Posted in encouragement, theology

Nothing says love like … takeout?

By Elizabeth Prata

pizza & wings2 pixlr

Nothing seems more homey than coming into the house and smelling the good smells coming from the kitchen. It’s a warm and comfy feeling to see mom in the kitchen cooking dinner. You feel secure, happy, and at peace. All is right with the world.

My mom was famous for her mashed potatoes. She was among the early ones in our neighborhood to experiment along with Julia Child. Her Pork Loin was noted. My siblings loved her hamburgers and meat loaf. There were a host of other kitchen goodies we ate at home that our mother cooked for us from scratch.

I bet you stopped right now and thought of your mom’s special dish that you loved so much!

I laughed when Michelle Lesley tweeted that her kids asked for chili for supper…only thing is…it was barely out of August….they live in Louisiana … and it was over 100 degrees outside. She tweeted later, “I love my kids, so I made the chili anyway.”

Do you remember asking begging mom for her ____ fill in the blank there. Mom’s homemade cooking is just home.

It is therefore a sadness to me when I see celebrity Christian mothers who neglect their children for the sake of their chosen competing ministry. Moms who don’t have to work outside the home,  or are working outside the home even more than career single secular moms in order to build their ministry brand, or to go on a book tour, or to take a social justice trip, and leave their kids behind is just too regrettable.

Jennifer Foster, wife of Pastor Jeremy Foster, co-pastors of America’s fastest-growing church, Hope City Church in Houston. She and her husband Jeremy have 5 children. She said the following in a written interview:

Interview Question: With a large (and growing) family, how do you personally make sure that you’re not taking on too much?
Jennifer: Practical stuff like date nights are crucial. Our family comes together around the dinner table every day (even if it’s take out, which it usually is). 😊 The last thing I’ll say on this is that I believe we have our priorities right. It’s Jesus at the center and then we build out from there, our marriage, our kids and then our church.

Jesus is not at the center when a wife believes she is a pastor, and when her ministerial duties take her away from the home to the extent that she says that hers does, and when time with the children has to be scheduled around a bucket of takeout. A mom’s ministry IS the children.

Yet sadly, this model of a family lifestyle of Christian moms is continually presented as normal no thanks to secular AND Christian media sources. Their subtle feminist message is, celebrity minister moms working outside the home is OK, as long as you claim to love Jesus and call it ministry.

Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries, interviewed by The Atlantic Magazine noted the same:

Privately, however, Moore has never cared much for the delicate norms of Christian femininity. Her days are tightly scheduled and obsessively focused on writing. She spends hours alone in an office decorated with a Bible verse written in a swirling font (“I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven,” Luke 7:47). Though she often performs domestic femininity for her audience, in her own life she has balanced motherhood with demanding professional ambitions. She traveled every other weekend while her two daughters were growing up—they told me they ate a lot of takeout.

‘Mom is gone on another book tour, how about some KFC, kids?’ Does that sound as homey to a five-year-old as it could be?  Being present with and for the children and husband should be the mom’s ‘obsession,’ or at least, acceptance of a gift and a role given by God as best for the  family.

Raechael Myers, founder of the IF: Gathering gushed in an Instagram post (in 2014),

My husband just texted me this photo of the kids watching our @shereadstruth interview at the @ifgathering. Seeing my baby girl perched on the table watching her mommy talk about her Jesus- so blessed!!!! #SheReadsTruth #ifgathering

Yes, because that’s how to minister to your children, leaving your husband at home to do the mommying, and texting about your kids watching mom through a screen.

Many of these celebrity ministering moms, and there do seem to be many of them, if criticized, refer to Proverbs 31 as their basis for doing what they do.

Proverbs 31 is by King Lemuel, from an oracle his mother taught him. This part of the proverb extols the virtues of an excellent wife and mother, as the husband’s confidence in her increases (Proverbs 31:11). She works very hard and carefully provides for her household and those within it.

But rather than interpreting the salient portion of the Proverb as understanding the value and godliness of a wife and mother who devotes herself in a large sphere to her ministry-home and hearth, they take it to mean that a wife can and should be entrepreneurial outside the home, even if her merchandising competes with it.

–She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (Proverbs 31:16)

–She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. (Proverbs 31:24)

Yet,

While dad is the leader in the house, mother sets the tone. The hours her children spend in her presence will have a lasting influence on their lives. They will become largely what she makes them. She faces the noble challenge of molding their young lives for eternity. Motherhood is one of life’s highest honors, and one of its heaviest responsibilities. The Majesty of Motherhood

God gives the woman a husband and opens her womb to bear children. When He chooses to bless the wife with progeny, it changes the dynamic and the lifestyle of the woman. The mother alters her orientation now toward the home, almost exclusively.

Can anyone serve two masters? (Matthew 6:24). Are there two masters in the home? Two co-authorities? As in the worse case scenario of couples like the Fosters, co-pastors?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not opposed to mothers who need to work outside the home, or where the husband-and-wife have made considered and biblical decisions for her to do so. Normally, a mother’s primary orientation however, is supposed to be toward the home. The Proverbs verses, especially the two I’d shared above, demonstrate a wife & mother’s thoughtful consideration of how to personally, emotionally, and financially invest in her family, not sacrifice her family for her own ministry or career.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not judging buying takeout. Who doesn’t like an occasional pizza on a Friday night? Who doesn’t like some takeout for the Big Game? Takeout is not bad in and of itself. Not at all.

I know that there are sincere and loving stay-at-home mothers relying on takeout simply because the children are over-scheduled and it’s easier to grab a burger at the drive-thru on the way to the game/practice/rehearsal/dance/piano/voice lessons…

But, when takeout as opposed to a nourishing homemade dinner cooked with love is the consistent default, then becomes a symbol of something wrong in the home.

Nevertheless, Proverbs 31 is a high model of a devoted wife and mother. Her job is not easy and it is often thankless, for a while. How wonderful it is when the mother cooks dinner and settles in to read to her kids and tuck them into bed at night, she sets the tone of security, love, and warmth that will last them a lifetime. When her children grow up she will have provided them a model of enduring ministry that will last them a lifetime, and then they will thank her by caring for their own children the same way. When she meets Christ, she will earn His accolade for a well done service of a good and faithful servant.

What Does the Bible Say about Motherhood?

What it means to be your husband’s crown

mom doing dishes
Mom at sink in messy bun doing dishes
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Ode to moms: helpful links

I don’t have children of my own. Most women who keep blogs write about this important aspect of who they are in Christ, the role of Mom. Since I do not have children I would not presume to write about children or parenting or motherhood. I do teach children all day long and that’s been my main career in life, but that is not the same as parenting. However I know that many women read the blog, and may have parenting concerns.

I began teaching in 1983 and with a break for some years I took it back up 9 years ago. There has been a palpable decline in the family quality of childrens’ lives over the past 34 years since I began working with children and families through my career in education. I see the culture’s drastic effect on children, I see the fractured family’s effects on children. I cannot imagine being a parent in this day and age, fraught with the evils, false religions, liberal doctrines, and general chaos and trying to protect your child. I’d go insane with worry!

God cares deeply for children and intact families. How many Bible verses talk about protecting this most vulnerable demographic in society? Many! The orphans, the fatherless, or the children are spoken of in scores of verses throughout the Old Testament to the New.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. (Exodus 22:22)

So with that, here are some links I’ve seen last week regarding children, parenting, and the issues moms say moms face. I hope you find them beneficial. 🙂

Nancy Guthrie has some Divine Words for Desperate Parents

We can teach our child the Scriptures, but we can’t be the Holy Spirit in our child’s life. … But anyone who’s been a parent for long knows parenting requires a lot more than simply following the right steps to success. To raise a child toward godliness, we need much more than the good advice parenting experts have to offer. We need what only the Scriptures have to offer.

Jennifer at One Hired Late In the Day is entering her 18th year of parenting and has some thoughts about How Our Faith Influences Our Parenting

Rachel over at the Danielthree18 blog wrote a good piece today examining whether or not it is wise for Christian parents to send their kids to public school with the idea that they be salt and light to the unsaved. She has some excellent points and food for thought, so please be sure to click on this link and read her essay. Her post prompted me to examine again the decisions that my husband and I have made regarding our own children and their education. Parenting is one of the most important roles that God gives to us, and I know that I am not alone in having a deep concern for my children and whether or not I am making the right decisions for them and most importantly, pleasing the Lord in how I am raising them.

I have written before about shepherding the minds and hearts of our children. For today’s post, I thought I would expand on that a little bit and give you some insight into our strategy of Christian parenting.

My friend who is mom of an infant recommended this Christian Living book on Facebook, and it does look very good.

Mom Enough

Are you mom enough?

The cover of Time Magazine asked this haunting question in bold red letters that hung over the startling image of a young mother breastfeeding her four-year-old. When the issue hit newsstands it re-ignited a longstanding mommy war in American culture. But it turns out this was the wrong question, pointing in the wrong direction. Here is a higher and more essential question faced by mothers: Is God God enough?

This short book by eight women explores the daily trials and worries of motherhood. In the trenches, they have learned (and continue to learn) how to treasure God and depend on his all-sufficient grace. The paradox of this book is the secret power of godly mothering. Becoming mom enough comes as a result of answering the question, “Are you mom enough?” with a firm no.

Here’s Jen Oshman with the question, What if We Kept Doing Family Devotions after Advent?

But first, let me encourage you: no one’s family worship time is pretty everyday.  If your kids are poking one another with their toes and screaming out for justice, if they are picking their noses and looking at the ceiling fixture, or if they are rolling around on the floor and feigning interest, then you’re doing it right (all three of these things happened in our Advent reading time during one single evening this week).

I am on Pinterest, but I hate Pinterest. I find it awkward, clumsy, and useless (in the constant pinning and never actually getting TO the thing you want to cook/make/read/knit). I also think it is satan’s way of encouraging defeat in moms, by presenting a highly skewed picture of life that no one can really match up to. With that in mind, here’s a meme I found enjoyable this week:

Missionary to the cannibals in the New Hebrides, John G. Paton, revered his mother and father. He wrote how he learned to submit to the will and sovereignty of God through listening to his mother pray. His mother’s faith, her lifetime of devoting herself to the good of the family, and to prayer, along with his father’s teaching and faith, gave Paton his foundation and sustained him throughout terrible trials at the hands of the cannibalistic pagans he’d sailed across the world to serve.

How do you claim the promises of God for protection when your wife was equally faithful but, rather than being protected, died; and when the Gordons on Erromanga were equally trusting in those promises and were martyred? Paton had learned the answer to this question from listening to his mother pray, even before he leaned the theology that supports it. When the potato crop failed in Scotland, Mrs. Paton said to her children, “O my children, love your Heavenly Father, tell him in faith and prayer all your needs, and he will supply your wants so far as it shall be for your good and His glory” (p. 22) (source)

Moms, please know that I admire you and pray for you. Your job is one of the most important in the entire world.