Monday, December 3, 2007

Mothers who Know

Recently, while checking out some of my LDS groups, I came across three very interesting board discussions. Since I've set a bedtime for myself, I'm only going to discuss these issues one at a time. The first one that really drew in my attention was a thread called, "What Women Know" based off the October 2007 General Conference talk given by Relief Society President, Sister Beck called, "What Mothers Know".

I read through the comments and was really surprised at how upset some of these members seemed while discussing the talk and gender issues within the LDS church. I was shocked that a whole website had been dedicated to Beck's talk by fellow Latter Day Saint women. This seems to me, not only unheard of but grounds for ex-communication or some sort of discipline (we'll see how this develops). These LDS women absolutly rejected most if not all, of Beck's talk. I couldn't believe it - with a few exceptions regarding the temple and such, her talk was Biblical and a great and passionate (as passionate as one will see in a LDS talk) exhortation to women to be good stewards of their homes and roles as women - mothers, wives, homemakers. I didn't see anything offensive in this and I know that I am guilty of falling quite short of these standards.

I wanted to take a moment to blog about this talk and it's great exhortations for Christian women worldwide.

Beck's talk assumes and supports that God has assigned men and women roles based upon genders. Men are the providers, head of the households, and they are called to love and care for their wives and children. Women are nurturers, bear children, care for the home, and are to respect their husbands. We each have a role assigned to us from God - not from a church, or society or any other organization but soley from God. We can choose to accept the roles others have placed on us or expected from us, but that does not change the fact that God assigned us roles based upon genders and has revealed them in His Word.

Now, I am a reformed feminist - I loved the movement, fought with my parents about it, couldn't see any evil in it. However, though they have brought forth some good changes to society on behalf of women - they have also brought in a new apple for the Eves of the world to partake in.

Genesis 3:6
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

The apple of self reliance, the apple of independence, the apple of being anyone you want to be - because you are an amazing, independent, strong woman. And, women are falling for it. But not just the women outside the body of Christ - but inside as well.We see women planting churches and being head pastors, we see women gaining more power and authority inside other churches, we see them dominating in a world that God Himself has assigned the roles and parts and yet, because of today's modern society we allow ourselve to become dissatisfied with what goodness our Father has for us.

When a child asks for pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - as parents do we indulge him? When a child screams at the top of their lungs that yes they want to play basketball in the street, or yes they want to go outside without their jacket on, or any other thing that we know is not in their best interests, for a short moment how does our child view us when un-relentingly we say no yet again? Not favorably for that moment. But if we allow the child to eat pancakes for all three of her meals, to play in the street, to go outside in the middle of winter without a coat - are there not consequences? As parents, we have rules and guidance in place because we know better than our children.

God has revealed to us that our thoughts are not His thoughts and His ways are not His ways and so, as His children, is it not in our best interest to obey what He has set out?

I understand this temptation - as a Mormon I was very liberal and found tons of reasons within my belief system and I believed even in the New Testament that supported my reasoning. I even purchased a book (that to this day I have yet to give up) called, "Sisters at the Well" which examines the women in Jesus' day from a feminisit point of view (perhaps others would not explain it in this manner but the very basis of this book is that Jesus started a revolution for and on the behalf of women). Personally, I battle almost everyday with this desire that I want to serve in ministry - have wanted to do so for a very long time, even when I was LDS (although of course the ministry options were drastically different and limited for me as a woman - I had my eye on just being a teacher within my ward at the time) and to really spend my time working in and for a church. But this temptation is not what God has in mind for His daughters. Sure, we can work in ministry - but the areas that we should keep ourselves to should be the ones God has already gifted and assigned us in as women.

As women, God has assigned us to be mothers.

Genesis 3:20
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

As women, God has assigned our husbands to be the head of our homes - just as Christ is the head of the church. Our husbands should be our spiritual leaders, even when us women as emotionally and spiritually driven as we can be, want it the other way around.

1 Corinthians 11:3
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

As women, God has commanded us to respect our husbands.

Ephesians 5:33
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Finally, as women - God has beautifully revealed to us the process and blessings of santification specifically as women. You may already know my next passage from the Word. My personal favorite.

Proverbs 31:10
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Yes it's lengthy - but it is also very crucial to remembering what God has asked us to do, to become, and compare them with today's society. What I found most interesting in these board discussion was the following comment:

Poor White Boy Productions wrote:
"gender roles is one of my favorite subjects to think about. I believe that God isn't as concerned about gender roles as we are. Seeing how religions, LDS and otherwise, have changed over the years in how they deal with gender roles, It seems to me to be more of a cultural thing than a spiritual thing.

I personally believe that God doesn't care if women wear pants or if men change diapers at home when mom works."

Not for a moment do I personally believe men should abstain from the knitty gritty works of child rearing - of course they should. What lines are drawn? I think this is something that is between a couple and Christ. In my household, Steve and I alternate mornings to sleep in, we take turns with diapers, we work together hand and hand. I take my belief in this from the Bible, " In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." (1 Corinthians 11:11)

However, I understand that when it comes to tending my home to the best of my abilitiy and even uncomfortably stretching - that this is my role. I understand that God has blessed me as the loving nuturer and this is my nature. Notice, that in the Ephesians passage earlier listed that women are directed to respect their husbands - not love them, and men are directed to love their wives, not respect them. This is something both partners need - in fact, you might say it's the opposite's love lanuage and the other's shortcoming so to speak. God programmed women as lovers and men as those who speak with respect and desire respect, just as women we desire emotions and parrallel them with love - an emotion.

As a woman - I understand that in Christ, I am a precious, priceless daughter of a King, that He knows every hair on my head and that He loves me more than I could ever understand. As a mother, I understand that the rules I have set for my children are needed - for they may someday save their lives or at the least, protect them from unwise or unheathy - potentially harmful decisions. I have the temptation that I know better than God - that His standards, His wisdom, His guidance is only for the people then. That it can't apply to me now - however we must realize that everything we do in this life applies to Him now and everything He revealed to us before applies to us now. Is Christ the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow or has He changed? Has His wisdom and desire for goodness in our lives changed? Or have our standards changed? Are our hearts overflowing even with the best of intentions? The Bible says that out of the overflow of the heart... (the mouth speaks) - an action occurs. Whether it be from the tongue or with the hands or the feet or the decision we make in life - it's from the overflow of our hearts.

With this in mind, coupled with the following revelation:

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.

Should we trust in God's revealed wisdom that through His soverignty has stood the test of time or should we trust in our deceitful hearts?

Our hearts will wander, we will justify what we want - but we know that the gait is straight and narrow, we simply have to keep our focus on God, keep in mind things eternal not temporal things that will all fall away anyways.

I want to work outside the home - I hate being home all day and personally compare myself to my gifted friends whose homes always seem perfect all the time. Personally, I think I suck as a housewife and what nothing more than to run away into the warm embrace of a 9-5 job that gets me out of this house and into the world. But I stop, I hesititate, I wait on God. And I am reaffirmed that even though I lack enthusiam, it's still my role. I am reminded that through this role not only do I influence a powerful generation, I am also becoming santicified through my children. It's not supposed to be about what I want, how I want to live, or how my cleaning obsesssion is ignored day after day driving me insane.

What does matter is, what does my heart speak when it overflows? Is my desire to be a godly, obediant woman more than my desire to go on a date outside the home, have two cars, new clothes, or indulge my children's wants? Is it more important to me to act of God's will in my life or to act upon my will for my life?

I once heard a pastor state that the hardest challenge any of us have is our own will. Amen to that. Mothers who know - trust God. Mothers who know, set aside their own selves and are obediant to God. Mothers who know, let God speak into their lives and even when they can't let go and trust God anyways.

God, please make me into a mother who knows and acts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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