In a recent note, Heather describes a scenario most of us can probably relate to:
I am so so grateful that you have brought up the internet as our latest discussion topic. Before I had baby Ellie last June, I worked in a job where I got several emails a minute, and so checking my computer screen regularly was important. Since leaving work, I have (rather sadly) continued with this same habit—except now I have no more than the occasional email from Amazon, eBay or the Baby Centre, or from sympathetic friends who know that I still treat my inbox as though it belonged to a lawyer! And because my inbox is empty, I comfort myself by checking Facebook, searching new recipes or - wait for it - seeing whether you’ve written again on your blog!! As you say, none of these things are bad in themselves but they frequently distract me from what I really should be doing. The washing stays in the machine, dinner remains unprepared and my husband arrives home to find his wife glued to a computer screen.
So thank you for addressing a topic which I have known in my heart I’m struggling with. My Straight Edge is at the ready!
Like Heather, most of us have a sense that something needs to change about our online habits, that all is not quite right in the way we handle technology in our homes. But how much time online is too much? When have we crossed the line from harmless diversion to harmful distraction? (e.g. Is it wrong to read our blog about biblical womanhood when the laundry isn’t folded yet?) And how do we go about making wise and appropriate changes?
We’ll set these questions up against the Straight Edge of Scripture in the next few days.
I’ll never forget the year Feminine Appeal was published. Mom delivered the completed manuscript to Crossway on February 19th of 2003, and two days later my oldest son Jack was born. Three days after his birth my colon ruptured and I had emergency surgery to save my life. Mom spent the next four months living out the message of her book under intensely trying circumstances.
Mom stayed at the hospital with us—all day, every day—and she and Steve took turns sleeping on the horrible chair by my bed. When I was discharged, Mom moved our little family into her home and she and Dad gave up their bedroom so that she could care for me and Jack ‘round the clock, making it possible for Steve to finally return to work. Mom woke up for midnight feedings with Jack, force-fed me three meals a day in bed, drove me to and from physical therapy (forty-five minutes away, several days a week), performed nursing duties too gross to mention here, and pointed me back to Christ and His Word when I was scared, post-partum, and in lots of pain. In the midst of all this, she planned Janelle’s wedding which took place on Mom’s birthday that year, June 1. Two days after Janelle got married I had a second surgery, and Mom started the whole process over again.
My mom’s care for my family was nothing short of heroic, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary. She simply did what she had been doing faithfully for the past twenty-five years: serving God by putting her family before herself. I know she’ll be uncomfortable with me saying this, but you can open up to any page in Feminine Appeal and I can tell you a story of how Mom has lived out that portion of teaching from Titus 2.
Jack turned nine this year. And so did Feminine Appeal. Jack is healthy and strong, loves reading and baseball. And Feminine Appeal has changed the lives of countless women around the world.
This year, Feminine Appeal also has a newly redesigned cover. Same great TItus 2 message. Same wonderful author. Same reminder to me of God’s amazing mercy to me through my mom.
Thanks again Mom, for everything.
We all may like browsing Pinterest or Pioneer Woman but this is how we often feel about email these days…
See you right back here on Monday! Nicole for the girltalkers
A recent article on “A Biblical Theology of Motherhood” by Dr. James Hamilton at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary here in Louisville should be mandatory reading for every Christian woman. I know it will be for my daughters as soon as they are old enough, and for every woman I have the privilege to disciple. In a world full of confusing and conflicting messages about motherhood, Dr. Hamilton surveys Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation—to help us understand and apply God’s purpose and perspective on this honorable calling:
“The Bible’s story begins with a statement that the seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15), and ends with a depiction of a dragon trying to devour a woman and her male child (Rev 12:1–17). That child, the seed of the woman, is the Bible’s main character, and his life depends on his mother giving birth to him. From this alone it can be seen that motherhood is vital to the main plot of the Bible, but it is not the main plot alone to which motherhood is vital.”
“Single women may not be mothers of their own families, but they need not be alone. The family of God provides them a set of relationships in which they can pursue the matriarchal role, and the urgency of the gospel gives them something great for which to live (1 Cor 7:8, 26).”
The biblical vision of motherhood leaves me humbled and honored to be a mom, and infuses even the mundane moments of my day with enthusiasm and joy. This is an article to save and reread often.
(And my fellow adoptive moms, you won’t be able to make it to the end without crying!)
Mothers are responsible to mold and shape lives; to raise children who, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “require not so much to be taught anything as everything.”
“I might as well be at the controls of a moon shot,” reflected one mom, “the mission is so grave and vast.” And so it is. The training and discipline of our children in the fear the Lord is an awesome task, demanding of our full attention (see Deut 6:5-9).
That’s why, if there’s one concern I have for this new generation of mothers, it is the potential for distraction.
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and texting allow moms at home to stay connected with the outside world like never before; the Internet makes it possible for women to contribute skills and gifts to the church and the marketplace, while at home with their children. These are all tremendous blessings, and when used wisely, can bless and serve our families and glorify God.
The Proverbs 31 women, long before the Internet, managed a wide range of tasks for the good of her family and community. (But did you notice what time she woke up each morning?) Depending on a woman’s capacity, gifting, personal discipline, as well as the ages and number of children, there may certainly be room for other things.
But we must be watchful that these “other things” don’t distract us from our primary task of mothering. We must walk carefully through this season, with all its opportunities, and make the best use of our time with our children.
Truth is, we can’t effectively train our children on the side. We can’t discipline them here and there. We can’t teach when we’ve got a free moment. We can’t mother intermittently.
Inconsistent training is ineffective training.
If we are distracted by projects or pleasure, we may miss valuable teaching moments, opportunities to encourage, disobedience that requires discipline, or a chance to show affection. These moments, once lost, are gone forever.
So ladies, may I encourage you, as I do my own daughters, to give training and discipline your first and full attention. Walk carefully, and keep your eyes on the mothering road.