Friday, July 20, 2007

Alive in Christ AND Fulfilled in Marriage! Imagine that!

I have never considered myself part of a movement. Yes, my husband and I were convicted as a young married couple to present our bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God. That meant that we decided to use no birth control, and we joyfully received from the Hand of God the children He planned for us to have. We were "quiverfull" before the term was coined. We rejoiced in reading Mary Pride's "The Way Home", but it did not sway us. It just cemented what God had already taught us.

Yes, we have homeschooled our children all the way through (except for the eldest, who attended a Christian school for the first four years, and a public school for a short time.) When we began homeschooling, we did so because Deuteronomy makes it very clear that we are to teach our children when we sit down, when we rise up, when we walk by the way... all the time. There were no homeschoolers that we knew, no curriculum vendors, no public speakers. We were not part of the homeschool movement. We were simply Christian parents who wanted to raise our family to know and love the Lord, and to glorify His name.

Yes, I have been a stay-at-home mom for most of our nearly 34 years of marriage. I have tried to obey God's word and line myself up under my husband's leadership. Except for a short time as a part-time bus driver, and a short time as a Communications Co-ordinator for Carey Outreach Ministries, I have remained at home, serving my family. I guess I could be accused of being part of the "Patriarchal Movement". I don't see it that way. I was simply obeying the Word of God.

There is a discussion going on right now in cyber-space, and women who are Christians AND feminists are up in arms, decrying those who decide that large families, homeschooling, and traditional roles for men and women are God's plan for their lives. In other words, people like me and my daughters are apparently deluded or under some sort of legalized bondage. We simply can't know what it is to be Alive in Christ if we are stay-at-home moms with large families who are under our husband's authority.

I will quote one of the comments on the "true womanhood" site:

Imagine it… where would you rather be when you’re thirty, when you wake up and read what the Bible REALLY has to say??? Would you like to have 7 children already and a husband you have trouble respecting because he abuses his leadership, or be single and in a position to start your life fresh????? Marriage is for keeps… there’s no sending children back… so say you did wake up in this situation, you’re only option is to pray for a miracle in your husband’s heart!!!! While you gradually become the outcast, because everyone in your circle will eventually catch on to your “rebellion”.

Or, you can grieve for the years that bondage to legalism stole from you, but you can pick yourself up, pray that God would redeem the years that the locusts have eaten, and start living like an ALIVE woman in Christ.

You know, I have been married to the same man for nearly 34 years. I have kept his home and done his laundry (but not always his socks! - at least not always on time!!) and made his meals and answered his telephone and done his errands and carried and birthed and nursed his children. I have taught his children, prayed with his children, and delighted in his children - for they are mine, too!

I haven't woken up and felt that all of those years and all of those tasks were wasted. In fact, I believe that God is pleased with my servant's heart, and that He is glorified by my nose-wiping and my dish-doing and my child-rearing.

When I examine my life in Christ, I realize that God has used my marriage and my children to refine my rough edges and make me more Christ-like. How would I have learned patience and trust in a Sovereign God, were it not for wayward children? How would I have learned submission, were it not for a husband who did not always see things my way? How would I have learned applied theology, were it not for teaching my children the catechism, and having heated discussions with my husband regarding the doctrines of grace or the role of women? As iron sharpens iron, so my relationship with Rick and the children God has given us has sharpened me.

How would working outside the home have been more fulfilling? Having to get up early in the morning, fight the traffic, arrive on time, sit in meetings... how is that more blessed? How could having a boss other than my husband have been better? My husband respects me. He knows my strengths. He encourages me in my talents. No boss can ever know me like Rick knows me...I haven't the time left on this earth to invest 34 years in another relationship.

The poster above says

"you're (your!) only option is to pray for a miracle in your husband's heart!"

She says that like it is a bad thing to pray. However, we who are Christians know that it is a privilege to enter the throne room and petition Almighty God on behalf of someone we love. It is a privilege and joy to have a relationship with one man, and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ together.

Oh, you young thing... how sad I feel for you. How you have missed the joy of learning by paradox that the way down is the way up, and that to be low is to be hight. You have missed that to give is to receive, and that to have nothing is to possess everything. You know nothing of the joy of servanthood, and you have failed to realize that we are most like Christ when we share in His sufferings.

Jesus made himself of no reputation. He did not seek after degrees or recognition. He was content to stay in a tiny area and minister to a miniscule group of unimportant people.

Kind of like a stay at home mom, under the authority of her loving husband, ministering to her children.

Alive in Christ, I'd say.



Libbie said...

*Emphatic nod of agreement*

Bonnie said...

Such a wise articulation of the godly woman's life! With almost 42 years with the same man, 4 grown children, and 22 sweet grandchildren-arrows-going-forth, I could not have expressed my own convictions better!

Thank you, and thanks, Carmon, for sending me this way. It is a heart-blessing to know there are other grannies passing on a true-burning torch. God bless you.

Yoka said...

Dear Janet,
I came upon your blog by accident and I find it so refreshing to read that you loved staying home and have children. I have been married 40 years now and we have two children. We both come from large families and there was a lot of abuse. I was born again in 1979 and my husband has not as yet.
God bless you and yours.

Anonymous said...

May I quote the last 2 paragraphs of this post? I'm getting together a scrapbook to encourage another Mum who is soon to give birth.

Janet said...

Sandy, go ahead and quote the last two paragraphs to encourage your friend! You can quote the whole thing if you like.


Camille said...

Dear Janet...

Well, how about that gal flipping her comment. I am 40 years, married to my second husband for nearly 12 years, and we have four beautiful children (two from my previous marriage)...all because of the grace of God. She said imagine waking up in your 30s to 7 children and a husband...well, I have woken up and said, "Lord, thank you so much for what you brought me to! Thank you for loving me when I despised you! Thank you for blessing me even though I only wanted to live for me!" To have found Him have laid down my life sooner...those are my regrets...that I didn't. As our oldest daughter and I reflect on my life and hers, comparing and contrasting, she is thankful, in a sense, for the path I was on before Christ because she can see how ALIVE in Christ I am now. (She was 10 years old before I came to Christ...and has seen the MAJOR changes the Lord has worked in me over the last seven years!).

So, in that hypothetical world that the woman made...would I like to be 30 and wake up to 7 betcha!!!

However, in my reality, I will continue to thank the Lord for the blessings I do have, and for opening my eyes to what it means to be a woman, wife, and mother ALIVE in Christ.

Blessings to you -