Aimee Joseph

About Aimee Joseph

Aimee's Blog
Aimee Joseph is a mother of three little boys and wife of G’Joe, who directs Campus Outreach San Diego. She serves at Redeemer Church and has a passion to see women trained to love God and his word. She writes regularly at her blog.


Love’s Lonely Offices

E.B. White wrote that “A poet is a person who ‘lets drop a line that gets remembered in the morning’.”

In his poem Those Winter Sundays, Robert Hayden dropped such a line, and it has been stuck in my head like the thread of a spiderweb.Love’s Lonely OfficesThose Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueback cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires ablaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house.

Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?

The last two lines have been playing on repeat in my mind for over a week. What do I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?

As I continue to step further into parenting, as I watch my mother-in-law care for her sick husband, as I wade into a new Church leadership role, I continue to notice more of love’s lonely offices.

Waking up at odd hours of the night to spend an hour getting her husband out of bed and to the toilet and back, my Amma knows austere and lonely offices well. She has opened my eyes to the quiet faith and uncelebrated fortitude of caregivers to the aging and sick.

Being around our church more, I see the pastoral leadership team bearing the weight of the congregation’s needs and sufferings. I have an inside vantage point to the wrestling in prayer and planning that happen behind the scenes on a daily basis, another window into love’s lonely offices. Watching friends serving the foster care system set up visitations and caring for children that are not theirs. Love’s austere and lonely offices.

A smaller example, yet significant in its own little way: I spent time writing notes in my boy’s notebooks for school only to be told, tenderly, but still painfully, “Yeah, I saw that. All those notes always say the same thing.” A little example of love’s little yet lonely offices.

The world is full of austere and lonely offices, but they are all glimpses of the Love’s most austere and lonely office, the office of Christ.

In the poem, the image of the father waking with tired and blistered hands to stoke the fires of warmth for his son are both moving and memorable. Yet, the image of the Creator God sending His beloved, dear Son-self into the hatred and hardness of our broken globe trumps the former image.

The image of Christ in the garden, lying with His face to the ground, in agony while His closest friends slept. Love’s austere and lonely office.

The image of Christ lifted on a Cross, perfection pounded by imperfection’s penalty, forgiving the offenders. Love’s most austere and lonely office.

In an eternal string of days, our Christ sets the table, serves His children, offering them the meal of Himself, his body broken on our behalf that we would be made whole. Often, the meal is skipped, if not scorned. Yet Christ faithfully serves in His austere and lonely office.

What a joy to know that as we go about our own nuanced versions of love’s austere and lonely offices, followers of Christ are not alone. Far from alone, Christ’s brothers and sisters are empowered and enabled by the Spirit and strength from His lifetime of love’s lonely offices.

The Father’s sending, Christ’s sacrifice and the Spirit’s closer-than-the-air nearness transform our lonely offices into lovely offices, chances to join the Trinity in an eternal office of love.

By | 2018-04-28T01:18:50+00:00 May 4th, 2018|

Crosses Are Not Comfortable

We want to make Christianity and the Cross as palatable as possible, like those who put dehydrated fruits and veggies in easy-to-swallow, convenient capsules.

But the Cross doesn’t and shouldn’t fit into a capsule. It is not meant to change form. Just as the splintered beam that Simon the Cyrene stepped in to help the exhausted Christ carry was bulky and blistering, blunderingly heavy and uncomfortable, the crosses Christ bids us to carry are not meant to be comfortable.

Crosses Are Not Comfortable


The women at our Church are finishing up many months of being camped out in the book of Galatians, a rip-roaring letter from Paul to a young Church to lovingly rebuke them for stepping away from faith in Christ alone for right-standing before God. The Cross and justification by grace alone through faith alone are central themes in his letter.

Paul ends his letter to the Galatians with one last juxtaposition between the false teachings of the Judaizers and the truth of Christianity. The false teachers who had stirred up their newly-rooted faith in Christ had it as their aim “to make a good showing the flesh” (Galatians 6:12). Paul boldly places their desire to make a good showing in the flesh alongside his less-palatable platform to boast in the Cross.

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6: 14.

To Twenty-first century, Western ears, the phrase has certain ring to it. We can be tempted to want to drop “Boast in the cross” into a growing list of Christian catchphrases, just as my son adds little rocks and pebbles to the growing collections he keeps in his pant pockets.

Before we slap these phrases onto shirts and paint them on cute signs to hang on our walls, we would do well to consider what they actually meant to the original audience. To First-century ears, crosses were not religious symbols or icons but were all-too-real shameful instruments of execution.

Death to self that we might live in the pattern of Christ was Paul’s clarion call to Jew and Gentile alike. The cross of Christ and the call of the Christian to follow Christ by boasting in His Cross and taking up our own crosses remained his swan song to the end.

He did not merely preach this cerebrally, he also lived it experientially, with the physical, emotional and spiritual scars to prove it. He called this beloved fledgling Church to do exactly what he had been doing since His conversion to Christ, and he pointed them to real examples of his own real suffering for the sake of gospel of Christ.

Brennan Manning challenges us along a similar thread in his book, The Signature of Jesus.

“There is no genuine Christianity where the sign of the Cross is absent. Cheap grace is grace without the Cross, an intellectual assent to a dusty pawnshop of doctrinal beliefs while drifting aimlessly with the cultural values of the secular city. Discipleship without sacrifice breeds comfortable Christianity barely distinguishable in its mediocrity from the rest of the world. The cross is both the test and the destiny of a follower of Christ.”

When I look at my neighbors who have been fostering two older boys for many years now, folding them into their own little flock sacrificially, I see the uncomfortable Cross of Christ. When I listen to our staff girls crying and praying over college girls who are running to the world rather than running to Christ, I see the uncomfortable Cross of Christ. When I run my hand over my own life, where do I see and feel the uncomfortable Cross of Christ?

Are we making the Cross of Christ our boast? Are our lives becoming cruciform? Are we taking real risks and stepping toward messes, compelled by the love of Christ? Can we point others to the fact that, while crosses are terribly uncomfortable, we carry them by the power of the Spirit, the ever-present, indwelling Comforter?

In the words C.S. Lewis, “But the cross comes before the crown, and tomorrow is a Monday morning.”

By | 2018-04-28T01:05:43+00:00 April 30th, 2018|

Durable Delights

The fate of most small, plastic toys in this house is the same: first the junk drawer then the trash
can. The life cycle tends to run about a week, although McDonald’s toys last about 10 minutes,
and Nerf bullets last about two weeks. Legos are the exception, of course.

Long live the Lego! Melissa and Doug (whomever they may be) realized that we all long for more durable delights and made a fortune creating old school wooden toys and puzzles that don’t end up in the junk

Durable Delights


As I have been reading Thomas Brooks’ “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”, the
contrast between junky plastic toys and solid wooden classics has been on the forefront of my
brain. Strange connection between my two favorite worlds, the world of Puritan writings and
momma-land, I know.

“Where one thousand are destroyed by the worlds frowns, ten thousand are destroyed by the
worlds smiles.”

One of the devices most employed by the Enemy which Brooks dwells upon in depth is the
allurement of this world. Even though Brooks’ had no idea how consumerism and a culture of
comfort would grow and develop, his words speak so aptly to our culture and to my own heart.
“You may as soon fill a bag with wisdom, a chest with virtue, or a circle with a triangle, as the
heart of man with anything here below. A man may have enough of the world to sink him, but he
can never have enough to satisfy him.”

When I see my children fixating on collecting precious toys that quickly lose their luster, these
truths are so clear to me; however, I struggle to see the idiocy of my own attempts to collect
comfort and treasures on this earth. A new home, a new rug, a better school, a getaway to an
exciting place: these are the equivalent to plastic, junk drawer joys when compared to the solid,
durable delights that I have in union with Christ.

“The treasures of the saint are the presence of God, the favor of God, union and communion
with God, the pardon of sin, the joy of the spirit, the peace of conscience, which are jewels that
none can give but Christ nor none can take away but Christ.”

I long to invest my time, energy and resources on earth storing up durable delights that will last
even beyond the frames of this fragile life. Cultivating my own walk with God, encouraging and
enabling my children’s relationships with the Lord and one another, praying for and befriending
the sheep that are not yet of Jesus’ fold, but are meant to be (John 10), these are durable
delights. Yet so often, these get pushed aside by the plastic distractions of this world, lost in the
shuffle of temporary toys.

I spend so much time organizing, protecting, and caring for the temporary toys that I often
neglect the durable delights that are less shiny and less loudly advertised. While the durable
delights of union of with Christ are expensive, they have been fully purchased for us by the very
same Christ. The wooden, lasting lovelies of Christ sit gathering dust in a bin while I frantically
pander to the plastic.

“Oh, let your souls dwell upon the vanity of all things here below, til your hearts be so thoroughly
convinced and persuaded of the vanity of them, as to trample upon them and make them a
footstool for Christ to get up and ride in a holy triumph in your hearts.”
I love the image that Brooks paints. I can see, in my mind’s eye, a pile of the plastic, temporary
toys of this life, being climbed by Christ as He becomes rightful King on the throne of my heart
and desires.

Christ is THE durable delight from which all pleasures flow. He is the center of our desires and
all good gifts radiate out from Him (James 1:17). May He sit on the rightful throne as we allow
the lesser, temporary joys to be His footstool!


By | 2018-04-01T23:17:34+00:00 March 28th, 2018|

Hope Buys The Field

In what would have looked like one of the worst investment decisions in Israel’s history, the prophet Jeremiah bought a field. His purchase doesn’t sound illogical and unsound until you know the greater context.

Jeremiah’s story started well. After all, as stated clearly by the Lord in the first chapter of the book chronicling His life and prophecy,  he was literally born for the job he grew into.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations….Behold, I have put my word in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms to pluck up and break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:5 &9-10.

Hope Buys the Field

Jeremiah then had the oh-so-unpopular job of declaring, in no uncertain terms and images, myriad ways that God’s people had played the whore and the harlot with lovers less worthy and wild than the One True God. Jeremiah was God’s mouthpiece of warning and judgment to wayward Israel. The job often proved too much for Jeremiah himself, as often throughout his heavy ministry, he begged God to take his life, wishing he had never been called to such a task.

“Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people. Oh that I had in the desert a traveler’s lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a company of treacherous men.”  Jeremiah 9:1-2.

The hard-to-speak and even-harder-to-hear indictments and prophesies continued, leading up to the promise of coming exile under Nebuchadnezzar. Unhappy false prophets and leaders tried to take the life of our unfortunate prophet, but God sustained him.

I’ll let Jeremiah himself finish setting the stage for the purchase of the aforementioned field.

“At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of Judah…Jeremiah said, ‘The word of the Lord came to me. Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.” Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself’.” Jeremiah 32:2 & 6-8.

While Babylon literally had Jerusalem under siege, a siege which would end in the 70 year exile of God’s people, God saw fit to set up a real estate transaction. Seems strange, right? What’s the deal with the field and why did God deem it important enough to be chronicled in the Bible?

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, had many reasons to despair. His lifelong career had been the bearer of mostly hard news for people who did not want to hear it. Those people, whom Jeremiah had spent scores of nights weeping over, were literally on the brink of being taken away from their homes and homeland to a foreign land forcefully.

Yet God told him to buy a field in Jerusalem, the land they were about to be removed from for nearly a century.  And, in a bold declaration of hope, Jeremiah bought the field.

God knew the deep despair in the heart of his chosen prophet. He knew that His people would be reeling in conviction that would eventually lead them back to Himself and His ways.  God knew they needed to know that this was not the end.

They would return to their land, they would be changed in their hearts, softened toward the Words of the Lord again.  Thus, He bid Jeremiah buy the field in the tribe of Benjamin.

For in the far future, a greater prophet would rise up from the tribe of Benjamin. He would weep more than Jeremiah. Unlike Jeremiah, God would not spare his life. Rather, He would die a tragic death on behalf of the same sinful people bent on returning to the same harlotry.

And then He would fill His people with hope and laughter.

Although we live on the other side of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, we still struggle to hope.

Like Jeremiah, God bids us to follow him into bold acts of hope in what appears to be a shriveling, grief-stricken world.

Fostering a child who you know will be taken away is buying a field. Praying for a hardened family member even though nothing has happened for decades is buying a field. A widow waking up expectant of God’s purposes in her life is buying a field. We all have fields to buy, acts of hope in Christ in grim situations. What’s your field?

In his excellent book regarding the life of Jeremiah, To Run With Horses, Eugene Peterson beautifully unpacks the drama of Jeremiah being called to buy a field in the midst of a desperate situation. My thoughts on Jeremiah and hope find their roots in Peterson’s mastery of imagination and words, as well as the Word. If you are looking to find a picture of a life of hope lived in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations, the life of Jeremiah is a good place to begin.

By studying the God of Jeremiah, you may too find the source of his courage to buy the field.

By | 2018-02-19T05:12:10+00:00 February 21st, 2018|

A Quiet Courage

A Quiet Courage by Aimee Joseph

A Quiet Courage by Aimee Joseph

When I think of courage, images of Navy Seals on covert missions come immediately to mind; however, the Apostle Paul wrote about a much broader and more encompassing scope of courage.

The Biblical concept of courage includes unsung humans doing ordinary things out of an extraordinary longing and hope. Thinking through this lens, rather than the Hollywood version, I am beginning to see faces and places of quiet courage all around me. My dear friend raising her four children alone while her husband is deployed and my widowed friends facing life without their lifelong partners live in quiet courage. Likewise, my mom friends who are letting their hard-earned diplomas serve as coasters for a series of sippy cups and my husband’s friends who come home from hard days at work and choose to invest in the lives of their children and youngest men are deeply courageous.

Allow me to unpack and explain.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes about living in burdened, bruised bodies in a broken world as exiles. In this particular part of his second letter to the Corinthian church, he juxtaposes temporary residence in a tent with permanent and secure residence in a home to remind the fledgling Church of their ultimate end. We were made for glorified bodies in the presence of our Glorious Lord, not the tattered bodies and lives we inhabit while we await Christ’s second coming.
Because they were made for more than this earth, Paul reminds them that their longings will betray them every time they attempt to make the raw-hide tent anything more than that.

Paul, who kept up tent-making as a side hustle when ministry support ran low, knew much about tents and had blistered his hands in their production. He, more than anyone, knew of their weaknesses and limitations as compared to a strong edifice that could not be loosened or torn.

As such, Paul draws a picture of stability and security in the Lord’s presence in bodies meant to keep, pulling the heads of the Corinthian believers back up from the grind of life on earth to their glorious inheritance as saints.

Having fixed their longings and gaze back upon the life to come, Paul ushers in the word and concept of courage.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. 2 Corinthians 5:6-9. NAS.

Paul’s context for courage is not limited to the battlefield or sky-diving, but extends to the everyday life of the common Christian. He told the Church then and still tells the Church now that living by faith rather than sight takes great courage. The Christians mode of operation and motto, faith over form, runs counter to that of the world in which we live.

The Greek word tharseo, translated courage, used twice above comes from a root word meaning “bolstered because warmed up,” “strengthened from within.”

The image embedded in this word, being warmed up, softened and stirred to courage, helps me understand how to stay courageous in my common life. I will not be able to courageously live by faith, choosing to forego instant gratification and creature comforts in light of eternal satisfaction with the Lord of all comforts, unless my hearts stays warm and bolstered by the fires of His great love.

The more I sit by the warming love of the Cross, the most obvious representation of His life and promises, the more my heart will be bolstered for the battle that is daily and consistently fighting to walk by faith rather than sight.
It will take a life of settled security in the love of Christ to live the life of quiet courage required of Christians while they live in torn tents, awaiting an eternal edifice.

May we warm ourselves early and often at the hearth of the heart of Christ; may we invite others and even go so far as to labor to bring others to the hearth. May we bolster each other to continue to live lives of quiet courage until we are at home with the Lord.


Recommended Reading

By | 2018-01-31T02:36:32+00:00 September 14th, 2017|

In Barrenness or Bounty

In Barrenness or Bounty by Aimee Joseph

In Barrenness or Bounty by Aimee Joseph

Places have power, especially deeply personal places. There are certain spaces and places that evoke deep emotions for each of us.

To others, a childhood home, a favorite tree or a frequented restaurant may appear to be nothing more any other house, shrub or eatery.

However, as we all know, the commonest of people, places and things take on uncommon meaning when they are ours.

In much the same way, certain Scriptures evoke deep and layered memories and meanings to those who have camped long and often in their locale. My soul has favorite nests and sitting spots, places where I could sit for hours recounting my fears and His faithfulnesses, my tears and His taming presence.

Strangely enough, Micah 7 is one of my soul’s favorite campsites. Even just hearing the reference, my heart beats more quickly, my lungs breathe out a little more deeply. Different pruning seasons in my life, seasons of depression and deep anxiety parade before my memory, escorted by the Lord who brought me bravely out of each season.

It seems a strange campsite to frequent, with its images of woe and weariness, famine and fallow fields. Micah imagines himself a picked over field, all stripped and sapped of its fruitfulness. As one who has lived in the South and seen the quick transformation of a cotton field from a white, fluffy field of life to a barren field of sick sticks, the picture deeply resonates with me.

Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered, as when the grapes have been gleaned; there is no cluster to eat, no first-ripe figs that my soul desires. Micah 7:1.

For all its melancholy, Micah 7 is a field of a hope. I love Micah’s stubbornness and his desire to sit right there, in the middle of a barren and picked over place, waiting for God to come back, brining the life that always accompanies His presence.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy, when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgement for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon His vindication. Micah 7:7-9.

I love Micah’s seasoned confidence, his cries of defiance to anyone who would say he and his field were abandoned. It is as if Micah says, “Think what you will; let my field and I appear to you as they may. My God is committed to me and my field, despite all of our failings and foibles, we are His. He will do what He always does. He will make this field fruitful. I need only sit here and cry out to Him.”

For those of you who find themselves sitting alone in barren fields, may Micah give you hope in the Lord. Jesus, the one who visited the barren earth all broken and ravaged by our sin, was planted on an instrument in death. From that Cross as epicenter, life has been rippling out ever since.

I wrote this poem as a poetic version of Micah 7, one of my soul’s most storied spaces in the Scriptures.

Micah’s Prayer

When the first ripe figs
Lay crushed and rotten,
My sad, starving soul
You’ve not forgotten.

When once fruitful fields
Sit eerily fallow
New depths of soul
You’ll grow and hallow.

When once fertile ground
Hardens like steel,
Your comforting presence
I’ll increasingly feel.

Feverish and fig-less,
I’ll sit down right here.
You’ve sworn in due time
Again You’ll draw near.

Let passerbys laugh
And enemies deride,
For my God shall arise
And return to my side.

Baskets of bounty
With Him He’ll bring.
Then this tired soul
In worship shall sing.

Lord of the Harvest,
In drought I’ll wait,
Knowing You’ll come
Not a moment too late.

Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!


Recommended Reading

By | 2018-01-31T02:36:41+00:00 September 12th, 2017|

The Intolerable Compliment

The Intolerable Compliment by Aimee Joseph

The Intolerable Compliment by Aimee Joseph

We have all received our share of painful compliments ranging from the tame “Wow, you look so much healthier than you used to” to the more potent “Where on earth did your sons get that incredible skin? They clearly did not get that from you.”

But C.S. Lewis had something different in mind when he wrote about the intolerable compliment.

To borrow from Old Testament imagery, God is the potter, painstakingly and patiently, yet powerfully working on us, his lumps of clay. According to Ephesians 2:10, believers are His workmanship, His masterpiece.

Initially, this sounds like a high compliment, as indeed it is. However, if God is an infinite artisan with perfection as His standard, then to be one of His masterpieces can be seen as an intolerable compliment. For He cannot and will not leave well enough alone. He will not cut corners or rush the process to get to the finished product. And, if He has an eternal backdrop in mind, He will not be in a rush or a hurry.

Over the past few weeks, my husband has been working on a pair of mid-century modern chairs. He didn’t start from scratch, but planned on transforming two of the ugliest and largest chairs on the earth into functional and aesthetically pleasing furniture. Quite a tall task, especially considering that he works in our cluttered garage with three small boys underfoot.

Usually I step onto the scene for the finishing and staining after he has done all the hard work; however, this time, motivated by a selfish desire to have chairs to sit on in our living room, I jumped in a little earlier in the process, offering to sand the chair.

For an hour or two, it was just me, the chair and an electric sander. At first, I thoroughly enjoyed the process, as countless layers of veneer and varnish disappeared leaving smooth fresh surfaces. However, as novelty and exhilaration gave way to boredom and exhaustion, I began caring less about the process and rushing to the product.

The corners, crevices, curves and other hard-to-sand places left me frustrated and exposed me as simultaneously hasty and lazy. I just wanted the chairs to be complete; besides, who looks on the underside of arm chairs, anyway?

If I am honest, I often wish God were more like me, rushing to His final product with little regard for the details and quality. I want God to sanctify me, electric-sander-style, sloughing off layers of selfishness in one motion.

Yet, in what Lewis calls the intolerable compliment, God will not treat me as a cheap piece of furniture to be thrown away in a decade. He will treat me as His masterpiece that will live on with Him eternally.

“Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble; he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life – the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child – he will take endless trouble – and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and recommenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were a thumbnail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed us for a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.” The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis.

Just as Jesus used his hands to sand literal pieces of furniture as a carpenter, He continues His carpentry on His sentient masterpieces. With the slow, steady strokes of a Master and the ease of One who is outside time, He will slowly shape and sand His children into those completely made in His likeness. He will not rush the process to get a poorly made product, His intolerable compliment to His children.

When the sandpaper of life and relationships rubs you raw or circumstances grate against your knotty places, know you are being shaped by the scarred hands of the Master who means to make you into His masterpiece. Receive the compliment of His uncomfortable sanctification.


Recommended Reading

By | 2018-01-31T02:36:49+00:00 September 9th, 2017|

Craving a Clothesline

Craving a Clothesline by Aimee Joseph

I’ve been thinking about clotheslines lately. I know that seems odd. Believe me, I love my washer and drier so much that I use them daily. They have become old friends to me. And, while I know the sun is a natural bleaching agent, I am not a big fan of crunchy clothes. So why all the recent craving for a clothesline? Allow me to explain.

I was asked to speak at a women’s event for our church about the need for authentic gospel community. As I was preparing and praying and pondering, the unique isolation that women in our society experience kept burdening my heart and mind. In a day and age more connected to more people through social media and the internet than ever before, why are women, myself included, more isolated and lonely than they have ever been? What is missing? Can we bring it back?

Thus began my craving for a clothesline. I imagine that at the clothesline (or the town market, before that; or the well, before that), women had natural times and places to encounter and connect with other women. I imagine that there were rich laughter, tears, and conversations between women of different ages and stages at the clotheslines: burdens shared, marital hardships discussed, fears assuaged. I am also fairly certain that there was also a fair amount of gossip peppered in there, as women are women, good, bad and ugly.

As it stands in modern society, no clothesline remains, physically or metaphorically. Many women are, to use the timeless words of Thoreau, “living lives of quiet desperation.” They need a place to be real, to be raw, to meet with other women who have gone before them and can coach them through the stages of life.

Oftentimes, we look at the modern situation (the post-Christian situation, the post-modern situation, whatever you term it), and quake in fear for the Church, as if She is going out of style, as if She will be relegated to the history books. However, in each age, the Church remains relevant and deeply needed if She preaches and points to her Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Each age provides unique challenges and opportunities for the Church to be the Church.

The Church has a unique opportunity to be the clothesline and to create clothesline environments for women. The Cross of Christ provides the safest place for women to come broken, undone and wounded to other women. The Cross truly is the place where we can hang our dirty clothes and our unmentionables. The gospel alone can cut through the cattiness and comparison that pollute and discolor the friendships of women. The gospel levels the playing field and brings us all the clothesline of Christ with our hampers of stained clothes, not to compare and spy out the deep stains of our neighbors in an effort to make ourselves feel better, but to trade them in for like robes of righteousness.

In an age of selfies and Insta-competition and keeping up with a thousand Joneses rather than the traditional two on either side of you, the Church has an incredible opportunity. The Church has the chance to introduce women to other women in a uniquely intergenerational way, in a real flesh-and-blood presence way.

The Church can set up the clotheslines (and many have), but the clotheslines do no good if we don’t come honestly and vulnerably in the transparency that the Gospel allows. So, put down the phone, turn off the TV and bring your dirty laundry to the clothesline of Christ. Deep healing and presence are there. There is always room for more.


Recommended Reading

By | 2018-01-31T02:38:43+00:00 August 21st, 2017|

A Mid-summer Day’s Confession

A Mid-summer Day’s Confession by Aimee Joseph

Mid-summer checkpoint: We have done the beach and the bay and the lazy mornings. We have stayed up late and eaten more popsicles. On the outside, all is well, but my soul has not been well.

Through self-pity and comparison, which have been on a low, silent simmer for a few weeks now, I have allowed sin to insidiously seep into our summer.

Rather than be filled with joy for my friends, I have envied them their exotic vacations and neighborhood pools. I have bought the lies of picture perfection yet again without realizing it, imagining that there are no sibling spats and errant attitudes in your homes. As such, I have felt ashamed at my own irritability with my dear but far-from-perfect children. Rather than confess it quickly, I have heaped on “What’s wrong with me and them?” shame.

I have allowed the combination of lower structure and higher time with my crew to distort my vision of my children. Rather than seeing their strengths and wise choices, I have had a magnifying glass on their weaknesses. This distorted vision starts with the way I wrongly imagine God views me.
Somehow this summer, I have slowly forgotten that Our Heavenly Father doesn’t wear sin-magnifying shades, but looks upon us through the lenses of love He has for His perfect Son.

In the midst of trying to find a perfect formula for lowering screen time and raising reading, decreasing grumpiness and heightening fun, I have minimized His grace and maximized my contribution. As such, by mid-summer, I have come to the end of my own small storerooms of patience, peace and joy. Thankfully, He has silos upon silos of these commodities to offer me when I come to Him in repentance and rest.

In the likely event that there exists another introverted momma who craves structure and alone time and has wearied herself trying to create a memorable summer for her chilren on a tight budget without air conditioning, I would love to lead us through Psalm 32.

Psalm 32 is a well-worn trail through the narrow places confession to the broad spaces of comfort and consolation at the Cross. David deeply loved God but was not immune to seasonal sin patterns; throughout his life, he got tripped up in the same way, as seen in the repeated introduction to his slippery slopes, “In the spring when the kings went off to war, David…” (2 Samuel 11:1; 1 Chronicles 20:1).

David’s feet knew ruts of unrighteousness but they also learned ruts of righteousness through repentance, Psalm 32 being one of those paths that lead us to Christ.

Blessed is the one whose trangression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. …I acknowledged my sin to you and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgression to the Lord and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”….Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found.
Psalm 32:1 & 5-6.

It is not a lack of sin that separates the godly from the ungodly; rather, it is the acknowledgement, uncovering and confession of sin that delineate the two. Both groups struggle with a chronic sin-sickness, but only the godly drag that struggle into the shadow of the Cross.

I am not surprised by my sin, but I am continually shocked at how long it takes me to honestly call it sin and bring myself exposed to God through Christ. When I come to Him in such naked vulnerability, He quickly covers me in His abundant blankets of forgiveness and grace.

When, and only when, I am warmed by His grace, I am able to offer forgiveness and warmth to my children and those in my flock.

After dumping the slow buildup of summer’s sin at the Cross, I am ready to face the rest of the summer in His strength rather than my own. While cirucmstances may not have changed and our scenery will likely not change, my heart is changed and renewed by a fresh reapplication of His grace. We mommas know sunscreen has to be reapplied double-time in the summer; may we know that the same is true of God’s undeserved grace.


Recommended Books

By | 2018-01-31T02:38:47+00:00 August 18th, 2017|

A Word to the Worried

A Word to the Worried by Aimee Joseph

If worrying were a field of study, I would have received an honorary doctorate by now. I have been perfecting the art of worrying as long as I can remember. I packed emergency survival kits for small outings by day and planned elaborate fire escape routes for various scenarios by night. When my wild and crazy Grandmother took her five grandchildren on a trip to Niagra Falls, I spent the entire trip worrying my baby sister would plummet down. What can I say, I am a natural.

While not everyone is as skilled in the art of catastrophic thinking, every human experiences worry to some degree. Whether our fears our highly implausible or rather probable, worry wearies our hearts and pulls us away from the present and into the unknown future.

When worries begin to decimate the peace Christ has purchased for me at a great cost, I camp out in Psalm 37. The word translated fret, laced throughout the Psalm, literally means to kindle a fire. Those of us skilled at worrying are fully aware that passing sparks and embers of worry, if not snuffed out and suffocated quickly, will indeed light a wildfire in the soul.

The Psalmist calls us to dwell in the present reality, whatever that may be. He bids us to lay off the fretting and lean into trusting the Lord. Rather than imagining scenarios (most of which will not happen), he invites us to keep ourselves busy by doing tangible good in our current circumstances.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him, fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices. Psalm 37:3-7.

The phrase befriend faithfulness can be translated, “Feed on truth” or “Feed on faithfulness.” Rather than letting uncertain fears be our food, we are called to feed on the certain truths of God’s word. Claim His promises and His character rather than allowing fear to claim your peace.

The Hebrew word translated dwell in this psalm is the Old Testament equivalent to the Greek word meno in the New Testament. Both carry the same range of meaning: dwell in, settle down into, abide in, take permanent lodging and abode within.

Roll around in the field of God’s faithfulness. Nestle down into the now in which God has providentially placed you.


Recommended Books

By | 2018-01-31T02:40:34+00:00 August 14th, 2017|


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