Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Father, hear us, we are praying, Hear the words our hearts are saying, We are praying for our children.

Keep them from the powers of evil
From the secret, hidden peril,
From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand pluck them,

Holy Father, save our children.
From the worldling's hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Through life's troubled waters steer them,
Through life's bitter battle cheer them,

Father, Father, be Thou near them.
Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children.

And wherever they may bide,
Lead them Home at eventide.

Amy Carmichal

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rejoice in the Lord

17Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

18Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

19The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! For the Chief Musician; with my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Pure in Heart

I am thanking God that unto us a Child was born. I am thanking Him also that there was a pure-hearted woman prepared to receive that Child with all that motherhood would mean of daily trust, daily dependence, daily obedience. I thank Him for her silence. That spirit is not in me at all, not naturally. I want to learn what she had learned so early: the deep guarding in her heart of each event, mulling over its meaning from God, waiting in silence for His word to her.

I want to learn, too, that it is not an extraordinary spirituality that makes one refuse to do ordinary work, but a wish to prove that one is not ordinary--which is a dead giveaway of spiritual conceit. I want to respond in unhesitating obedience as she did: Anything You say, Lord.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

~Elisabeth Eliot

Friday, December 12, 2008

Give Me, O Lord, a Heart of Grace,

GIVE me, O Lord, a heart of grace,

A voice of joy, a shining face,

That I may show where'er I turn

Thy love within my soul doth burn!

A tenderness for all that stray,

With strength to help them on the way

A cheerfulness, a heavenly mirth,

Brightening my steps along the earth!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Sacrifice of Ourselves

THAT is what our sacrifice of ourselves should be--"full of life." Not desponding, morbid, morose; not gloomy chilly, forbidding; not languid, indolent, inactive; but full of life, and warmth, and energy; cheerful, and making others cheerful; gay, and making others gay; happy, and making others happy; contented, and making others contented; doing good, and making others do good, by our lively vivid vitality,--filling every corner of our own souls and bodies, filling every corner of the circle in which we move, with the fresh life-blood of a warm, genial, kindly Christian heart. Doubtless this requires a sacrifice; it requires us to give up our own comfort, our own ease, our own firesides, our dear solitude, our own favorite absorbing pursuits, our shyness, our reserve, our pride, our selfishness.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Working Mothers

The director of a center for women's concerns said, "Men have always been able to be involved in creative, self-actualizing work." She would like to see more women released from traditional women's work "to be involved in creative work." Creative work, in this lady's view, does not seem to include homemaking and mothering. Why not? I would like to ask. And who, for heaven's sake, is going to do the homemaking and mothering? The lady says she felt confused and frustrated when she was doing it, and "struggled with fulfillment." Many women feel as she does. I meet them often. What I long to help them to see is that if homemaking and mothering are the tasks God has assigned to them at present, it will be in the glad offering up to Him of those tasks that they will be truly "creative" and find real fulfillment.

There's an eternal spiritual principle here. It ought to be enough reason for anybody. Is there any other reason why I am always telling young mothers to stay home? Yes, two absolutely unarguable ones, and a third interesting one which you can argue about if you want to.

First, the Bible clearly tells me (an older woman) to teach younger women "how to work in their homes" (Titus 2:5, JB), or to be "busy at home" (NEB), or be "domestic" (RSV).

Second, children need their mothers. They need quantity time. None of this "quality time" nonsense. Any time which a Christian mother who loves her children gives them should be "quality."

Third, it's very possible that a working mother's income is not nearly so "extra" as may at first appear. Take a look at a study done by Wayne Coleman of Austin, Texas. I think his estimates are very modest. From weekly earnings of $175, subtract:

35.00.....withholding tax
11.00.....Social Security
20.00.....transportation (.20 mile, 10 miles to job)
7.50.......lunches (these will have to be dieter's specials!)
12.50.....clothes, shoes, dry cleaning
35.00.....child care for one and cosmetics collections, gifts, entertainments breaks, miscellaneous
10.00.....extra for bring-home meals

Net income weekly: $18.50. If you subtract from this the things a woman may buy which she would not have bought if she didn't have "her own income," or that she may feel she deserves because she's working, how much "extra" is there for the necessities that convinced her she needed the job?

Here's a testimony from a young woman in Texas who has no children yet. "The struggle I'm having is even though I work only part-time, there doesn't seem to be time to keep house, be with other women, reach out to the needy and lost. I know the pressures of the world, pushing for 'upward mobility,' figure more into the picture than I realize, making my struggle quite a fight. A part of me wants to quit the job, another part of me isn't that free yet!"

Please--if you're a mother of young children, considering getting a job, will you consider these questions first?

  • Will your income really be worth it?
  • Will it increase your husband's tax burden?

Are you giving your best to your family and/or your employer? Former premier of Israel Golda Meir said that a working mother is torn apart--when in the office she's thinking of all she didn't get done at home, and when at home she's thinking of all she didn't get done at the office.

Would your husband be able to do a better job at work if you were doing a better job at home? What are your real motives for wanting to work? Could it be social pressure, boredom, acquisitiveness, pride, and unwillingness to do humble things? Are you trying to prove something?

I know some mothers of young children who in the face of genuine economic necessity have asked God to show them work they can do at home. Then they've gone to the library and read about businesses that can be engaged in at home, or they've been given an "original" idea. It's amazing to hear the answers God has given. "Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things."

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Lord Glorified in Troubles

WHATEVER thy grief or trouble be, take every drop in thy cup from the hand of Almighty God. He with whom "the hairs of thy head are all numbered," knoweth every throb of thy brow, each hardly drawn breath, each shoot of pain, each beating of the fevered pulse, each sinking of the aching heart. Receive, then, what are trials to thee, not in the main only, but one by one, from His all-loving hands; thank His love for each; unite each with the sufferings of thy Redeemer; pray that He will thereby hallow them to thee. Thou wilt not know now what He thereby will work in thee; yet, day by day, shalt thou receive the impress of the likeness of the ever-blessed Son, and in thee, too, while thou knowest it not, God shall be glorified.