yet obvious needs around your family’s home. Or maybe it is fetching the neighbor’s newspaper and engaging them in a life-giving conversation. As we walk with Jesus dayby-day, seeking to attune our hearts to His and set our feet to His path, we begin to clearly see the opportunities for extending His arms of love to those around us. How sweet this summer will be as we exchange countless hours frivolously spent upon ourselves for a season well-spent in love unto the Worthy One!


Madison says… God gives us seasons in our lives; some are fast and full of things that need to be accomplished, while some are quieter, with more time to rest and be rejuvenated. Summer can lend itself to a general laziness without the busy schedules and schoolwork deadlines, and we can easily allow the hours to pass away. And there are several distractions that seem to become more appealing on those summer days when we have nothing planned, such as movies, TV, books, and sleeping in. As children of God, we are to study God’s Word and show ourselves approved (see 2 Tim. 2:15); use these months to dig in to the word of God and learn more about our great King. Psalm 1:2 says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” This man is called blessed! In this summer season, take advantage of your emptier schedule and seek first the Lord and His kingdom!


An Uncompromised Summer Unwavering in media standards

Marlene says… Interrupt your sleep for prayer on behalf of those interrogated during the night. Renounce an hour of television for those who for years have been in solitary confinement in underground cells and see nothing. Try to be silent for one day in order to empathize with the solitary, who cannot speak to anyone for years. Sacrifice your complaining and grumbling for one day. These are not my ideas for spending my much-longed-for summer holidays they are Richard Wurmbrand’s. But they intrigue me. It is as if he is talking about a higher way than the one I’m used to. How well I know the struggle against television, movies, magazines, radio, and novels, but there is something more in his “fight.” He makes the battle appear as though we are not wrestling against something, but fighting for something. And as I was pondering this, I remembered Paul’s words to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith…” (1 Tim. 6:12). Isn’t this what we should be doing? Not fighting against the bad, but instead fighting for the good! Not just saying, “No” to some things, but in the same breath saying, “Yes” to the best things! Dear sisters, let’s wage the good fight this summer! Let’s learn from Pastor Wurmbrand, who has been through it all: interrogation at night, solitary confinement, and not speaking to anyone for years. Let’s forget the world and its lusts, and remember the things above. Let’s switch ourselves off, and in


the same action press the power button of the real war: the battle of the Lord, for His kingdom to come and His will to be done. Let’s follow our Mighty Savior, and march onward with the song of commitment on our lips: I have decided to follow Jesus no turning back, no turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me no turning back, no turning back, Though none go with me, still I will follow no turning back, no turning back. “What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts.� - Amy Carmichael

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to tasteful

from trashy


elegant alternatives to today’s sensual styles by Leslie Ludy

l

ast year I went to the mall hoping to find a couple of summer tops. After visiting ten stores and trying on countless possibilities, I walked away empty-handed. Much to my frustration, the only shirts available were tight, low-cut and seethrough – and unless I wanted to shop in the grandma section, there seemed to be no modest options. As fashion trends become more and more sensual, most Christian girls feel they have no choice but to comply with culture. Dressing modestly (and fashionably) these days is an art form. Most of us aren’t willing to go to the effort it

takes to overcome the challenges and dress with grace, mystique, and dignity. Add to that our desire to be found appealing to the opposite sex, and we end up with dismally low standards for the way we dress. We know that we’ll get more attention from guys in formfitting tops, tight pants, and short skirts. And it’s all too tempting to rationalize immodesty by saying, “at least this outfit isn’t as bad as a lot of things I could wear.” We think that as long as we aren’t going topless on the beach, we have an element of modesty. But what is God’s standard?


“...I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly...” 1 Tim. 2:9 NASB The word modestly here literally means “with shame and bashfulness.” In other words, not shamelessly flaunting our bodies, but exuding a sense of careful dignity and guardedness even in the way we dress. The word discreetly means “to keep hidden”. Our body is for the enjoyment of one man alone – our husband. God asks us not to give other men the privilege of viewing what belongs only to the man we will spend the rest of our lives with.

It is easy to assume that true modesty means drab, shapeless, unfeminine clothes that make us extremely unattractive. But God’s pattern does not bring oppression and ugliness – it brings liberty and beauty. Contrary to popular belief, feminine beauty does not have to mean sensuality. It is more than possible to exude the kind of dignity, grace, and true feminine beauty that will captivate a man’s heart – without using sex appeal to do it. In this article, I would like to look at some of the current fashion trends and explore practical ways to transform the modern wardrobe from trashy to tasteful.

1. STRAPLESS TOPS When dressing up for a special occasion, or simply trying to beat the summer heat, it can be tempting to justify going strapless (or wearing spaghetti-straps, which provide no extra coverage) because the vast majority of summery dresses are cut in this style, as are many cute summer


tops. But the strapless style, in my opinion, reveals an inappropriate amount of skin and, in all honesty, makes a woman look as if she is only half dressed. It draws attention to the chest and pulls the eyes downward to the sensual areas of the body, rather than upward to the woman’s face and smile. Strapless styles present a major stumbling block to a man’s mental purity and a serious detriment to a woman’s feminine dignity.

tasteful alternatives: A Layer of Elegance

A cropped, short-sleeved or ¾ sleeved cardigan layered over a strapless top or dress provides much-needed coverage and can instantly change this look from seductive to elegant. An added


bonus: if you have a variety of cardigans in different styles and colors, you can get two or three different looks out of one strapless top or dress. Watch Out For: Too-Loose Strapless Tops While it’s good to steer clear of super-tight tops, if you choose to layer a strapless style with a cardigan, make sure the top fits securely enough so that you can move around without exposing yourself. Strapless tops that fit too loosely tend to gap open and reveal way too much when you lean forward. Also, a good rule of thumb for keeping your tops tasteful and feminine rather than flirty and sensual is to make sure they rest no more than about the width of three fingers below the collar bone.

saw a guy walking around in a skintight bodysuit, it is no less distracting when a girl does the very same thing by wearing leggings as pants. Leggings might cover skin, but they fit so tightly that they leave very little to the imagination. And because of their vivid colors, leggings also tend to draw visual attention to a woman’s legs – which can be a major stumbling 2.. SKIN-TIGHT block for most men. The trend of LEGGINGS wearing leggings as pants makes a w o m a n l o o k l i k e s h e f o rg o t Just as most of us would be a bit something important…like the rest repulsed and/or distracted if we of her outfit.


tasteful alternatives: Um…Don’t Forget the Skirt!

Simply put, tight leggings should be used as a layering piece, not as an alternative to pants or a skirt. Additionally, wearing leggings under short shorts or short skirts accomplishes nothing other than to draw extra attention to a girl’s thighs. Wearing leggings under a tasteful, feminine skirt however, is a great way to add warmth and a little extra coverage for those moments when you are bending, lifting, or getting in a out of a car. It’s also a nice bit of extra protection on windy days! Watch Out For: Showing Too Much Leg Do not try to go with a shorterthan-appropriate skirt just because you are layering leggings underneath. Short skirts and leggings look seductive, not tasteful. Tealength skirts layered over leggings that hit mid-calf can be an elegant

and graceful look. But above-theknee skirts with tight leggings only look like you are trying to draw attention to your legs.

3. SKIMPY SWIMSUITS Walking around in modern swimwear is basically like walking around in your under-wear. And while most of us would not walk through the mall or go to the bus station in nothing more than a bra and panties, we think nothing of walking the beach in such a skimpy


e n s e m b l e . We a s s u m e t h a t because something is called a “swimsuit” that means it’s different than what comes out of our u n d e r w e a r d r a w e r e v e r y d a y, notwithstanding the fact that it leaves the same amount of skin exposed. Most of us think that modesty guidelines automatically “loosen up” when it comes to swimming, because it just seems unreasonable to cut out swimming altogether and it is impractical to swim in jeans and a tee shirt. But if we are seeking to dress with dignity in every other area of our life, we must adopt higher standards than the barely-there swimwear of our day.

tasteful alternatives: Athletic/Surfer Swim Gear

Most companies that sell women’s triathlon clothes carry tops and shorts that are made to go in the water, but are far more modest than traditional swimwear. In

addition, there are lots of stores and websites that sell rash-guardstyle swim shirts and longer-length board shorts geared for surfers. Last summer, I found a feminine, high-cut, loose-fitting swim top and paired it with longer-length board shorts. Though I was far more “covered” than anyone else at the pool, I consistently got compliments on this ensemble. With a little persistent hunting, modestyet-stylish swimwear options can be found! Watch Out For: Form-Fitting Swim Tops Some athletic-style swim tops might be higher cut, but still too tight. www.rashguardshirtco.com sells a looser-fit style swim shirt for w o m e n , a n d s o m e w o m e n ’s clothing lines are beginning to carry vintage style swim tops that are looser and higher cut than modern ones. Keep in mind that it can sometimes be smart to layer a snug-fitting water-proof “sports bra” underneath a looser-fitting swim top, depending on the style.


4. SHORT SHORTS (and short skirts) Ever since God began to show me His pattern for true purity, I have lived by the rule of thumb that the sensual areas of my body should be kept hidden for my husband alone. For example, if someone touches me on the elbow, there is not anything sensual about it. In fact, often at weddings or fancy restaurants, an usher or waiter will take me by the arm and lead me to my seat. Eric has no reason to be concerned about this kind of interaction, because there’s nothing sexual about it. But if a guy came

up and touched me on the thigh, it’s a completely different story. Eric would have every reason to be jealous, angry, and hurt, because touching someone on the thigh is definitely associated with sensuality. This is why I don’t wear short shorts or short skirts. I do not want to expose or exploit areas of my body that are meant for my husband’s eyes alone. Even before you meet your future husband, you can honor his position in your life by keeping the sensual areas of your body off limits from other men’s eyes. In order to accomplish this, however, it means that short shorts and short skirts do not belong in your wardrobe!


unique. Another option is to layer “pencil-pants” (not tight leggings!) underneath a shorter skirt or dress. This look is both elegant and feminine – allowing you to enjoy the cute style of the skirt or dress and still maintain dignity. As for short shorts – the only tasteful alternative for these, in my opinion, would be to clean them out of your closet! If you love wearing shorts in the summer, remember that there are now lots of longer-length options that are both stylish and modest. Watch Out For: See-Through Skirts

tasteful alternatives: Tailor It Longer

If you find a great feminine skirt that is a little too short, consider having a seamstress add a layer of coordinating fabric to the bottom edge. This can add a bit of length and also a fun splash of color and style – making your skirt even more

If you are going to add a layer of fabric to the bottom of a lightweight skirt, consider having your seamstress put a lining in the skirt as well. All too many skirts look fine in a dimly-lit dressing room, but out in the bright sunlight they can be just a little too translucent, which of course defeats the purpose of a longer skirt! A sewnin liner makes the skirt more modest and also spares you from having to wear a slip which can slide around uncomfortably when you sit, stand, and move around.


5. LOW-CUT SKINNY JEANS Many of today’s jeans are so lowcut that you cannot lean forward without flashing your underwear to the person behind you, and so tight that you might as well be wearing a ballet leotard instead of pants. Jeans can either be seductive or classy, depending on the style you choose. Ultra-low-cut skinny jeans are designed for no other purpose than to show off sensual areas of your body (i.e. glimpses of your underwear) and draw extra attention to the curves of your body. Definitely not the best choice for a set-apart woman.

tasteful alternatives: Trouser Jeans

There are many stylish and looserfitting pants that are feminine and flattering without “giving away the farm.” They may be hard to find in

the teeny-bopper stores at the mall where every pair of jeans is labeled “ultra-low-cut-stretch,” but I have found that some of the “young professional style” stores have some pretty good options for wide leg or trouser-style jeans. You may have to pay a bit more for them, but it’s better to have one or two pairs of classy, feminine jeans or pants, than a whole closet full of super tight ones that only get tighter every time you wash them! Watch Out For: Muffin Tops Even tasteful jeans can gap open in the back, creating a “muffin top” when you sit down. This is not only immodest but also extremely


unfeminine and unflattering. When trying on jeans, make sure to check and see what happens in the back when you sit down. If you have a hard time finding jeans that do not gap open, adding a simple wellfitting belt can make a world of difference.

*** Remember, Christ-built men are not just looking for girls who purposely drab down their feminine beauty or hide behind tent-like clothes. They desire to see young women who exude a loveliness and graceful feminine beauty that flows from the inside out; a feminine dignity that is both modest and stunningly, refreshingly beautiful. Modest-yet-stylish dressing is not a mere obligation so we do not cause guys to stumble. Rather, it is one of our most powerful tools in restoring respect, dignity, and nobility to modern femininity. What an incredible (and fun) opportunity!

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...young women who exude a loveliness and graceful feminine beauty that flows from the inside out...


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NOTE FROM LESLIE: Hannah and Leah Coen have blessed the Ellerslie world with their sweet spirits and servant's hearts. They come from an amazing family, and they have taken that foundation into their young adult years, giving to and serving others and drawing people to Jesus at every turn.  I know the testimony of these precious sisters will inspire and encourage you! 

Meet Hannah & Leah

common life

SISTERS OF THE

Q: When did you come to Christ and choose to live fully set-apart for Him?

HANNAH I grew up in a Christian home, and I chose to follow Christ when I was young. When I was around five or six, I came to a point where I knew my life was full of sin and I was separated from God, but that there was nothing I could do in and of myself. I remember praying and asking Jesus into my heart, and from that point on I sought to obey Him. When I was 12, I went through a season of deeper surrender and a time when my faith matured and become my own commitment and more independent of my parents’ faith. It was at this point that I committed to live a setapart life for God. As I have grown in my understanding of Jesus' gift of salvation, there have been many times of being pressed into deeper surrender of self so that Jesus can be crowned King in every area of my


life. I belong to Him, have been purchased by Christ's blood, and my life is no longer my own. My desire for my life is that it would be lived for Jesus' glory alone, no matter what the cost, and my prayer is that He would continue to press me further into the depths of who He is, that He might increase and I might decrease.

LEAH I remember praying “the prayer” to accept Christ into my heart one day at church when I was six, but it wasn't until I was eleven or twelve that I really started to hunger for God's Truth and surrender to Him. As I began to seek the Lord more diligently and desire to know Him more sincerely, He began to radically change my life. He invited me to know Him intimately. I saw that it is not enough to strive to live a good Christian life as a “good Christian girl.” My righteousness is filthy rags, but His blood is enough for me. My devotion to living a life set-apart for my Lord is one that has deepened and strengthened with time. I grew up in a Christian home where godly discipleship was built into everyday life. I was raised with the expectation that I wouldn’t date and would live in a Christ-honoring way. However, it wasn’t until I chose on a personal level to truly set my life apart for Christ that He began to bring beauty and richness to these decisions. He has shown me that He has not only called me away from the world and its ways, but He has called me unto Himself. I have the privilege, wherever I am and whatever I am doing, to live in surrender to and pursuit of my King. He has called me not only to serve Him, but to know Him in an intimate, living way. This, I have found, is the secret to joyful set-apart womanhood.

He promises to fill and use me, but in order for me to be useful, my eyes must be fixed on Him.


Q: What have been some of the greatest challenges and joys in living as a set-apart young woman?

HANNAH When you come to know Jesus, and His Spirit enters in, you see the world around you through different eyes. You see the needs and blessings more clearly. When I see needs, my desire is to try and fix whatever the problem is and heal the pain I see. I want to protect and rescue those who are lost and hurting. These are all things that God calls us as Christians to do, but He also makes it clear that we cannot do the work on our own. It is Him working through us; not our strength and ability, but His. Jesus gives us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to feel, and hands and feet to go and do. Our job is to be yielded vessels to Him, ready to go and do whatever He asks. I still have too much of a tendency of trying to "do" on my own, such as being the solution to a problem or trying to answer the questions others have; but I am learning to lean only on the power that is in Jesus, to surrender, and let Him work in and through me. We live in a world with many things that distract us from our King, even if they are good things. In my life these include things such as helping to take care of my siblings, working, and spending time with friends. There are also things like fear and worry that take our eyes off of Jesus and put


them on our circumstances. Jesus has really been challenging me lately to seek His face, abide in His presence and wait on Him. My time doesn't need to be spent locked away in my "prayer closet" all the time, though this is a necessary part of abiding in Him. We can abide in Jesus' presence wherever we are, no matter what we are doing. He promises to fill and use me, but in order for me to be useful, my eyes must be fixed on Him. In His presence, wherever you are, is the fullness of joy. Seeing and being around needs has also been one of my greatest joys, because when we allow Jesus to work through us, He faithfully guides and provides for every need, big and small. We have the privilege as Christians to see God's kingdom furthered and His glory made known. We have a living God who cares deeply for each of us individually and promises that no matter the battle, He is with us. There truly is no greater joy than to know Jesus, to be adopted as a child of God Most High, and be spent for His glory!

LEAH Learning how to sacrificially serve those around me while keeping intimacy with Christ at the core of everything I do has been a challenge. Everywhere I look there are needs to be met. For example, there is always something I can do to bless my family. The pregnancy center where I have volunteered in the past can always use help. I have several friends who are not Christians. They are so in need of Truth, and they also need many practical things - assistance with their kids, rides to appointments, and help learning to drive. I know that God created me to live a poured-out life as a living sacrifice before Him, and I honestly love serving those around me. But sometimes I can be so focused on the needs around me that I start feeling overwhelmed, and I forget to quiet myself at my Beloved’s feet. I think this is why God constantly reminds me to simply seek Him and simply love Him, for it is when His life is literally flowing through my veins that I actually have something to offer to those around me. It is when I wait on Him that He renews my strength and raises me up on wings as an eagle to live a life of giving and serving beyond my natural ability. If my aim is to know Him and be known by


Him then He will use me and be seen in me, and He will receive the praise. He is driving these truths deeper within my soul, but they have been a challenge to learn and live out on a daily basis. It never ceases to fill me with joy when I see God’s Word proven true, time and time again. So many times I have prayed for wisdom when I come to a fork in my path, when I don’t have the words to clearly communicate Truth, or when my siblings seek my advice, and God has so faithfully given me the wisdom I lack (see James 1:5; Prov. 3:5-6). I have seen Him provide for big things like a trip to Africa and for small things like shoes (see Matt. 6:31-33). When I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus and stay my mind on Him instead of worrying over unexpected expenses or becoming discouraged about choices my unbelieving friends have made, it is amazing the way His joy unspeakable and peace beyond understanding flood my soul (see Is. 26:3-4). God is good, and His Word is true.

Don’t be satisfied with Jesus being a part of your life - make Him your life. Q: What is one thing you desire the women of your generation to know?

HANNAH "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the


path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:5-11 KJV). Don't be satisfied with Jesus being a part of your life - make Him your life. It doesn't matter what this life brings - the challenges, joys, ups and downs - you have a Firm Foundation. When your eyes are fixed on Jesus, you will not be moved. The Lord is faithful always. He promises to fill, to provide, and to give all that you need for life and godliness. You must start by coming to Him with your need, recognizing that you are separated from Him by sin, and desiring His forgiveness and new life. Jesus has won the victory over death and sin. It is yours for the taking. He is asking you to surrender and let Him come in and rule your life. Surrender in and of itself is an impossible task for us. Jesus asks, "Are you willing?" All He needs is the faintest "yes." He has already destroyed the hold that sin and the flesh have on your life, and your asking for help is like reaching out and claiming that fact for yourself. Don't listen to the reasons your mind will come up with of why giving Jesus complete control is a bad idea. Step forward in faith - Jesus is Truth and He cannot lie.

LEAH Wow, there are so many things I would love to share, so many truths God has taught me through His Word. But if I were to share one thing it would be this passage, because it is something that God continues to emphasize in my life and an area in which I am still growing: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5-6 KJV). Trust Him. Believe Him. He does not and cannot lie. His Word is true, and you can


stand on His every promise. He has proven Himself faithful in more ways than can be measured. Do not be afraid to trust Him with every detail of your life. He knows what you need, and as a loving Father, He provides for the big things and the small. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He knows the amount of money in your bank account. He knows the challenges you will face before you even encounter them. He will equip you for what He calls you to and for every circumstance you will face. He will not leave you nor forsake you. And what’s more, He delights to be God in your life - your Lord, your Provider, your Redeemer, your Restorer, your Abba Father, your Intercessor, your Rock, your Shelter, your Joy, your Peace, your All in all. Do not lean on your own understanding, but lean on Him. It’s so easy to fall into self-reliance. We forget that we are to be branches in the Vine simply abiding, simply trusting, simply resting in the assurance that if we fix ourselves on our All in all, He will direct our paths and do in and through us all that He desires. At times it seems foolish to trust God and follow Him where He leads because of our small view and limited understanding. But remember, the reality of His trustworthiness does not change depending on how far we can see or what our emotions say. Seek Him and know Him so that He can prove to you His perfect faithfulness and trustworthiness in every area.

Q: Tell us about your recent trip to Uganda and how God led you there.

HANNAH In September 2010, I attended a presentation by Invisible Children that one of our local churches was hosting. Being at the presentation was completely unplanned. I was at the church for another event and thought I might as well stick my head in to see what the presentation was about. Though the organization is not a Christian organization, the people doing the presentation were Christians, and God used them to grip my heart more deeply for the "least of these" in this world. I had thought for a


long time that it would be wonderful to go on some sort of missions trip, but didn't have any idea of the whos, whats, whens, wheres. Not long after the presentation, Leah started planning a trip to Uganda. I was headed off to Ellerslie Training for a semester, and she was planning on leaving the week after I got home. The timing and details of such a quick turn around were overwhelming, and I really wasn't even thinking about the possibility of going. While I was at Ellerslie, Leah's plans shifted, and the timing of the trip looked like it was going to be later in the year. I started praying about going with her, and soon after got the sense that it was something I should do. God continued to send confirmation after confirmation that I was supposed to go, and also gave me a greater burden for those who are lost and alone, but so precious to His heart. The week after I got home from Ellerslie I applied to and was accepted by the orphanage Leah had decided to go to. As we started organizing our plans, it was so amazing to see God's faithfulness and provision with all the details!

God had already begun to answer the prayer He had put in our hearts. In the early morning of September 29, 2011, we set foot on African soil for the first time. Uganda, we soon found, is a country full of breathtaking beauty, vibrant colors, friendly and outgoing people, adorable kiddos, and abject poverty. We stayed at Amani Baby Cottage, an orphanage for children five years and younger on the outskirts of Jinja, situated on a bay of Lake Victoria. Our days were full with holding, changing, and feeding babies, teaching preschool, playing with the older kids, and soaking up the warm African sun. It was a time of God pressing me to deeper surrender in many areas, reliance on Jesus, and sweet communion with my Savior. There were so many ways we saw the faithfulness of God displayed, and so many answers to prayer. These are a few that come to mind first:


Travel - Since we had never traveled internationally before, we didn't know what to expect, and our prayer was that God would stay our minds on Him, and keep our hearts from fear and worry. He answered that prayer so clearly, reminding us once again of His sufficiency. He gave us such peace and joy throughout our travel, making it a fun and enjoyable time. Health - We were also praying that God would keep our bodies strong and healthy so that we could be fully spent during our time there. We were both mildly sick for about half a day with a flu that the volunteers were passing around, but other than that we experienced no sickness and very little stomach upset from the different food and water. The other volunteers passed around a cold, and our Ugandan roommate got typhoid, but Jesus protected our bodies.


"B" - While we were at Amani, there was one specific boy whom God put on our hearts to pray for. The need that all the kiddos have for a family is very clear, but it seemed to be magnified in this little boy's life. He's fiveish (nobody is really sure of his exact age), and so in need of stability. When we would leave for the day, he would always ask where we were going, when we were coming back, and if we could just please come down and play with him. Saying goodbye to him was one of the hardest things ever. But here's the exciting part. We found out while we were on the airplane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean that a family was already in the process of adopting "B." God had already begun to answer the prayer He had put in our hearts. B's new family loves the Lord, and it fills us with such joy to know just a small part of the good plans God has for his little life. Some of the highlights of my time in Uganda included taking pictures of the beautiful people and amazing countryside; Tuesday afternoon Bible study with Mama Agatha; afternoons spent playing outside with the kiddos at Amani; learning to ride a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) sidesaddle; experiencing a taste of Ugandan culture; times of laughter and encouragement with the other volunteers as we got to know them, hearing their testimonies and seeing them pour out for the glory of the Lord; and watching the Mamas (Ugandan staff of the orphanage), true servants of Christ who poured themselves out every day in the way they loved and cared for the kiddos. There were many precious moments that God used to speak to, encourage, and challenge me.

LEAH For a long time, Uganda was on the list of places I’d rather not visit. Growing up, my sister Sarah was always looking for adventure. When she was seven, she decided that she wanted to be a missionary and travel the world. I, on the other hand, had no desire for adventure or international travel, and much preferred to remain within my comfort zone. When I was eleven I met Ruth, now one of my closest friends, whose family was involved in YWAM (Youth With A Mission). She and her


family were so passionate about missions, and God used that to change my heart. He not only started opening my eyes to the lost and dying, but He also started to challenge me with the questions, "Am I worthy? Can you trust Me outside of your comfort zone? If I call you, do you trust Me to equip you?" At the time, I didn't understand the depth of those questions, but as He began to work a new willingness within me, I took the first steps of surrender. Over the years, God faithfully continued His work in my heart, and as I learned to trust Him more, He took away much of the fear I had about adventuring beyond my comfort zone. I even began desiring to travel out of the country, and started planning a trip to Haiti. Africa, however, was still somewhere I avoided. Then, in September of 2010, there was one week where every day God put Uganda on my mind or heart in one way or another. I visited my sister's college and career group at church, where Invisible Children was doing a presentation on their work in Uganda. Someone reminded me of Katie Davis' blog, which shares some of her adventures as she pours herself out in Uganda. I heard that one of my friends was going to Uganda. Then I heard


that another one of my friends was going to Uganda. Everywhere I turned it was Uganda, Uganda, Uganda. By the end of that week, I wanted to go to Uganda so badly. God had completely changed the desires of my heart, and I was so excited for what He had in store. I started planning my trip to Uganda and saw God work out every detail. He provided the money I needed. He provided someone to go with me (my amazing sister Hannah). He kept us and our parents from worry and fear. He proved His faithfulness over and over. Travel to Uganda was again marked by His faithful presence, and I enjoyed every moment of it, which naturally speaking would not be true. Beginning on September 29, 2011, I began six and a half life-changing weeks in the country. Hannah and I stayed at Amani Baby Cottage in Jinja, and were blessed daily by the beautiful children and staff there. We also had the opportunity to travel to some of the surrounding villages. Some highlights from the trip include singing and dancing with the kiddos at Amani and in the villages; seeing the amazing faith and joy of the Ugandan Mamas at Amani; Tuesday afternoon Bible study led by Mama Agatha; listening at church to African voices praising our King in their native tongues; visiting Spring of Hope Uganda, Ekisa, Amazima, and a few other ministries.

Q: What was one of the most impacting experiences you had there?

HANNAH There were many things that impacted me during our time in Uganda, and it's hard to pick one experience that impacted me the most. There were many highlights and instances God used to teach me and press me further into Him. He would teach me something in one situation, then He would use another experience to build on that lesson. One of my favorite times in Uganda was our Bible study with Mama Agatha. Once a week we would gather to pray, sing, and learn about our King. Those days were filled with times of laughter as we tried to sing worship songs in Luganda (the dialect of the area), times of being challenged as biblical truths were


shared, and times of worship in which we continued to see the depths of Jesus' love and how worthy He is of our lives. Mama Agatha is not very well educated and her body is failing her, but she is one of the "richest" women I have ever met. Her gentle spirit, yielded heart, and simple presentation of Truth was always packed with praise to Jesus and challenges to live more fully for Him. It was beautiful to see how Jesus works through hearts that are yielded and surrendered to Him, even when the earthly circumstances are not ideal. I love Truth, because no matter where you are or what you are doing, it remains the same and has the power to change and refine. I was so blessed to be able to see this not only with Mama Agatha, but with the other Mamas as well. Jesus is so good!

God had completely changed the desires of my heart, and I was so excited for what He had in store. LEAH That's a hard one. Every little moment and every little situation seemed to be one that God used to teach me, strengthen my faith, or challenge me in my walk with Him. There were so many opportunities to die to myself and to fix my eyes on Christ so that my natural love could be replaced with His unconditional, immeasurable love, and my happiness could be replaced with His joy unspeakable and peace beyond understanding. Some of the most impacting times, however, were mornings spent in the presence of the Lord before starting my day. It was not always easy to get out of bed and seek Him, and not every quiet time felt rich and rewarding, but I know I was changed by those moments. In the stillness of an African morning, as I sat on the floor of my bedroom, God prepared me for each day. He gave me a greater taste of His heart for orphaned and vulnerable children, and for needy people of all ages. He reminded me that it is when I am delighting in and meditating on His


Word, seeking to make Him my First Love, that I can be fully spent for Him and truly bring Him glory. If I am rooted and grounded in Him, if I know Him, then I will be as a fruitful tree planted by streams of water, whose leaves do not wither or fade (see Ps. 1). And then, wherever I am, for however long or short, I can be fully spent and used by Him. I was also greatly impacted by conversations with some of the Ugandan women who work at Amani, and by simply watching the testimony of their lives. They are so strong in faith, so full of joy, so outward-focused, so radiantly beautiful. Hearing them share the things God has done in their lives, being encouraged by them, and knowing they were praying for me, deeply affected me and seriously blessed me.

Q: How did serving in missions work together impact your relationship as sisters?

HANNAH & LEAH For most of our lives, we have been practically inseparable. When we were little, we played together almost constantly, got into trouble together, and did our schoolwork together. As we’ve grown, God has built us together as a team. He has taught us together, grown us together, stretched our faith together, and united us in love for Him. The gifts and strengths He has given to us as individuals complement each other, and He has used our relationship as sisters to press us deeper into Him, continually encouraging, edifying, and challenging us through each other. During the time we were preparing to go to Uganda, it became clear that this trip was going to be a sort of end to a chapter in our lives. You see, in June, a wonderful godly young man started courting Hannah. We were both thrilled, eager to see what this new season would hold. God had big and beautiful, but new and different things in store. Our relationship as sisters was about to change in a significant way, and we were so thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom, had already provided one last “big” thing for the two of us to do as a team. Our time in Uganda definitely strengthened our relationship as sisters, and in many ways grew us


closer together. As we adventured into a place full of unknowns and had the privilege of being vessels for God’s love to flow through, our sisterly bond was only deepened. And as we watched each other rise to the challenges life in Uganda presented, our appreciation for each other and for our sister-team was increased. However, God also used our seven weeks away from home to prepare us for this new season He was leading us into, bringing us to a greater level of dependence on Him and increasing our satisfaction in all that He is.

SIDE NOTE FROM HANNAH A few months after returning home, Josh proposed, and we were married on April 6, 2012. The season of engagement was repeatedly marked by God’s faithfulness; and we saw His fingerprints in every detail of the wedding planning. With all the changes that have come and the many more to come, I continue to be so grateful for the time that I had with Leah in Uganda. It really was a gift that God gave us, a final adventure in our sister-team chapter of life, like a cherry on top of an already sweet


season. Though our life as sisters will be different now that I am married, we are very excited to see what new adventures God sends our way, and we look forward to the many opportunities we will continue to have to press each other into the fullness of the glory of God.

Q: Tell us about your family and what God has taught you through your unique situation.

HANNAH Let me give you a quick overview of my family. I am the oldest of 14 kids, 5 biological and 9 adopted. We range from 21 to 6 years old. All of our adoptions have been through the foster system, and we have gotten the kiddos anywhere from 6 months to 11 years old. Being a part of what God has led our family to has definitely included many challenges, but also many rewards. The kids we have brought into our family have a lot of needs - physical, mental, and emotional - and the healing process is not one that comes overnight. Though this process has been a slow one for many of the kids, and there are many different layers that need to be healed, as you watch them heal, you can only give the praise to God because it is Him alone who can do the work. God has called my whole family into a unique ministry, and while He might not be calling you into something similar, our need for Him remains the same. It doesn't matter what our situations are or the challenges we encounter - we need Jesus' strength and wisdom to be able to serve His kingdom well. I have learned so much about relying on God's ability and allowing Him to be the One to heal the needs by being in the family He has placed me in. I feel privileged because I not only have a family whom I love, and one that supports and encourages me, but I have also had the opportunity to see God work in very tangible ways. His ways are not our ways, and in my strength there are many things that are overwhelming and exhausting; but in His strength I can truly enjoy the challenges that come.


LEAH If you were to see my family walking together down the street, you might not assume at first that we are a family. With three different ethnicities, a variety of skin tones, and lots of kiddos very close to the same size, we don’t appear like the average family. When I was seven, my mom and dad became licensed as foster parents, and when I was ten we finalized our first adoption. Since then, we’ve adopted five more children, and we are currently in the process of adopting three more precious kiddos, all from the Colorado foster care system. This brings the number of children in my family to fourteen - five biological, six adopted, and three soon-tobe adopted. God has also brought two “bonus brothers” to my family, both of whom are in their young twenties, adding lots of laughter and making our family feel more complete. Their families don’t live in the area, so we’ve grafted them in, and now we can’t imagine life without them. My dad is a faithful man of God and a true servant leader. He is an amazing picture of God’s father-heart in the way he selflessly loves all those around him, but especially the defenseless, the fatherless, and the needy.


My mom is a woman of great strength and abounding generosity. She is a wonderful example of eager hospitality and faithful love. I have been so blessed by watching my parents open our home time and time again to orphans, widows, missionaries, and those in need. It is Christ working in and through my parents and actively shaping my family into all that He desires it to be. So what has God taught me through this wonderfully challenging adventure He has called me and my family to? He has taught me that He is indeed a Father to the fatherless, but that He expresses His fatherheart through His body. He has shown me that there is great joy when He sets the lonely in families. He has taught me that those to whom much is given, much will be required. He has given me a tangible picture of what it means to be adopted by God. I am so small, stained, and dirtied by this world, and yet He gave up everything to adopt me as His own. I am not always easy to love, and yet He never ceases to love me. And it is this love that He desires to fill me with until it overflows onto each person He puts in front of me and each unique life He brings to my family. He has taught me that I cannot lean on my own strength or I will surely fail. I must depend on and abide in Him to live with joy and strength this life that He has called me to live. He has taught me that it is not the most qualified whom He calls to carry out His work, but the willing. My family isn’t anywhere close to perfect. We are not amazing people; we are simply willing to say “yes� to the people and the opportunities He brings our way. God has taught me so much and given me so much, and I am thankful for the precious blessings that fill my life and my family.

Q: What would your advice be to girls who have the daily opportunity to minister to their brothers and sisters?

HANNAH Pray, pray, pray! There are many things we can do to impact our siblings, but this is by far the most important. You have the chance to see needs from the inside and cover them with your prayers. Seize every


opportunity to love, encourage, and gently teach them. We are in their lives during some of the most pivotal years, and we have a unique position that not many have. Be slow to frustration and quick to forgive. Be a witness by example. The old saying, "Actions speak louder than words" often proves true. God will most likely bring opportunities to have conversations with your siblings, and sometimes it doesn't even seem like they are listening, but don't be discouraged - they most likely are listening. Don't be discouraged if it seems like nothing is changing. Stay committed to what God has called you to, and fight the spiritual battle, claiming God's promises for them. Let God do His work in their lives without feeling like you need to change them. Allow Him to use you as His vessel, and be surrendered to His ways. He is perfectly capable of doing His work, and His love for your siblings is far beyond yours.

LEAH God has once again been impressing upon my heart the importance of learning to love my family well. There is so much to this seemingly simple word “love,� and I want to share a few aspects of loving well that God has been specifically challenging me in. My prayer is that as you read these, you will find yourself encouraged and inspired to love those closest to you as an outflow of love for our Jesus. Take the lowest place - Just as Jesus used His position as Lord to humbly serve those around Him, so we are to use our positions in our families to humbly serve. If we serve our families in a way that does not seek to bring attention to ourselves, but simply as an act of worship, God will fill us with His heavenly joy. Extend grace and mercy - We daily see the shortcomings of family members, which can make it difficult to give them grace. But we can and must extend grace and mercy because of the grace and mercy that God continually shows to us. Be gentle and kind - It is amazing the way a gentle word or a kind smile can touch our brothers and sisters with the love of Jesus. Let us purpose


to display kindness and gentleness in our words, actions, and expressions. Invest in the lives of your brothers and sisters - It speaks volumes to our siblings when they see that we love and value them as individuals. The way that each person feels most cherished is different, so make it a point to learn what blesses each of your siblings. Perhaps the most important way to invest in the lives of your siblings is to pray diligently for them. You may not see results to your prayers right away, but God never wastes the prayers of His children. So pray and believe - God is faithful to keep His promises.

*


s g in th e it r vo a f ’s h a n n a a few of H

to His s es n ul hf it fa ’s od G y, ph ra chai tea, photog pearls, , rs oo td ou e th g, n ti ra co de , promises, horses , es ot qu g n ri pi s in , s ug m n fu cowboy boots, kiddos, organizing, scarves

a few of L eah’s favorit e things Colo

rado sunrise s and sunse Mountains, U ts, the Rocky gandan paper beads, Shane Shane musi and c, hot tea, ra i n , chocolate pe butter, Water anut mark music, k iddos, My U for His Hi tmost ghest by Osw ald Chambers the promises , of God, fun socks


Copyright 2010 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellersli


the discipline of

Godly Motherhood By Leslie Ludy

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Copyright 2010 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.  

Proverbs 31:27

No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellersli


F

or the last few weeks, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. Unfinished projects have been piling up around the house because of the amount of travel we’ve done over the past couple of months – a three-week family trip, then five weekend conferences in a row, all while starting a new Ellerslie semester and home-schooling the kiddos everyday. It’s been an unusually busy season – and I’m starting to feel the effects of so many late nights, early mornings, and weekends spent in planes, hotels, and conferences buildings.

more stressful and irritating. It is much harder to pause, listen, and respond to their needs with gentleness and patience.

This morning after spending four hours pouring into the kids, I was relieved to have a little window of time to get some things done while the toddlers were resting and the bigger kids were playing. But no sooner had I sat down to check my email when Hudson burst into the room, asking how to spell five different words for a book he was writing. Harper followed close on his heels, begging me to make a In times like these, when I am princess crown for her Lambie out stretched extra thin, it is all too of colored pipe cleaners. Sigh. easy to get just a little sloppy in the I thought of Martha, who was “smaller” areas of motherhood. I “encumbered with much serving” find myself conveniently overand completely overlooking the looking certain disciplinary issues more important activity that Mary with the kids, simply because I do had chosen. I relate to Martha’s not feel I have the energy to take tendencies far more than I wish I on the battle. I catch myself did. How easy it is to give in to the wanting to sit and “zone out” while urgent tasks and disregard the I’m supervising my kids at the park, important ones! There were two rather than making the most of precious children, creating, each and every moment I have with inventing, playing, and exploring. them. When I’m carrying the weight And they were inviting me to share of a larger-than-life to-do list, all the in their childlike delight of dislittle interruptions that come with covery. Making a princess crown four small children can seem far Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


for Lambie and helping Hudson with his new literary release was of f a r m o re e t e r n a l v a l u e t h a n checking my email. But it required a decision of self-denial – saying “no” to what my flesh was craving (a break!) and say “yes” to the opportunity before me (showing enthusiasm for my children’s worlds).

pull up the tent stakes and stride on into God’s endless frontier. It is all too easy to settle for “good enough” instead of fulfilling all my motherhood roles with excellence as unto Christ Jesus. Disciplining my life around God’s priorities always brings more of God’s grace upon my mothering

I have found that godly motherhood requires godly discipline. God has called me to motherhood – with all of its interruptions, inconveniences, and intensities. If I lean upon His grace and not on my own strength, He gives me the ability to “dig down deep” and go the extra mile, even when I do not feel like doing it. I have found that godly motherhood requires godly discipline. Though I am not a lazy person, mothering four young children presents many temptations to simply pitch my tent, rather than

tasks. Whether it is being diligent to train my children instead of letting certain behaviors slide, getting up extra early so I am well prepared for my teaching time with the kids, or saying “no” to various “self-outlets” during the day, I have found that there is unexpected joy in going the extra mile, even when my flesh balks against it. Watching over the ways of my household rather than eating the bread of idleness brings far greater satisfaction, though it is much harder in the moment.


...the best “me time” is actually not “me time” at all, but “God time.” Here are a few ways I am learning few “fun” things each week to put this principle into practice: (provided that they are spiritually edifying) is a great idea – but allowing those fun things to claim Healthy “Me Time” Versus the bulk of our time and energy is Selfish “Me Time” unhealthy. All mothers need a periodic reAlso, I have found that the best prieve from the non-stop intensity of mothering. But it is all too easy “me time” is actually not “me time” at all, but “God time.” When I take to turn this need for a “break” into time each day for prayer, quiet an outlet for selfishness. Ignoring times, journaling, worship, and our children and household tasks reading Christian biographies, it while we spend hours of our day chatting with friends, surfing the produces far more lasting results than an hour on the Internet or a internet, browsing Facebook, or trip to the spa. spending time on a hobby or sidebusiness will only put our home life Dig Down Deep into a tail-spin. None of these activities are wrong in themselves, We all have moments during the but they must be put into proper day when it is easier just to sit balance. I set a schedule for time down on the couch (or plop in front with my kids and time for my of the computer) instead of do the household tasks, and for the most task that is sitting in front of us. part I do not allow temptations Earlier today there was a sizable such as phone calls, email, the mess on the playroom floor. The Internet, or hobbies to distract me children were eating lunch, and I from this schedule. Planning in a had the choice of taking 10


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One of the best ways that we can teach our children to be disciplined...is to model it in our own lives. minutes to clean it up or leaving it for later and doing something more enjoyable – like getting on my computer for a few minutes. I get tired of constantly picking up the house and spending 10 minutes putting toys away was one of the last things I felt like doing. But I prayed for an extra measure of grace to “dig down deep” and invest those few minutes of time and energy into keeping my home orderly, instead of letting a mess begin to pile up. Of course, there are times when it is more appropriate to take a break from household tasks and rest, pray, or just be with my husband and children. However, there are many moments throughout the day when digging down deep and “just doing it” can reap great rewards. I have found that if I discipline myself to “dig down deep” and give energy to the small tasks that

my flesh does not feel like doing (whether it is child-training or home-managing) I stay much more on track in my motherhood role. *** One of the best ways that we can teach our children to be disciplined, orderly, and focused on God’s priorities is to model it in our own lives. But remember, the discipline of godly motherhood is not something we can accomplish on our own, no matter how much willpower or determination we muster up. However, when we fully yield to the King of kings, He gives us strength to do what we never could on our own. No matter how overwhelming life might feel at this moment, look to Him for everything you need – His yoke is easy and His burden light. His grace is sufficient, and His reward is great!

*


Leslie’s Blog!

Marriage & mamahood

Moments from my life.

MAMAHOOD: Saying “No” to Selfish Whims

“But I want to!” is a phrase heard often in the Ludy home.

Recently we informed

Dubber (age 3) that he was not allowed to decorate the living room walls with a pen, and broke the news to Avy (age 2) that she was not allowed to dump an entire - large! bottle of Parmesan cheese on top of her pasta (we stopped her once we noticed that half the jar had already been deposited on her plate). In both cases, there was great consternation combined with the insistent protest, “but I want to!” As if that was going to somehow sway us. Mommy and Daddy ... READ THE REST ONLINE.

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Cute Stuff

the ludy kids are “saying & doing”

Avonlea She visited Mickey's Toon Town at Disneyland back in January, and she also watched a kids video called Higglytown Heroes around the same time. Now, she gets them mixed up and daily asks when we can go back to Higglytown Heroes to ride the roller coaster.   She is also very much into "babies" and has a collection of about ten of them.  Each of them has a name - there is "cute little baby," "soft baby," and "bad baby."  She told me that "bad baby" never obeys her and is always in time-out.   But lately "bad baby" has been turning into "nice baby" so her discipline techniques must be working.

Copyright 2011 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


Kipling He is very much into knights, battles, and slaying dragons. His favorite movies are the Narnia ones, in which he can describe each and every battle and fight scene in vivid detail - down to which kind of weapons each solider uses. He loves to dress up like a knight or king, and usually wears his knight helmet everywhere we go, even on bike rides.  Yesterday he was riding around on Harper's pink tricycle, pulling a blue sled behind him, wearing rain boots and his knight helmet.  I wish I'd had a video camera.   He's started to greet people by saying "How's it goin?" because he hears Daddy say that to people.  Pretty funny to hear that phrase coming from a three year old in a knight helmet.

Harper She is constantly pretending to be some kind of animal, usually a lion or a horse. She comes up with very creative names for the animals she is acting out - lately she's been a horse named Midnight, Snowball, or Pink.   She still has her special hiding spot in the middle of the kitchen where she stashes the most random collection of treasures.  Right now she has a bag of cheese puffs in there and will ask me if she can have four pieces of her contraband whenever she craves a special treat.  Whenever Harper isn't pretending to be an animal, she's pretending to be a princess - she loves to wear frilly dresses.  She and Avy pretend that they are "Belle" and "Cinderella" and twirl around and do the princess wave.  Adorable.

Hudson

Oh to be a little kid again! This is what I think sometimes when watching his childlike thrills over the smallest things.   He's been going into the classroom whenever he has a free moment, putting on fun music and dancing to his heart's content - all by himself in the middle of the day.   It is super cute.   He has also started having "school" for all the younger kids, and tells me what time I can drop them off and pick them up.  He's actually a pretty good teacher when he gets his bossy attitude under control.  He decided to name his school "Busy Bee Preschool" because I told him that when I was little, I had a "school" for my two younger brothers named "Busy Bees."  It's like re-living my childhood watching Hudson. Copyright 2011 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie."


OUR

TEAM

RECOMMENDS

GOOD READS. Annie recommends: THE JOURNALS OF JIM ELLIOT Edited by Elisabeth Elliot

"Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov. 27:17 NASB). Every time I pick up Jim Elliot's journal, new flames of devotion and desire for Christ are kindled in my heart. This missionary and martyr kept a detailed, daily journal as he poured over the Scriptures. The result was a testimony of what will happen in the heart, mind, and life of a humble believer who saturates himself in the precious, powerful Word of God, and then daily lives it out.

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for Thee... Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.  

No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


Mandy recommends: THE PRINCESS AND THE KISS by Jennie Bishop

Sweetly and simply, this book captures the rare beauty of love preserved for one. This message, though packaged in a book for children, serves as a gentle reminder to guard the sacred gift of purity and in doing so, honor the Giver of that good and perfect gift. Woven throughout are the praiseworthy principles of a God-scripted love story, such as developing godly character, seeking wise counsel, and surrendering even the good things. Ultimately, all eyes are pointed toward the absolute trustworthiness and faithfulness of our God! Receive this tender exhortation and you will find your heart pressed to rejoice in the beauty of a love worth waiting for.

Amelia recommends: THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE by Watchman Nee

This book is a great exposition of Romans 6-8, explaining what it means to possess and live the “normal” Christian life as God intended rather than a mediocre one. Many Christians have not had the opportunity to fully comprehend the meaning of the Gospel in regards to our union with Christ. In this book, you will discover what it truly means to be “in Christ,” to have died and been raised with Him, and to walk in newness of life by His power living in you.

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


true

brand new from leslie ludy

TRUE FEMININITY STUDY SERIES

8-week DVD study series

for small groups or individuals -

[

with study guide included!

]

Today’s young women often seek fulfillment from guys, social status, and pop culture attractions. But a young woman who is truly fulfilled, radiant, and beautiful is one who has made Jesus Christ her All in all, her First Love, and her True Prince.  Leslie Ludy's True Femininity study is a powerful and practical message that points young women to God's pattern for world-changing, Christ-focused feminine beauty. This 8-week study includes a 2-disc DVD set and accompanying study guide. This study is designed for small groups or individuals, and is appropriate for young women of all ages.

order now! Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


take it deeper

Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie.  All rights reserved.   No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie.


“It is a mercy that our lives are not left for us to plan, but that our Father chooses for us; else might we sometimes turn away from our best blessings, and put from us the choicest and loveliest gifts of His providence.” - Susannah Spurgeon

inthenextissue The Sacred Opportunity of Singleness the “lonely” season redefined Embracing Your God-Given Femininity a warrior-poet shares his thoughts Keeping Your Spiritual Fervor overcoming tiredness, distraction, and apathy Copyright 2012 The Church at Ellerslie. All rights reserved.  

No material from this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without express written permission from The Church at Ellerslie. Soli Deo Gloria

Profile for Ellerslie

2012 May/June issue  

An online magazine about returning to Christ-centered femininity.

2012 May/June issue  

An online magazine about returning to Christ-centered femininity.

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