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Encouragement to Stay-at-Home Moms

Elisabeth Elliot: And I'm not here to lay a guilt trip on the mothers who must work. But I do want to encourage you to pray that the Lord will show you if that is His best for you or if He does actually have something better.

Lisa Barry: As one who is fortunate enough to stay at home with my children, I have to say that I'm behind Elisabeth on this issue 100 percent. Those of you who do stay at home might feel as though the world looks on you with disdain and puzzlement. If you feel that way, I think you'll be glad you listen today because Elisabeth Elliot will be offering a word of encouragement for stay-at-home mothers. That's 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, encouraging mothers today to stay home if it's at all possible.

Those of you mothers who may be listening who can't stay home, who literally must go out and work, possibly because you're a single mother and you must support yourself and your children or possibly because your husband insists that you must go out and work and you are desirous of being obedient to God in that, then let me just say that you can pray that God in His time may enable you to stay home in some unimagined way. Maybe you just have closed your mind to the possibility that God would have something else for you. He might, you know. I don't know.

I'm not here to lay a guilt trip on the mothers who must work, but I do want to encourage you to pray that the Lord will show you if that's His best for you or if He does actually have something better, a better way which might enable you to stay home. I've had some wonderful testimonies from women who have had just that experience.

Well, here's a woman who writes to tell me about staying home and making it. "Dear Mrs. Gren, After today's talk on stay-at-home mothers, I must write you again. Thank you, thank you, thank youl Of all the ministers"--and that's she talking, that's not Elisabeth Elliot. I do say thank you though, for letters like this. But she's thanking me because she says-"Of all the ministries on Christian radio, I don't know of any other that takes such a stand as you do. Thank you. You are biblically right. Don't ever back down for anybody.

My husband and I have been married 11 1/2 years. When we married we bought a two-bedroom mobile home. In 1982 we had our first son. I also had a miscarriage in 1981. In 1985, a daughter came. In 1987, another daughter. In 1989, a second son. People thought we were crazy. My oldest brother said to me, 'When God said multiply and replenish the earth, He didn't mean just you all by yourself.'

But in obedience to God, we just kept having babies and hope to have more. We also home school, which as you know makes us even more weird. We had four children in one bedroom-the girls in one twin bed, the boys in the other. I haven't worked at all outside the home since two months before our first child was born.

And Elisabeth, God is faithful. We have never missed a meal. Neither us nor our children have ever gone barefoot or naked. We have eaten rice only for supper, but only on four or five occasions. I have had only two dressy dresses, and alternated them every other Sunday.

But what did it hurt? Absolutely nothing. It helped rid me of some pride. 'Pride goeth before destruction.' Our pastor preaches to have lots of babies and stay home. Most families at our independent missionary Baptist church do just that. Our church, about 250-300, is filled with poor people. Yet we have 160 missionaries we support, from $25 to $200 each per month. Women who stay home have children. No one is rich in the world's sense of the word.

One lady is fifty and expecting her 11th child. Number ten is just four years old. My mom had her fourth child at 42. Our pastor's wife had number four at 43. My mother-in-law had number four at 43. I have a rich heritage. I am thirty and I already have five. The fifth one is in heaven.

My husband and I, especially in and around 1987, began praying for a bigger house. Not a new house, a bigger house. We looked at double-wide trailers, etc. To make a long story kind of short (ha!), I'm now sitting here in the living room of a two-story house with a basement. The girls have their own room. The boys have their own. We have a big kitchen, a dining room, a pantry, two baths, a schoolroom, a washroom in the basement, all for"-are you ready for this, listeners?-"$50,000. That's God's miracle. We sold our four acres and our mobile home to our next-door neighbor, and thus had a large down payment.

Four acres were given to us when we married. Our house payments are only $351. The neighbor charged us $350 rent while we remained in the trailer. My 38-year-old husband makes $30,000 a year. That's counting eight hours and more overtime usually per week. Two years ago he worked weekends at a nursing home as a nurse's aid, feeding and cleaning up, etc.

My husband is head of the art department at a custom rug plant. He has designed rugs for the White House, Bob Hope, etc., and yet he was willing to spend Fridays from 6-11 and Saturdays from 3-11 and Sundays 3-11 for six months at a nursing home doing whatever he asked for $4 per hour so that I could stay home with the children. God is faithful.

Keep encouraging us, Elisabeth. In front of my Bible I have written, 'Children tie the feet of the mother.' That's a Tamil proverb, and I gladly therefore allow my feet to be tied for the sake of One whose feet were nailed for me." I think she's quoting there from Amy Carmichael, but she takes that as her own commitment to God-the willingness to allow her feet to be tied for the sake of One whose feet were nailed for her.

"Thank you. May God bless you. In Him, Diane Wilson." Thank you, Diane. We do appreciate your testimony. I know that if people had your address, you would get a flood of

mail, some of it very critical of some of the decisions that you and your husband have made. You hang in there. You be obedient to God.

And for the rest of us, let's remember Jesus' words. When Peter asked about John, "What shall this man do?" Jesus said, "What is that to you? You follow Me."

And I also want to read a little leaflet that I have called "Called to Be Mothers." And if you would like a copy of this leaflet, all you need to do is call Gateway To Joy. This is called "Called to Be Mothers."

"'You mean that's all you do? That's all?' As a mother, Your life is given to taking care of people, small ones to begin with, whose wants never seem to cease. Sometimes when your days seem to be wholly taken up with wiping things, dishes and sinks, little runny noses and big, slow tears, you wonder about what fulfillment is supposed to mean for you. You wonder about being, besides the perfect wife and mother the hostess with the mostest, creative, intellectually productive, beautiful, and slowly your dreams seem to evaporate.

You've been listening to what they're telling us nowadays about how important it is to find yourself, express yourself and assert yourself. Maybe you're thinking that you're nothing more than somebody's wife and somebody else's mother, and what kind of a life is that?

There's a tribe in the southern Sudan called Nuers where a woman's name is changed not when she becomes a wife, but when she becomes a mother. She is manpuka, mother of puka. Among the Nuers, being someone's mother is what makes a woman's life meaningful.

2,000 years ago there was another young woman of the Jewish tribe of Judah who understood that truth. The world has never forgotten her, Mary the mother of Jesus, because she was willing to be known as simply someone's mother.

Motherhood is a calling. It's a womanly calling. And let's not be cowed by those who extinguish the light and joy of sexuality by trying to persuade us to forget words like manly and womanly. At the beginning of time when God made the first man and the first woman in His image, He put both under the divine command to be fruitful.

The woman's obedience to that command meant self-giving. First, she gave herself to her husband. He initiated. She responded. Then she gave herself for the life of her child. A woman knows in the deepest regions of her being that it's this very self-giving for which she was made, single or married.

Her level of maturity is measured by how much she gives to others. If she's married, she gives herself to her husband and she receives. If she's a mother, she loses her life in her child and mysteriously she finds it. A woman knows that no one can really say where the giving ends and the receiving starts.

It's no wonder we're confused when urged to look for some better or higher vocation in which to prove our personhood. No wonder we're distressed to be subjected to male standards or told that the notion of femininity and masculinity are obsolete. Old-fashioned notions they are indeed, but they weren't ours to begin with. They were God's. He planned the whole system, and it's God Himself who calls. He calls some to be single, some married people to be childless, but He calls most women to be mothers.

There are, the Bible tells us, differences of gifts and they're all given according to God's grace. If our calling is to be mothers, let's be mothers with all our hearts-gladly, simply, and humbly, like that little peasant girl Mary, who spoke for all women for all time when she said, 'Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to Thy word.'"

Lisa Barry: If you're a mother working outside the home, I hope you'll take Elisabeth's challenge to pray to God and ask Him if there isn't something better for you. Many women think that there are only two choices-either stay at home and have no income or work and make income. But there is even something in-between. Cottage industries are businesses run out of homes. Maybe there is something that you could do from home to earn income and stay with your children at the same time. Explore the options before you conclude it can't be done.

Elisabeth mentioned a leaflet on today's program that I'd like to make available to you. It's free. All you have to do is ask for it, and it's entitled "Called To Be Mothers." Here's the number to call to order: 1-800-759-4JOY. That's 1-800-759-4569. You could write to us also. Here's our postal address: Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501. Gateway To Joy has been a production of Back to the Bible.

When we meet again on Monday, Elisabeth will begin a brand-new series, so join us then for another Gateway To Joy.

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