Saturday, January 31, 2009
God reveals His heart about marriage in the above Scripture. He wants the wife and husband to be one. He wants them to be faithful to one another. He does not want them to be divorced. And He makes His reason for saying this very clear. The disruption of marriage tampers with the godly offspring. The thing that God looks for in marriage more than anything else is godly children. This is His heart's desire. He looks eagerly for the coming children. This is His plan for marriage.
It is the nature of God to want children in His image. And because we were made in the likeness and image of God, it is inherent in mankind to want to have children in our image. We long to see who they will be like. And yet we now live in a distorted age. Couples have been so brainwashed by humanist deception that they often refuse to have children, or at least limit how many they have. They live counter-culture to God's kingdom and to their own instinctive design. While they live to their own desires, God waits with patience to see children born in His image. Grandparents wait to continue the godly dynasty.
Each new precious baby is created in the image of God and He wants His image multiplied in the earth.
But even more challenging is that it is not just offspring that God looks for. No, it is godly offspring. The margin in my Bible says, "the seed of God." What kind of children are the seed of God? It is even more challenging again when we find that the Hebrew word is elohim. As you know, the name Elohim is one of the names of God, the first name that God introduces himself to us in Genesis 1:1. This is only one name of God and it occurs 2,570 times in the Bible.
Elohim is used 35 times in Genesis 1:1 to 2:4 revealing God's creative and governing power. He created this vast universe by His spoken word. Elohim is the one who brought "cosmos out of chaos, light out of darkness, habitation out of desolation, and life in His image." (Nathan Stone) Because we are created in His image, we also have the ability to create. God has put into our mouths the power of the spoken word. We can minister life or death by our tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) God wants us (and each new babe that is born) to create and speak for His kingdom and His glory. He wants the godly offspring to fill the earth with His words, His truth and His character.
Elohim also reveals God as a covenant keeping God. There are many Scriptures revealing this but here are a few.
Genesis 17:7, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God (Elohim) unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."
Genesis 9:15-17, "And I will remember my covenant... And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature..."
On Joseph's death bed he said, "God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." (Genesis 50:24)
When Solomon dedicated the temple he prayed, "There is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart." (1 Kings 8:23)
Elohim is a covenant-keeping God. He wants us to also manifest covenant keeping. This is how we reveal the image of Elohim. He wants each godly offspring to be a covenant-keeper. It is interesting that God talks about the godly seed coming forth in the context of a covenant keeping marriage. Malachi 2:14 RSV says, "The Lord was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant."
It is not having lots of children that will solve the world's problems. It is having godly children who will impact the nations for God. May God enable us to welcome the godly seed and train them to truly reveal the character of Elohim. There is no career that can come anywhere near the enormity and power of this vision.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL (from Above Rubies)
"Oh God, please help me to be a faithful covenant-keeper and to train my children to be the same."
I have the awesome privilege to raise the "seed of God."
Pay It Forwards can be any handmade item or craft that you choose to send. The items do not have to be large, just something that you have made. According to the rules, you have 365 days to make & send the PIFs but most send them out much sooner. If you are interested in signing up, send an email or post a comment saying so. Once I contact you to let you know that you are one of the first 3 to sign up, you can then go ahead and post on your own blog about Pay It Forward. It sounds like a lot of fun and I am looking forward to doing this.
Anyone interested in signing up? I can't wait to begin making and sending these items out.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an
opportunity to do things you couldn't do before." – Rahm Emanuel
So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and
Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The
647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic
"stimulus," but now that Democrats have finally released the details we
understand Rahm's point much better. This is a political wonder that
manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal
of the last 40 years.
We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1
billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in
40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that
great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400
million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for
carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top
of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion
In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make
"dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy." Well, you be the
judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is
for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There's another $40
billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean
water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.
Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate
only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is
for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And
even many of these projects aren't likely to help the economy
immediately. As Peter Orszag, the President's new budget director, told
Congress a year ago, "even those [public works] that are 'on the shelf'
generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus
to the economy."
[Review & Outlook]
Most of the rest of this project spending will go to such things as
renewable energy funding ($8 billion) or mass transit ($6 billion) that
have a low or negative return on investment. Most urban transit systems
are so badly managed that their fares cover less than half of their
costs. However, the people who operate these systems belong to
public-employee unions that are campaign contributors to . . . guess
Here's another lu-lu: Congress wants to spend $600 million more for the
federal government to buy new cars. Uncle Sam already spends $3 billion
a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles. Congress also wants to spend $7
billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities. The
Smithsonian is targeted to receive $150 million; we love the
Smithsonian, too, but this is a job creator?
Another "stimulus" secret is that some $252 billion is for
income-transfer payments -- that is, not investments that arguably help
everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all.
There's $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment
benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned
income credit for people who don't pay income tax. While some of that
may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they
aren't job creators.
As for the promise of accountability, some $54 billion will go to
federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the
Government Accountability Office have already criticized as
"ineffective" or unable to pass basic financial audits. These include
the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business
Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.
Oh, and don't forget education, which would get $66 billion more. That's
more than the entire Education Department spent a mere 10 years ago and
is on top of the doubling under President Bush. Some $6 billion of this
will subsidize university building projects. If you think the intention
here is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 that "No
recipient . . . shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to
students to attend private elementary or secondary schools." Horrors:
Some money might go to nonunion teachers.
The larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending bonanza will
become part of the annual "budget baseline" that Congress uses as the
new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following
year, and into the future. Democrats insist that it will not. But it's
hard -- no, impossible -- to believe that Congress will cut spending
next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels. The
likelihood is that this allegedly emergency spending will become a
permanent addition to federal outlays -- increasing pressure for tax
increases in the bargain. Any Blue Dog Democrat who votes for this ought
to turn in his "deficit hawk" credentials.
This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was
written based on the wish list of every living -- or dead -- Democratic
interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, "We won the election. We
wrote the bill." So they did. Republicans should let them take all of
This information was obtained from the Online Wall Street Journal at
A copy of the House bill is here if you care to peruse the 647 page
bill. Let’s get stimulated!!!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
We first started with what had been our son's bedroom. We turned it into our new school room/sewing room/soap supply room. I was able to move ALL of my sewing supplies (which are MANY, and that is an understatement) out of the master bedroom and closet and hall closet. We moved a book shelf down stairs for the girls' school supplies and put their double desk (which their daddy built for them when we first started home schooling them 7 years ago) in the room. We moved all of the soap making supplies out of daddy's den and the upstairs hall closet. By emptying out the master bedroom of all of the sewing "stuff" I was able to make a wonderful haven for my dear husband and myself.
The next day, we worked on rearranging the girls' rooms. They decided that they didn't want their own bedrooms any longer and since they had a trundle bed we would be able to just fit the two beds in the same room. (there is about 6 inches to spare between the bottom bed, when it is pulled out, and the wall). We then turned the "extra" bedroom into their own little "living room". They each have a book shelf and their toys in their. They get to see what it will be like to be responsible for two rooms now, plus their other chores. They love the freedom to be able to sit in there and play, work on a puzzle, read or whatever they decide to do in their spare time (which isn't much). I found them the other day reading the Bible together and discussing what they were reading. It was an awesome thing to over hear. We also cleaned all three of our bathrooms and reorganized them.
The next day, we empty out all of our kitchen cupboards and the pantry, scrubbed them and reorganized. They even alphabatized our jars of herbs (which are plentiful).
The last day, we swept and mopped all the floors in our three level home (we have all hardwood and tile floors) and cleaned the baseboards. Then we spent the rest of the day baking for daddy and waiting for his call for us to come pick him up.
I am so thankful for daughters who are such hard workers. They didn't complain even a little bit. They didn't wish they were doing something else. The oldest one even said that it felt like we were having a retreat together with daddy gone. It just goes to show that you don't have to leave home to retreat with your family.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Introduced by Sen. Claudia Kauffman, (D-Kent) (D) on January 21, 2009, identifies the need for state funded early intervention services for infants and toddlers identified as developmentally disabled. Recommends coordinating all federal, state and local resources to include education, health and social services to support the implementation of individualized family service plans. Places authority for implementation of services under the department of social and health services and directs appropriate funding to that department. Creates a caseload forecast council to be appointed by the governor and cites this act as the infant toddler equity act. (See also Companion SB 5373) .
From the White House web site:
Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state Zero to Five efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama and Biden will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding, and improve quality for both.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Here's a fairly exhaustive study of the word "woman" in the Bible, with all of its uses and descriptions (from the ESV version, so I may have missed some mentioned in other versions). I thought it would be helpful for us to see how women are described in the Bible, positively and negatively, as we strive to be godly women.Not all of them will apply in each of our lives, and some are situation-specific... but perhaps one or many of these will catch your eye and inspire you in a particular area of your life... and we'll come back and examine these a little at the end of the list.
POSITIVE OR NEUTRAL BIBLICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF WOMEN:
-made by God (Gen 2:22)
-taken out of man (Gen 2: 23, 1 Cor 11:9)
-"beautiful in appearance" (Sarai-- Gen 12, Rebekah-- Gen 12, Bathsheba--2 -Sam 11:2, Tamar-- 2 Sam 14:27, 1 Ki 1:3-4)
-"pregnant" (Exod. 21:22, Is 26:17, and many, many more)
-"skillful" (Exod. 35:25)
-"tender" (Deut 28:56)
-"refined" (Deut 28:56)
-"delicate" (Deut. 28:56)
-"loved" (Jud 16:4)
-"worthy" (Ruth 3:14)
-not worthless (1 Sam 1:16)
-"discerning" (1 Sam 25:3)
-"wise" (2 Sam 14:2, 2 Sam 20:16, Prov 31:26)
-"wealthy" (2 Ki 4:8-- the Shunammite woman who cared for Elisha)
-"barren, childless" given a home and children (Ps 113:9)
-"gracious" (Prov 11:16)
-receives honor (Prov 11:16)
-precious (Prov 31:10)
-trustworthy (Prov 31:11)
-interested in doing good for and pleasing her husband (Prov 31:12, Prov 31:23, 1 Cor 7:34)
-a willing worker (Prov 31:13, 19)
-prudent (Prov 31:16, 18)
-"strong" (Prov 31:17)
-diligent (Prov 31:18-22, Prov 31:27, Luke 15:8)
-generous (Prov 31:20)
-teaches kindness (Prov 31:26)
-"excellent" (Prov 31:29)
-"woman who fears the Lord" (Prov 31:30-- worthy of praise)
-great in faith (Matthew 15:20-28)
-worshipful, sacrificial, worthy of remembrance (Matt. 26:6-13)
-"saved" by faith (Luke 8:40)
-freed from disability (Luke 13:12)
-bearer of a faithful testimony that led many to believe (John 4:39)
-uncondemned by God (John 8:10-11)
-"believer" (Acts 16:1)
-"seller of purple goods" (Acts 16:4)
-"worshiper of God" with an open, attentive heart (Acts 16:4)
-unmarried/betrothed are interested in holiness & "the things of the Lord" (1 Cor 7:34)
-"glory of man" (1 Cor 11:7)
-not independent of man (1 Cor 11:11)
-"quiet" learner (1 Tim 2:11, 12)
-"submissive" (1 Tim 2:11)
-"weaker vessel" (1 Pet 3:7)
NEGATIVE BIBLICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF WOMEN:
-"drunken" (1 Sam 1:13-- Eli was mistaken when he thought this about Hannah)
-"perverse, rebellious" (1 Sam 20:30-- spoken by Saul to Jonathan about his -mother in order to shame him)
-"desolate" (Tamar-- 2 Sam 13:20, because she was defiled)
-"cursed" (2 Ki 9:34-- Jezebel)
-"wicked" (2 Chr 24:7-- idolatrous woman)
-"barren, childless" (Job 24:21)
-"forbidden woman" (Prov 2:16, 5:3, 5:20, 7:5-- the adulteress)
-"evil" (Prov 6:24-- the adulteress)
-wily of heart (Prov 7:10-- a woman dressed as a prostitute)
-"a beautiful woman without discretion" is like a gold ring in a pig's snout (Prov 11:22)
-"quarrelsome" & fretful (Prov 21:19-- living with this kind of woman is worse than living in a desert)
-heart of snares & nets (Eccl 7:26-- godly men escape her)
-deceived transgressor (1 Tim 2:14)
There's a lot here, but I think it may be helpful to look at this both in a micro- and macro- way.
THE MACRO VIEW OF BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD: (The BIG picture)Generally, the biblical woman is discerning, gracious, generous, and kind. Generally, women are given a role defined by family and the home. Rather than seeking to control or manipulate men, the biblical woman is focused on the Lord, and her husband, children, and home (if married). A godly woman passes her faith on to others (specifically including her children and those who know her testimony) and is willing to sit at the feet of Jesus and love and worship Him.
THE MICRO VIEW OF BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD: (The nitty-gritty)Starting with what she is not... she is not quarrelsome or worrisome. She does not seek to ensnare, capture, or deceive men. She does not dress seductively. She doesn't act thoughtlessly or imprudently.
She works hard in order to serve her household, the poor, and widows. She worships God. She tells others what Christ has done for her. She learns with a quiet spirit, willing to submit to what is taught.
She is protected by the men in her family when she is a virgin (there were many instances of this, but these were not necessarily descriptive passages so I did not include them in the list), and focused on her family and home once married. She serves her husband and is faithful to him. She seeks to make him known as an honorable man. She raises children, teaching them kindness and faith. If unmarried, she is single-mindedly focused on serving Christ and being holy for Him. She fearfully, faithfully, and attentively serves a gracious, forgiving, and healing Creator God by serving, loving, and giving to the people around her.
This is encouraging and challenging stuff, huh? Any thoughts you'd like to add or other things you see in these descriptions?
“When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent.”
– Jacques Barzun
When a young state senator from Illinois ascended the platform to give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, many considered him a rising star in the Democratic Party. But even his zaniest fans could not have anticipated that, in four short years, Barack Obama would have made the leap from state senator to United States Senator, and from United States Senator to the President of the United States.
What does Barack Obama’s rise to power mean? For one thing, it means that the “absurd” has become “normal”: when a large proportion of younger “evangelicals” vote for a man who will help perpetuate the war against the unborn, decadence has obviously set it. For another thing, it means that modern conservatism—the conservatism of William Buckley and Russell Kirk, of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan—is dead. As a matter of fact, it has been dead for a number of years: Election Day 2008 simply provided us the coroner’s report.
For we who consider ourselves “conservative,” it will do us no good to pine away for the glory of days gone by. We can’t re-live the Barry Goldwater campaign; we can’t call Ronald Reagan back from the dead—nor would we want to if we could.
What we Christians in America need to do is to rediscover what our vocation is: we are salt and light; we are strangers and sojourners; we are a nation of priests. This does not mean, as the pietistic Christian might take it to mean, that we are to withdraw from the public square, and simply build our own little Christian ghettoes while clutching our Bibles and waiting for the end of the world. No: the Scriptures call on the people of God to take dominion by being salt and light, to take dominion by being strangers and sojourners, to take dominion by acting as priests on behalf of the world. We are not called to withdraw; rather, we are called to engage the world, ruling as God’s co-regents.
But we have forgotten what it means to rule. We have confused the biblical mandate to “rule” and “take dominion” with the hackneyed imperative to “win the next election.” So what should Christians do in the world of President Barak Obama? How can we better prepare ourselves to be the vice-regents that God wants us to be? I would suggest three things:
1. Pray like a Saint Augustine
2. Know the times like an Edmund Burke
3. Love the law of God like a King Josiah
First, pray like a Saint Augustine. When there is an obvious need for a new reformation in the church, many Christians instinctively suggest that we need to go back and brush up on our theology. Absolutely, we must do so.
But whose theology should we turn to? The great Saint Augustine of Hippo should be topping our list. Augustine’s theology, as Peter Leithart put it, “is as big as reality, or bigger.” Augustine’s theology is the perfect antidote to both ivory-tower bookishness and pietistic sentimentalism. Augustine wrote his theology in the white heat of battle and controversy: with barbarians storming the gates of Rome, Donatists infiltrating the Church, and Pelagians attempting to resuscitate a humanistic parody of the Gospel. Not a single paragraph of his theology is divorced from the real, tangible concerns of Christian living; not a single sentence is detached from his concern to build a Christian civilization. Every page of his theology addresses the flesh-and-blood realities that real Christians face in real life.
Moreover, Augustine’s theology is a prayed theology. What does this mean? It means that everything Augustine wrote was suffused with the real presence of God in the world. This is most evident in Augustine’s Confessions, the entirety of which is written in prayer form. But even Augustine’s other writings, which employ a different genre, are all bathed in prayer. Augustine realized, like few theologians since have realized, that true theology will always result in a deeper fellowship between God and man. If our theology fails to get us on our knees, if it fails to get us in closer fellowship with our Creator and Savior, and if it fails to equip us to take dominion in the name of King Jesus, then it is no theology at all, but simply a Gnostic pietism veiled in theological vocabulary.
Augustine laid a foundation for the Christendom which followed; when we learn to pray as Augustine prayed, we too might see a new Christendom in our day.
Second, know the times like an Edmund Burke. Burke was the great Member of Parliament in the late eighteenth century who witnessed many tumultuous changes in England and Europe: the American War for Independence, Britain’s unsteady relations with India, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic War which followed. He was a modern man of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32). What set him apart from other capable men his age was his commitment to “permanent things” in an age of revolution. As Russell Kirk says of Burke,
He foresaw in the Age of Reason a scheme of innovation which was designed to turn society inside out, and he exposed this new menace to permanence with a passion of loathing that exceeded all his invectives against Tories and nabobs. For the great practical spokesman of the Whigs knew more of the wants of mankind than did all the galaxy of French economists and men of letters.
You would not know it by talking to “conservatives” today, but Edmund Burke is the intellectual father of modern conservatism. All Christians who wish to see a return of genuine, robust conservatism would do well to re-acquaint themselves with this master. Burke can teach us how to see through the illusions of propaganda; Burke can teach us how to expose the shallowness of sound-bite dialogue and bumper-sticker slogans that displace rigorous thought.
Most importantly, Burke can teach us how to fight today’s battles, not the battles of yesteryear. As Burke said in his magisterial Reflections on the Revolution in France,
Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. Otherwise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice.… It is thus with all those, who attending only to the shell and husk of history, think they are waging war with intolerance, pride, and cruelty, whilst, under colour of abhorring the ill principles of antiquated parties, they are authorizing and feeding the same odious vices in different factions, and perhaps in worse.
Satan is a master of disguises. If we desire to understand the times and expose the works of darkness in their current forms, we need to have our minds properly trained. Edmund Burke remains the best tutor in this regard.
Third, love the law of God like a King Josiah. Our day is both similar and dissimilar to the early days of Josiah’s reign. It is similar in that, like Josiah’s early days, there is virtually no memory of God’s law in our land; it is dissimilar in that, unlike Josiah’s early days, there are millions upon millions of copies of God’s law scattered all over our land. Josiah, when the Book of the Law was found, heard it and immediately tore his clothes; we, on the other hand, have in our possession the same Law, but rarely bother to read it and never consider allowing it to tear our hearts.
The Law of God is perfect, modern Christians have said, but it’s not very useful. Modern Christians have treated the Law of God like that old professor emeritus that some universities keep around campus: you wouldn’t think about sacking him, but you’re also not going to take him very seriously. Likewise, no modern Christian would dream of suggesting that Deuteronomy, for instance, should be ripped out of their Bibles, yet their ignorance of Deuteronomy is palpable.
It is high time that we once again be able to sing with sincerity what David, Josiah, and our Lord Jesus Christ sang: I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart (Ps. 40:8). We have a mandate to disciple the nations; but if our own lives, our own families, and our own churches are not conformed to the Law of God, we have nothing to offer the world.
Elections are important; politics is one of the many areas that must be brought into submission to Jesus Christ. But before we think about how we are going to influence the next election, we have work cut out for us. Let Saint Augustine and Edmund Burke and King Josiah guide us as we navigate ourselves through the many challenges of the Barack Obama presidency.
Endnotes: Peter Leithart, Against Christianity (Moscow, ID: Canon, 2003), 47 Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2001), 16. Kirk, 23. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: Penguin, 2004), 248–249
About the author: Rev. Bart Martin, B.S., U. S. Military Academy, M.Div., Reformed Episcopal Seminary, is an Ordained Deacon in Reformed Episcopal Church, Chaplain and Instructor of Theology at New Covenant Schools in Lynchburg, VA, and Minister-in-Charge of New Covenant Reformed Episcopal Church. He has a wife, Kristie, and four children, and is lamenting yet another Philadelphia Eagles NFC Championship debacle.
Article posted January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
In the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 1, in the Bible, it says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
How much faith do we need?
"And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you." Luke 17:6 In what or whom should our faith be?
"And Jesus answered saying to them, " Have faith in God." Mark 11:22
"and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5
What do we do if we need more faith?
"The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" Luke 17:5
Recent discussions, some reading and a few emails I received got me pondering about what is an appropriate age for marriage. Obviously, this is not a black and white issue, as I heard both from 30-year-old women who are terrified of commitment, and 16-year-old girls who feel fully prepared and willing to enter the covenant of marriage.
The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that the question should be, in fact, worded differently. Not "how young is too young?", but rather, "are we doing enough in order to prepare for marriage and family life from a young age?"
To me, the answer is pretty much obvious. Most young women are woefully unprepared for marriage. And I'm not even talking about the prevalent ineptitude in the realm of housekeeping - even though it is kind of sad when a 20-year-old woman doesn't know how to operate a washing machine, can't boil an egg to save her life and even prides herself for her complete disdain for housework. Just so you don't think I'm pointing my finger at someone else, I'm talking about myself a couple of years ago.
You can learn the basics of cleaning and cooking pretty quickly if there's need to. What is more difficult to reverse is an entire lifetime of secular education that draws the young girl's heart away from home, from her family, from taking care of others, and from every feminine pursuit that might be beneficial for her as a future wife. This is the world's attitude, and it obviously takes effort, alertness and diligence on the parents' side if they are determined to show their daughters a different path.
Furthermore, young women are often terrified of all the aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenthood. Not long ago, I attended a small highschool reunion. One of my old highschool friends looked at my round tummy and asked, her eyes practically widening with fear, "does it hurt?"; another friend, who called me today, asked if I'm on bed rest. Others have asked how come I'm not under supervision 24/7. Obviously, with all its possible discomforts, normal pregnancy is not an illness and is not supposed to make you incapacitated. So far, my pregnancy has been, perhaps, 5% pain and discomfort, and 95% joy and delight. But how will you ever know, if you are an only child (or, at best, one of two children), and grew up in a system of age-segregated institutionalized education, without seeing pregnant women or ever cuddling a baby?
A lot is talked about how dangerous is it to enter marriage before you are ready. Yet purposefully delaying marriage can be a source of frustration, loneliness, future difficulty in finding your match and adjusting to life together, possible difficulty in having children as the woman becomes older, and a huge stumbling block to remaining chaste.
I remember one girl in my highschool who came from a very traditional family. She got married at the beginning of her senior year, and had a baby by the end of it. She was seen by everyone as a "lost case", as someone who has caused irreparable damage to her future. The terrible irony of it was that we were surrounded by young girls who hopped from one meaningless dating relationship to the next, who became promiscuos, caught STDs, had abortions, and became emotionally crippled for the rest of their lives. But somehow, that wasn't viewed in the light of its true horror - while early marriage and motherhood were considered an obvious tragedy.
Of course, as long as "independence", "self-sufficiency", "self-development" and other "selfs" are glorified to the point of drowning out everything else, and as long as young women and men are encouraged to not even think in the direction of preparing for marriage and parenthood as teenagers, we will remain unprepared and the vague term of "too young to get married" will become a common description of just about anyone under 30.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
"You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
"You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
(Here is a poem that our daughters read during the dedication ceremony.)
by Alice Joyce Davidson
Welcome, baby, welcome,
It's so nice to have you here--
Your innocence and sweetness
Bring a bit of heaven near...
Welcome, baby, welcome,
May life be good to you,
May your days be bright and sunny,
May your skies above be blue,
May you grow in love and learn to love
Everyone around you,
And always, may God bless you
And may happiness surround you!