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Entries in Nali Hilderman (9)


Singleness and Family - Part 2

Nali Hilderman is a successful single with a powerful message of hope in Christ. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she focuses on Christian singles and their relationship to the empowering, encouraging family of God.

"Last year I wrote about singleness and the desire for family," Nali says. "I had three suggestions for fulfilling the longing for family when there’s not much you can do about it, but I forgot what may be the most important “remedy” for singleness and family: The Body of Jesus—the Church! 

I (Dawn) think Nali is right! The Body of Christ came alongside me in my single days in so many wonderful ways, but I didn't think about the Church as the gift it was, at the time. I like Nali's proactive approach!

Nali continues . . . 

I was reminded of this oversight when I recently revisited a book called, When the Church was a Family: Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian Community by Joseph Hellerman. 

Hellerman lays out the communal, family loyalty of the first century Mediterranean world and this cultural reality shaped the first century church.

Hellerman’s point in the book is that we ought to experience the Church and read the Bible, especially the New Testament, through the lens of "church as family."  

So, if you’re feeling lonely and desire a family as a single woman, let me encourage you with three things in that regard.

1. Rethink Relationships and See How Jesus Defined Them.

Hellerman writes* how—for those of us in modern America—we "expect marriage to be our most meaningful, intimate and satisfying relationship. We hope to find most of our emotional, physical, and material needs met in the context of the marriage bond." 

Yet, this was not the case for the first century world or early believers. In the ancient world the most important relationship was "the bond between blood brothers and sisters."

This, for Hellerman, is key to living a vibrant, communal life in the Church today. 

Sisters, understand that the strong "family ties" of the ancient world are powerful for those of us who have been adopted into the family of God.

We have family automatically in the Church!

2. Get Involved in a Local Church.

In order to tap into this communal life, the first thing we must do is actively get involved in a local church. 

Several years ago, I lived on the opposite side of the country from my parents and siblings, and it was only when I joined a local church and got involved in many activities that I felt loneliness dissipate.

We became family for each other, celebrated holidays and birthdays together, ate meals together, helped each other move, studied the Bible, and just over all did life together. 

Nearly a decade later, I look back on that time and remember the close-knit male and female relationships I had and how much I was fulfilled doing life with those believers.

3. Be Involved with All Age Groups in the Body of Christ.

A lot of our churches tend to segregate believers into "age/life season" categories.

But I challenge you to know and do life with all ages of believers—families, newly marrieds, singles, older people, children—all ages and all life seasons. It will make your life so rich!

I had the pleasure of being in a Bible study with five women in their 30s, and five women in their retired years. The Bible study was called Living Crosswise—by Dr. Gail Bones, who wrote and led the study. It was phenomenal to realize how much we women had in common, both in life and in our relationship with the Lord. 

Ladies, older believers have much to offer us, as do younger believers. Get to know them and find out what the joys and challenges are in their season of life. I guarantee it will help you see your season of singleness with fresh eyes. It will also help you find a "spiritual mom" or a "spiritual sister."

I know these suggestions do not replace the deeply-seated desire many single women have for their own family, but often life can feel so lonely and "out of our control."

We need to be active about what we can control. 

Ladies, are you involved in your local church? Do you have significant relationships with men and women of all ages and stages of life at your church? Actively seek those out and see the Body of Christ as your family— both in the interim and also for eternity.

Nali Hilderman is a professor of American history and Political Science at San Diego Christian College. She studies women’s history and Christian theology trying to make sense of how to be a confident, successful Christian woman who does not buy into the secular feminist mentality.

* Quotes from page 35 of Joseph Hellerman's book, When the Church was a Family.

Graphics adapted, courtesy of Pixabay and Lightstock.


Waiting Well

Wise and winsome Nali Hilderman calls Christian singles to seek and live for the Lord, but her words have often spoken to my own heart as a married woman. In this UPGRADE post for Single Christians, she once again calls all of us to consider life from a biblical perspective.

"Like most people," Nali says, "I really do not like to wait—I don’t like long lines, I don’t like sitting at the airport for a flight or in traffic. I get antsy and oftentimes anxious for things I cannot control."

I (Dawn) DO hate to wait. Waiting is "a waste of time," I say—except when God has us in a waiting pattern for His purposes. Nali reminds us of some lessons the Lord might teach us in this schoolroom of waiting.

Nali continues . . .

I’ll be honest and say I have an especially hard time waiting on God. 

When I wait for other things, I can at least cognitively understand the situation: there are 10 people ahead of me and as one leaves, then I move up. 

There are 25 minutes until my flight takes off, so I can manage that. 

But with God, it often seems like those cognitive “markers” are elusive, and waiting proves angstful and difficult.  This is especially true if, like me, we are waiting on God for a relationship, especially one that will lead to marriage. 

However, God has not left us in the dark regarding this; and I want to offer us some advice on how to WAIT WELL—to give some “cognitive markers” to hang on to in the midst of our waiting.

1. Remember You are in Good Company

Not only are lots of other people waiting on God right now, but the scriptures are filled with countless people who had to wait on God. 

Most of the heroes of the faith—the patriarchs, the kings, the Jewish nation—all had to wait years for God to fulfill the promises He had given them.

Read their stories and be reminded of how they waited (some well, and others, not so well). Visit Hebrews 11 for an overview of many of them, and note especially that some died before they received God’s Promise, yet they did not waiver in their faith that God would provide. What faith!

2. Remember It’s about the Journey, Not the Destination.

More than anything, God desires relationship with us.

Often God's provisions and withholdings are meant to draw us into deeper fellowship with Him. 

I once went through a whirlwind relationship and was convinced God had finally provided a husband for me. I was left in tatters after the relationship ended.

Only through a deep wrestling with God did I discover Him saying, "

This was never about the guy; this was about my relationship with you!”

That led me to an intimacy with God I never knew was possible. Romans 8 says God works in all things. Why? So we may know Him and be conformed into the image of His Son (vv.  28-29).

3. Get busy!

Follow the examples of those in the Bible who waited on God. Though there are some negative examples, most carried on while waiting, and God used that time for what was to come. 

David was a young man when he was anointed King of Israel, but it was a few decades before that promise was fulfilled. In that time, he fought lions and bears, killed Goliath, served another king—who taught him what he was not to do—and walked with God (I Samuel 16-242 Samuel 1-2). 

4. Trust God and His Timing.

The hardest part about waiting is feeling out of control in our circumstances, yet time and time again scripture provides examples of how God is in the most minute details to get His children right where He wants them in order to provide. 

My favorite story of this is the children of Israel in Exodus. They had left slavery in Egypt under miraculous means, only to begin wandering in the desert. The Bible says God did not lead them through the land of the Philistines, though it was shorter, but took them to the Red Sea and had them camp there! 

We know what happened next. The Egyptian army came to kill them, yet God miraculously provided AGAIN for their rescue. 

Notice the key point: 

God took them to the exact place where He would prove his power and protection, even though it seemed to make no sense to the Israelites (Exodus 13:17-18).

Dear friends, are you in a season of waiting on God for a relationship or for anything else?  Which of these four markers is most challenging for you? How can you actively pursue one of these this week as you learn to Wait Well? 

Nali Hilderman is a professor of American history and political science at San Diego Christian College. She also is currently the Acting Chair for the Leadership and Justice Department. She writes on the connection between Christianity and the public square, both historically and in the present.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of AD Images, Pixabay.


Singleness and Our Desire for Family

Nali Hilderman is one of the most radiant young women I know. She's single-minded toward the Lord, and that colors her attitudes about living as a single in this stage of life. I invited Nali to share about her growth in this Single Christians UPGRADE.

"As singles, the desire for a family of one’s own can be strong," Nali says. "Yet we are stuck in a weird in-between which is not fully the past, and definitely not the future."

I (Dawn) still remember traveling across America as a single woman and longing to have a husband and children and settle down. Nali's right; the ache was strong. I wish I'd had this wise counsel back then.

Nali continues . . .

One of the main things I hear from singles, and struggle with myself, is the loneliness that comes from not having a family of one’s own. 

As I’ve wrestled through this, here are three things that have helped me navigate that desire for husband and children. I hope they’re an encouragement to you as well!

1. Be your Own Family.

Several years ago I sensed the Lord asking me to step out in faith and live my life AS THOUGH marriage and family might not happen. What I sensed was that he wanted me to live my life to the fullest and “stop waiting” for life to begin once I crossed the altar or had my first child. 

The Lord has told us that He came to give us life abundantly (John 10:10b) and that remains true regardless of your marital status! 

So, I bought a house (a huge blessing), and slowly I’ve made my home my own, and begun my own “family” activities. I decorate for Christmas, I have special traditions, that are unique to me, not my family of origin and hopefully they’ll be something that I can share with my own family, one day.

2. Think Outside the Box About Family.

While I was in that season, I also distinctly felt the Lord telling me that my singleness had a purpose, which was to invest 100% of myself in my work—which, as a professor, is investing in the lives of students. (Note: That's Nali, bottom left in white, having fun with some of her students.)

I realized if I had a family of my own, there was no way I’d have the time or energy to impact these young adults the way I do as a single woman. 

While you may not have that same “built in family option” at your workplace, I guarantee there are youth groups and Sunday school classes that would LOVE your help and your investment made in the lives of the kids.

The Bible tells us in Titus 2:1-5 to mentor others and pour into the next generation.

3. Find or Join a Friend’s Family.

You probably have many friends with families of their own, and one of the greatest joys is to join their family activities. 

I’m not talking about babysitting.

I’m talking about doing life with them—meal time, play time, nap time, activity time—simply join them in whatever they’re doing. 

When I do this, it blesses me and makes me feel like I’m part of a family; and I know it blesses their parents to have the “adult company” and also someone else to invest in their children. 

One of my favorite things to be called is “Auntie Nali.”

To hear my sister’s kids (pictured, right) and my friend’s kids call me that fulfills my deep desire, for now, to be called "Mom."

I know that the desire for your own family can be overwhelming and you wonder when, maybe if, it will ever happen. (I know I do.) But let’s try to focus on the things we have right in front of us and use this precious time we have now to learn to invest in the lives around us. 

If we are faithful in these things, we’ll be even more prepared to invest when it’s our turn.

Psalm 37:3 says, “Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” How can you dwell in the land (i.e. season of life) and cultivate faithfulness in your desire to have a family today?

Nali Hilderman is a professor of American history and Political Science at San Diego Christian College and Director the college’s Dr. Henry Morris Leadership Program.  She studies women’s history and Christian theology trying to make sense of how to be a confident, successful Christian woman who does not buy into the secular feminist mentality.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of stevepb at Pixabay.


A New Year's Resolution Makeover

Nali Hilderman is a smart, successful college professor, but she knows how to make truth practical. In this New Year's UPGRADE, she points us to seek God and allow scripture to speak to our hearts.

"As we turn our thoughts from the outgoing year and focus on the new," Nali says, "I propose we have a makeover in any resolutions we make for the New Year."

Nali's suggestion intrigues me (Dawn), because I've made many resolutions over my lifetime, and so few of them lasted. Maybe a "makeover" is exactly what I need.

Nali continues . . .

As women most of us tend to enjoy the idea of a makeover. Be it a make-up facial, a weight-loss plan, or someone cleaning or organizing our house, we love the idea of a new, fresh perspective on something ordinary. 

I don’t know where the tradition of New Year’s resolutions began, but it seems that most of the time they tend to focus on us and what we want out of life. 

I do not necessarily think that is a bad thing, but as believers, we don’t live life solely for ourselves— WE live life for the Lord! 

What if, this year, you turn your focus to Christ and ask Him for His resolutions for your life instead of your own resolutions! 

I have been doing this for about five years now and it’s been amazing to see how each year has had a God-ordained theme to it. 

For 2016, the word that kept coming to my heart and mind in prayer was “rest.” For the first several months, I assumed that it meant I needed to rest physically and emotionally from a very busy and fulfilling job as a professor. 

Yet, as the months of the year progressed and God walked me through some painful personal and family issues, I realized His notion of rest was much deeper than I thought. Over the past several months, I was invited into a deep, soul-level rest of the knowledge of who Christ has made me to be and to find my identity in Him. 

This theme has challenged and guided me as I’ve navigated things this year. I know I am different now for it, and am grateful to see His hand at work.

I am excited for YOU to try this New Year’s Resolution plan. Here are a couple of simple suggestions on how to do this:

1. Remember God as your "Ebenezer."

In the Old Testament, God was Israel’s Ebenezer. Ebenezer means "stone of help." 

God commanded the leaders of Israel, through Samuel, to set up memorial stones in public places to commemorate how God had provided for and rescued the children of Israel (see 1 Samuel 7, especially verse 12). 

Take time to think about and write down how God provided for and blessed you LAST year.

A joyful and grateful heart for God’s blessings in 2016 will go a long way towards seeing Him as protector and provider in the New Year. 

2. Make time for a Retreat and ask the Lord for goals for the New Year.

This does not have to be a “long” retreat; even just a few hours of concentrated time will suffice. But think through and ask what things the Lord might have for you in the coming months and year. 

Ask if there are any passages of Scripture that might serve as a guide. This can provide a clear vision for how you are to invest your time, finances, resources and energy—and is usually far more exciting than “spend two hours at the gym every day”!  

You can do this for yourself personally, but you might also want to try doing this with your spouse and/or children. One year, my friend and her family decided they were going to focus on "being generous." That was their focus word for the year. So they set aside a part of their earnings each month and looked for people that God wanted them to provide for.

Note: if you need further help on how to do this check out a simple book called One Word. It teaches how just one word can impact you. 

3. Enjoy the New Year!

The best part about the New Year is that is a chance to restart, refresh and realign. 

Taking time to examine your life can be an exciting thing, especially if you walk into the new season with a renewed sense of purpose from the Lord. God is at work in you, my friends!

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10, ESV).

The Lord has work for you to do—exciting work, faith-building work, challenging work, difficult work.

Will you make a goal to remember Him as He worked in 2016, and join in asking Him to guide you purposefully in 2017?

Nali Hilderman is a professor of American history at San Diego Christian College and Director of the college’s Dr. Henry Morris Leadership Program. She studies women’s history and Christian theology, trying to make sense of how to be a confident, successful Christian woman who does not buy into the secular feminist mentality. She attends Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA.


Taking Care of Yourself as a Leader

Nali Hilderman teaches women in a biblical framework, and in this Leadership UPGRADE she encourages women in leadership to take time to rest and refuel.

“While leadership can be incredibly life-giving and exciting," Nali says, "there are times when it is draining and exhausting too.”

Oh Nali. That is so true. Leadership can be a blessing and a burden at the same time. The Lord calls us to be wise in balancing our schedules—to build our lives, not just the lives of others.

Nali continues . . . 

As a leader, are you weary? If you’re anything like most other leaders, I would venture to say that your answer is yes! 

While leadership can be incredibly life-giving and exciting, there are times when it is draining and exhausting too. It’s the excitement of influencing others and utilizing your gifts that make leadership worth it in the long run, but what do you do when you find yourself in those seasons of weariness?

And how can we work at preventing those seasons? 

It may seem selfish or counter-productive to do this, but Christ, the perfect leader, provided an example of this during His ministry when He left the crowds to spent time with the Father or just the disciples (Luke 4:42, 5:16; John 13). And He encourages us plainly to come to Him when we are tired and weary so He can help us (Matthew 11:28-29)!

Therefore, I want to suggest three ways to take care of yourself as a leader so you can continue to be effective in loving and serving others.

1. Participate in Life-Giving Activities

Most of us have activities that bring us deep joy and provide “soul time” that are not related to our work as leaders. It may be exercise, art, reading, spending time in nature, napping, cooking, taking a bubble bath – or any number of things!

Sometimes our schedules are so busy that we feel like we don’t have time to do anything but what’s already on the calendar, but if we are to continually pour into others throughout our day, we must find time to participate in activities that provide respite for our soul.

I challenge you to discover these areas and set aside time in your calendar to participate in them!

2. Find Others That Pour Into You

As a leader, you are probably constantly pouring into others around you. This is usually very life-giving and one of the main reasons we get involved in leadership in the first place, but, do you have someone pouring into you? Do you have a mentor? Do you have friends, or a small group of people that you do not “lead” that refresh and revitalize you and care for your soul? 

This is absolutely vital as a leader to have others lead and guide you so that you are refueled to lead and guide others. 

Scripture is full of examples of the life-giving nature of the body of Christ. See, for example, the relationship between the Apostle Paul and Timothy as Paul instructs, encourages and mentors the young minister in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1; 2 Timothy 1). I encourage you, likewise, to seek out and spend time with these vital care givers in your life on a regular basis.

3. Find Sustenance from the Lord

For many of us who are leaders in Christian ministry, there’s a tendency to always “do ministry”—even in our personal time with the Lord.

As a leader, it is vital that you protect your time with the Lord as just that – YOUR time with the Lord.

Make sure that you are abiding in Christ for yourself, not your ministry, for apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). 

And the Word says that if we seek Him and His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33), then all other things shall be added to us. How is your time alone with Christ? 

How’s your weariness level? How are you doing in taking care of yourself regarding to these three areas? Making sure you take care of yourself is vital to continuing to love and care for others as Christ has commissioned you!

Nali Hilderman is a professor of American history at San Diego Christian College and Director of the college’s Dr. Henry Morris Leadership Program. She studies women’s history and Christian theology, trying to make sense of how to be a confident, successful Christian woman who does not buy into the secular feminist mentality. She attends Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA.

Graphic of woman in nature, courtesy of Morguefile.