I said unto my gardener,
"I want my vine to bear
The choicest, richest, largest grapes
To be seen anywhere."
So he tied it here,
And he cut it there,
And he trained it along the wall
And oh! The loveliest of grapes appeared-
The wonder of us all.
God said unto the mother
"I want your child to be
A godly, helpful, useful man-
A messenger for Me."
So she curbed him there,
And she taught him there,
And she urged him to what was right,
And o'er the heads of ill-trained sons,
He towered in moral height.
A builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
"It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye."
A Mother builded a temple
With Loving and Infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wonderous plan,
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.
Gone is the Builder's temple,
Crumpled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust,
But the temple the Mother builded
Will last while ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.
~Hattie Vose Hall
It is no secret that I value and cherish the role I have been given. I slather the sonnets of motherhood and wifeydom all over this blog, because I cherish them. Not even a moment of regret has ever entertained my thoughts, though I am sure many other people have (or have had in the past) noses and eyes raised at our early marriage, immediate (and hopefully, continual) childbearing, our home educating goals, and my staying at home and not pursuing a career. These can be shocking things even within the Christian church.
I think one of the reasons that cherishing these roles comes so easily for me is because I believe what scripture says about them, and what history has revealed about them. These things, done in earnest and with wisdom in spades, are vital to a nation. A NATION.
I am of the persuasion that we ought not to put the responsibilities of child-rearing in a neat and tidy little box. That far limits our capabilities. When I think of child-rearing, I think of raising GENERATIONS. I have a long-term vision and that vision is affected by how I act TODAY, with my children. Just as Abraham understood that he was going to have as many children as there were stars in the sky and grains of sand on the seashore, yet, Sarah only bore one son, so I understand that how I raise my children today will teach them how to rightly/wrongly teach THEIR children. My grandchildren will then pass down these teachings to THEIR children and so it goes.
My actions today, tomorrow and every day of my life are shaping GENERATIONS, not just three little children.
I recognize the great need and the great importance of my calling and that makes it very difficult to be discontent and keeps me from feeling worthless to society.
The Lord works through FAMILIES, primarily. Children are your most important ministry. Of course, outreach is good; sharing the gospel is great; and efforts to further the kingdom of God are welcome. These things at the expense OF the family is bad. If you are very active in the church yet have disobedient children, priorities are not where they ought to be. Think of this: One of the ONLY requirements for elders and pastors is to have obedient, well-trained children. Before you can adequately do church work, your home must be in order. The home comes first. Notice also, Titus Two. Almost everyone recognizes that scripture reference straightaway. The OLDER women are to teach the YOUNGER women. Why is this? Because they have lived longer and ought to be more wise, because their homes are in order and the 'busy years' of ministering to little ones is over. Again- Mentoring, teaching, and churchwork are incredibly full jobs and God worked it out wonderfully well that the older women, who have more time to devote to them, are primarily the ones to do it.
I say this because: if you are inclined to feel as though you are not being productive enough in the furtherance of the Lord's kingdom because you see other women attending every Bible Study that opens the church doors, or missionaries who are constantly sharing the gospel in dangerous areas and all YOU do is raise your children in the way that they should go, you would do well to remember that God has CALLED you to do this.
Scripture doesn't say "Women-attend bible studies!" "Women-go door to door with sugary gospel pamplets!" "Women-make sure you organize prayer meetings!"
"But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." ~1 Timothy 5:4
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,
5to be self–controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:4,5
*Notice: the first thing these Titus 2 women are to teach are to love their husbands and children! Not to be active in the church. Furthermore: They are to encourage younger women to be busy AT HOME.
My point is this: Those of us who are able, in this season of our lives, to be very active in the church need to evaluate if our households are first where they ought to be.
Those of us who are working fervently at the raising up of our children in the way they ought to go, needn't-no, MUSTN'T feel as though we are contributing less to the furtherance of God's kingdom. We are being obedient and we are making a greater impact on the world than any bible study could.
All of us, no matter what position, needs to think of our sisters with graciousness and love. Do not become proud of your own works and do not scoff at those who are not as active as you are in the church-if that happens, it could be questioned whether your 'action' is for God's glory or your own. On the other hand, women at home: do not become discontent in your calling as you see your friends doing different works than you. Do not covet them, their time, or their opportunities. Do not DEVALUE the work that God has given YOU.
In addition, all of us-no matter what category we fall into-can do MUCH more to further God's kindgom. It doesn't have to be in organized groups. Speaking a kind word, inviting a widow or college student-or, gasp-a LARGE family into your home for dinner. And ALL of us can do more in the training of our children. ALL of us can be more encouraging to our husbands. ALL of us, ought to show more kindness to those in need, strangers, neighbors, and family.
There is no reason to be haughty. It is really very foolish if you recognize how far we all still have to go.
But please, don't ever devalue your role as Woman. Don't ever feel as though you do not contribute to society in phenomenal ways or in the building up of the Church just because you are not in the workforce, or a busybee within the church walls. It just so happens, we have the most important job there is! A job that will be remembered. A job that will not ONLY shape our families but will shape the future of our society and nation!