Friday, January 04, 2008

The Shortage

I actually got almost all of my work done earlier today while the kids were finishing up with some school work so now while my sweet Hunk O Honey is out running a couple of errands I have a few minutes to blog something that has been on my mind a great deal for months and months now.

The young woman (or not so young as the case sometimes may be) who chooses to follow the Lord and turns away from the deceit of feminism and the lies that she was spoon fed daily as she grew up via every tv show, book,song, and vesture of society told about "having it all" and "coming a long way baby" and all that junk faces a crisis nearly immediately after receiving that wonderful gift of salvation.... or maybe that was just me.

I stumbled so long and fell so hard so many times (and occasionally still do, though not as much now) trying to figure out just what is this "godly woman" that I'm supposed to turn into... and if that wasn't daunting enough in itself, how in the world was I supposed to raise daughters up to be one! That overwhelming feeling of "NOW WHAT DO I DO! AND HOW DO I DO IT! AND WHO AM I...AND WHERE AM I GOING" overtook me more than once and I can clearly remember going to church and to prayer meetings and thinking that I had no business being there and there was no way on this planet or any other that I could possibly fit in or have any place in this kind of setting. I felt like a barn boot trying to find purpose for itself among a room full of strappy high heels.

I can remember so clearly seeing the women in the first church that I ever attended and thinking "there is NO WAY I can ever be like that!" as some of them would go about greeting visitors or helping the mommies of the little ones get their babies settled into the nursery or serving the meal and chatting about the goodness of the Lord with other young Christians after the service. I remember being totally stunned by the wide variety of attitudes and mannerisms, and multitudes of expressions of joy that I saw in all of those sweet ladies and feeling shocked that godly women were not the borg-like monotone, bland, repetitive robots I had always envisioned them to be.

I gradually lost interest in watching women I didn't know and though I learned a lot from simply reading scripture, there is still absolutely nothing in the world that teaches like a living example does. I still thank the Lord every day for every good example of a loving godly woman He ever allowed me to have in my life.... but most especially for the few and I mean FEW who were sweet enough and kind enough and concerned enough and selfless enough to take the time to pray with me and read scripture with me and LISTEN to me as I tried to become what I was desperately trying to learn to be. I'm still learning, and I'm still incredibly thankful for those women who are willing to be a help and share their experience and make that sacrifice of time for which I could never give an equal reward.

I could (and maybe will someday) write a book of all the things I wish so desperately to have been taught. From how to teach my children, to how to be a godly wife, to how to keep my home in order and grocery shop with a budget, to handling a disagreement with another lady and how to share my concerns for one of my sisters in the Lord appropriately.... I've needed to be taught. Not only those things but I needed to be taught from the very beginning how to live... just live the day to day life in such a way as to protect my testimony and reach out to those around me for Him.

I don't for one minute believe that the Lord intended for every woman who comes to Him to have to learn to live a godly life by the "skinned knees & broken heart method" like I have had to so many times. I don't believe either that the Lord intended for us to have no choice but to become prey to rely on the marketing skills of extortionists other women who have gone before us to sell us their books, videos, and magazines in order for us to learn these things. Titus chapter 2 speaks very clearly on that and I won't repeat it all here right now but I will say that I believe the Lord's intention was that women teach other women how to live in Him.... and just because I can say it here (since it's my blog!) I'll also add that I don't believe He meant for it to be a daily wage earning endeavor either, rather a lifestyle of sisterly love that is lived out in our day to day lives for HIS honor and glory rather than to heap up praise (and income)for ourselves.

I've been told more than enough often that my view on this is wrong. I've been told that all any woman ever needs is her husband, her bible, and a good preacher. I've been told that no one needs to have a mentor and no one needs to be taught how to be a godly woman because if she is truly saved the Holy Spirit will convict her when changes are needed and she will receive understanding through reading the scriptures. I've been told that if a woman needs specific instruction and it should happen to cost a bit of money that if it is truly a need the Lord will provide that without hesitation.... followed by a repeat of the first statements about what a woman truly needs multiple times.

I'm not saying that a woman can't be saved without a good solid godly Titus 2 woman to learn from, and I'm not saying that a woman can't become a godly wife and mother and church member without a mentor or teacher or older lady to example Christian living. I AM saying that without women who were willing to study with me and pray with me and work along side of me showing me with their own lives how to live each day in dependence on the Lord.... I floundered and fell and stumbled along suffering many hurts needlessly.I AM saying that who in their right mind (or spirit) would wish that on a baby Christian? I AM saying that growing pains don't always have to hurt as bad as they sometimes do. I AM saying that life in Christ is full of joy, but that it also carries sorrow and we are to help bear one another's burdens.

And before I get bashed over the head too hard about the 'for personal gain' comments.... let me say that there is nothing wrong with making a living, pursuing a profit or making a buck where you can. I am saying PLEASE don't do it and then get puffed up about yourself and start going around talking about your 'method' or 'program' or 'plan' as though it is taken directly from the mouth of the Lord and is the only way for a person to live right for Christ. I have had my fill of seeing young Christians who just want to do right and live right spend themselves to death trying to find out how to do it!

There is such a shortage now of women who are willing to take any time away from their latest hobby or shopping trip or visit with their gal pals their duties in their own lives to help younger women in the Lord grow. Could it be that this is the reason we have so many stunted Christians now? Could this be part of the reason why our churches are not growing as we would like to see them? Could this be why some women come to the altar asking the Lord to save them and then fall out of fellowship in such short periods of time? Could this be the reason some churches have such conflict among the women in the congregation...that there are no bonds of fellowship formed between them?

The results of the failure of women to do such simple things as visit new Christian ladies and pray with them, or form friendships with them and help them along are all around us today. You can see them in the jaded eyes of the young lady who says she "used to go to church but I don't have time now", or the woman who looks you level in the eye and says " I can study at home as well as I can at church", or the bitter snappy tone of "I don't need a church to know Jesus", and haven't we all met that lady who just looks so battle worn it tears your heart to bits as she says "I just don't have the time". If you really think about it it's heartbreaking so ladies... who can you call this week? Who can you go see on your way to the grocery store? Who can you invite, just one more time, to come to church this week? Who can you share just a tiny part of what the Lord has blessed you with this week?

One of my favorite "Titus 2" ladies that I've ever known never hesitated to take the opportunity to show me she loved me in some little way. It may have been a phone call as she was heading to town to see if she could pick up an item or two from the store for me, or just stopping by on her way down the road to see how my sick child was feeling. The phone call to ask how I was doing for no special reason, the well timed card in the mail just to remind me that she was there if I needed to talk, the invitation to come over and pray or study scripture... those things were like baby Christian vitamins! I can't tell you how much I learned from her in those brief bits of time here and there, week by week, and year by year! Her constant encouragement to "call if you need anything", her helpful advice (without judgment or criticism) when problems popped up, her sweet words of encouragement when she could tell I was having a hard time, her never failing to say "can I pray for you?" and then doing it RIGHT THEN AND THERE.... all of those things helped me grow and to hang in there when things were hard. There should never be a shortage of women willing to do those things, but there is and ladies... we are the only ones who can change that! Think about it, study about it and pray about it... then do as the Lord leads you.

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