“Real women need to know that being helpers to their husbands, raising godly children, and properly managing their homes takes real work, but the rich reward a woman receives by diligently tending to the ways of her household is well worth the effort.” (pg. xxi, from the Preface)
In their book, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, that is exactly what authors Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald set out to explain. They begin by saying,
“We, that is, Christians as a whole, spend far more time reading self-help books and listening to motivational speakers than we do reading God’s Word or praying and making our requests known to Him.” (pg. 11)
A sad, but all too true commentary on our culture, where the so-called “Christian” self-help authors, false teachers, speakers, or bloggers are eager to tickle our ears, telling us that we need to take better care of ourselves, and that we deserve more. I have heard one too many women whine and complain about their husband, their children, their home, their (expensive) car(s), and/or their lack of me-time…all because they believe that they deserve more, or better, than what they have been given. And, I am tired of it. And, apparently, I’m not the only one!
In contrast to this self-centered, entitlement mentality, this book reminds us that, “because of our sin, all any of us deserve is death and destruction.” And, “regardless of our trials, not one of us is getting less that we deserve; we’re getting abundantly more!” (pg. 12)
From that point on, I was hooked.
Using the Bible as their authority, these ladies, wives and moms themselves, take on many of the myths, stereotypes, and sinful attitudes challenging today’s Christian housewife that, when left unchecked, will undoubtedly rob her of the joy and fulfillment that is to be found in embracing God’s ordained roles for men and women. They deal with issues of: selfishness (chapter 2), perfectionism (chapter 5), the role and calling of women (chapters 3, and 6), and the dangers of the feminist agenda (chapters 8 and 9).
Chapter 4, deals with Weary Women. It begins by discussing those who insist that, in order “to be truly spiritual or godly, you must have a ‘quiet time’ early each morning in peaceful solitude with the Lord.” At first, I misunderstood this chapter as a defense, or an allowance for mothers of young children to forego time in God’s Word. And, with such a great, solidly biblical start to the book, I was a little surprised, and disappointed. But, upon re-reading, I was quite relieved to discover that was not at all the message that Stacy was trying to communicate! She was simply affirming the very real difficulty that many women face at various stages of motherhood. And, I appreciate her attempt to remove the unnecessary burden of legalism that is associated with the pursuit of the often unattainable, picture-perfect quiet time. Instead of suggesting that young moms are exempt from spending time in God’s Word and prayer, Stacy offers the weary mom hope by sharing practical, real-life suggestions for making God’s Word “a continuous presence in your day (Psalm 119:116-117).” (pg. 53)
Chapter 6 deals with the reality that, “even in Christian churches, homemaking and motherhood have fallen from favor.” (pg. 84) Instead of pointing to the way out of the terrible mess in which the world finds itself, we, as Christians, are posed to follow them right into the midst of it. In this chapter, Jennie Chancey offers two reasons for this: “First, we have traded the clear teachings of the Bible for ‘hip’ and ‘relevant’ platitudes that affirm worldliness instead of confronting it. Secondly, we have a narrow idea of what it means to be a keeper at home.” (pg. 87)
The feminist agenda has crept in, relatively unnoticed, to many churches, and Christian homes. As wives and mothers, we have forgotten that our family is to be our primary ministry, and our homes, are “the indispensable foundation stone of a healthy society.” (pg. 91) Christian homes play vital role in serving, ministering to, and blessing others.
“Being keepers at home is about focusing upon the Lord in all the everydayness so that our houses become centers of hospitality, forgiveness, training, business, welfare, charity, shared mourning and celebration, and – oh, yes – lots of tracked-in mud, crumbs under the chairs, and everything else that goes with human beings.” (pg. 94)
Far from the prison cell that the world would have us believe the home to be, these ladies show their readers how it can be a thriving, vibrant center for creativity, ministry, and training – both within our own families, and to others as well! But, we must embrace a biblical view of our role as wives and mothers. “If we view our God-given role as a punishment to women and the domesticity of the home as a cage, we…will indeed find ourselves in misery and lacking the virtue needed to truly love, obey trust and serve the Lord.” (pg. 133) We must realize that, while they do exist, a Christian feminist is a stark contradiction. In chapter 8, Stacy McDonald addresses the danger of women who “claim to hold Scripture in high regard, yet do not accept the biblically defined role distinctions between men and women.” (pg. 121)
This idea of dying to live, serving instead of being served, and being the least in order to be the greatest, is counter-cultural. In the world’s eyes, it just doesn’t make sense. But, as this book clearly shows,
“We are called to be different – not conformed to the pattern of this world but transformed by Christ (Romans 12:2). We are to live in such a way that others may have hope. When we trust in the Lord and submit to His design for marriage, family, home, and church, then our homemaking accomplishes far more than just making homes. It has the power to impact countless lives and generations for the glory of God.” (pg. 163)
I would highly recommend this book to challenge and encourage you, as you seek to honor the Lord as a wife, mother, and homemaker – even, and especially, amidst the “everydayness” of life.