“Mom, I’m in New York City.” It was my sister Dinah’s cheerful voice from 3,000 miles away. “I had a great conversation on the plane.”
We had planned to be together on this trip, but I got held up by airport security for forgetting a “no-no” in my purse and missed our flight. We prayed all the way home that God would bless Dinah flying alone during this, her first flight since she was six weeks old.
Two men sat next to Dinah on successive flights. One worked with the U. S. Army, with experiences worldwide. She asked what he thought of the European Union, which led to Ron Paul and then Zeitgeist, the movie. Zeitgeist exposes New World Order plans but also attacks Christianity as an ancient myth borrowed from other religions. She’d seen Zeitgeist and answered his skepticism with Scripture. They got into discussing gender roles. He said he was overcoming chauvinism. Dinah told him that taking care of children is a glorious and influential life. He was quick to agree, but had probably never heard such a statement, certainly not from a nineteen-year-old.
Dinah gave him a DVD on the European Union which he said he would watch as soon as he got to sit down at the airport. “You’ve been a breath of fresh air,” he told her at parting.
The next flight Dinah sat next to a Canadian scientist who asked what she thought of Obama …
This story is typical of our time away from home. My siblings come back excited and inspired to read up on a question they want to answer better. They love relating to us the conversations with friends or the talk with a fearful woman dabbling in witchcraft, a radical feminist, or a Biblical law discussion with a Communist Party girl in San Francisco.
A wise woman, Proverbs says, builds her house, but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. This building not only affects families, but cultures and nations.
How are young women to prepare and participate in this vital task of reconstructing Christian culture?
The first command given to man and woman was to reproduce, multiply, fill the earth and have dominion over it. Jesus explained Biblical dominion, not as domination, but as service; He said:
“The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’
“But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
“For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” Luke 22:25-27 NKJV
As young women, we have more time to serve; caring for the things of the LORD (I Cor. 7). In order to build Christian culture, we must have an education that surpasses what the local college offers. While college classes may supplement a good education, they will never take the place of the training Scripture calls us to.
We must love people: people who are not cool, people who are older or younger than we, people who are new to our church. This means not just hanging out with our friends with whom we are comfortable with. We recognize a godly young woman by her willingness to serve even outside her comfort zone.
We must submit to our father’s protection when he does not want us to hang out with that girl or guy. Numbers 30, a chapter on oaths, gives husbands and fathers the responsibility to revoke their wives’ or daughter’s oaths. This protects women from foolish emotional commitments, and assumes that women are making decisions for the family.
We must accept correction from parents, brothers, sisters and friends: not blindly, but evaluating their criticism or encouragement and discussing it with them.
We must be Pro-life. Pagans will stop killing their babies when Christians welcome their own as gifts from God.
God loves babies and declares that they are a reward (Psalm 127:3). This life-celebrating of Scripture has special significance; I might not be alive without it. My parents started marriage as “responsible” Christians. They used the safest birth control they knew of and started on their honeymoon reading the Bible together every morning. Beginning in Genesis, they noticed a theme they had never heard taught by Bible teachers: children are a blessing. In fact, it was a curse not to have them. Because of this understanding, I have six siblings. Without it, my parents may have stopped with three, as Dad planned. We would be different people and could have missed out on four of the best friends we could possibly have.
Rushdoony notes, “To love Christ is to love life. Life is full of the unexpected (including guests) and the untidy. Too many people want showcase living in showcase houses, where everything is hostile to life and to children. To be truly against abortion means to love life and children, and children mean dirty diapers and messy rooms, toys strewn about, noise, and more.”1
We must love hospitality. As Pastor Joe Morecraft said, “The world is changed through hospitality.” Elders and wives must be given to hospitality. We must all aspire to the qualifications of Elders. An open Christian home is where singles can get a vision for family life, where travelers can be blessed by a real home on the road, where the gospel’s work can be seen in the midst of imperfect people with real problems and a real God.
Hospitality does not start with a squeaky clean house. My mother tells a story of a girl knocking on her college dorm room door. The girl was hoping to attend that school the next year and wanted to see what the dorms were like. Mom invited her into a very messy room, cheerfully showing the desks, closets and the “lovely parking lot view.” The young woman left delighted. Accepting people matters more than sparing ourselves embarrassment.
Rebekah, in Genesis, showed her qualifications to be the mother of a dynasty to bless the world because she was happy and free serving, even though she probably had many things to do.
Immigrant communities are dependent on government schools for their children to learn English and succeed in a new land. Rushdoony noted that we started fearing foreigners when we stopped evangelizing them. If the church were again faithful in this ministry, it would take a whole family effort, to disciple parents and children. Older daughters have an influential role: we are examples to children and parents of what their children can be. Christian immigrants should be a special ministry. They need to learn the language and it should be taught by their brothers in Christ instead of the state.
We must care for the weak. Caring for the unwanted and the unlovely has been an integral part of Christianity from the beginning. In one of my favorite books, The Atheism of the Early Church, Rushdoony pointed out that the church grew so fast, partly due to Christians rescuing the babies abandoned by Romans to die.
This care includes the handicapped and elderly, who have outlived their “useful” life. As our civil government becomes more bankrupt, the elderly will be deemed more expendable. With family ties already weak, and the state footing medical bills, these lives are truly at risk. The first thing we can do is plan to take care of our own grandparents. My parents’ pre-marriage counselor told them they were not ready for marriage unless they were open to caring for either his or her parents in their old age.
Learn how to manage money. Will your husband’s heart be able to safely trust you with money? Can your parents? This is a mark of Reformation.
One sad marriage is an older couple we love who are in perpetual conflict. The wife spends them into debt. They repeatedly mortgage their house to bail out irresponsible children. The husband, too, is an overspender, having compiled a library of possibly 50,000 volumes.
God set a pattern for His people of a maximum of six years of debt.
Walk with wise men. In Titus 2 older women are instructed to teach younger women to love their own husbands, children, and be keepers at home. While this Scripture applies directly to young married women, single girls would do well to invest time with older women.
We must be diligent. The Scripture gives a rather startling rebuke to idle women, “…whereas she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives” (1 Tim. 5:6, RSV). Although the context refers to widows, this applies to all of us. It is not even fun to live without a purpose beyond our own enjoyment.
We must be able to communicate God’s Word for every area of life. This is necessary for training children, for blessing the people around us. My sister says that she needs a good education to answer her children’s questions.
We must learn to work with children. If you have young children or babysit them, teach them to work with you. If we make it a game, little ones think it is great fun to help in the kitchen. This is part of teaching children to be dominion-oriented. If they grow up just playing, it will be difficult for them to love Kingdom work.
I remember one of the few times Mom left us with a friend. Mom presented homemaking at a school career day. I was about four years old, playing in the yard with my three-year-old friend, Pansy, when I saw her mother on her hands and knees, weeding the garden. This was strange because my Mom would never weed the garden by herself. I walked over and plopped down near Mrs. B., observing which plants she pulled. They looked suspiciously like our seedlings.
“Those are the weeds and these are the plants,” I announced.
“No.” She said, clarifying, “These are the weeds and those are the plants. I will weed the garden myself. Thank you!”
I went back to playing feeling slightly left out. Mom included me in nearly all she did.
Twenty years later, I can sympathize with Mrs. B. not wanting to put up with a four-year-old, but the sad truth is, Pansy still lives for herself and does not enjoy her mother.
Influence is more important than power. Eve had tremendous influence and misused it.
Priscilla along with her husband Aquila taught an evangelist who traversed the ancient world (Acts 18:26).
Our world has no comprehension of this dynamic. During the furor over Sarah Palin, a news anchor complained, what did people expect her to do? Stay home and bake cookies? Being a homemaker is so much more.
Abigail Adams, wife of our second President, is an amazing example: A sickly, home educated little girl became advisor to one president while raising another. We have copies of Abigail’s and John’s letters written while he was convincing Congress to declare independence from England and, later, serving at the Constitutional Convention. There was no press in Congress. It was a closed door meeting. No one else knew what was going on. But Abigail advised him from Scripture and more while homeschooling John Quincy Adams with such vision and excellence that he would serve as U. S. ambassador at the age of fourteen. I believe she had more influence than if she had been president. That is the influence we leave behind when we choose to give up visionary motherhood for office.
Commission to Disciple the Nations
Our job is often mundane and unseen, but raising children, teaching them to speak, sing, and write is discipling nations. Building a house that will serve a family and provide a place for hospitality is discipling nations. We must be faithful in small things. God will bring the increase.
1. R. J. Rushdoony, Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 214.
Topics: Family & Marriage