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Women Who Win

Women, Be Women !

The latest trend for women is to be more and more like men. Women's role controversy has exploded on the world scene. In the 1995 International Conference for Women at Beijing, women expressed their displeasure at being homemakers. Women are eager to chase new dreams and an unprecedented movement of women into the workforce proves it. Today's woman has given up the qualitiy of womanhood in exchange for self-sufficiency. Now it is becoming an ego problem and too many succumb to it. The career culture is becoming ubiquitous and increasingly hostile to the family.

The devil is always very gradual in changing our direction lest we detect his subtility. He deviates us by just one degree. By the time we realise our mistake we are far too gone. In the West, women chose to highly educate themselves and pursue careers. Now after 100 years they are looking back at the ghastly carnage they have left behind —skyrocketing divorce rates, shattered homes and a lost generation of kids! Irreparable damage has been done. Now, wiser from the scars of the past more women are opting to stay back as homemakers. The lesson for us does not need to be spelled out. Indian counterparts, instead of learning from their Western cousins, are following their ambitious pursuits and have come to the edge of the precipice. The desire to make a home gets lost somewhere on the way. Sad to say, mothers too fail to lead their daughters on the feminine road.

When women become men, the worst affected is the home. Family roles get scrambled. About 6000 years ago God decided the woman's job to be concerning children and husband; the man's job outside the home (Gen 3:16,17). 4000 years later it had not changed. Paul instructing Timothy, lists out the woman's duty in 1 Timothy 5:10 and 14. They are 1. Marriage 2. Childbearing 3. Childrearing 4. House management and 5. Good works. Browse through them in little more detail.

1. Marriage

Marriage is certainly not the priority for many women climbing the corporate ladder to reach  the top. A good number now shove off marriage to a later date so that they can be independent, pursue a career, earn and be without strings. "God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created THEM" (Gen 1:27). God divided His image between man and woman. God chastens us with the firmness of a father (Heb 12:7). At the same time He comforts us with the tenderness of a mother (Isa 66:13). That's why He takes us up when our father and mother forsake us.

A husband and wife team reflects the total image of God. This is not to decry celibacy but that is rare. Girls should not be discouraged at the farfrom- model marriages they see around. 20-25 may be the right age for marriage. Postponing marriage for reasons of education or career leaves one lonely after 25, 30 or 35. When she realises the need for a partner she also realises that her girlish looks have withered away giving place to a womanly appearance. Boys marry well before they are 30 and her choices are narrowed down. Many feel trapped as they cannot turn the arms of the clock backward. However there is no need to hurry and marry just becuse a girl turns 25. Waiting for the right person and God's will shall be rewarded.

Just because of one or two bitter, experiences girls should not jump into the sulphur and brimstone pit of hasty conclusions. Some men are bad, no doubt. But the right choice can bless you with a blissful marriage. Marriage is safety from many evils of the world as a lone woman is vulnerable. It may be true that a married woman is less attractive. But not always so. With good food and exercise and good grooming one can maintain the physique.

Prayerfully choosing a course and training is good. But double courses are too much for girls.

Even if there is time left, it may be profitably spent in cooking, cleaning, stitching and such feminine arts which will be good for health and handy for future. Praying early for a partner and planning for the future is important. Certain questions like, "Do I want to pursue a career after marriage? Will I like to lead a life separated from my husband for my job's sake?’’ must be settled before marriage. Money is a powerful weapon and your salary can lead you to an unconscious struggle for supremacy. A woman who bears children and feeds them is less prone to breast and uterine cancer. Children and family don’t spoil your fun. In fact an unmarried woman will find her fun dying as she grows older whereas a married woman’s fun grows because her children and grandchildren surround her. Its the way you look at it. Children are fun if you love them and play with them. They are a burden and nuisance if you hate them and get away from them.

After marriage, getting to know the husband and adapting to him is vital to a lasting marriage.

This requires ample time and a relaxed mind. Many psychologists say that we don't know the truly significant things about the people we love and live with. Working outside the home is detrimental to developing a love-bond with the husband because it siphons off precious time and energy. The word 'Helper' used for the Holy Spirit is also used in Genesis 2:18 where God says, "I will make him a HELPER." The woman is to a man what the Holy Spirit is to a believer, a helper and friend. What an awesome responsibility! How can a woman do it offhand?

The institution of the family has suffered ever since women hated the authority of men over their lives. The devil makes a woman like a man desiring leadership at home. A woman is not to compete with her husband rather she should team-up with him. When a woman submits to her husband she reflects the image of God.

2. Childbearing

Many young women have accepted the idea that babies must take a backseat to the establishment of a career. Some decide not to have children and many defer motherhood. They hate a big tummy, feeding babies and giving up their career. They don't want to be washing nappies at home instead of working in an office. It is very sad they are blind to the blessings of childbirth and their lonely future. The Bible calls children as the heritage of the Lord. They are the legacy we leave behind for this world. It was hard for me to sit at home to take care of our daughter whenever my husband left for ministry; but today I am happy I am leaving behind a missionary to continue my work, vision, values and ideals.

It is better not to postpone childbirth as female reproductive organs become less effective with age. Studies show that the chances of having a baby fall from over 50% at age 18, to zero shortly after age 48, with the percentage dropping sharply around age 35. Pregnancies are also hard to maintain after that age. Even the Bible credits the children of youth hood. Children are more important than money, career or qualification. The sorrow of childbirth in the Old Testament (Gen 3:16) is turned to the joy of salvation in the New Testament (1 Tim 2:15). Truly, by bearing children a woman finds fulfilment and salvation in many areas of her life.

It is advisable to have the second child one to three yers after the first so that they both grow together and go to school one after the other. A long gap pins the mother down for more number of years. By the time one retires the children should be well settled in life and enjoy a sprinkle of grandchildren. Deferring marriage and motherhood makes one too old to play with children and grandchildren.

3. Childrearing

When a woman has children, she should not seesaw between career and childrearing. Working women are always too busy to relax at home to develop their mothering skills. Only when the woman of the house is relaxed and tension-free the husband and children will easily relate to her. So she should not fall into the trap of thinking, every free moment is a waste of time.

I have a friend in Dubai whose child was stick thin and sickly. He would vomit and refuse to eat. I advised her to try resigning her job as staff nurse. She took my advice to heart and let her fat salary go down the drain. But today the child is a well nourished cheerful youngster. She said the malady vanished like a miracle. Many others rebuff the idea. When women become breadwinners, most become childlosers.

A child needs to develop physically, intellectually, spiritually and socially. These needs are not entirely taken care of in the school or Sunday Class. Unless the mother spends sufficient time for the children, they are bound to be retarded in atleast some areas of their lives. Children become ill-mannered, impolite, cruel, selfish, demanding, immoral and delinquent when they lack the mother's care. Psychological problems and suicides are ever on the increase, the reason for which I cannot imagine anything other than the mother's absence from home.

Bringing up children is not a dull-head's job. Neither are you wasting your education sitting at home. When you teach your child, you teach your child's child and a generation to come. Never think it is a waste of time to sit and teach one little wiggly fellow. Leaving the chidlren in crèches and hostels is least desirable at a young age. May be you yourself grew up in a hostel or with grandparents. Do you want your children to suffer the same fate? Make a wise choice - money and ego or children and relationships? In-laws, parents and babysitters are no substitute for a mother.

4. House Management

Non-working wife is a misnomer. She is probably the hardest working person on earth. Housekeeping is a fulltime job. It is impossible to shuttle between home and office, two equally demanding fronts, and excel in both. A housewife's hands are never free. There are always clothes to be washed, dishes to be done, buttons to be sewed, blouses to be mended, floors to be mopped and shelves to be dusted. Of late more women suffer from neurotic and other health problems because they take up a distressingly austere schedule. Women are not made for stress. Overambitious women pay the price. Afterall she too has only 24 hours. Her outdoor work speaks on her health, house and family. God made woman as a helper to man. But today's situation is different. A man marries and finds he has to be a helper to his wife.

A book may be written on House Management, but I touch upon only cooking. Basically all men are good eaters. Each man is different. From day one the wife has to learn her husband's taste whether he likes his coffee hot, cold, warm, lukewarm or boiling. Sugar: sweet, medium or less. Milk: milky, watery, medium or black. Imagine for other dishes!

My mother-in-law would permit me to cook Sunday lunch only as she never liked to miss the Sunday Service. When her head disappeared I would start my cooking. The first day, with my cookery book open, I dashed hither and thither making sambar, rasam, vegetables and set the table. At 1.30 noon my mother-in-law and husband returned home tired after the communion service. They opened all the dishes and asked, "Where is rice?" Suddenly it struck me I hadn't made rice! Another day when the steam came I put the weight on the cooker and put off the fire after 10 minutes to cook rice. Again at 1.30 they found only water inside. I had forgotten to put the rice! No woman should be like me. Such things come by practice and a woman should not start practicing after marriage.

Those employed in offices tend to put on weight. They then go to health clinics to blow their money there. They pay heavily for servants too. Instead they can sweep, mop, wash and tend the garden which will keep their weight down, save money and get quality work done.

5. Good Deeds

Many ministries given especially to women are not counted as ministry at all. The ministries listed below are for women (1 Tim 5:10).

a) Lodging strangers

This does not mean one has to take in a person totally unknown to her. One has to be wise also. But I know people who bring in drunks, destitutes, accident victims or beaten up ones, nurse them back to health and send them off. Ministry involves risk and risky ministry is rewarding. Who knows? We may take in Jesus one day (Mt 25:35). Our Gujarat Coordinator takes in his friends and feeds them till they find jobs in Gujarat. They in turn help him in ministry. Who cooks for them ? Is it not his wife ?

b) Washing the feet of saints

Caring for servants of God is entrusted to women. Especially because they travel from place to place, they need a support system. This is the ministry of Mary and Martha who took in Jesus, of Priscilla who did not hesitate to cook for Apollo, the wife and daughters of Philip who accommodated a team of evangelists for "many days." In the coming days when more women will be joining the work force ministers of God may be forced to stay in lodges and eat in restaurants and suffer from amoebiasis. Oh, how much we suffered from ailments due to food eaten outside. Thanks to women who have willingly served us. Thank God for those who visit our children in the hostels, separated from their missionary parents, and take them home for holidays. The working woman is so tight that she hates intrusion into the routine. She gets irritated and that can easily be  seen by children, husband and guests as well.

c) Relieving the afflicted

It is the woman at home who confronts beggars. It is she who notices a poorly clad woman in the church. Sending a meal to the poor, sick or lonely is as great as pulpit preaching, if not greater. Heaven will one day reveal the mighty servants of God as those who practiced practical Christianity. Nursing sick parents, in-laws and loved ones is a wonderful ministry. As women indulge in outdoor activities they prefer a weekend trip to sick parents or in-laws to say how sorry they are and rush back to 'duty' rather than take them in and nurse them back to health or give them a dignified end.

d) Service

More than the above, every woman should discover her special talents. She can write letters, write articles for magazines, sell literature, help part time in ministries, win the neighbourhood for Christ, conduct a prayer-cell at home or visit a local hospital, prison or Home to cheer-up the inmates. There is no limit to the ministry a woman can do from home. Remember, good deeds come last of all and are never to be indulged in at the cost of the better deed—caring for the family.

A word to gentlemen

Because most men seek to marry ladies with laudable salaries women have no choice but to work. Unless husbands cooperate, change their attitude and allow their wives to be homemakers, women can never lead lives as women. Another reason why women want to work is because they are least appreciated for all their slogging at home. They take up jobs to bolster their sagging image and feel worthy. If a man can praise his wife for all that she does at home she will be content to be a housewife (Prov 31:28). Men should beware of a new problem cropping up. Women are climbing the ladder too fast leaving their male counterparts behind.

The scales may tip anything and men may find (are finding) their wives qualified higher. So it will do good for men to try to overtake the women so that they’ll be really men and women be really women.

I am not totally against career women. No one can deny the enormous good teachers, nurses, doctors and others have done to this world. I only mean to say, a woman should not join the neck-to-neck race of the world. She may by all means qualify herself for a career. But she should have her priorities clear. She should understand that she is not wasting her brains by giving herself wholly for her family; neither is she an unliberated woman.

Answer the question, “Why do I need to take up an outdoor job?” to yourself. Is it a justifiable reason? Many women work just to make money to satisfy their craving for luxury or to pamper their ego. Women work full time as teachers and then take tuitions at home. That is downright avarice. On the other hand there are widows with small children or others with sick husbands who need to earn for a living. Be satisfied with a simple lifestyle. Godliness with contentment is great gain – yes, you gain your family, your children. With a decimated family the modern woman can think of so many atternatives to an outdoor career and find avenues to use her resources. If your husband’s income is meager, try a cottage industry, baby-sitting, tuitions at home or a part-time job when the children start schooling, which will leave you with considerable time for the family. Each woman should use her sound mind to decide whether she needs extra income. Be happy God made you a woman, be proud of it and be a woman!

   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com