Susannah Baker

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Parents, Sons, and the Fight Against Pornography

Yesterday’s post was about getting Boys In the Word of God. As a mother of two teenage boys, my good friend Leigh Kohler spoke from her heart about the importance of the Word of God in discipling boys as they become men and the tools and resources she and her husband, Marc, have used throughout the past seventeen years as parents. To access that blog post, click HERE.

But as Leigh thought and prayed through the topic of discipling boys and getting them into God’s Word, there was a topic she couldn’t help but address – pornography. As a mother of two teenage boys and a sister to four brothers, Leigh knows well the temptation and danger that pornography brings.

Listen as Leigh’s youngest brother, Todd Davidson, shares his struggle and battle against pornography and the tools that helped see him through to freedom on the other side.

Trying to live as if our kids are never going to make mistakes is impossible; but living and praying and keeping our kids in the truth of God’s Word is possible and deeply necessary for all that lies ahead for our children, especially our boys.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find us on Instagram @leigh.kohler and @baker.susannah.

Boys in the Word

I have known Leigh Kohler a long time. The first time we met – our moms introduced us over lunch – I was a junior in high school, and Leigh was a senior. As we chatted, I remember studying for a Spanish quiz between taking bites of bread. But I also remember this – Leigh had a reputation for being a woman after God’s own heart, even as a senior in high school. From the start, I was drawn to her passion and intensity for life and all things holy. I loved her laugh and quick sense of humor, and I loved the way she made pursuing God an adventure. She made me want to join her in her pursuit of God and others He put in her path.

Twenty-six years later (I’ll let you do the math on how old we are), I still feel the same way.

Leigh is a woman after God’s own heart, and she still has a passion and intensity for life and all things holy. She and her husband Marc have three children, two boys and a girl, and are raising their children with a passion for God’s Word and a hunger for holiness as well.

Since I have four girls, my Kids in the Word video leaned heavily on the girls’ side, so I asked Leigh to share her heart, ideas, and resources on how she has engaged her boys in reading and living out the Word of God (thanks for the great idea, Leti Lusk!). So join me in taking a few moment to learn from Leigh – I know you will be as blessed as I was!

All the resources Leigh mentions in the video have been added to my Kids in the Word list on Amazon. To access those resources, click HERE.

To check out the Bible app she mentions to read through the Bible in a year, click HERE.

In addition to the amazing job she does as wife and mom, Leigh serves as the President of the Freedom Church Alliance, an alliance of churches from around the city united to fight human trafficking in the name of Jesus. To learn more, go to www.freedom church alliance.org. And to receive more encouragement from Leigh throughout the week, you can find her on Instagram @leigh.kohler.


Families in the Word

One of our favorite parts of the day is when we gather around the table, pray, and talk about God’s Word together as a family. Is it chaotic? Yes. Are we often tired? Yes. Do we do a lot of laughing? Yes. Are we theological experts? No. But after 14 years of a lot of hard plowing, we are finally seeing the fruit of the time we have created around the table. Listen as we share why this time is so important, hard, yet ultimately fruitful, and some of the tools we have used along the way. 

To access the tools we mentioned in the video, click HERE.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Kids in the Word

On July 7, 2020, Posted by , in Coronavirus, Motherhood, Video Weekly Words, With 10 Comments

As parents, more than anything, we want our kids to live their lives knowing and loving the Word of God and relationship with Jesus Christ more than anything else. Join me as I share about the challenges, rewards, and value in teaching our kids the Word of God, and the tools that have helped along the way.

To access the tools I mention in the video to help your kids, all the way from infancy through their teenage years, click HERE.

Other great websites with scripture memory and devotional resources include:

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Men in the Word of God

Establishing a routine of engaging in God’s Word and prayer is essential for daily living as a believer in Christ. My husband, Jason, shares why this routine is such an important part of his day and some of his favorite tools to help him dig deep into Scripture.

To see the list of tools Jason uses and mentions the video, click HERE.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Video: Water for a Weary Season

The season we are in continues to leave our hearts feeling dry and heavy. Join me today as I share encouragement from Psalm 42 about the living water our souls were made to drink, as well as the best way to apply that living water to our hearts through the tools and studies for women we have talked about the past couple of weeks.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Women in the Word

On June 19, 2020, Posted by , in Uncategorized, With No Comments

I’ve been a follower of Christ for almost 40 years. My friend and neighbor, Kori Biller, began her relationship with Christ a year and a half ago. But we both use the same tools each and every day to grow in our relationship with Christ. Length of time in knowing God and being known does not matter; it’s the passion and availability of your heart. As Kori shares, when you show up consistently with a Bible in one hand and a hunger in your heart in the other, God begins to uproot, plant, and change you from the inside out.

Join Kori and I in our conversation as we talk about the habits she has formed, the tools she has used, and the studies that have shaped her the most this past year and a half to become a Woman in the Word.

To see a list of the studies and tools Kori talks about, click HERE.

If you want to know more about Kori’s story, click HERE.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Video: Soaking in the Word

On June 15, 2020, Posted by , in Uncategorized, With No Comments

It has been a season of both personal and national shaking, and as God’s people, we are in desperate need of God’s Word. Listen to today’s video as I share about the personal journey God has had me on over the past few months and the tools He has used to draw me deeper into His Word.

To access the books and tools I talk about in the video to help you dig deeper into God’s Word, click HERE.

To listen to the teaching series on prayer I mention in the video to help you connect with God’s Word, click HERE.

Be on the lookout over the next few weeks for more videos and tools to help your kids, family, and other people in your life dig deeper into God’s Word during a season where God is speaking, uprooting, and planting in His people’s lives.

To access this same video and lists, and for more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Transplanted.

On June 11, 2020, Posted by , in Coronavirus, Encouragement, With No Comments

Earlier this week I wrote about feeling uprooted during this season of life. (To read that blog post, click here).

From the responses I’ve received, it seems many of us are sharing the same feelings of being ripped, stripped, with a tangible sense of loss, without much sense of predictability for the future.

But I don’t want to leave us there – dangling – with our roots hanging and exposed, much like the roots from the trees uprooted from the tornado in our small town of Independence, Texas.

Because as many trees as I saw toppled from the tornado, I saw many more standing straight and tall, branches uplifted from the earth, stretching wide towards a bright blue sky with roots that held firm during the fierce winds of the storm.

And when I think back on those trees – the ones that were uprooted along with those left standing straight and tall – this is what I know: while God uproots, He also plants. He strips and lays bare, but He also heals. And He never undoes us or uproots us from one place without planting us in another.

I’ve thought a lot this week about those oaks trees that stayed standing.

Through the years, I have watched my husband and father-in-law carefully tend to those trees, both the ones on our property and on my in-law’s property next door. During the five years of the Texas drought from May of 2010 through July of 2015, I watched as my father-in-law labored with a hose walking from tree to tree on his property, soaking the roots with gallon after gallon of water.

Because here’s the thing about live oak trees in Texas – they are not grown overnight. They are tended to, watered, and deliberately fed. In fact, a mature live oak tree, on average, takes in fifty gallons of water a day. Fifty.

That’s a lot of water – especially during seasons of drought.

And to lose an oak tree that has been planted, nurtured, and grown in the soil for 200 years is to lose a precious thing. The shade and beauty it provides is worth the tending and care.

Throughout Scripture, mature believers in Christ are referred to as trees. And not just any old tree, but a tree “planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:3). A tree “planted by water, that sends its roots out by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought” (Jeremiah 17:8).

Here is an interesting fact about the Hebrew word for “planted” in both Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17 – it actually means “transplanted.”

People whose trust is in the Lord aren’t just fruit bearing trees, or green trees, or rooted trees – they are transplanted trees. They are people who have been in one place and are plucked up, uprooted, taken out of the soil of one area, and planted in another.

The act of transplanting a small bush or flower isn’t that much of a process or ordeal. But a tree? A tree whose roots have been growing in the soil for decades or 200 years? That’s more like major surgery than simple uprooting.

Right now, I feel like a tree whose roots have been planted in a certain spot for years, even decades. God has used the past few months and weeks of corona and stay-at-home, a crashing economy, rioting, racism, rifts in relationships, and the fear and sin in my very own to heart to pluck me up out of wrong thoughts I have been thinking, lies I’ve been believing, and ways I have been behaving.

And can I be frank for just one minute? It hurts.

Uprooting hurts like heck.

But while God has done a lot of uprooting the past few weeks and months, He has also started the process of transplanting – He is teaching me how to think, act, behave, and believe in new ways, and put my roots down in a different place, in a new type of soil. And while I am watching this happen in my own life, I am also watching this happen in the lives of many other people as well.

I don’t think our season of uprooting is done, either personally or nationally. I think there is more to come. But I also think God wants us to pay attention not only to what He wants to uproot but what He wants to plant.

And planting takes soaking, maturing, and drinking in gallons and gallons of water on a daily basis, just like those Texas live oak trees.

While oak trees find their water through a tank, river, rain, or a hose, believers in Christ find their water in the living Word of God.

I cannot remember another season of my life where I have been this dependent on the Word of God. The irony is that I am always this dependent. My soul was not made to go without the water of God’s Spirit and God’s Word for more than a day at a time. But in times of abundance where everything around me is green, I can delude myself into thinking taking small sips every now and again is sufficient.

But not anymore. As I look around me and inside of me and see that we are in a season of drought, I am more aware of my need for water more than ever. I am aware that if I do not want to wither and shrivel in the season of uprooting I find myself in, I must soak my heart and mind in the Word of God each and every day. I need it; my kids need it; my marriage needs it; my family needs it; my friendships need it; my church and community and city and nation need it.

But this soaking and watering, transplanting and bearing fruit, even in seasons of drought, must begin with me. I cannot demand something from my spouse I am not doing myself. I cannot impart living water to my children if I am not first drinking it in myself. I cannot expect change in my nation or community if I am not first changing and uprooting, transplanting and soaking, myself. Change begins with me. And transplanting begins with the Word of God.

Over the next two weeks, I am going to post a several videos that talk about ways for us to soak in the Word of God as men, women, kids, families, and new Christians as well as seasoned believers. In these videos, I will provide specific ideas and resources to use in this season of summer, uprooting, and transplanting and easy links to access these resources. My hope is that if you are looking for a cup of cold water to drink, these resources will help to slake your thirst.

Because let me tell you something – God is speaking. He is speaking, and in His voice there is power to uproot, to plant, and to create.

But this creating will not happen in you or in me without long, intentional times of soaking in God’s Word each and every day. This planting will not happen without tapping into our water source of His Word on a daily, regular basis. But when we do, and as we do, things are going to start to grow.

Mark my words.

I just want to make sure I’m listening – and when we start listening together, there is no telling what God will do.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 55:10-13

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Uprooted.

On June 8, 2020, Posted by , in Encouragement, With No Comments

It’s been a season of shaking. From a worldwide pandemic, fear of sickness and death, economic shutdown, school closings, job loss, the death of George Floyd, and the exposure of the ugly sin of racism and the response to it, everything that seemed stable in January is now standing on its head.

And it all seemed to happen in a moment.

One moment, I was sending my kids to school and sports practices, and the next moment, we were alone in our house for days. One moment, our portfolio was predictable, our projected income secure, and the next moment, everything turned downhill…fast. One moment, we all knew racism existed lurking in the shadows and the human heart was capable of deep darkness and sin, and the next moment, it leaped out of the shadows to the forefront of everyone’s conscience, heart, and mind.

It’s been a season of shaking in the natural realm as well.

A week and a half ago, a tornado blew through the town of Independence, Texas where we have a home next door to my in-laws and down the hill from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

One moment the skies were blue and the sun was shining, and the next moment, wind was whipping fast enough to twist the tops off of trees, break 2000 pound limbs in half, and uproot 150 year old trees.

As I drove through the town of Chappell Hill towards Independence and surveyed the damage, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Entire root structures of 200 year old trees had been torn out of the earth in a moment. Limbs littered the side of the highway and broken fences sagged underneath the weight of bark, limbs, and twisted branches.

I was not at the ranch when the tornado hit, but my daughter Caroline was there, along with my niece, Abby. They had been out riding horses and had come inside to get out of the heat.

My father-in-law had driven his open-aired jeep to a shop five minutes down the road and was on his way back when the clouds, hail, and wind came in so fast he could not see five feet in front in him.

My mom was there with her childhood friend from San Antonio. They had just driven up to the house and walked their bags inside when the storm hit and a 1500 pound limb came crashing down on Jeannie’s car, splintering the windshield.The electrical box was ripped off of the side of our house, and another limb came crashing down onto our back porch, ripping out the railing.

But in the midst of all the shaking and the destruction left in its wake, there is much to be thankful for. By the grace of God and the sovereignty of God, the things that were meant to stay standing are still standing. Trees over the roofs of our homes are still firmly planted in the ground. My father in law emerged unscathed from the storm. My daughter and niece, my mom and her friend, are all in one piece when they easily might not have been.

But the things that were meant to be shaken were shaken. And while the clean up efforts have been extensive, there has been great comfort in that for me. God allowed the shaking. He was sovereign over the uprooting. And while dealing with the uprooting is hard, knowing He allowed it and is still Lord over it has helped me have peace of mind while piecing things together after the storm.

As we survey the season we are in and the damage in our church, our culture, and in the lives of people around us, it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the clean up efforts in front of us. It’s easy to become paralyzed and stay stuck in our fear and fragility.

But take comfort in this – nothing has been uprooted in our culture and in our lives that God has not allowed. We might be standing at the base of some pretty big trees and large, extensive root systems in our lives, churches, and culture that God is wanting to deal with and take out, but He has been purposeful and selective in the shaking.

So don’t miss it. Don’t race by or wish by this opportunity to do the good and necessary clean up work for what God has allowed to be shaken. Don’t just return to life as normal without making the effort to get rid of the debris God has allowed to be strewn all over the place.

Clean up effort is hard work, and it’s usually inconvenient work. But it’s good work, and it’s work that is necessary for us to do.

It’s hard work to learn how to sit still and listen.

It’s inconvenient to have to stop and listen long enough to name the sin in our own hearts so that we know how to repent and clear the debris around us.

But it’s necessary work to learn to see ourselves as we really are – not as we wish we could be. It’s hard to have to admit we have hurt others through our pride, defensiveness, fear, and even hate. It’s hard to admit that we are real sinners, not the perfect people or church we wish we could be.

But true confession is the groundwork for true change. We cannot turn our attention to the new things God wants to plant until the old things are ripped out, chopped up, and cleared.

In this season that we are in, we must remember this: God sovereignly uproots. But He also plants. He purposely tears down, but He also builds. And every season of harvest and abundance I’ve ever experienced, every shaking. Uprooting. Tearing. Clearing.

Will the good work of uprooting and clearing always feel pleasant? No. Will it require the hard work and difficult work of honesty and confession? Yes. Will it require uprooting everything that is not built on the solid ground of relationship with Jesus Christ? Yes. But the harvest we will reap, the seeds we will sow, the roots we put into place will carry us and our children for generations to come.

“Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree, planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, she prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah, and on Facebook, see link below.