Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Becoming... who?

I have awesome parents. They are kind, giving, loving. I don't ever remember being in want of anything in life growing up. My family is unique... we all live in the same area, and we like hanging out together. We have family dinners pretty regularly, and some of us go to church together. My parents have taught me so much in life.

However... yes, here comes the "but"... somewhere along the line I missed the lessons on how to be a proper wife and mother. I gave into the worldly thinking that I needed to break free from my family to "find myself" and "experience life". I spent much of my later years at home trying to force my opinions on others and create my own rules at the expense of others'. I missed out on what were probably the most valuable lessons of all.

My dad is an original. I've never met another man like him, and I don't expect I ever will. He does more than anybody I know. When I was little, it was he who cooked and cleaned the house, and that was after working a day at a high school. My mom worked later hours, being a teacher at an elementary school. I grew up with an (unrealistic) expectation of men that I didn't even know I had until after I was married and realized my husband had never cleaned a bathroom in his life.

I can't remember anybody ever telling me that men didn't know how to keep house... I certainly don't remember being taught that I would be the one who needed to do it. I had those feminist ideals of equality, and even superiority to men. Media and friends supported the idea that men were oafs who needed to be changed and molded to be better people, and to care for their wife as she pleased.

I didn't even want children when I got married. I figured if I had to have them, I would adopt, since my parents adopted me. I prepared to prevent, instead of preparing for the possibility that God would choose to bless us with children. Another mistake on my part.

I feel like the past several years of my life have been those of self-discovery in the real world. Trying to get an education, make friends, and break free of my family wasn't reality. Working to maintain a marriage, raise a child, and keep a home- that's the real world. Sometimes I can't fathom why it's so difficult. Nobody took the time to talk to me about what marriage is like. Passing comments about "marriage isn't easy" or "finances are the number one cause of marital strife" doesn't educate a young woman on how to have a successful marriage.

As a result, I've had my share of blunders, and outright failures. I've had heartache that could have been avoided had I been better prepared. I find that now I'm very honest with those who are preparing for marriage or who want to be married someday. I figure they need to know the whole truth about the not-so-pretty side of being a wife and mother. I don't want them to become disillusioned when they find that it's not all about them, and it's not always happy.

That all being said, I believe that we have a serious lack of women in the Church who are willing to fulfill their biblical role to mentor the younger women as instructed in Titus 2:

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."
-- Titus 2:3-5

We have fallen prey to the worldly belief that we don't need to help others. I think it's a disgrace that a young Christian woman cannot find a mentor in her church- I have heard that story from too many women my age. Mentors don't have to be perfect, they just need to love God's Word and desire to follow Him. God will use them to His glory.

If we have so many women who don't see themselves fit to fulfill their biblical roles, then we have a greater problem than selfishness. We have a failure of the church in the area of discipleship. The Great Commission has more than one part to it:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
-- Matthew 28:19-20

What good have we done for the Lord if we haven't completed the Great Commission He gave us? Have we really even carried out His instructions if we fail to teach those who believe, and in effect have therefore failed to make disciples?

I'm not perfect- and I'll be the first to admit it. I fail, and I repent, and I know I'm going to fail again. Growing in holiness is a lifetime process, and it will not end until this life has ended and this sinful world has passed away. I do believe that we have a responsibility as Christ followers to invest in the lives of other Christians- to care about them, to desire that they know the Lord more thoroughly. We should all want that of ourselves and those we know. Why just care about the unsaved?

So please, if you are an older Christian woman, love your daughters and sisters- teach them as the Lord has commanded, and help them in their walk to becoming the women God has called them to be. Younger Christian women, don't follow in my first footsteps- be respectful of your elders, listen to the wisdom they have to give, and follow the instructions God has left you.

There is no higher calling than that of the feminine role God has laid out before you. Revel in the love of the Creator who made woman unique and separate from man, who created us as a helpmeet, a completion. We, in our submission paired with the authority of our husbands, show the relationship between Christ and the church. Let us not bring blasphemy upon His holy name, but instead strive to glorify Him in all of our ways.

"...let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."
-- 1 Peter 3:4-6

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