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Older Women Teaching Younger Women

Lisa Barry: Before getting married I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who met with me once a week. She gave me materials that I could use to teach another woman important spiritual truths. She also gave me much needed advice on marriage and being a godly wife. It's a concept that Elisabeth Elliot feels strongly about, too. Find out what she has to say about "Older Women Teaching Younger Women" next on Gateway To Joy.

Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, talking with you again today about a woman's work. I have been talking to women who work for pay, and of course I often talk to you women who work at home, taking care of your home, your husband, your children.

And it is my purpose to be an encouragement to all of you; not a discouragement to anybody. And if God has spoken to you about making some changes in your life, I certainly hope that you will be obedient to Him, because I am sure that it is through obedience to God that we find real liberation and real joy. And I am also sure that every experience, every job, every kind of work if offered to Jesus can be your gateway to joy.

Now I want to give you some encouragement to those of you whose work is the care of children. Burton White, who wrote the book THE FIRST THREE YEARS OF LIFE, and ranks at the top in the field of child development, wrote to the BOSTON GLOBE this letter, responding to an editorial that the Boston Globe has published on child care in the '90s.

He says, "The GLOBE once again reveals a blind spot with respect to the issue. The editorial is somewhat unusual because it calls attention to the fact that many mothers now are older, have advanced careers and are receiving good salaries. The editorial then states that these conditions mean that there will be an increased demand for higher quality care for infants and that this demand ought to be met.

What the editorial does not mention, or even seen to be aware of, is the impact of extensive use of substitute care on infants. Somehow or other they hardly ever get talked about. Perhaps the most common basis for the call for more childcare is the economic one. We hear women say, 'I must work. We need the money.'

Ironically, this editorial talks about families where a significant measure of success has been attained, and the economic factor is obviously not the principle consideration. Why does the GLOBE continue to encourage a quick return to work for both parents, when those parents do have options, at least from an economic standpoint? Why don't you register any concern or an awareness of the special and vital needs of babies in the first years of life?

Except in rare instances, there is little reason to believe that regardless of the quality of the substitute care, infants and toddlers are better off when they are cared for by their parents and grandparents. My lengthy career of research on the needs of infants and toddlers convinces me that this editorial is simply not in the best interest of babies, nor their parents, nor ultimately of society."

Now what this authority on childcare, Burton L. White, has to say corroborates what I find in Scripture. In Titus 2, I find that as an older woman, I am to teach younger women to love their children.

How do you love your children best? Clearly, according to Scripture, it is by staying home, by mothering them, by doing all the mothering, rather than only part of it. And when you stop to think about it, how many jobs which God assigns to us would we even consider trying to find someone else to turn it over to? It's strange that the job of mothering is a job that we feel we can legitimately turn over to somebody else. I would ask you seriously to consider whether your reason really is an economic one, you who are working, or whether there are other factors that might be changeable, alterable.

In 2 Timothy 3:12-17 we read this. "Persecution will come to all who want to live a godly life as Christians, whereas wicked men and charlatans will make progress from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But for your part, stand by the truths you have learned and are assured of. Remember from whom you learned them. Remember that from early childhood you have been familiar with the sacred writings which have power to make you wise and lead you to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Every inspired Scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man that belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind."

It is always my purpose to give you the Scripture which has use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living. May I ask you three questions? Number one, do you want to live a godly life? Number two, will you stand by the truths you have learned? Remember from whom you learned them.

And Paul reminds Timothy that he had leaned them from his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice. It is very significant that it is from his grandmother and his mother. It doesn't say anything about his grandfather and his father. So the role of women was very important in the life of this man of God.

In my case, my mother's example, reinforced in recent years by Scripture, has proved to be in strong opposition to what I've seen happening in society. We see the family breaking down. There cannot be any argument that some of the breakdown that is occurring is because women have left their home responsibilities and have gone out to work.

The third thing that I want you to notice is that Scriptures have power to make you wise. Are you willing to be made wise? They can lead you to salvation through faith. And it is not just the initial step that God is talking about when He uses the word salvation. He wants to save us through and through-save us in our lives here on earth.

I had a letter from a young woman who said that she had never been happier since she decided that God was calling her to full-time mothering. I have had so many testimonies from women like that; women who, some at great sacrifice, some with great resistance and great fear of what the future might hold, have given up their work with their husband's permission and have decided to stay home. And the testimony is often similar to this one. "I have never been happier," she said, since she decided that God had called her to full-time mothering.

And in Psalm 18, the first few verses say, "I love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my stronghold, my fortress and my champion; my God, my rock where I find safety; my shield, my mountain refuge, my strong tower. When the bonds of death held me fast, destructive torrents overtook me. The bonds of Sheol tightened around me, the snares of death were to catch me. Then in anguish of heart, I cried to the Lord. I called for help to my God. He heard me from His temple."

Some of you listening to me may have responded in rebellion, in anger, in pride, in defensiveness, or just perhaps in a sense of being absolutely crushed by my words. You feel as if you've been cast adrift. "She is telling me to do something I can't do. She is telling me that God is asking me to do something impossible." Well, God does sometimes ask us to do things that look impossible, but they never turn out to be, because God's command is always His enabling.

So, having read you this letter from Burton White that corroborates what Scripture says about staying home, are you willing to consider this possibility? Do you want to live a godly life? Are you willing to stand by the truths that Scripture reaches us? Do you want to be wise? May the Lord give you the courage to trust Him.

"I love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my stronghold, my fortress and my champion."

Some of you know that in my own life there have been some extremely difficult decisions that I've had to make. There have been things that happened which I thought were the absolute end. There was no way that I could carry on serving the Lord when I'd come to a dead-end street.

For example, the time when my informant was killed in my first year as a missionary. There wasn't anybody else to do the job that I needed to have done. What was I to do next? And then the time when everything Jim had done in that first year-he and I were engaged during a part of that year-he had been working on a jungle station, and the jungle station was completely demolished by a flood.

Those are times when you need a stronghold, when you need a fortress, a shield, a mountain refuge, a strong tower. Go to that tower. You don't need to refute my words. You don't need to bring your explanation and defenses to me. Take them to Him. Call on the Lord to whom all praise is due.

And the psalmist said, "I shall be delivered from my enemies. When the bonds of death held me fast, destructive torrents"-maybe those torrents of rebellion or anger or pride or defensiveness, or the torrent of hurt-when they overtake you-"then in anguish of heart I cried to the Lord," he says. "I called for help to my God and He heard me."

I am here today to tell you that He will hear you. He will deliver you. He will help you, if you have presented your entire life to Him and you want to cooperate with Him in what He wants to do in your life, the life of your husband, the life of your children and all those for whom you pray.

Lisa Barry: If you're a young mother, you have many pressures pushing at you on every side. It's tempting to buy into society's promise that you can have it all with no consequence to suffer. But it's the older women in our lives that can usually tell a different story. They have a wisdom you'll never get from a magazine article.

We at Gateway To Joy also have something that offers great food for thought. It's a leaflet THE CALL TO SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD. It gives keys to a mentoring relationship. It's a simple how-to resource without all the hubbub of committees or clubs to implement it. We'll send you one of these free of charge.

We also have a full curriculum available for your church or women's group. If you're interested in finding out more about that, ask for MENTORS FOR MOTHERS. As always, any of our resources can be ordered by calling or writing. Or call toll-free: 1-800-759-4JOY. Today's program has been a production of Back to the Bible.

Well, we all know how vital prayer is to our spiritual health, but how can we make that a priority? Find out tomorrow on Gateway To Joy.

 
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