Filed under Biblical Womanhood 52home
Every mom of young, active, children (especially boys!) needs to take a minute to read these excerpts of letters from CS Lewis. The way he describes the whirlwind of these parenting years will bring a knowing smile to your face. So “fling yourself into a chair” for a moment and enjoy:
My brother and I have just had the experience of an American lady to stay with us accompanied by her two sons, aged 9 1/2 and 8. Whew! Lovely creatures — couldn’t meet nicer children — but the pace! I realize have never respected young married people enough and never dreamed of the Sabbath calm which descends on the house when the little cyclones have gone to bed and all the grown-ups fling themselves into chairs and the silence of exhaustion.
I love Scripture’s honesty. I love how the biblical authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, don’t hold back about despair, weakness, doubt, or fear. They don’t step gingerly around topics of pain or temptation or trouble. They are frank about the fact that life is hard.
So when the biblical writers speak to us of hope and joy and peace, we know these are real too. And in our depths of despair, we can take their hand and follow them out of the pit.
Take for example, the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3 that we are all so familiar with: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (v. 22-23). These words are spoken from the heights, a spectacular panorama. But how do we get there when we feel crippled by the trials of life?
The same way Jeremiah did.
Only a few verses earlier he writes from the deepest valley: ”...my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord’” (v. 17-18).
Can you relate? Hope, gone. Peace, gone. Happiness, so far gone, you can’t even remember what it feels like. What do we say to someone who confesses this? Do we recoil at their lack of faith? And yet here is Jeremiah, prophet of God, confessing that in his trouble he feels bereft of all of the blessings of the people of God.
Then Jeremiah shows us how he gets from the depths to the heights: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” (v. 21).
His soul, which had taken its last breath of hope, was resuscitated by calling to mind who God is and what He does. He is faithful. He shows mercy, He does love. He does not forget. He sent His only Son who endured the agony of the cross, in our place and for our sins, and rose again, victorious. This I call to mind.
Notice that Jeremiah’s trial was unchanged. He didn’t get a phone call that the cancer was gone. He didn’t find his enemies on his front porch asking for forgiveness. He didn’t get hired. His child didn’t become a Christian. But he had something better.
He had hope. Hope that one day, even if it wasn’t until heaven, he would know happiness again.
Today we are grateful for the news that CJ/Dad has been exonerated from the charges against him and fully restored to fruitful, gospel ministry. We could not let this moment pass without thanking so many of you who communicated your prayers and encouragement during this difficult year. Even though we weren’t able to reply personally, we read every one of your emails and our souls were comforted by the many verses, thoughts, and prayers. As we are fond of saying here at girltalk, you did us the truest kindness in the world—you prayed for us. We can never thank you enough. And thank you for reading even though our posting has been spotty. We look forward to more regular blogging in the days ahead. We may have to wait until heaven to thank each of you in person, but until then, we hope you know we are truly grateful for your friendship and care.
New@52home - there’s a new romantic collection over at 52home@home, just in time for Valentine’s Day
Sitting is Good News - Why sitting down at the end of a long day should remind you of the gospel
More Than Enough - “Will Jesus provide for you? Are you struggling to believe it, because when you do the math it doesn’t add up?”
”[H]e himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death….” (Hebrews 2:14 ESV)
“O children of God! death hath lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed…It is sweet to die; to lie upon the breast of Christ… And you that have lost friends, or that may be bereaved, sorrow not as those who are without hope. What a sweet thought the death of Christ brings us concerning those who are departed! They are gone, my brethren; but do you know how far they have gone? The distance between the glorified spirits in heaven and the militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home.” C.H.S.
By Carolyn, from the archives: July 15, 2005
Yesterday was my mom’s 83rd birthday. My sister and I took her out for breakfast to celebrate. She loves to go out for breakfast. And as usual, the three of us talked lots and laughed even more. Then I seized a moment in our conversation to say “thank you.” That’s when my mom became uneasy. She always does, but that’s okay. I pressed through the awkwardness and thanked her for her faithfulness.
I thanked her for providing an example of unwavering devotion to God.
I thanked her for loving my dad and being faithful to her marriage covenant of 60 years.
I thanked her for constantly and tenderly caring for her 5 children and now her 17 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.
I thanked her for modeling biblical womanhood for me.
As if in hopelessness, Solomon poses this question in Proverbs 20:6—“A faithful [woman] who can find?”
Well, I found one—my mom. And realizing how rare she truly is, I am thanking God today for the life she has lived and the legacy she has given to me. I’m also asking God to help me to be faithful and to pass on this same legacy to my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Who can you thank today for living a life of faithful biblical womanhood?
In the first hour of this morning, our beloved grandmother passed from this world into a better one. She lived a simple, faithful life with feisty joy. We loved her so much and miss her terribly. But we are grateful she is home now, home with the Savior she trusted as a teenager, the One who carried her through all her days.
To help you understand what a special lady she was, please read “Margaret’s Story.” Our mom wrote this as the conclusion to her book Feminine Appeal which she dedicated to her mom. Margaret’s earthly story has ended today, but we will tell it to our children and our children’s children, to the praise of God’s glorious grace.
Thank you for your prayers.
I want to tell you about a woman named Margaret. Most likely you’ve never heard of her. She is not a champion of women’s rights, a glamorous actress, or a recording artist. She isn’t a successful businesswoman or politician. She’s never authored a book or traveled the lecture circuit. She hasn’t won any humanitarian awards or received academic honors. In fact, she never even went to college.
Margaret is simply a faithful wife and mother.
She has been married to her husband for almost sixty years. Together they raised five children—all of whom have families of their own now. Homemaking has been her sole career, and she poured her life into this calling.
A typical day for Margaret began before dawn. She fixed her husband’s breakfast and packed his lunch for work. Then she woke her children and got them ready for school. The following hours were spent tackling an endless list of chores: laundry, ironing, mending, dusting the furniture, vacuuming the carpets, scrubbing the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, grocery shopping, errands, and cooking. By 5:30 P.M. she had dinner prepared for her family. Afterwards there were dishes to wash, household tasks to complete, baths for the little ones, homework help for the older ones, and nighttime stories to read. When she finally crawled into bed, only a precious few hours were afforded for sleep. Then it was time to start the routine all over again. In this manner, Margaret tirelessly served her family—day after day, month after month, and year after year.
Now if you had the honor of meeting Margaret, you would at once be impressed by her joy. But her vivacious, delightful character is most conspicuous in the arena of her home. She’s always smiling or singing. She is excited by the simplest of pleasures. She loves to laugh—so hard the tears run down her cheeks. And all through the years she marshaled this joyful energy for the well-being of her family. Never once did her children hear her complain. And not until they had children of their own did they comprehend the sacrifices she had made, for all her sacrifices had been masked by her perpetual joy.
Margaret’s constant presence in the home provided comfort and security. Her children awoke each morning to the sound of her cheerful voice and returned home every afternoon to her warm greeting. She was always available—to hear about their days, call out study questions for a test, make them a snack, or bandage scraped knees. At no time was her family an interruption. She would drop whatever she was doing to tend to their most pressing concerns—without any mention of inconvenience. And if something was important or exciting to her husband or children, then it was of great interest to Margaret. Her life was intertwined with theirs. If they were happy, so was she. If they were suffering, so was she. No trial or joy was so small or insignificant as to escape her notice. Margaret’s “being there”—not just physically but with all her heart—left an indelible imprint upon the members of her family.
Her lifelong service to her husband and children speaks most eloquently about her love for the Savior. God’s love captured her heart as a teenager, and at the age of twenty- three she married a godly man. Together they imparted their love for God to their children. They modeled righteous character and genuine faith in the home. And they expressed that faith by commitment to their local church, a church they helped found almost fifty years ago. As Margaret’s children will tell you—whenever the church doors were open, their entire family was present.
Margaret’s gift of hospitality was an integral part of daily life in the church. Many a family enjoyed Sunday dinner at her home. As the hostess for numerous women’s meetings at her house, she always prepared a vast array of refreshments. If a missionary family, guest speaker, or any visitor came into town, it was taken for granted that Margaret would host them. On one occasion, she even housed a choir! She would clean her small house, cook hearty meals, suggest outings for her guests, and even do their laundry. Along with her servanthood, her joyful demeanor made everyone feel at ease. So you can imagine why anyone visiting Margaret’s home was eager to return again—and soon.
She freely extended hospitality in spite of her limited resources. Her husband was a construction worker, and though he eventually became a superintendent, Margaret had to manage the entire household with a mere forty dollars per week. But their financial situation did not deter her from giving. She would consistently set aside a portion of her weekly allowance and slip a small gift to someone facing hard times. For whether financial or practical, Margaret was always tuned in to the needs of others. If someone in the church was ill, in the hospital, or maybe just lonely, Margaret would visit the person. When a baby was born or a family member died, there was Margaret with a meal. For years she and her husband drove a disabled woman to and from the Sunday evening service.
Her charity did not end when she reached retirement age. In her late seventies she cared for a ninety-year-old widow by taking her to the doctor, the grocery store, or the hairdresser each week. Margaret was never enamored by popular or influential people. Rather, her heart was drawn like a magnet to anyone who was outcast, poor, or needy.
Those who lived near Margaret were also the recipients of her good deeds.She called her neighborhood “my little mission field.”Whenever a new family moved in, Margaret would take them a meal. She and her husband frequently appeared on their neighbors’ doorsteps with fresh-picked produce or homemade baked goods. Margaret also extended friendship to the women who lived around her. She supported and encouraged one young mom through seventeen years of mothering. Now this woman counts Margaret as dear as her own mother. And Margaret’s like a grandma to all the neighborhood kids who loved to come to her house. She would listen to their tales, read them stories, and of course fix them a snack.
One young boy in particular loved to hang out at Margaret’s house. He followed her around, talking to her while she cleaned. He stopped by early each morning when he walked his dog. He showed up at her door if he missed his bus and needed a ride to school. He even built a tree house on Margaret’s property and would try to coax her to “come on up.” So why, you might ask, would an active boy spend so much time with an elderly woman? Well, this child’s mother was in prison, his father had deserted him, and he lived with his grandparents, who now had a second family to raise. Margaret’s home was a place of refuge. No doubt her pleasant company and interest in his daily life provided much happiness and comfort for this lonely little boy.
But recently everything about Margaret’s life has changed. Her husband suffered a stroke. She’s eighty years old and unable to care for him on her own. So she’s had to move—far from her home, her church, and her neighborhood—and take her husband to live with their daughter. Her days are now occupied with caring for this man she vowed to love—in sickness and in health—all the days of her life. She feeds him, bathes him, and reads to him from the Bible. Though she did not anticipate this abrupt turn of events, and despite the new and varied challenges before her, Margaret continues to serve faithfully.
But then serving has been a way of life for Margaret, and it’s her servant’s heart that has profoundly affected all who know her. While the orbit of her life was never very wide, to her husband, five children, and seventeen grandchildren, she means the world. Though she’s lived in almost complete anonymity, her neighbors, young and old alike, will never forget her. She may not be extraordinarily gifted, but Margaret’s fellow church members are eternally grateful for her sacrificial care.
Margaret has served without fanfare, never seeking attention or accolades. But one day soon, she will meet her Maker. On that day she will receive her “commendation from God.” Although it’s true, by worldly standards, that Margaret never accomplished anything great, in God’s eyes, she has achieved true greatness. Her life can be summed up by the words of our Lord: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant…even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:26, 28).
Margaret is my example of a Titus 2 woman. Margaret is also my mom. And it’s to you, Mom, that I lovingly dedicate this book.
Used by permission from Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney © 2003, 2004 Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.gnpcb.org.
Last week Justin Taylor posted what David Powlison called “The most riveting description of the goal of the Christian life” he has ever read. As I reflect on B. B. Warfield’s words, I am left with three distinct impressions:
1. How much this description reminds me of my dad and mom. This year more than ever.
2. How short I fall of this description.
3. How being a wife and mother calls me to a radical Christianity. To lose myself. And to find myself in Christ.