What a year it’s been for Today’s Christian Woman! As 2014 comes to a close and as we each gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ, our TCW editorial team also wants to take a moment to pause and celebrate the amazing work of God in and through this publication. We’re pausing this week to look back over the many powerful stories and life-changing articles that have graced our pages and to celebrate that very thing: the grace of God. It’s the grace that changes our stories of shame, sorrow, and brokenness into stories of newness, courage, and hope. It’s the grace that propels us out of a me-centered life into a God-shaped calling, inviting us to see how our story weaves in and through God’s big story of redemption for humankind. And it’s the grace that empowers us to influence our homes, our neighborhoods, our workplaces—our whole world—for the sake of Christ and his gospel.
So in this year-end issue of Today’s Christian Woman, we looked at five key areas and selected some of the best articles of 2014 to spotlight God’s grace, God’s call, and God’s story.
From “You Are Worth Fighting For” by Jennifer Dukes Lee to “The Great Giver” by Carolyn Arends to “Why I Don’t Go to Church on Mother’s Day” by Mary Bellus, there were so many powerful explorations of faith this year in TCW.
For me, one of the standout articles is Amy Simpson’s interview with Kay Warren in which Kay candidly discussed the tragic death of her son. In “Kay Warren on Depression, Grief, and Hope,” we see a powerful example of grace in Kay’s honest, authentic approach to faith even as she walks through a dark and difficult sorrow. Kay’s story is compelling to me because of her determination to choose joy, as she told Amy, “even if my worst nightmare came true.”
As a wife, I’ve been both challenged and encouraged this year by TCW’s treasure trove of articles about marriage. We’ve featured some powerful insights, such as “The ‘Good Wife’” by Ann Swindell, “How I Ruined My Marriage” by Elisabeth Klein, and Dr. Juli Slattery’s articles zeroing in on marital intimacy.
One article that has really stuck with me is Melody Harrison Hanson’s “How to Love a Drunk,” a raw and honest description of one woman’s spiral into alcoholism and her husband’s patient, faithful, courageous, and determined love. Melody’s story reminds me that marriage calls us to a love that is fierce, resilient, and overflowing with grace—the kind of love we see in the Cross and in the empty tomb.
If anything brings out my need to rely upon God’s grace, it’s being “Mom” to my three kids. This year TCW has featured some powerful insights on parenting, such as Sarah Bessey’s “Imperfect Parenting,” Megan Tietz’s “Countercultural Scheduling,” and Jen Hatmaker’s adoption series.
One article in particular that encapsulates the grace we need and rely upon as moms is Helen Coronato’s “Learning to Love the Ugly in a Photoshopped Culture.” Helen describes a time she really blew it with her kids (ever been there?) to point us toward the awesome grace of Christ—not just for our salvation, but for our everyday inadequacies and faltering best efforts. Helen’s story invites me to cling to the truth that God “is not waiting for us to get it together and ‘look’ great before he will love unconditionally.”
Singles and Community
Navigating singleness in today’s world is no easy matter, so we’ve tackled some key issues for single women in TCW this year. Lisa Anderson challenged overly idealistic dating standards in “Settle, But Don’t Be Stupid,” Carolyn McCulley explored the tension between sexual desire and obedience to God in “Single in a Sex-Saturated World,” and Margot Starbuck grappled with life after her marriage’s demise in “If Love Runs Out.”
Among these great articles, one standout for me is Laura Leonard’s “When, God?” Laura courageously shares about her struggle with contentment as a single woman who desires to someday be married and have a family. What does it look like to trust in God when one’s deepest hopes are unfulfilled? Laura’s article challenges me to ask, “What does it mean to wait well?” as I consider my own prayers and desires. Her words prod me to remember that there is abundant grace even in God’s waiting room as we trust the one “who sees our pain and . . . who provides for us while we wait for his plan to unfold.”
Calling and Career
At TCW, we’re committed to helping you infuse your daily work with faith and Christ-centered devotion. Whether it’s in your workplace or your home, you’ve got a calling and we aim to help you discover it and embrace it. We’ve had a great conversation this year with articles like Shauna Niequist’s “Whose Voice Are You Listening To?” and Jo Saxton’s “Why Leaders Need Mentors Too” as well as insights on leadership from MOPS CEO Sherry Surratt and wisdom from the CEO of 4word, Diane Paddison.
Among these strong offerings is Sandra Crawford Williamson’s “Why I Stopped Climbing the Corporate Ladder”—her story of how, as a president of multinational organization, 9/11 dramatically shifted her focus, identity, and sense of calling. Sandra echoes the very essence of God’s life-changing grace: “I’m confident that I will never be perfect and I’m still completely flawed—but God loves me and that’s enough.”
We’re thankful for all God has done in and through TCW this year—and we’re especially grateful to you, our readers. Where is God’s grace in your story? How is God empowering you to influence your world? How is God calling you as part of his big story of redemption?
Together with you in his grace,
TCW's Best of 2014
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.