Friday, September 05, 2008

Still Thinking

I think I might need to clarify a little bit. I re-read yesterday’s post, and I think I was vague enough that something might be read into it that I did not mean. Maybe not. I know what I mean to be saying, but most of the few people who read my blog don’t actually know me personally, so it might be easy to assume I meant something I didn’t. So I’m going to go out on a limb and share some of my thoughts about women again, and then I’m going back to mommy blogging or whatever miscellaneous stuff it is that I do around here.

I do affirm what the Bible teaches in Titus 2 and elsewhere about younger women being keepers of the home and submissive to their husbands, if they are married, and to love their children and train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord when He has placed children in their home and about older women teaching the younger women on these things. I’m not going all worldly feminist or anything, and I didn’t want what I said about my thinking a lot to imply that I’m rethinking the basic biblical principles that I do, in fact, affirm.

Where I am struggling, to be specific, is that I have heard a lot of speculation over the years about how every Christian woman and every family is to follow those principles specifically, and there is where I kind of have a hard time. The reason I have a hard time is because some of the voices I’m hearing seem to have a kind of check list of how that must look for a family to be in line with the biblical principle that a woman is to make the home her priority and to serve joyfully in that capacity and that every family will look the same in how they do it. I think we need to be careful about defining legalistic lists of specifics that we develop and then when a family or woman deviates from our list then we are quick to judge them harshly. I may be wrong with how I’m thinking here, and if so, I trust the Lord to graciously bring me into submission to His word and help me to see it His way.

Now I’ll share my opinion, understanding that, again, if I am wrong I want to be willing to retrain my thinking as God leads me and as I prayerfully continue to grow in His grace and learn from His word. I think each of us needs to prayerfully consider with our husbands and before God what His will is for us in this matter. And I think we are wise to seek out godly, solid, biblical counsel. Then we need to boldly live in that conviction, but I think we need to be careful to show grace to people when we don’t know everything that went into the decisions they have made for their families. For example, I am convinced that it is absolutely right for me to stay home with my children, and I am extremely grateful that God has provided a good job for Drew so that he can be the provider for our family and that Drew has the same conviction that it is best for me to be home for and with our children. We are not, however, homeschooling them, and that would be seen by some as a failing to follow through with the Titus 2 and other biblical principles. Trust me, we did not make that decision lightly, and we are being careful to teach our children at home, too. This is just one example of those areas we need to allow people to trust the Lord about and understand that we answer to Jesus on how we fulfill our mandate as wives and moms to fulfill Titus 2. I am wary of saying that every wife and mom must never work outside the home or must homeschool or…..well, look around and there are lots of things people have strong convictions about and will judge others who haven’t come to that conviction. I do believe that the best is for mom to stay home, but I also realize we live in a fallen world and I think we need to offer grace and trust the Lord to convict His children in how they are to fulfill their calling to surrender to Him as Lord and how that will be accomplished in their homes, understanding that the overriding biblical principles are not to be violated.

I would not be honest if I said that I had no qualms at all about the fact that Sarah Palin has young children and is taking on the kind of responsibility that the Vice President (and therein, possibly president one day) has. But, again, I am not her judge. I don’t know her at all. I heard somewhere that she often takes her children to work with her and that her husband is planning to homeschool them. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but, if so, there is probably more family involvement going on there than in a lot of families, and that is a good thing. I have always believed that it is better if a mom does not pursue a career once she has children at home. It really would be hard to give them the attention they need and to be involved with them enough to know what is going on in their hearts. However, I have found, too, that even though I am home with my children, it doesn’t always mean I’m being as involved with them as I ought. Just being home isn’t what matters most, it is what I am teaching them and how I am interacting with them and training them and disciplining them and investing in their lives that matters. It is how well I am listening to them and watching them to be discerning about the heart issues they need me to address and teach them about. Just having me close isn’t enough if I’m distracted and busy and letting the TV babysit them while I am home.

Having said that, though, it doesn’t change the fact that I am very excited about Sarah Palin and the fact that she can speak to the issue of abortion and pointing out the inconsistencies of the liberal feminists and in advocating for special needs families in a way that I am not sure any of the men on the national stage would do right now. And I liked her stance on other issues, too. Whether or not I agree with every personal choice she makes or whether or not they may be choices I would not have made in my own life doesn't mean I can't vote for her or even be happy about voting for her.

I also know that I am much more excited about this election than I was before because she seems to be the breath of fresh air that is encouraging to political conservatives, which I am. I do not look to government for my hope for America, however. The only hope for all the things that are wrong with America will not come in whoever is elected this fall. My hope is in Christ Jesus alone. But we do not live in a theocracy. The things that applied to Israel how it was to be governed can’t translate over to how America is governed. As a dual citizen of God’s Kingdom and the USA, I have to make the best choice I can when I vote, but I won’t either look to a candidate as a ‘messiah figure’ nor will I mourn and wail and sink into depression if someone I didn’t want to be elected wins. God is in control. We need to remember that and hold lightly to our political convictions, understanding that this world system is temporary. We should do all we can to stem the tide of evil, but continue to understand that the ultimate answer is not in who is elected. The ultimate answer is in people repenting and surrendering to Jesus Christ. It is heart change that we really need.


char said...

Rebekah - I have to say I am agreeing with you. Carl was talking about this on Tuesday and was pretty dogmatic on the topic. I haven't addressed it on my blog yet.. because I am still processing it too. I love Sarah... AND I fundamentally disagree with her choices in regard to working outside the home. But because her kids are in school.. who knows how she arranges her time in order to accommodate that? I hate to sound absolute about things ... but I do believe that God calls Christian women to be workers at home primarily. I can't imagine God calling us to do something that would call us out of our home to serve when our primary ministry is to our family.

Saying that... I think that she will totally rock if she gets the position. BUT

I think there will be a dear price for her family. Think about Samuel... he obeyed God... he loved God... but his sons turned out rotten. I think of the loss of his mother in his formative years. His parent was Eli whose own sons were ungodly. There are consequences to children not having parents who are all there.

What do you think? char

Rebekah said...

Hi, Char. I agree with what you are saying. I heard that on Tuesday, too, and that's one reason I've been really thinking this through and trying to have the right understanding on this. I do have concerns about all of this, and about the message it might send, especially, to 'weaker sisters' who may try to hold up Sarah Palin's example as what ‘should’ be the 'norm' for a Christian woman or as a model to follow. I do believe that as a general and overarching principle Christian women are to be primarily keepers of the home and to be home for their children. And I do agree with you that there is a price to pay if we divide our attention between a career and our family. There are lots of examples of godly men with children who went haywire – Isaac wasn’t a terrific dad, and Rebekah – stay home mom for sure, but she urged Jacob to lie to and deceive his father. King David comes to mind and lots of the kings who followed. It never ceases to amaze me how there would be a godly king in Judah, and then just the next generation his sons would be awful.

Then I look at the Proverbs 31 woman. She was one busy lady, and she engaged in buying and selling property, too. She also had servants to help her with the housework…..So, while I do believe that Christian women are primarily to have the home as their priority, I’m not sure I want to say that God could never call a specific woman to serve in an important position. Is it the norm? No. Am I saying God is calling Sarah Palin to do what she’s doing? I don’t know. I don’t answer for her. I do look at her situation and it does not seem that she has had the presidency as her life-long goal, but more that some of this kind of fell into her life as she walked along the way. I also would not have made some of the decisions she has made, but, again, I don’t answer for her.

I also look at her specific case and see that her husband seems to be happy with what she is doing and willing to be there with the children. Is that ideal? I don’t think it is, but it does make me more able to accept her in this role knowing that the children’s dad will be very involved with them. But I’m also not sure I am prepared to say that God couldn’t raise up a woman once in a while to do something like this. But, then again, there are some problems there with at least one of the children, but I also hesitate to judge the parents completely when a child chooses to go in a way that they surely taught her was not right. We are sinners parenting sinners and it is only by God’s grace when our children walk with Him. But I’m not saying with that that we should be lax about teaching them His way, either. We have a huge responsibility before God as parents to train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and that should be top priority once we are parents.

I have other thoughts I’m processing through, too, but this comment is too long already.

Bottom line, I agree with you that the Christian woman primarily is called to have the home as a priority and a mom needs to be there with her children. I also hope that the Palin family is carefully counting the cost of their decision. I also think it is very refreshing to have someone on the national stage who will be as eloquently able to stand up for life and for the ‘least of these’ in the way she will be able to do.

So, I will be praying through all of this.

Julie Stiles Mills said...

Very thoughtful post. I've been thinking about all this too and it has reminded me of Karen Hughes. Remember her? Bush's adviser? When she left her White House job it was a major deal. She wrote about her experiences and her decision to leave her job in her book "Ten Minutes from Normal"

One big advantage I see here is that Palin has her husband's support in a very practical, hands-on way. If there turns out to be a reversal of the traditional roles of man and wife in their family, I don't have one problem with what she's doing. If the primary care given to their children is being given by one of the parents (her husband), I think that's great. However, if her kids were going to be raised by nannys and or other paid caregivers, I can tell you - I couldn't do it myself.