This week we want to wrap up our series answering the question: “why do we blog on biblical womanhood?” In Feminine Appeal Mom explains why the virtues of a godly woman in Titus 2—and all qualities of biblical womanhood—are so important:
“The commands found in Titus 2 have been given to us for an all-important reason that transcends time and culture. That reason is the gospel of Jesus Christ. These virtues are not about our personal fulfillment or individual preference. They are required for the sake of unbelievers—so that those who are lost might come to know our Savior.
This purpose is stated in verses 5, 8, and 10. We are to love our husbands and children, pursue self-control and purity, be workers at home, kind and submissive:
that the word of God may not be reviled. (v. 5)
so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (v. 8)
so that in everything [we] may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. (v. 10)
Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn’t judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our behavior. People don’t necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to see if what we believe makes a difference in our lives. Our actions either bring honor to God or misrepresent His truth.
I recall my sadness when I heard of a high-profile Christian woman who left her husband for another man. My heart ached when I thought of the pain that this caused her family. But the effect of her sin didn’t end there. When she broke God’s command and committed adultery, her behavior reviled God’s Word—before every person she knew and more she didn’t know. Even the mainstream media snickered at the hypocrisy they perceived in her life. Her sinful conduct gave opponents of the gospel the chance to speak evil about Christians.
Although our daily actions might not be covered on the evening news, our lifestyle speaks loudly to those around us. How sobering it is to realize that our behavior has the potential to discredit the gospel.
That’s why biblical womanhood. It’s for the sake of the gospel.
Last week was Summer Celebration (morning kid’s camp) here at Covenant Life Church. Mike and Janelle—Mr. and Mrs. B to the kids—and our cousin Brett (aka Douglas Doogleberry) along with countless servants, taught the kids about the fruits of the Spirit in a gospel-saturated program.
They led the kids in worship with brand-new songs from the latest Sovereign Grace kids album. Here’s a description from their website:
To Be Like Jesus contains twelve worship songs that teach the fruit of the Spirit in a creative and memorable way. Through these songs kids will learn that Jesus is our perfect example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. More than that, they’ll discover that we can’t be like Jesus unless we trust in the power of his cross to forgive us and the power of his Spirit to change us.
My boys walk around the house singing: “I want to be like Jesus.” Words like that (even when they’re sung loudly and off key) are music to a mom’s ears. But I highly recommend that everyone buy this new cd. Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll enjoy the music and be inspired to grow in godliness.
Also, we thought you might be interested in a few pictures from Summer Celebration. Every day, as part of the program, Janelle (Mrs. B) bakes a “Fruit of the Spirit Pie” that gets thrown in Mr. B’s face at the end of the day. It’s the highlight of the morning.
Well, on Tuesday, Brett (Douglas Doogleberry) accidentally gave Mrs. B a face full of “Joy Pie.” Really, this wasn’t part of the script. Neither was Mrs. B’s response. She decided to give Douglas some “Joy” as well and all three had a good laugh. So did the kids.
Y’all are amazing! We received tons of entries for our funniest wedding story contest. It was a hard job, but we’ve narrowed it down to ten winners, and we’ll post their stories over the next few weeks. As promised, our winners will receive the book of their choice from our books and audio page. So if you see your entry posted, contact us with your address and book choice and we will send you your goods asap. Congrats to our first winner, Katie.
My husband, Greg, is a musician and often plays the organ for weddings. Over the years he has learned to be ready for anything at weddings. His mom and I still chuckle over what happened at Cassandra’s wedding.
Cassandra, Greg, and I all grew up together. At one time Greg and Cassandra liked each other. As the years went on, the Lord brought Greg and I together and gave Cassandra a wonderful husband. At Cassandra’s wedding, Greg was the organist for the ceremony, and one of the groomsmen was supposed to play a piano postlude while the audience was dismissed. Greg played the recessional, but no one came up to relieve him. Silence would have been terribly awkward, so he decided to play a few hymns “off the cuff.” Unfortunately, what he chose to play was “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”
2009 at 12:30 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Nicole: In tough financial times, there are women who, out of necessity, must assist their husband in his role as provider of the family. A husband may have lost his job, or his current job doesn’t adequately provide, or he has gone back to school full-time. How is a wife supposed to juggle both her home and work responsibilities in a situation like this?
Carolyn: Yes, we know women in all of these situations and more besides. I have a friend who decided, together with her husband, that it would best serve her family for her to work as a teacher at a particular school so they could send their children there. I have another friend whose husband can no longer work because of a debilitating illness.
When, in difficult financial seasons, a wife needs to help her husband in his role as provider, he may need to assist her in the home during that time (assuming he is not ill or injured, of course). Although it may require more effort to maintain the distinctive roles, here are a few suggestions for walking wisely through such a season:
1. Get counsel first. “In an abundance of counselors there is safety” it says in Proverbs 11:14. So before making a decision of this nature, pursue godly friends for their thoughts and ideas. Often our friends can provide perspective and wisdom we may not have otherwise considered. Their thoughts can help us evaluate objectively and decide biblically.
2. Regularly re-evaluate. Don’t assume that because it is the right thing for now, it will always be the right thing. Set up regular times to consider how things are going—is it bearing godly fruit in your souls, your marriage and your parenting? Is it time for this season to come to a close?
3. Keep it simple. Don’t imagine you can run the home in the same manner as before. Certain things will have to be put on hold so you can focus on the essentials. Think food and clothing.
4. Watch your heart. If you need to devote time and energy to a job outside of the home, it may be harder to maintain a heart for the home. This challenge may be heightened if your job yields more immediate encouragement, fulfillment and rewards. In such cases, you must be diligent to maintain a biblical perspective of the importance of your role in the home, and cultivate your love for that most significant calling from God.
5. Trust God. If you and your husband are committed to biblical roles in marriage, and if you believe this is the best way to help your husband, then you can have confidence that you are bringing glory to God. Do not compare yourself with other women who may be able to stay home full-time or assume they are somehow more pleasing to God. Not true! And while this season—whether long or short—certainly presents greater challenges, you can rest assured that God will provide all the grace you need to walk in the good works He has prepared for you.
2009 at 6:03 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
We received many thoughtful, humble questions on this topic of homemaking, so I put them to Mom for an impromptu girltalker to girltalker interview.
Nicole: What about cases where a husband does not value the wife’s role as home manager or where he abuses the biblical mandate and expects her to do more than is warranted in Scripture—how should a woman respond?
Carolyn: I would encourage the wife to ask her husband if they might study God’s Word together and prayerfully consider: Are we fulfilling our roles and responsibilities in a manner that is consistent with God’s design? If the husband is unwilling to have this conversation, or if after talking they still disagree, the wife should request that they get counsel from a godly couple or a pastor. If a woman is married to an unbeliever, I would encourage her to seek pastoral wisdom as to how to reflect the gospel in this tricky situation. As women, we must remember that sometimes the most helpful thing we can do for our husbands is to get help from others.
Nicole: We heard from several women who suffer from illness, ranging from mild to severe. A young woman with diabetes who does not yet have children but works full-time explains her dilemma: “I have made a schedule for daily cleaning so I don’t have to do it all at once, but there are just days when I am so tired. I’m trapped in this-no-man’s land. I know I need to get housework done, but my husband has asked me to just spend time with him and rest. What do I do?”
Carolyn: Do what you can and do not worry about what you cannot do. Our Heavenly Father, who has called you to be a home manager, has also, in the mystery of His sovereign wisdom, allowed physical limitations. You glorify Him through your desire and efforts to reflect His design even in your weakness.
I would encourage you to develop a strategy for managing your home that minimizes your physical activity and makes it easy for your husband to participate. Simplicity is key here. It may be helpful to ask other women for creative ideas in order to develop a basic yet effective plan. But after you’ve done all you can, receive your husband’s extra help with gratefulness!
Nicole: Another women explained that she has been very ill over the past year and hospitalized five times. “Right now I can barely walk and can not even cut up my own food,” she explains. “My husband is wonderfully serving me by running our household with the help of my church family. I long to be the one running my home. Biblically, how am I to be a homemaker during this time? This may be a long-term problem for me. I am trying to work out God’s will for me as a wife and mom in this situation.”
Carolyn: I feel as if I am standing on holy ground as I hear your question. Your longing to serve your family, even in the midst of your severe physical trial, brings great glory to our Savior. Although severely limited physically, your heart is running hard after God’s commands (Ps. 119:32). I want to follow your example.
And I pray you will find comfort in these words from Charles Spurgeon: “Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances. Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good.”
While I don’t pretend to understand, God has ordained these circumstances for your good, and the good of your family. He has appointed for you to glorify Him through suffering and for your husband to glorify Him as he shoulders your duties in the home. But he has also supplied abundant grace for you to endure and your husband to persevere. Rest assured that together, you are bringing much glory to God.
(We will answer one final homemaking question tomorrow, so stay tuned.)
2009 at 10:52 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
We’ve been so encouraged by your response to last week’s posts on “A Homemaker’s Dilemma.” Your resolve to live out Scripture’s teaching in your homes, even when it is difficult, is a testimony to the work of God’s Spirit “leading you into all truth.”
Meredith “gets it”:
“Thank you for your posts on “A Homemaker’s Dilemma” which have certainly helped to clarify my thinking on the subject. It seems to me that trying to rouse a lazy husband out of his laziness by trying to get him to do the wife’s work certainly doesn’t solve the problem. It just adds to it in lots of ways. And finding one’s joy in one’s own role “that is out of reach of the husband’s behaviour” is central. So, thank you.”
Many of you sent in great questions as well and we’ll try to answer a few of them this week.
But today we thought you’d be encouraged by one woman’s story of how a biblical perspective on her role in the home helped her resist the temptation to resentment:
I just wanted to say thank you very much for your recent articles on the wife’s role in the home. It was a timely reminder for. This morning I was really struggling to get our pre-school children ready for church and do the last minute preparations for the surprise party of one of my husband’s friends which was happening after church in our house. I turned round and saw my husband sitting at his computer stroking the cat who was on his knee. There was an immediate twinge of resentment, but very quickly followed by a reminder that my role is to look after the home. I was able to carry on with a lightness in my heart and the end result was children who skipped into church and a husband who, at the end of the day noticed how tired I was and cleared away the tea time dishes, without saying a word, while I was putting the girls to bed. Because I was able to keep a right attitude we had a harmonious and peaceful day (and the party went well!), I could so easily have created a really tough day by feeling resentful—so thank you very much for your timely and wise instruction, I really appreciate it.
How much better it is to honor God and experience the joy and peace that are the companions of His good and perfect ways!
When I was a little girl, if I was really engrossed in a book but was supposed to be doing something else (like school or chores), I would sneak off to the bathroom to read a few extra pages before Mom, suspicious as to why I needed fifteen minutes in the restroom, would call my bluff.
I’ve tried this once or twice with my kids too, I’m embarrassed to admit. But they can’t survive five minutes without me meeting one need or another, so it doesn’t work as well as it did with Mom.
Point is, I think anytime is a good time to read, even when it is not.
But summer is a very good time to read. There’s no school at least, so you don’t have to sneak off to the bathroom. You can stretch out on the lawn, and without guilt, enjoy a good book. (Yeah, don’t worry about the laundry…it’ll keep.)
To encourage your guilt-free summer reading, we thought we’d suggest a few of our recent favorites.
2009 at 3:40 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Who does what in the home matters! God has given husbands and wives unique roles that he wants us to joyfully fulfill. This truth is under intense attack from our worldly culture. So we must carefully consider God’s Word and strive to apply it in the nitty-gritty of daily life.
Of course there is not a one-size-fits-all method for application but there is one mandate for all. It will look different from home to home, but the principle is fixed.
We must seek to avoid two opposite errors:
Error #1: We expect our husband to be our helper.
Scripture is clear that the wife is to help the husband; he is not her assistant (Gen 2:18). The wife is the home manager (1 Tim 5:14); the husband does not share equally in this responsibility.
So how do we avoid this error?
As women, we must first cultivate a biblical conviction about our role in the home. Then, together with our husbands, we must ask some hard questions:
-Am I fulfilling my God-given role to manage my home? -Do I think of myself (and therefore act) as my husband’s helper, or do I think of him as my assistant? -Have I allowed laziness, selfishness or anxiety to become excuses for not fulfilling my role in the home? -Do I take advantage of my husband’s servant’s attitude to the point where he has too much responsibility in the home? -Does my husband’s help in the home hinder him from providing, leading, or serving in the ways that God has called him? -What (if anything) needs to change so that I am fulfilling the role God has assigned to me?
These are hard questions about a hard job. But God is faithful to provide all the grace we need to fulfill the task to which He has called us.
We need God’s help to avoid the second error as well:
Error #2: We are resentful when our husband doesn’t help at all.
Laziness is never excusable. Because this is a blog for women, however, we won’t address the husband’s sin at length; but suffice it to say, Scripture has some rather scary things to say about the man (or woman) who does not work hard, or worse yet, a husband who refuses to provide for his family (Prov. 12:24, 27, 19:15, 1 Tim. 5:18).
If we honestly believe we our fulfilling our role as home manager, but our husband is lazy and unwilling to serve in the home when needed, what should we do? Here are a few cursory thoughts:
1. Stop looking at our husband. His laziness may be a genuine trial, but it should not be the determiner of our joy. If we are resentful or dissatisfied, that comes from the sin in our own hearts. It can reveal that we are not serving “as unto the Lord.” Our call to homemaking is from God and so is our reward. Because of this truth, we can have a joy in homemaking that is out of the reach of our husband’s behavior. 2. Look at our husband’s sin in light of the cross. The ground is level there. No matter the extent of our husband’s laziness, it pales in comparison to the sin we know that we have committed against God. As we look at the cross, where we have received extravagant mercy, we will desire to be merciful. 3. Consider if it is an opportunity to overlook. The 80/20 rule is helpful here. 4. Look for ways we can help our husband help. Maybe we simply have to humble ourselves and ask for help. We can’t expect our husband to always anticipate our needs. He may be happy to serve when graciously asked. 5. Look to others. If our husband is unresponsive to our appeals, it may be time to get help from a wise couple with a godly example of biblical roles in marriage. 6. Look to God in faith. Pray for God to change our husband’s heart. We can’t, no matter how hard we try. And even if there is no change, remember that God sees, He knows, and He himself has promised to be our Helper (Heb 13:6). What comfort and hope!
We leave you with these thoughts from Dorothy Patterson:
“I determined…to read through the Bible with a new purpose: to determine God’s message for me personally as a woman, a wife, and a mother….My life and goals and perspective were forever changed. In every single book of the Bible I found God’s word for me. That word was not always comforting; in fact, sometimes it was like a sword to my heart; but always I knew that it was authoritative and, if authoritative, true, regardless of culture, circumstances, or perceived relevance. I came to realize that God did not expect me to determine how to adapt His Word to my situation. Instead, He expected me to adapt myself to the consistently and clearly presented principles found in His Word. God did not expect me to interpret His principles in light of my gifts and intellect, but He admonished me “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29), including gifts and intellect and creativity…He was making clear throughout Scripture His demand for my absolute obedience.” (Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, p. 365)
2009 at 4:02 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
On Monday, we responded to Julie’s humble question by directing her first to Scripture’s clear designation of the woman as “home manager” (Tit. 2:3-5, 1 Tim. 5:14, Prov. 31:10ff). This responsibility to “rule” over our domain is a privilege from our gracious Creator and thus a task that we must wholeheartedly embrace.
But there is certainly more to be said. In particular, the question is raised: What if a woman’s husband is lazy or unwilling to help out when she needs a hand? Is she just supposed to bite her lip and keep serving her family while he takes it easy?
To whatever degree this occurs in our home, it can be a temptation for us as women. When it is repeated over a long period of time, it is most certainly a trial that can affect our marriage and children.
If we are working hard and our husband is not, our sense of justice, of fairness, is violated. Hey, we think, this isn’t right! I’ve been working hard all day and I deserve a break too! We can easily give into resentment, anger, bitterness and a host of other sins.
So, what is a homemaker to do?
We must not take our cues from the culture: “Men nowadays are supposed to do _______ in the home.”
We must not refer back to our own upbringing: “My dad used to _______ for my mom.”
We must not rely on our own sense of “fairness”: “It’s only right for you to do _______ because I do _______.”
We must not compare our husband to our friend’s husband: “So and so’s husband always does _______ for her.”
There’s only one place from which we can take our cues. You guessed it! God’s Word.
The Bible is our source for all wisdom and guidance. It provides comfort in trial and hope in uncertainty. It is “our only authoritative standard for all we think, say, and do”—and, I might add, “all we cook and clean.”
So what does God’s Word say to the wife of a lazy husband?