Keeping “Godly Homemaking” in Perspective

August 11, 2010 at 6:29 am (A Slice of Life, Attitudes, Homemaking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

Last night Nathaniel and I (along with Elijah) attended a Bible study where a man named Titus from Nigeria shared about what the Lord is doing in his country and the need for literacy so that people can read God’s word for themselves.  It was a wonderful presentation, and a great wake-up call to consider how we can be supporting the suffering body of Christ around the world–through prayer and giving.

During Titus’s presentation, he took a small portion of time to discuss the problem of finding clean water that is an everyday reality for most rural people in Nigeria (and all over Africa).  A picture popped up on the screen of a woman carrying a very large pot on her head–so that her family would have some to drink and some with which to wash clothes.  This of course had an impact on my heart, realizing how incredibly blessed we are to have clean, running water, and how important it is to consider the needs of others, but it also made me think of how foolish we can be sometimes over here in the West, trying to paint an elusive picture of the perfect homemaker…of the “godly” homemaker.

The women in the picture had to walk miles for the water they needed, carrying a large pot and sometimes a little baby the whole way.  This could take HOURS.  Imagine if three or four hours of your day were spent walking and gathering water.  Would you have time to pursue “godly” hobbies like sewing or knitting or baking cookies?  Would you have the time to attend a ladies brunch and Bible study?  Would you have the time to post to your blog (assuming you do not have a smart phone)?  Would you have time to teach your kids Latin?  Make all of your own clothing?  Prepare every meal from scratch?  Would you have the money to buy only organic produce (because, of course, that is the most “godly” thing to do)?

How can a Christian woman in Africa be “godly” when she cannot do all the things that many conservative Christians in the West say a “godly” homemaker should be doing?

These thoughts only added to a lesson my Father has been teaching me lately.  Being a godly wife and mother isn’t about being the best housewife on the street, it’s about being godly in the role God has given me as a wife and mother.  It’s not about the outward stuff, as though the kingdom of God consisted in eating and drinking…or frugal shopping or an 1800’s-like lifestyle or wearing nice clothes.

The kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

I’m afraid we can get all too consumed with outward tasks and outward adornment (modest, of course), and outward actions, that we forget about the fruit of the Spirit.  That we fail to be godly because God is barely in the equation anymore.

Being godly starts with God.  It starts with His work in humble hearts.  Seeking Him is of far greater value than making your own bread or using cloth diapers or growing your own organic vegetable garden.

The point here is not that any of these things is wrong.  The point is that they do not make you godly.  Nor are you ungodly if your house doesn’t look or function just like Susie Homemaker’s.   Godliness is seeking Yahweh, being empowered by the Spirit and motivated by love to obey God and joyfully serve Him in whatever life-situation or role you find yourself in.  It speaks more to attitudes than to actual tasks.

So let’s revisit our Christian wife and mother in Nigeria.  How can she be godly?  She undoubtedly rises early to prepare food for her household.  She praises God for His provision.  She cares for the needs of her husband and children–her heart is grateful to God for them and compassionate towards them.  She walks however long it takes to find water for her family.  And along the way she is perhaps meditating on what little bit of Scripture she has access to this week.  Or maybe she sings praises.  Or maybe she delights in the sunshine or rain that her Father has given her that day.  She lovingly nurses her infant, and shares what she knows about Jesus with other women along her path.

She may be very godly.  And all you would see is a woman walking a long way to get water.  And then working hard when she returned home.  A woman who, at the end of the day, may have nothing more to show for all of her labor than this:  she, her husband, and her children … are still alive.

(Assuming they were not attacked by Muslims that day because of their faith in Jesus–another reality of the Christian life in Nigeria).

She is godly because she is filled with the Holy Spirit of God and manifests the fruit of His work in her heart.  She may not know as much as you and I about theology.  She may not even be able to read the Bible for herself–only clinging to the slivers of light that came through the teaching she heard at the small gathering of believers that she attended earlier that week.  But every word of God that she finds, she devours.  And she trusts in Him to provide and protect, and to keep His promises.

May we consider that our Western, task-driven, formulaic, and sometimes legalistic view of what it means to be a godly woman might just crumple when held up to the light of God’s word.  We are not to compare ourselves with each other or with a cultural ideal.  We are to seek the Living God.  May we be Spirit-filled believers who put the skills and gifts God has given us to good use in the roles that He has placed us in.

More to come on this subject…

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Prisoner Alert

December 4, 2009 at 1:15 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Here in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, we’ve been horrified by just how quickly our freedoms can be torn away. We’ve seen a smackling of persecution and we’re shocked. But ladies, persecution is a reality for Christians worldwide. Christ promised that, just as He was rejected, hated and even killed, so His followers would be rejected, hated and even killed. Ostracized. Marginalized. Relegated. Legislated. Sent like sheep to the slaughter for His sake.

So far, we have experienced basically nil. Regardless of rising anti-Christian sentiment in the U.S. it is still one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world. Across the globe, our brothers and sisters are suffering much worse things than negative press. Caught up in our lives of luxury and ease, it’s easy to forget our brothers and sisters who, along with Paul, are “filling up the sufferings of Christ.”

Soon, we may be joining them in a battle against the temptation to deny Christ. When the Voice of the Martyrs magazine arrived today, it featured a story of two young Iranian women, imprisoned for refusing to deny Christ—the head of the body in which we are all members. When one part of your body is wounded, the rest of your body rushes to its aid. We still have much freedom, and while we do, we should be reaching out to our suffering sisters. VOM is committed to uniting suffering Christians and those of us who are at ease. Through voluntary support they send needed supplies and literature into hostile areas—even seeking to evangelize Jihad terrorists. Recently, they’ve launched a great website to make it easy for you to offer encouragement, support and even plead with government officials for the release of Christian captives. Check out Prisoner Alert and see how you can help—from your safe home.

Ladies, many of you have time to do some web surfing. Many of you have time to write e-mails or catch up with friends on Facebook and Twitter—or even to meet new people online. Can’t you take the time to visit the site, read the stories of your suffering brothers and sisters and send them your love and Christ’s?

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” ~Hebrews 13:3

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Remember the Prisoners

December 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Could I erect a monument to my suffering brethren
I’d kneel before it, kiss the marble, shed some tears
Then turn and walk away

So removed from agony as life is far from death
I look, I hear, I close my eyes and weep and pray
Until my comfort fades their pain

To me their pain is words printed on glossy
Bold italic prayer line news
And pictures

Starvation is a word that makes my stomach growl
And shrunken limbs bring gratitude for plenty
But a full belly soon forgets

A little pain can make me feel for suffering brothers
And for a moment rising prayers can bridge the gap
Soon their pain is past my mind

To me their pain is words printed on glossy
Bold italic prayer line news
And pictures

To them it’s breathing down their collars
Creeping up their mind and heart
And engulfing.

Copyright 2006 by Abigail

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