“I encourage you to be like a dolphin in the sea of our egalitarian, gender-leveling culture. Don’t be like a jellyfish. The ocean of secularism that we swim in (including much of the church) drifts toward minimizing serious differences between manhood and womanhood. The culture swings back and forth as to whether women are mainly sex objects or senior vice presidents. But rarely does it ponder the biblical vision that men are called to humbly lead and protect and provide, and women are called to come in alongside with their unique gifts and strengths and help the men carry through the vision. I pray that you will be stirred…to pursue mature manhood and womanhood. More is at stake than we know. God has made marriage the showcase of his covenant love where the husband models Christ, and the wife models the church (Ephesians 5:21-33). And God calls single people to bless this vision and to cultivate an expression of leadership and support appropriate to their different relationships.”—John Piper, A Sweet & Bitter Providence, p. 132
When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.
Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God andinstead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all.
When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased. ?~ C. S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis (8 November, 1952)
“I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of “mother” is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent; others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me. How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!” Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory—that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities; and her smiles have never faded from my recollections— the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel.”—Charles Spurgeon The Early Years 1834-1860 Volume 1
I realized that Scripture’s emphasis was on being made a woman in the image of God. My marital status informed how that would be applied, but I was to be more preoccupied with my femininity than my singleness. The lingering whiffs of feminism’s androgyny were thereby extinguished. I was not a female form outlined in dotted lines, waiting for one man to fill me in and therefore complete my femininity. I was feminine because that’s how my God made me, and there was something of his image that I was to reflect as a woman—even a single woman.—Carolyn McCulley, When You Don’t Have a Better Half
“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family. Is it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?”—Edith Schaeffer, What Is a Family?, p. 45
“[Feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.” “.—G.K. Chesterton, The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, vol. 4, p. 440
“Sisters, if you repeatedly attempt to control the man in your life, and if you disrespect him and the decisions he makes, you will get nothing for it but neglect and emotional abandonment. It is another of those mysterious paradoxes. There are plenty of witnesses to this truth all around—women who dismiss the biblical admonition, ‘let the wife see [to it] that she respects her husband’ (Ephesians 5:33). Instead, they try to their ever-loving’ frustration to get their man to do what they think he should do—about every matter under the sun. But here is the thing: men naturally chafe and eventually flee from direct instruction from their wives. They do not change when you tell them to. And they never, ever will. When you turn up the volume, you tune out the man.
Instead, try indirect instruction….This is the way of a woman with a man. She teaches him primarily by example. When needed, she may appeal to his thoughtfulness and ask for his consideration, but she will not go further. He will be far more apt to give consideration to her words when they are heard as an appeal or a suggestion rather than as a directive. Think of it as the difference between casting a flashlight down the path versus pointing it in his face. Direct light causes us to close our eyes. Indirect light, pointed away from our eyes, causes us to strain to see.” —John Ensor, Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart, p. 99
“Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, ‘Alas! Must I rock the baby? wash its diapers? make its bed? smell its stench? stay at nights with it? take care of it when it cries? heal its rashes and sores? and on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? do this and do that? and endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?’
What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.
Its says, ‘O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.’”—Martin Luther qtd. in The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot, p. 87
“Marriage is a vocation. It is a task to which you are called. If it is a task, it means you work at it. It is not something which happens. You hear the call, you answer, you accept the task, you enter into it willingly and eagerly, you commit yourself to its disciplines and responsibilities and limitations and privileges and joys. You concentrate on it, giving yourself to it day after day in a lifelong Yes.”—Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman, p. 102
We’re going to do something a little different this year. On past vacations, we’ve posted one picture a day, but 52home is going on vacation too. So instead, we’re going to share some comments from a few of our favorite authors on biblical womanhood. We’ll kick things off with our friend John Piper from his book on Ruth:
“Here we have a picture of God’s ideal woman…Faith in God that sees beyond present bitter setbacks. Freedom from the securities and comforts of the world. Courage to venture into the unknown and the strange. Radical commitment in the relationships appointed by God….This is the woman of Proverbs 31:25 who looks into the future with confidence in God and laughs at the coming troubles: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Ruth is one of “the holy women who hoped in God…[and did] not fear anything that is frightening” (1 Peter 3:5-6). It is a beautiful thing to watch a woman like this serve Christ with courage….Whatever else the great women of faith doubted, they never doubted that God governed every part of their lives and that nothing could stay his hand…Nothing—from toothpdicks to tyrants—is ultimately self-determining. Everything serves (willingly or not) the “purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). God is the all-encompassing, all-pervading, all-governing reality.”—John Piper, A Sweet and Bitter Providence, p. 35, 44