Friday March 28, 2008

I finished reading Nancy Wilson’s book “Praise Her in the Gates” a week or two ago, and have wanted to go through and type in some of the things which I underlined. Mind you, I have typed many of them in (below), but there were far too many underlined things to bombard you with here. So instead, pick up the book and read it yourself. At least wet your whistle here, and share with me in the pursuit of embracing my calling as a Christian wife & mother.
To God be all praise and glory, power and dominion, now and forever. Amen.

It is essential that Christian mothers understand their calling so that they can wholeheartedly embrace it.

When mothers faithfully obey God in this very precious and demanding role, they can expect God to fulfill His promise of blessing in their families.

… a mother needs to see her daily tasks in light of the whole design. Each day’s work is significant, for it is contributing toward the long-term plan.

Consider the lovely images of Psalm 128. Blessings for the one who fears God include happiness around the dinner table where the fruit of hard labor is enjoyed. The wife is described as a fruitful vine. And where is she? “In the very heart of your house.” The mother is central to the picture of blessing and prosperity. Around the table are the olive shoots, an image of promise and growth and future prosperity. This psalm concludes with a blessing: “Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!” A mother who fulfills her fruitful calling is a means God uses to bring blessing for her entire family, her husband, the church, and the community.

It takes diligence, hard work, and faith to raise godly offspring for God…

The mother of young children must have an eye toward the day when all her children, by the grace of God, will be adults who rise up in her presence and bless her.

[the Christian mother’s] obedience is central in passing on to her children a love for the Most High God. He is faithful and He has promised our children to us. Mothers must be faithful in trusting their children to Him.

Making a home is a good work… raising children is a good work.

…our submission to our husbands is a necessary foundation to our obedience and success in our duties.

We are to teach the children God graciously gives us from the moment they arrive in our home.

A mother is responsible to know how her children are doing, how they are learning, and see to it that each one is being built up, prospering under her teaching.

A mother must see that her children know they are loved, for they must be nourished by mother’s love.

Scripture says it is more blessed to give than receive, and this is certainly true in the area of mothering.

Oh, that we would be as attentive to the Word as a newborn is to the milk.

Mothers are responsible to discipline and correct their children… Correction must be judicial, kind, and loving, even when it is painful, and it must be done promptly and consistently.

Women should see that their view of children is shaped by Scripture and not by the world.

…fruitfulness includes more than just childbearing;  it is descriptive of a lifestyle.

Christian women must realize that though childbearing has a blessed result, it is still a fallen and cursed process… Of course we should prepare for childbirth and do all we can to make it as successful and comfortable as possible, but we cannot deny that God has ordained pain in childbirth as a result of the fall.

We ought not try to proselytize women to our preference… women must be very careful to wait to be invited before giving their opinion.

The point is to have charity toward one another, even if we think we see a sister making what we believe to be a grievous mistake.

Christian women must remember that a safe delivery, safe for both mother and child, is the objective under the blessing of God.

Our decisions should never be made out of fear, but rather before the Lord in faith and righteousness.

Christians ought to be advocates of good science, because it is a means of taking godly dominion.

Fear should never be our motivation to reject or embrace anything… Christians, of all people, should see science as under God’s sovereign control.

…let us live in peace with one another… We want to be women of integrity and humility, exercising wisdom, and characterized by kindness, giving way to those who disagree with us.

Fruitfulness includes extending hospitality, visiting the sick, helping the elderly, or a host of volunteer activities through the church or community… The Christian home should be a fruitful place, just as the Church should be. God is the One who gives the growth; it is our duty to obediently plant and water and pray for much fruit.

Our children are the Lord’s, and they are in His hands from beginning to end. We must trust our children to His sovereign care and not be anxious about them. He is the lender, and we are the borrowers.

…God wants us to love our children even when they are not being lovable, and this requires grace from God.

As Psalm 118:15 says, our “tents” should be noisy with rejoicing. Our homes should be characterized by much joy, and it isn’t a quiet joy — it’s loud.

Dinnertime is an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Husband has been working hard all day, Mother has been working hard all day, and dinnertime is the result of all the labor. With no work, there would be no food.

Preparing meals requires much time and effort, but it is a good work that we do for our families when we plan our meals, grocery shop, and cook. The way the table looks should be an accurate reflection of how hard Dad is working.

Even if it is a simple meal, it can be served festively when time is put into the way it looks, not just the way it tastes. Tablecloths, napkins, flowers, or candles all say, “This is going to be a wonderful time.”

Glorious times around the dinner table don’t just happen. Mom has to put a great deal into the daily preparations.

What we want around our dinner table is the fear of the Lord and love.

The family gathered around the table is not only a foreshadowing of the table fellowship we will have in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb, but it is also a way we teach our children to approach the Lord’s table at communion.

Central to our table fellowship should be a love for words and the Word. Reading around the dinner table is a great way to integrate the two.

…your children ought to develop a love for books, reading, and God’s Word. Christians are to be people of the Book and people who love good books.

The lovely thing about a family is that the relationships grow and deepen as the years go by.

Singing ought to characterize every evening… Stories and prayers, hugs and back rubs should all make bedtime another blessed time together. It can conclude with father’s benediction, a blessing spoken over each child, a prayer for the Lord’s safe-keeping for the night.

Each family should develop its own culture and traditions together… Each family created by God will have a unique culture all its own, packed with its own customs, inside jokes, and memories. This is what it means to be a family.

Laughter and jollity should be features of the reformed home.

We should cultivate celebration and gratitude in the fear of the Lord and with love, and what better way than around our tables with our children and grandchildren.

We teach our children how to respect their father by showing them what it looks like. Wives should not treat their husbands like one of the kids but defer and honor them, submitting to and respecting them in the Lord. In other words, we must model Christian courtesy to our children, not simply expect it of them without showing them what it looks like.

…our children should be expected to join in the worship of God at a very young age… Mothers should work hard to prepare their children for the worship of God. This includes feeding them a good breakfast, taking them to the bathroom before church begins, as well as preparing them spiritually all week.

…courtesy is a Christian characteristic; it is a means of serving God with gladness and rejoicing with all the saints in an orderly way.

Bringing up children is a delightful privilege and an overwhelming responsibility. It is a high calling indeed.

While we are to do all we can to present our children to God as faithful, fruitful servants, we must constantly lean on God, realizing it is all by His grace. God enables us, strengthens us, and provides us with wisdom, endurance, and love for our children.

As we strive to embrace truth, goodness, and beauty in our homes, we must be eager to love all that God has done in designing our children for their future callings as men and women.

When we teach our boys that they will someday be providers and our girls that they will be homemakers, we are teaching with the grain, not against it.

Our aim for our sons is maturity… We want them to be tough, not fragile.

Women are the role models for their daughters, and they must teach them about meekness, submission, respect, deference, courtesy, and holiness by example.

…parents are obligated to see that their little girls are feminine and like it… Mothers must make sure their daughters are comfortable with their femininity at an early age.

We should not put our trust in our beauty, but we should use our beauty to delight our husbands as well as to enjoy ourselves and please our children.

Toys are teaching our children just like the books they read are teaching them, and Christian parents must think biblically about every aspect of life.

Next to respecting and honoring our husbands, caring for our children is our primary duty before God.

God has given us our children as our “ministry.” We must not look elsewhere for fulfillment and success.

Christian parents don’t just want to discipline their children. They want to discipline them in a godly way, a biblical, God-fearing, and God-glorifying way.

Godly discipline must demonstrate two things: our obedience to God and our love for our children.

Godly discipline is not for the parents’ sake, but for the children’s sake.

A wife’s faithful discipline of her little disciples will be a means of honoring and respecting her husband as well as a means of obeying and glorifying God.

Scripture makes it very clear that parents are responsible for the godly education of their children… education is not optional.

The study of the Scriptures cannot be seen as one more subject for our children to study while they also study math and literature. The Bible provides the light by which our children can study math and literature and science and language.

The principle is to educate our children Christianly. Families who care deeply about their children’s education (and all Christians should) have much in common even if they have different educational choices.

Women should be educated as rigorously as possible to prepare them to be women of wisdom and character who will be fine helpmeets for their husbands.

…the Church today needs women who are trained to think and act biblically, women who stand head and shoulders above the “career women” of today because they see their education and calling as a means to a very important and significant end.

We should encourage one another to not grow weary in doing good. Educating our children is a good work that God has prepared in advance for us to walk in.

The important thing is to continue to press on, even when our children pass us up; and if we do our job well, they will pass us up.

Our objective is to develop a culture that loves and promotes learning in a way honors and glorifies God.

In the context of fearing God, we should pursue knowledge and wisdom and pass on to our children a delight and joy in learning all that we can.

A pleasant home should be full of joy and full of beauty — the beauty of holiness.

God’s people, of all the people in the world, ought to be a rejoicing people because we, of all people, have much to rejoice about. Our homes should be pleasant, happy, lovely reflections of the joy we have received in Christ,

Women need to understand the tremendous impact they have on their homes for good or ill.

Putting off confession is just like leaving a kitchen full of dishes to do in the morning. It’s no fun getting up to a mess, and it’s actually more work when all the food is dried on the plates. Not only that, but the breakfast dishes add to the pile.

Wives must be diligent to study their duties to their husbands and children and to perform their duties cheerfully and patiently.

A tidy, well-managed home certainly contributes to the pleasantness. But a tidy, fussy home is not pleasant.

We are to enjoy the beauty God has created and be good stewards of it. That means teaching our children how to drink out of the crystal and the good china teacup as well as the tommy-tippee cup.

A home is not static. It should not look like a picture in a catalog.

The pleasant home must be spiritually clean and physically clean. One without the other will be an incomplete picture… To say that how your house looks doesn’t matter as long as everyone is happy is like saying the gospel doesn’t affect the externals. And that is a sad mistake.

Domesticity is a devotion to home and family life.

Christian wives and mothers must see domesticity as their duty and calling, not as an option.

Christian women, of all women on earth, ought to glory in beautiful china and crystal and table linens and flower arrangements. Why? Because it is a picture of the fellowship we have at Christ’s table. How will His table be set? More lovely than anything we can imagine.

Keeping our homes clean should be as important to us as feeding our families. It is not optional. If your home is dirty, you are teaching your children that clean people should feel comfortable in dirty surroundings, and this is simply not true.

A disordered home springs from a disordered soul. Our homes always reflect who we are on the inside.

When we clean our homes and all that is in them, we should do it with a consciousness of the correlation between our work of cleaning and God’s work of cleaning us. This will help us see the good work we are doing so we will not grow weary in it.

…we don’t want our girls to become educated so they will abandon their calling; rather, we want their education to equip them all the more to be domestic.

Mothers have a duty to love domesticity and all it encompasses. We must learn to excel in all these things so that we can teach our daughters as well as younger women in the church to love homemaking.

…we do not live for our children; we live to glorify God.

The woman who has feared God in her childrearing does not have to be afraid for the future.

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