Father’s Day Gifts that Support Christian Families

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The older I get, the more I pay attention to where my dollars are spent.

Yes, there was a time in my life when I relied on the dollar store for cleaning supplies, and I am not trying to discourage people from shopping at big box stores like Wal-Mart— especially those who rely on it for their livelihood.

But for those of us who have just a little extra in the budget each month for things like Father’s Day gifts, we can choose who we support with each dollar we spend.

I have always wanted to put my dollars towards Christian small businesses, because the more resources we get into the hands of Christians, the more we can do for the Kingdom.

And since I became a Christian small business a few months ago, I am painfully aware of how hard the role of small business owner can be.

So if you have a Christian father (or are married to a Christian man), pour yourself a cup of coffee and browse these six options to see if there is something he would love!

1. BRITT+CO: LEATHER BIBLES

Britt has a “My Story” tab on her site that introduces her as a Jesus-loving gal who comes from a handy family and how she started this company using her leather-working talent to create quality items with God’s glory as her why. Click here to read her story!

Father’s Day Gift Idea for Christian Dads: Brit and Co Leather Bible
From top to bottom: Dark Willow, Sienna, Aspen

The three Bibles shown here are standard text Bibles wrapped in her hand-tooled leather, but she also offers the service of Bible restoration! If your dad’s Bible is falling apart, you can ship it to her and have her bind it with her gorgeous leather so that it is good as new. Click here to be taken to her Bible restoration services.

Father’s Day Gift Idea: Leather Keychain from Brit & Co
These are the Adler mini keychains for $15

If you are on a tight budget, I find her leather keychains to be a simple token that every dad could use and love.

Britt tells me that you can get 10% off your order between now and Father’s Day by using the code FATHERSDAY at checkout, and that orders placed before June 13 will arrive in time for Father’s Day.

2. THE STONE AND THE OAK: CHRISTIAN APPAREL

Hey-o! This is my shop!

I created His Wear in response to Luke 9.26: “if anyone is ashamed of me or of my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of him.”

My response? We are His, and we are not ashamed.

The His logo is written in my handwriting, and I feel very passionate about proudly pronouncing our relationship with our Lord. To read a bit more about the creation of His Wear, click here to be taken to the blog post I wrote on it.

Though some of the items in my shop are more female-oriented, but I do have unisex items as well.

In fact, I pulled the two items favorited by men and created a Father’s Day bundle at a deep discount:

The Aaron hat has a genuine leather patch and trucker-style adjustability; the Jordan hoodie is a medium weight with soft fleece lining.

Individually, the Aaron leather-patched hat runs $36 and the Jordan hoodie in saddle tan runs $38, which makes for a $74 value. But from now until Father’s Day, you can get both for $45 with flat-rate shipping ($29 off!)

Click here to shop the Father’s Day bundle.

3. SPARROW SOAPS: MEN’S COLLECTION

Sparrow Soaps is a family goat farm in Connecticut that uses raw goat’s milk to create the most beautiful bars of soap I have ever seen.

When I featured Sparrow Soaps in the Mother’s Day Gift Guide, I took advantage of their Earth Day sale and bought three bars of soap.

Let me tell you that their soap is so nourishing and luxurious.

My husband’s and my favorite bar of soap was from their men’s collection: Mountain Man. I steal some every time I shower!

Father’s Day gift idea for Christian dads: Sparrow Soaps  Men’s Collection

Though they are running low on Mountain Man stock, they have 11 manly scents that are great for dads:

  • Rugged
  • Hunter
  • Brew
  • Tobacco and Bay Leaf
  • Kentucky Bourbon
  • Sportsman
  • Shave & a Haircut
  • GT350
  • Hickory Suede
  • Sandalwood
  • Elements
Father’s  Day gift ideas for Christian dads:  Sparrow Soaps Men’s Collection

Sparrow Soaps will be running a Father’s Day special on their gift sets of four! Click here to be taken to their Instagram page to be notified when the sale hits!

4. TWO CITIES COFFEE: BAGS OF BEANS & COFFEE SUBSCRIPTIONS

If your dad or husband is a coffee lover, why not treat him to some of the best around?

Two Cities coffee is a local (Fresno/Clovis) coffee company owned by the Reeves family, and having met Rick and Yoli I can tell you that they are really great people.

Father’s Day  gift idea: gift card to local coffee shop Two Cities

Check out their mission as listed on their site:

We give a portion of the proceeds from every bag of coffee you purchase to Medical Ministries International (MMI), a local non-profit organization in Clovis, CA that sends medical supplies and equipment to those in need in communities around the world. MMI also runs short-term medical clinics, constructs long-term clinic facilities in various countries, and meets some local medical needs right here in Fresno County

LOCAL OPTION

Two Cities has a sweet little shop in downtown Clovis, and when it’s time to get myself a treat, I absolutely love their spicy chili mocha! I have even used Two Cities for the drinks during my Sips & Scripts conversations last year:

So if you are local to the area, consider stopping by for a gift card for Dad.

SHIPPED OPTION

For those who aren’t local, Two Cities offers flat-rate shipping on their high-quality bags of coffee, and they even offer the gift that keeps on giving: a monthly coffee subscription!

Father’s Day gift ideas: gourmet coffee from Two Cities Coffee Roasters

Click here to be taken to the ordering page for the bags and the monthly coffee subscription.

5. MYST: Men’s Essentials

Newly-opened, Myst is owned by a young married couple, Daniel and Caroline Williams. I met Caroline through the Joyful Life magazine, and she is a boymom like me— and just such a sweetheart.

And check out their showstopper, the Element Watch, which in the completely inappropriate French of my husband, “this watch is bad***!”

Father’s Day gift idea: the rustic Element watch that can be used outdoors
Coming in at $89, the Element Watch is rustic and polished all at once

This watch is classy enough for a night at a nice restaurant, but it can be worn in outdoor adventures as well, because it’s WATERPROOF! Game changer.

Father’s Day gift idea : genuine leather wallet from Myst

Or if your guy needs a slimmer alternative to a bulky, overstuffed wallet, check out this sleek leather card carrier, the Kearney.

I have a feeling this company is only getting started! Click here to be taken to the Myst Instagram page.

6. DAVID RUTHERFORD: THE G.I. JOE OF GENESIS BOOK

Lead Pastor David Rutherford at our church, CrossCity Christian Church, has just released his first book, the G.I. Joe of Genesis.

Father’s Day gift idea: a book on Joseph

This book is written in a folksy, easy-to-read style, but don’t let the folksiness fool you. It is packed with Biblical truth as Pastor David unpacks the trials of Joseph, exhorting us to follow his examples. And he includes his own personal trials which makes reading this book feel like you are sitting down to coffee with a friend/mentor. An inspirational read at a very reasonable price.

ORDER ON AMAZON

The quickest way to get your Dad a copy of the G.I. Joe of Genesis is to click here to place an Amazon order (or even get him the Kindle edition if he’s a Kindle guy!)

But if you are interested in having me wrangle up a signed copy, send me an email at thestoneandtheoak@iCloud.com by June 10th and I will see what I can do!


I hope you found something that will delight dad while simultaneously giving a Christian family a boost.

I will be doing stories over on my Instagram account to spotlight each of these shops over the next two weeks, so click here so we can become Instagram friends and I can notify you if any of these shops have additional discounts!

We love because He first loved us, friends.

with His love,

Adelaide

I’ve been busy! Recent work roundup

Has my blog seemed quiet lately? I know it seems like that, but I have been a busy little bee this month! (Emphasis on little— you guys know I am 5’2” if I stand up really tall).

Here are some of the projects and articles I have been working on (with links!)

TWYLA FRANZ’S GRATITUDE SERIES

I was able to be a guest writer over at Twyla Franz’s blog The Uncommon Normal. She has been doing a beautiful series on year-round gratitude called Begin Within, and I was able to contribute some thoughts on lessening anxiety with gratitude. Click here to read my article on Twyla’s blog.

THE SPRING/SUMMER LINE OF HIS WEAR LAUNCHED

As the weather warms, out come the tees— the supersoft tees that claim our identity in Christ. His Wear was born out of my love for clothing and Luke 9.26.

The message is simple: we are His and we are not ashamed.

The shop now has three new items for sale, and purchases come with a free reclaimed wood keychain (while supplies last).

Click here to access the shop, and for being a blog reader, go ahead and use the code STOAKED25 to take 25% off your purchase.

READING PLAN

The books on the docket for spring are the four of the Torah that I have not yet read. My goal is to thoughtfully consider these four books before June 22nd.

A MOTHER’S DAY DIY AND SERVING LIKE JESUS

The definition of a mother is “one who nurtures life.” There are likely many people in your life who don’t fit the traditional definition of mother, but who work hard to nurture life (super aunts, moms of furry babies, and gardeners). These mothers deserve some recognition on Mother’s Day as well.

Over at the Joyful Life Magazine’s blog (click the image or here) I wrote up a piece on how to serve these nurturers like Jesus by making a lemon rosemary sugar scrub and maybe even treating her to a foot washing.


OUR PASTOR’S BOOK LAUNCH

Earlier this month, Pastor David Rutherford released his first book, The G.I. Joe of Genesis about how the life of Joseph can inspire us to hold fast to God during trying times.

Written in a folksy, easy-to-read style, Pastor David presents deep, impactful truths about the character known as the Jesus of the Old Testament.

In unpacking Joseph’s incredible faith in the midst of God’s complex plan, he also weaves in stories of his own life to exemplify the way the hero of Genesis relates to all of us.

Click here to order The G.I. Joe of Genesis on Amazon.


All caught up! Typically, I send out updates via email, so if you are interested in getting my monthly newsletter (it comes with early access into the giveaways), drop your email here:

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with His love,

Adelaide


Amazon link disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, any links to products on Amazon may earn me a commission at no extra cost to you. Please note: you never have to use my links, and I do not recommend anything that I don’t endorse 100%.

Let’s Support Christian Small Shops this Mother’s Day

I first put together this guide in April of 2020 when small shops were hit hard by the pandemic. And I found myself enjoying the process of curating creative Christian products so much (say curating creative Christian 3x fast) —- in fact, I even got to know some of the shop owners.

And though I had no idea of it then, but I have since become a Christian small shop owner myself.

So I will present 8 wonderful, faith-based shops with items mom will love, and then I’ll introduce my spring line of items in the Stone & the Oak shop.

WHICH SHOPS WILL PROSPER?

I will never try to convince you that you need to accumulate more things on this earth. Jesus reminds us to store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy.

That being said, when we do purchase items—say, a gift for mom—we can be mindful of where our dollars are going.

Where we place our dollars is like casting a vote for what companies will prosper.

If we put our money towards Christian-based shops, we are helping those Christian shop owners prosper which will give them more resources to do good works for our Lord.

Am I saying that we should never shop at big-box stores? Not at all. I am fully aware that many consumers have limited budgets and options when it comes to their purchases. Big box stores are a blessing in those cases.

But if you do have the resources to shop small, consider buying your Mother’s Day gift from a Christian small shop this year..

I’ll tell you a little more about each one of the nine I’ve included here:

1. Hills and Valleys Studio: hand-embroidered gifts

Kelleigh is a fiber artist in Mesa, Arizona, and I have been blessed to get to know her better through Instagram! We even did a joint giveaway with one rainbow and a crewneck sweatshirt from my shop.

Each piece that Kelleigh makes is unique, and you can tell by the pictures that she has been focusing on rainbows in her recent work.

If you know a mom who has a rainbow baby (a baby born after a pregnancy loss), these beautiful hand-embroidered hoops are a sweet way to celebrate God’s faithfulness.

Mother’s Day gift for rainbow babies
From Hills and Valleys Studio on Instagram

She does have an ETSY shop (click here to access) but she says most of her inventory is listed on her Instagram page @hillsandvalleys_studios (click here). Head over to her account, and find her story highlight that says “for sale.”

from @hillsandvalleys_studios on Instagram

Be sure to purchase by Friday, April 23rd to get your handmade item by Mother’s Day.

2. Pretty Little Pots : handmade ceramic gifts

Canadian friends, here is one for you! Kerri hand-makes all of her mugs, bowls, and planters in her Canadian shop. But American friends, she’s got you covered as well with shipping to the US.

I love this bowl from her spring line that includes that sweet French Country pattern… so darling!

French Country Pottery for Mother’s Day Gifts
Click the image to shop

And if you have a mom who loves the farmhouse aesthetic, maybe she needs this mug for her morning coffee:

Farmhouse Mug for Mom
Click the image to shop

Kerri says the last day to order for delivery by Mother’s Day is April 25th in America, and the last day to order in Canada is April 30th.

Click here to follow Kerry on Instagram, and click here to be taken to the Etsy shop with the rest of her inventory.

3. She Pens Truth: watercolor gifts

Maggie Greenway really does it all: writing Bible studies, painting beautiful watercolors, and running her She Pens Truth shop.

Last year, I did Maggie’s study on Philippians, and we have been Instagram pals ever since (click here to follow her on Instagram).

She creates beautiful prints and gifts from her watercolors, and one of my favorite items in her shop is a set of stationary cards with encouraging verses:

Click the image to shop this notecard set

But you are getting a sneak peek here at her special Mother’s Day gift series:

  • Original watercolors in the Floral Encouragement series. The painting is 4×6″ and comes in these lovely floating frames.
  • The Floral Encouragement series is also available in a set of prints with wooden holder (perfect for a desk).
  • For a budget-friendly option, she is launching a couple new sticker designs from that same series (great for mom’s refillable water bottle)

Starting Thursday (the 14th) at 4pm PST, Maggie will be launching this special Mother’s Day line via her shop. Click here to be taken to her shop.

Want 15% off? Click here (and scroll all the way down) to get on Maggie’s email list to get a coupon for her Mother’s Day Market (Thursday the 15th after 4pm through Sunday the 18th).

All of her items will be ready to ship, so she can accept domestic orders until May 1st.

4. Dandelions in December: pressed floral jewelry and gifts

Shiela is an artisan who uses resin to preserve treasures from nature. She is known for her preserved floral jewelry items that come in several different casings.

Sheila likes to include references to scripture in her works as well. She has several pendants that include a mustard seed to represent Jesus’ reminder that even a little bit of faith can change everything.

Last year she collaborated with Natalie, from Vintage Porch, to create a necklace inspired by the verse: “Truly, I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move” Matthew 17.20

If you find her on Instagram (click here), you will see she has been playing around with making pressed flower cottages and churches!

Send her a DM on Instagram to inquire about purchasing one of those adorable new creations.

Sheila tells me that all orders placed by April 23rd will arrive in time for Mother’s Day.

5. Birch Fine Tea: gourmet loose-leaf teas

As a tea-drinker myself, I would love to have a specialty loose-leaf tea gifted to me (hello lavender earl grey).

And if your mom is a tea drinker, this makes deciding what to get her really easy!

from @birchfinetea on Instagram

Based out of North Carolina, Birch Fine Tea offers gourmet specialty teas in 2oz increments. Most bags run between $9-$15 Check out their collection of teas on their website.

From @birchfinetea on Instagram

Imagine a bag of special tea paired with a sweet little tea steeper. Steeper? Ok, I just looked it up — tea infuser.

And give them a follow on Instagram as well (click here).

6. Antique Candle Co: hand-poured soy candles

I don’t think I can state enough just how much I love this company! I have been a customer of Antique Candle Co for a few years now, and I was drawn to it because the company keeps Christ at the center of its narrative.

The founder of the company, Brittany, started this company with $200 worth of candle making supplies and faith. Six years later, she employs a team of 30+ employees who hand-pour each candle in Lafayette, IN. They use domestic soybeans and non-toxic fragrance oils to ensure a quality product.

I use the candles in almost all of my giveaways, and I have a rotating selection of my own favorites.

They are seasonally-driven, so expect fresh, fruity scents in the spring and summer and warm, cozy scents for the fall and winter.

They recently launched lemon eucalyptus and pink grapefruit which both sound so incredibly refreshing!

Click the image and select “new fragrances” to shop Lemon Eucalyptus and Pink Grapefruit

On their website they do run occasional sales, and they offer 15% off your first order if you subscribe to their email list.

The antique part of their name comes from their practice of finding antique treasures (tins and copper vessels) and filling them with soy candle goodness. Each antique find runs more than the mason jar prices above, but you may just score a tin that strikes nostalgia with your mom:

Find the full collection at Antiquecandleco.com and click here to follow their Instagram where they keep Christ at the center of their mission.

7. Sparrow Soaps

Sparrow soaps is a family goat farm in Connecticut that uses the raw goat milk to create the most beautiful bars of soap I have ever seen.

They are always posting pictures of their cute kids and friendly goats over on their Instagram page: @sparrowsoaps.

Image from their Instagram (click to be taken there)
Image from their Instagram (click to be taken there)

Individual bars run $7 a piece plus shipping, but they have lots of sets for sale at a great deal:

Click the image to shop this set of 6 for only $18

And did you know goatsmilk soap is incredibly nourishing for the skin? Another gift to pamper mom.

Here’s a link to their website for ordering. Orders placed by May 2nd should be delivered in time for Mother’s Day.

8. Jenna Makes Jewelry: handmade earrings

Locals to Clovis and Fresno, this one hits home! I met Jenna through my church (she has even babysit my little ones before), and she makes the most lovely statement earrings which I find to be well below market value.

I have purchased one set for a friend, but I have my eye on that yellow pair (shall I get a Mother’s Day present for myself?!)

Click image to shop these yellow beauties

The guiding verse for Jenna’s shop is “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Songs 4.7).

Click here to shop Jenna’s Etsy site, and click here to give her a follow on Instagram.

Jenna says you can order online until April 30th and until May 5th for local pick-up orders (hello last minute gifting!)

9. the Stone & the Oak: Christian apparel

It would be weird to create a smallshop guide and not include my own smallshop, right?

I started the line of His wear to funnel my love of clothing into something fruitful for Him. The line is based on Luke 9.26, and if you want to read more about how the shop came to be click here to read the blog post about the origin.

Click image to be taken to the shop

I am thrilled that I have been able to create items for the warm spring and summer seasons!

Though the professional pics are coming, here is an early look at the items:

The Lucca tee (white V neck) and the Landyn tee (the sea mist crewneck)

I test the shirts before I order them because I am only interested in super soft, comfortable shirts— no scratchy shirts here!

The Anne (circle patch) and the Aaron (square patch) are trucker-style caps with hand-stitched leather patches

If you are interested in become a His Wear promoter, click here to be taken to my Instagram and DM me to get 50% off the new shirts and 40% off the new hats in exchange for promotion on social media.

If you want to sneak into the shop and snag some spring items before the official spring launch (4/26), click here.

Orders placed by May 1st should arrive in time for Mother’s Day.


I hope this list inspired you to get your mom something special while also supporting a Christian smallshop.

Love hard on those mamas this year— especially those you haven’t seen in person in too long— like my own.

with His love,

Adelaide

Sips & Scripts: Christians, Talk to your Teens about Sex

This is Brenna.

Her drink is a matcha blueberry latte.

Though the cross-country time difference made it tricky to schedule (and my swirling #momlife didn’t make that any easier), Brenna and I finally found a pocket of time to sit down in our respective states (Pennsylvania and California) and chat about something very near and dear to her heart: informing teens about sex.

Brenna found it easiest to tell her story chronologically so no event would be left out.

Every step of the way she would add a phrase like, “I wish I would have known” or “I was never taught about…” and she concludes with the idea that hard conversations can really help prepare our youth for issues of sex.

BRENNA’S FIRST INTRODUCTION TO THE CONCEPT OF SEX WAS NOT IDEAL

“In fourth grade, when my school had the first class on puberty and the developing body for girls, I was the only girl who was not able to attend. My mom pulled me out and I had to go watch a dinosaur movie with the boys.

My mom was well-meaning; she wanted to be the one to teach me about sex. But my mom underestimated just how early kids learn about sex from peers these days.

Before she got a chance to teach me anything, a classmate showed me her ‘sex bracelets’— meaning, she earned one for each different act of sex she had performed.

So though my mom had the best intentions, I still ended up learning about sex from school.

I love my mom and I understand her reasoning, but I wish she and I could have had honest conversations about sex at that age.”

BRENNA LEARNED A TRUTH ABOUT SEX THAT UPSET HER

“Years later, as a teen in high school, my mom and I were watching a show about a sexually active teenager.

I asked my mom point-blank if she waited for marriage to have sex.

What followed was a long, uncomfortable pause when a parent is trying to figure out how to respond.

She finally revealed that though she only had sex with my dad, they did not wait for marriage.

I was so upset that I ran to my room and slammed the door. She was telling me to do something that she didn’t do herself.

Of course, my mom’s rationale was that she didn’t want me to repeat her mistake. But by hiding the fact, I felt betrayed.

I wish she would have told me her story and then told me why she wanted something different for me. If she brought me in on the guilt that accompanied premarital sex, then I would have understood her decision so much better.”

BRENNA STILL DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT CONSTITUTED SEX

“Without any information, I went into relationships with boys with the understanding that only traditional intercourse was sex and everything else was fair game.

So I engaged in the other ‘bases,’ like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, as long as I didn’t make it to ‘home base,’ if you know what I mean.

I had no concept of the idea of purity, because I never had discussions about it and how I should honor God with my sexual purity.”

BRENNA MAKES HER FIRST INTENTIONAL SEXUAL DECISION

“In my early twenties, I had a Christian boyfriend who intended to marry me. Our physical relationship progressed to the point of having sex. He asked me if I wanted to, and I said yes, and we did.

But what followed was a palpable guilt, like a fly buzzing around my ear—it never left me.”

We inevitably broke up because I was seven years younger and not as ready for marriage as he was, and I left that relationship feeling damaged.”

ONCE THE DAMAGE IS DONE…

“Once I felt like the damage could not be undone, I just leaned into sexuality.

I had a one-night-stand.

I was confronted with intense feelings of arousal that I had no idea how to navigate.

I had no tools or information at the ready for what to do with these powerful sexual urges.

I wish someone would have talked to me about temptation and the struggle of sexual desire— it is really powerful.

People in the church, or at least my church, don’t talk about things like sexual temptation or masturbation.

I felt entirely pinned down— Satan had his leverage on me. He filled my head with lies. He told me that I chose sex instead of God, and that it was too late. I lived with these condemning thoughts.

And strangely, once I found myself in victimhood, I just kind of stayed there.”

BUT STILL, THE HOLY SPIRIT PERSISTED

“In one of my final sexual relationships, I had a boyfriend who pressured me to have sex with him often.

I was hearing that fly buzz again— the Holy Spirit telling me not to do it— and I told him I was wanting to pull back on sex.

His response was that he expected sex, he needed sex, and he deserved sex from his girlfriend. When I told him I didn’t want to do it, he would respond that he was going to resort to porn if I didn’t.

I asked him if he wanted to go to a Christian counselor with me. He refused.

And the conviction of the Holy Spirit just kept getting stronger to the point in which I couldn’t ignore it. The Holy Spirit would even send me the verse from 1 Corinthians 6 as I was having sex ‘flee from this! Flee from this!’ This issue with sex finally broke us up.”

AN ADVERSE RELATIONSHIP WITH SEX AND TIME TO SEEK HELP

“I wanted to never have sex ever again. I was traumatized. Was my ex right? Would every guy I meet need sex to be in a relationship with me?

My experience was not aligning with the famous verse on love being patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13).

I sought Christian counseling through my church, and I was starting to gain insight on sex and relationships.

I also found some incredibly helpful books on sex, and finally I was getting the information I wish I had received as a pre-teen.

The first book that really helped me was Christian Sex Ed by Dane Fragger who used to struggle with porn and masturbation and how he found his way to purity. He includes lots of psychology in his book in addition to scripture.”

Christian Sex  Ed
Note when using these book links that I am an Amazon affiliate

“The second book that really helped me is Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom who discusses her own experience with purity and what she learned in her own sexual relationship with her husband.”

Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot
Note when using this book link that I am an Amazon affiliate

Finally feeling equipped with the information and spiritual guidance to accompany the Holy Spirit’s nudgings, Brenna wants others to avoid the mistakes she made.

BRENNA’S ADVICE TO PARENTS

“Parents, talk to your kids early. Earlier than you think you have to.

I know many parents think their kids don’t need to know about sex because they are certain their kids will wait for marriage. This is a noble, Godly goal and I hope the number of youth who make it to marriage increases.

But temptation will still occur even for those who are determined to wait.

Misinformation can still harm those who are determined to wait.

Teens need spiritual equipment on what to do if they are pressured or tempted to have sex.

Information is key no matter the intentions.”

BRENNA’S ADVICE TO TEENS

“To the young people out there, I want to say: sex is not love. Sex outside of marriage can have so many damaging results and God is trying to protect you with his law.

Talk to your parents about your sexual feelings and experiences no matter how awkward it may be. Those conversations have power. Pray together.

When you enter a relationship, be honest and upfront at the beginning about what you expect and where the lines are drawn.

If you mess up, deal with it in the right way with repentance and counseling. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen or live in a state of victimhood.

Ask tough questions in church. If your church isn’t willing to talk about it, find a pastor who will.”

CONNECT WITH BRENNA

Brenna has just launched a podcast called “Beyond Just Christian” with an aim to help bring more candor and honesty to the world of Christianity. Here is the episode where she talks about her experiences with sex. You can also find her on Instagram.

TWO VERSES TO HOLD FAST

Brenna is comforted by Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

“In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul writes, ‘Let love be your highest goal,’ though American culture might try to teach us to ‘Let sex be your highest goal.’ Sexual feelings are temporary and not long-lasting. Love is. If you replace love with sex, it will absolutely back-fire on you.”

Brenna left me with the a final verse that the Holy Spirit whispered to her in her darkest moments of temptation:

Run from sexual sin. No other sin clearly affects the body as much as this one does for sexual immorality is a sin against the body. Don’t you realize that your body is a temple that the Holy Spirit lives in and was given to you by God? For God bought you at a high price so you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Indeed we were purchased for a high price, dear friends. And one way to honor God is through our sexual purity— though that means different things for the unmarried versus the married— we all can choose to honor Him with our bodies.

with His love,

Adelaide

Here I Am: the Curious Phrase in the Abraham and Isaac Tale

“Mommy, the juice spilled.”

I’m here.

“Mommy, I need help with my Lego set.”

I’m here.

Mommy, I can’t find my other shoe.

I’m here.

Mom, I am feeling confused about something my friend said and I need to talk to you.

Here I am.

Do you see the shift? “I’m here” is literal: I am present.

“Here I am” is something more. Yes, the physical presence is indicated, but a willingness, an offering of self is also swelling in that phrase.

LEARNING THE PHRASE HINENI

I discovered I’m here/here I am difference when the Holy Spirit had me pause in my reading of Genesis in chapter 22.

Parents, you know the one.

When Abraham has to lug his own son—the one rightful heir who was meant to father multiple nations— up a mountain to be slaughtered by his own hand?

I don’t know about you, but every time I read this, I silently pray, “please, God, never test me to this extent.”

Something leapt out at me (again, through the Holy Spirit) as I was reading this passage:

Abraham repeats one phrase three times: “Here I am” or hineni in Hebrew.

I did a little digging online, and I found the distinction I mentioned earlier: hineni is not merely presence. In Hebrew to indicate mere presence, someone says Po ani (I also saw this phrase as ani Po).

But hineni carries connotations of submission: I am ready, willing, and able to serve you. To use an idiom, hineni means “I am at your service.”

HINENI IN RESPONSE TO GOD

Let’s examine the three mentions of hineni.

Rightly, Abraham uses hineni when God calls his name to give him this test:

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him ‘Abraham!’ And he said ‘Here I am.’ He said ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall tell you.

Genesis 22.1-2, ESV

When God calls Abraham’s name, Abraham is ready and willing to do whatever comes next.

And what came next was absolutely heart-wrenching. Take note of how many qualifications are used in that phrase: your son, your only son, whom you love.

God is emphasizing just how great of a sacrifice this will be for Abraham.

If you are a parent, you know that this request is as unthinkably as it gets. As if the stakes could get any higher, there is the added sacrifice of Abraham’s legacy. If Isaac dies, so does his progeny.

But Abraham does no hemming, no hawing. The offer of hineni, or “Here I am” means— I turn myself over to you.

The offer of hineni, or “Here I am” means— I turn myself over to you.

If a mark of obedience is the haste with which it is performed, then Abraham scores the highest marks in obedience.

The very next verse tells us that “So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac” (22.3).

Can you imagine the tightness in Abraham’s chest? Was his stomach flipping itself this way and that as they silently walked up a mountain in the early morning sunlight? But he forged ahead.

HINENI A SECOND TIME

A curious interchange happens between Abraham and Isaac before they reach the top.

Isaac breaks the (implied) silence with “My father!” And Abraham responds with hineni Beni “Here I am, my son.”

He uses the same phrase that he would use in respect to God. Not “what do you want?” Or “be quiet—we are almost there” or “well, you should have gone to the bathroom before we left!”

No. He speaks to his son with the tenderness and respect that this phrases carries.

Why is this notable?

The use of this phrase indicates how much he loves his son.

For anyone who might try and argue that this experience for Abraham is the same as schlepping a goat up the mountain — just a means to an end— is sorely mistaken. No, this is deeply personal. Even in what would be Isaac’s final hours of life, Abraham speaks to him with the tenderness and honor that only a loving father would.

This phrase emphasizes the sacrifice. He loves Isaac so very much, but his love for God is even greater still.

A HINENI UTTERED WITH RELIEF

And to give this tale beautiful shape, the resolution holds one final Hineni.

As Isaac is bound, and Abraham is holding the knife (is it poised for striking?), an angel appears and calls Abraham’s name twice in a manner that suggests frenzy: “Abraham! Abraham!”

And what does he respond? Hineni. If the first hineni were out of submission, and the second out of tenderness, I have to imagine this final utterance is brimming with hope and relief.

The angel calls Abraham to a halt, and in a nearby thicket is a ram to be offered instead of Isaac.

DO WE RESPOND HINENI IN OUR CALLINGS?

I couldn’t help but scan my recent callings from God to see if I was responding in a manner of hineni: I am yours for the taking, Lord.

Did I respond with hineni when He asked me to bring up the gospel to the young mother I just met?

Did I respond with hineni when He asked me to stop advertising during Lent?

Did I respond with hineni when He asked me to send a tee shirt to someone I know is struggling?

My answer is often, “okay, God, soon I will.” But I can’t imagine that God is pleased by the answer “soon.” He wants the complete offering of hineni— the abandonment of self-centered comforts, desires, and timeline.

Again, it was the immediacy and the no-looking-back dedication with which Abraham responded that makes him such a faithful servant.

And we know how the story ends. Isaac is spared, and God declares to Abraham:

I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the seashore… and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.

Genesis 22. 17-18, ESV (emphasis mine)

God values obedience. God rewards obedience. Here I am, Lord.

with His love,

Adelaide