Wednesday, April 28, 2010

expanding into freedom

the Christian life and doctrine is full of paradoxes that are difficult to grasp, but must be embraced in faith toward God. Jesus was both God and man. God is both three and one. to die is gain. and how about this one: submission brings freedom. yes, submission to God really does, and here is where i have learned it: in marriage and home life, where He is gently, gently teaching me to stop striving and giving me the courage to submit to my husband and to submit to the way He made me to be. the more i have allowed this to happen, the more contented, joyful, and free i have become.

for much of my Christian life, i didn't understand why i still felt so restless and discontented. i could hear a really great, meaningful sermon on doctrine or Christian living, and still come home and have so much anxiety and double-mindedness, not knowing what God wanted for me, not knowing what i wanted for myself. for my entire single life i ran around being all crazy about finding the will of God for my life and wishing so bad that i just had a burning bush to tell me exactly what to do! getting married was the best thing that could have happened to me, because it began in me a death to self and a refining process that i could not have experienced as a single with thousands of options before me. yes, it was horribly hard, and still is sometimes, that is why it is called "death," but i wouldn't trade the freedom i have found for anything.

God does, thankfully, tell married women in every age group exactly what to do: older women are to teach the younger women "
to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." (Titus 2:4-5). and younger married women are obviously supposed to then learn and DO THESE things! yes! having children! being submissive to their husbands! being homemakers! does it not say so plain and clear in God's word? why do married Christian women of today act as though they had a thousand options, to shut off their wombs' function for personal gain, to go out and work, to grumble against their husbands? God actually calls failure to obey Titus 2:4-5 a blaspheming of His word! yet how His word would be honored if the Christian older women really took that call seriously and each one taught the younger women in her life the above virtues! we younger women really need a lot of help! i am thankful at least that i have stumbled upon some books and ministries where older women are reaching out to the younger on these topics.

i know now why the church sermons still left me with a confused life view: because while the doctrine at the pulpit is indispensable, the average male preacher has not the foggiest idea about the soul and marrow of a woman's existence. they are usually as confused by the entrenched feminist views as we are! not to mention that it would be entirely ill received if a man were to pontificate on how women need to stay home and have babies!! which is exactly why the Bible gives that task to older women with the necessary softness and experience. instead, we younger women are left out to follow the world's ideas of womanhood. (i find it sad as well that we have intimidated our Christian men, who might have a good feeling for the true order of things, into becoming a bit spineless: they concede to being homemakers as well, and feel that in order to be loving, sensitive, non-chauvenists... they must support their wife in her career (or her ministry) and her decision not to have children, or only one or two, and then to continue with the career when she puts them away into public schools.)

the directions of titus 2 are very hard to swallow in the world of today. they sound so back woods! so oppressive! yes, satan has done a good job deceiving us and blinding us to the true potential of womanhood and motherhood by demeaning it so much that even Christians can no longer embrace the true value of it. one friend of mine wrote, "
it would do God such a disservice to reduce women to a womb....a real travesty of His intention for us all..." and that is how deep the deception has gotten! that we would see the way He made us as demeaning, a reduction of value! that is truly the world's feminist influence talking. satan is the one who wants a woman's greatest calling to be seen as dirty work, of little value, and undesirably narrow. did God not Himself make us with a womb? the word "woman" in the original means "womb man." yes, womb man! that says a lot about God's intention. it is by the womb that He chose to call us, to set us apart. it was God's own defining characteristic of women! and we are made in His very image! "El Shaddai," the almighty, literally means "breasted one." yes! God has a MOTHER heart as well as a father heart! in Genesis 3, satan has enmity with the woman because of the potential of her womb and her training up of godly offspring, specifically the messiah. satan still hates the womb for that potential, the potential to raise up armies of strong contenders against him! we need to open our eyes to the sad deception of the last century and see exactly how valuable we are. the feminists are wrong. they shout and shout for their rights because it is "my body," and yet they do not even fully embrace the way their body is made! they cut off the very function of their womb in order to have the freedom to... to what? to become more like men! or to merely have the freedom to entertain themselves! how sad! reducing? NO, to embrace the womb and the offices God gave us as women is not a reducing, it is an expansion. an expansion into freedom, peace, and POWER.

Romans 9:20 warns, "who are you, o man, who answers back to God? the thing molded will not say to the molder, 'why did you make me like this,' will it?" of course one has to freely embrace it all as God's gift, in order to gain freedom. we cannot be free when we strive against it or are forced into it by anyone else (as it is in some muslim circles. we can all see it becomes oppressive when forced). i am not one that believes that women shouldn't have the right to work or vote. but yes, it seems logical that when married, God made it such that children would follow, and once a mother, why be a mother halfway? we are called to be homemakers; "workers at home," as some translations put it! that doesn't mean we can't have business ventures on the side (see the woman of Proverbs 31!) but it does mean our first concern is for the home, and that we are THERE. our work is just as valuable as the husband's, but it is at home. we guard against all kinds of evils and combat problems in society by being at home and training up our children in a godly way. and by embracing the children that God wants to give us, we will not be reduced, we will be expanded! our influence in the world expands, our personal peace and freedom in Christ expands, our patience and kindness expands, our wisdom expands, our legacy expands. most of the time, if Christian parents are faithful, their children are faithful to God as well. we are not guaranteed the faith of our children, of course, but often God does choose to call the children of faithful families to Himself. how we Christians like to complain about the way the world is going, when we ourselves were the ones who chose to narrow the positive influence in the world by limiting our offspring so we might go off and enjoy ourselves.

of course, the Lord knew this was going to happen, and predicted that we would be hated and persecuted in the last days, and that there would be all kinds of social problems, but that doesn't negate individual responsibility to do as He says. all that being said, however, i definitely understand that the Lord does not limit Himself and that He has indeed chosen to still use many women in other powerful ways, who were not convicted to this effect. (partially also because men have not stepped up in the way they were called to, either, as it was in the story of Deborah in the Bible. i am so thankful that the Lord gave me a husband that led me in this way, staying true to the Word and calling attention to the worldly deceptions in me.) "He is not a tame lion," as C.S. Lewis liked to say. He has so much grace and may work in any way He wants. and as always, i still have such a long way to go in becoming the Biblical wife and mother i am called to be: in hospitality, gentleness, giving, etc.
"not that i have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, i press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." phil. 3:12-14

May He lead you to embrace the peace and freedom He gives through submission.


Anonymous said...

Doris, I love hearing your heart, and your commitment to stay rooted in the Word of God. You are right, sometimes the truth in the Word of God is something that we don't want to hear and the struggle comes when we don't want to submit. But if we really believe what we do then we can have ultimate faith that when we do submit we will find that peace.

Doris M McDonnell said...

addendum: i just noticed that titus 2:1 says this: "but as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." it then goes on to describe the proper behaviors for men and women. wow. this means the behaviors described (including titus 2:15) are either to become part of sound Christian doctrine, or they must be followed in order to perpetuate sound doctrine. if that doesn't chill you as to the gravity of what is being ignored in the majority of churches, i don't know what would!