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I’m Albert Mohler and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

SHOULD IT BE ILLEGAL TO BE A STAY-AT-HOME MOM? WHY FEMINISTS WANT TO TAKE THIS CHOICE AWAY FROM WOMEN

Should it be illegal for women to choose to be stay-at-home moms? If that sounds like an absolutely outlandish question—and it should—just keep in mind that it is a question now being asked in public in the nation of Australia. Behind this is the larger pattern of social and moral change within a society. It follows a predictable pattern. Something is proposed as a moral or social change that sounds absolutely unthinkable, then it becomes thinkable. It was implausible, but it gains in plausibility. Once it gains in plausibility, it becomes policy, and behind that policy is a form of political legal and social coercion. That kind of pattern is what should have our attention as we consider the controversy that has recently emerged in Australia, and of course it will not stay there.

Behind all of this is a report recently released by an organization that usually doesn’t garner a great deal of controversy. That’s the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD. That international organization is actually a legacy of the United States and the Marshall Plan. That was the plan whereby the United States brought economic assistance to much of war-torn Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was an effort to reach out and to rebuild, economically speaking, Germany and its allies as well as much of the rest of Europe. In the aftermath of World War II, that was necessary. But the OECD has continued in more recent decades, especially since 1960, as an organization that unites nations in the development of international trade and economic development.

The OECD recently released a report having to do with the relative employment rates and advanced economies. And in particular, the worldview of the OECD is that every single able-bodied adult should be a wage earner in the workforce. And that includes, of course, those who would otherwise be stay-at-home moms. This controversy emerged in Australia, but given the issues, it could’ve emerged in many other nations as well, including the United States. It came with a recent headline,

“Moms are economy’s greatest untapped resource, and we need to fix that.”

Should It Be Illegal To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom?

Image: Chicks On The Right

The reporter in this case was Liz Burke and as she wrote,

“Australia, we have a problem, and we’re not going to get away with it.”

“Away with it” had to do with Australia’s ranking in this particular study as relatively low in terms of the workforce engagement and, in particular, the large number of adults, in particular in this case, women who are stay-at-home moms who are not engaged in the wage-earning workforce. As she wrote,

“The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found the employment rate of women aged 25-54 years was in the lower third of OECD countries at 72.5 per cent. Australia’s employment rate of single mothers, 50.8 per cent was among the lowest in the developed world, with only Ireland and Turkey doing worse.”

Now before we go on, just consider that usage of words here “doing worse,” which indicates that doing better would mean fewer women staying at home with their children. She went on to report,

“Stay-at-home mothers were singled out as the ‘greatest untapped potential’ for Australia’s workforce and were creating ‘potentially large losses to the economy’, as were moms who worked part time.

“The provocative report,” she says, follows the fact that a major labor politician, Kate Ellis, “exited from politics, with the longtime politician citing difficulties reflected in the research.”

Now, again, this is the word “difficulties,” but notice how the politician herself described the situation.

“This had been a really hard decision for me … in the end it is a decision that I have made for only one simple reason.

“Whilst my son could travel with me as a baby, during the next term of parliament he will start school and have to stay in Adelaide. The simple truth is that I just cannot bear the thought of spending at least 20 weeks of every year away from him and the rest of my family.”

Now notice her decision it is presumed here is a problem, and a problem not just for the society in general, but very specifically for Australia’s economy. Just in a footnote to the larger story, the response to this particular politician deciding to stay home with her family was responded to with one columnist writing this:

“The parliament is still structured the way it was back in 1901 when the Australian states federated. That is, the parliament was designed for men and by men. Men who assumed parenting was the job of someone else. Modern public life remains utterly inconsistent with the realities of new motherhood and our country is the poorer for it.”

There’s no mention here of exactly what proposal this columnist made for making the Australian Parliament less by men and for men, it seems that nature more than anything else is the real enemy here. But that report was followed by an even more provocative proposal. In this case Sarrah Le Marquand wrote,

“It should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mom.”

Marquand, writing at The Daily Telegraph there in Australia, says that if there is any issue that is sure to gain controversy, it is going to be the topic of stay-at-home moms. She said,

“More specifically, the release of any data or analysis that dares recommend Australian women should get out of the living room/kitchen/nursery and back into the workforce.”

Marquand makes the argument that Australia’s economy depends upon an expanding workforce and stay-at-home moms are the largest identifiable problem in terms of full employment in that nation. Therefore, she goes on to make this analysis,

“So it’s not as simple as suggesting that the OECD’s rallying call to utilize the potential of stay-at-home mums is an insult to mothers — on the contrary, it is the desperately needed voice of reason that Australians cannot afford to ignore.”

Then the following paragraph,

“Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed.”

That is a very straightforward statement. She is stating that it should be a legal requirement that all parents, both mothers and fathers of children of school age or older must be employed. It would be a legal requirement; it would thus be illegal for a woman to choose to be a stay-at-home mom. Marquand simply dismisses the argument that women should be free to make this choice for themselves in terms of whether or not it’s liberating that a woman could decide to stay home. She described instead “the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment.”

Now, again, you’ll notice the default is a woman being a wage earner in the workforce. The exception, the exception she wants to eliminate even as a possibility, is a woman who decides not to be in the wage earning workforce, but rather to invest her energies and her calling in her home, particularly in the raising of children.

We have seen several twists and turns in the development of the feminist argument and ideology, but here you have an author who calls for “a serious rethink of this kid-glove approach to women of child-bearing and child-rearing age. Holding us less accountable when it comes to our employment responsibilities is not doing anyone any favors. Not children, not fathers, not bosses — and certainly not women.”

But then she says,

“Only when the female half of the population is expected to hold down a job and earn money to pay the bills in the same way that men are routinely expected to do will we see things change for the better for either gender.”

She continued,

“Only when it becomes the norm for all families to have both parents in paid employment, and sharing the stress of the work-home juggle, will we finally have a serious conversation about how to achieve a more balanced modern workplace.”

One of the most influential feminist ideologues of the second half of the 20th century was Simone de Beauvoir. She was the unmarried partner of existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. And it was de Beauvoir who argued back in 1976,

“No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice too many women will make that one.”

That’s one of the most amazing and indeed spectacularly revealing statements ever made by an ideologue. In this case, she said women should not be free to make this choice, because if they have the freedom to make this choice, too many women will make it, that is the choice to stay at home with their children. In the view of the feminist ideologues, that would be an absolute disaster. Women choosing to stay home with their children would be the repudiation of the very ideology that supposedly was to liberate women to make their own choices in the first place.

The current controversy in Australia has to do with this report from the OECD and it is indeed the topic of a great deal of conversation. It’s a very serious issue, according to the OECD, that so many women are at home with their children rather than being deployed in the wage earning workforce. And we need to note that in terms of the unfolding moral revolution around us, this is a significant new turn, this is an economic argument that is now coming behind the moral argument.

That moral argument was made quite famously in the second half of the last century by figures such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. It was Betty Friedan who wrote about the woman in the home as being in a domestic concentration camp in so far she served as wife and mother to children. Friedan and her allies, also known of course for being advocates for legalized abortion in the name of feminism, argued that women should not be trapped in the role of being stay-at-home moms. But now you’ll notice that the argument has taken an entirely new turn. Now it’s not that women should not be trapped into staying home with their children, but rather they should not be free to make the choice to stay at home with their children.

As we look at this from across the Pacific Ocean, one of the things we need to note is that even if this controversy does not get transported to our shores in exactly these terms, the OECD report points to a new kind of argument we’re going to face, and that is the argument that women who are staying at home to raise their children are actually a drain on the workforce, a drain on the economy, an untapped asset for which there is moral responsibility. That’s something we need to note, because we can expect that this very same report is going to land in this country with some of the very same conclusions. One of the interesting things about Australia is that it, like Canada, amongst the dominion nations of the former British Empire had followed the British and European example in secularization more than has the United States, at least to date. Australia is a far more secular society. Even though there is a Christian tradition there and even though there’s a vital evangelical tradition, Australia never had the kind of generalized culture-shaping influence of Christianity that was the case in most of the United States throughout most of our history.

Here in the United States, the fact that this kind of story has not yet emerged with any kind of serious policy proposal almost surely has to do with the lingering influence of the Christian worldview. There is still a moral instinct, a reflex in this country amongst many people to respect the decision made by many moms to stay at home with their children.

STUDIES SHOW MOST WOMEN WITH YOUNG CHILDREN DON’T WANT TO TRY TO “LEAN IN” AND “HAVE IT ALL”

But next this takes us to another article that appeared at almost the same time. This was published in National Review, one of the most important journals of conservative intellectual discussion in the United States. The author was Stephen E. Rhoads, Professor of Politics Emeritus at the University of Virginia. The title of this article,

“Lean In’s Biggest Hurdle: What Most Moms Want.”

Now in the background of this article, Rhoads writes about the fact that academics and policy makers are perplexed by the fact that so many mothers decide either to stay at home with their children or they are engaged in something like part-time employment, or at any rate they are engaged with the workplace less than a man of a similar age. His opening illustration has to do with American academia and the regularly published complaint that there are too many men and too few women in advanced professorial roles. But as it turns out, men tend to continue in terms of their tenure-track, whereas many women do not. He then summarizes research findings and says this,

“One explanation for these findings could be that in the parental leave study, the female professors reported that they enjoyed doing most of these tasks, and they enjoyed them more than their male counterparts.”

That’s research language for the fact that study after study has indicated that women gain more in terms of self-satisfaction from being at home with children in the context of the home than do fathers. Then—and the background of this of course is the argument made in the 2013 book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg—behind this is the argument that we have heard often in recent years that women who are not fully engaged in the workforce and furthermore making progress towards senior executive positions are letting down the team. Now Rhoads writes,

“Ignoring the stronger female inclination to nurture seems certain to thwart feminist efforts well beyond academia.”

Rhoads cites ample research indicating that,

Should It Be Illegal To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom?

Image: Rachel Wolfson

“Most women who have dependent children don’t want to work full-time, much less to put in the hours required of corporate titans. We should listen to these women, too.”

In a very strategic series of sentences, Rhoads makes this argument,

“Initiatives aimed at changing historic male and female parenting and work patterns are based on the view that these historic patterns are socially constructed. But pregnancy and childbirth are not gender-neutral activities. They are biologically constructed and can be exhausting. Pregnancy is often accompanied by nausea and fatigue, and two different studies found that six months after giving birth, more than 75 percent of mothers have not achieved full functional status.”

He continues,

“Even the roots of gender differences in parenting run deeper than societal norms and go beyond the simple fact that it is women who [nurse children]. Women’s greater inclination to nurture infants and toddlers is also rooted in hormones and in brain structure.”

He says this,

“Women’s bodies have more receptors for the nurturing hormone oxytocin than men’s, especially in pregnancy and during breastfeeding.”

At this point, the important thing to recognize is that Rhoads is arguing that being a mother versus a father is not just socially constructed reality, as the postmodernists and the feminist have been claiming for years, but rather it is, in his words, “biologically constructed.” There are very real differences. He goes on to make the argument that evolution too helps to explain the sex differences in nurturing inclination.

Now I cite Rhoads’ use of the arguments concerning biology and even evolution here to make a point. Here you have one of most important conservative intellectual journals in the United States, and even when it deals with this issue, debunking feminist ideology and so many contemporary arguments, you’ll notice that this author stays far, far away from anything that might remotely have to do with an argument that there is a Creator whose intention is reflected in his creation and in the fact that he created male and female as distinctly different complementary, one for the other, and that he created us with different roles, and that fatherhood and motherhood are not merely matters that aren’t just socially constructed, but also are not merely biologically constructed either—they are indeed divinely designed.

I appreciate the fact that Rhoads cites the 2012 Atlantic article by Anne-Marie Slaughter entitled,

“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”

As he says,

“After its publication, according to one official biography, it ‘quickly became the most-read article in the history of the magazine and helped spark a renewed national debate on the continued obstacles to genuine full male-female equality.’”

He then continues,

“A year later, dismayed by the increasing numbers of highly educated women in their twenties who were declaring that they never wanted to have children, Slaughter took to The Atlantic again to emphasize the ‘sheer delight, pleasure, and wonder that child-rearing often affords.’”

She also said that “having children is the best thing I’ve ever done, by a mile.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, of course, is one of the most accomplished women in contemporary America in professional terms. A professor of law at Harvard University, she has also been a very important foreign-policy figure in the United States State Department, and more recently she has been CEO of the organization New America. Rhoads writes,

“Slaughter’s thinking has continued to evolve. Just last year, the Washington Post reported that she has had ‘some pretty significant changes of heart.’”

In her words,

“When people say, ‘I’m home with my kids,’ I say, ‘You’re doing really important work,’ and I mean it. Whereas before, I was the classic woman that said, ‘Oh, what a pity.’ Like, ‘You’re not doing the real thing.’”

Rhoads says,

“One can’t read this interview without seeing how hard it has been for Slaughter to have spent so little time with her children. She vividly remembers the ‘deep dismay’ she felt the first time her child woke up at night and called for daddy, not mommy. Her sons are more likely to call her husband rather than her for advice or to share some good news.”

Looking back, Slaughter writes,

“Knowing what I know now, I wish I had taken one day a week when they were between 0 and 5 to be with them. I could have said, ‘Every Friday, instead of daycare, every Friday is a mom day.’ We would have done fun things. It would have mattered. And it would have been a pleasure for me.”

By the time you get to the end of Rhoads’ article he writes this,

“To help women thrive and achieve happiness as they see it, we must first acknowledge that most mothers — inside or outside academia — want to avoid full-time work, at least while their children are young. Proponents of ‘leaning in’ have no reason to believe they speak for most women or that they have a better understanding than women themselves of what’s good for them.”

He then asked the question,

“Why not try to accommodate the life preferences women in fact have?”

And of course the response to that comes from none other than Simone de Beauvoir, who argued that women should not be given this choice because if they have the choice too many will make this choice.

Just very recently on The Briefing we looked at the argument that was made that women with a college education and choose to stay at home with their children are wasting that college education. That’s one form of the new argument we are facing. We also looked then at the continuing subversion of the idea that it can be meaningful for a mother to stay at home with their children and to devote herself primarily, especially while her children are young, to the raising of those children.

But here you also see the next stage in the argument, and what’s truly alarming is just how fast this next stage has arrived. We’re looking at several arguments coming from different directions and they are coming consecutively and they’re coming at us fast. We need to note a couple things very quickly. We need to note the relative absence of any kind of explicit Christian worldview engagement with these issues; primarily it’s currently being discussed in the society entirely in terms of policy and economics and employment, or as we saw even in the article from National Review, biology. All of that is important, of course, but to the Christian it’s not nearly as important as understanding God’s purpose in marriage and the family and reproduction and in child rearing.

One of the other things we need to recognize is the constriction of autonomy and choice, this is a society that actually worships personal autonomy, but it worships choice only to the extent that people make the right choices in the view of the cultural elites. Christians will understand any number of factors may come into play in determining whether or not a mother is at home with their children or is engaged to one degree or another part-time or full-time in the wage earning workforce. Christians come to understand, however, that the most important issue is that there is a distinction between the roles of men and women, of mothers and fathers, and there is a distinction in terms of how we are engaged in the process of raising our children, and in the nurture of those children.

This is where Christians understand that the society around us appears to worship autonomy and choice, but the coercion that is coming at us means that what is really being worshiped is not choice and is not autonomy, not when people make the wrong choices, but is rather their own vision for the future good of human society. And that, as we now see, is a vision that requires all women to be actively in the workforce for the entirety of their adult lives. And of course, it’s expected the same of men and that also is just pointing to the fact that, increasingly, the creature that is made in God’s image is being reduced by policy makers and ideologues to nothing more than a cog in an economic machine.

There will be much more to talk about this week, there already is, but when it comes to the Christian worldview it’s hard to imagine any issue of greater importance than this or of greater relevance when it comes to understanding just what’s happening in the collision between the modern secular worldview and the Christian worldview. When an argument is made in public that it should be illegal for women to choose to be stay-at-home moms, we have transcended a cultural boundary that should have our attention and in a hurry. The greater likelihood is not that there will be a law making such a choice illegal, the fact is that other forms of coercion are probably even more powerful, including what we now see as the looming moral argument that women who stay at home with their children are a drain on the economy, because they are absent from the paid workforce. Expect that now to become rather standard cultural fare.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. For more information, go to my website AlbertMohler.com. You can follow me on Twitter by going to @albertmohler.For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary go to sbts.edu. For information on Boyce College just go to boycecollege.com.

(This podcast is by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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This is an exciting episode for me. I have no idea how I missed the whole podcasting revolution when it was starting. Somehow I did. Yet, when my friend was talking about all the encouragement she received from listening to Pam Barnhill’s podcast, my eyes were officially opened to the world of podcasting. I’m so thrilled to have Pam on the show today. I’m a big believer in gleaning from others and tweaking what they do to work in your own family. Well, that is not only the advice that Pam is going to give today, but she’s just the person to glean from.Tips for Taking Back Your Mornings!

I’ve pretty much decided that I need to move next door to Pam, so I can check books out from her library. I hate to say it but I was ignorant to so many of the books that she mentioned. Upon looking them up, they all look so adorable. I think my younger kids would love them. Don’t get me wrong. We do a ton of reading…and have read several of the Hank the Cowdog books. However, I’m realizing that I haven’t been checking out some of the great books I used to get for my older boys.

I just know you are going to love this podcast and will learn so much from Pam and her incredible tips about how to create more structure and order to your morning time.

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Pam shares about when her husband was deployed and how that changed how she approached things in her home. She also shares about the importance of asking for help.

In This Episode…

In this episode you are going to be inspired to take back your mornings. Whether you are a homeschool family or not, mornings set the tone for your entire day. Pam shares some incredible insight into how to add more structure to your mornings.

I hope you will be encouraged by this episode!

Highlights from This Show…

— My podcast episode with MacKenzie Monroe

— Yes, you heard me right. Pam has three podcasts: Your Morning BasketHomeschool Snapshots, and  The Homeschool Solutions Show.

— Pam’s podcast episode with Carol Joy Seid

— Carol’s DVD series that Pam mentions: Homeschool Made Simple

— I love all Pam had to say about remembering to have fun with her kids.

— Pam shares a fun tip from Mystie Winkler: Make a note to smile at your kids.

— I have a related post about having fun with your kids filled with tons of ideas HERE.

— Pam’s Your Morning Basket kit

— Minimum Viable Morning: How to find a few little things to work on and create habits that help your mornings run smoother. For moms who need extra help in the mornings.

— My Sanity Saver for Mom’s tips: Start your mornings off right.

 Morning Time is starting the day off at the table doing some school work together.

— Pam shares her best tips for creating routines and rituals in your day.

— Don’t forget to add music and praise into your morning time if it’s something your family enjoys.

— You can follow some of the rituals that your church uses in your home, too.

….Side note: I’m totally confessing that I didn’t know what “liturgical” was when Pam mentioned it. Just in case you might be unfamiliar with it, here’s what I found. Yes, I’m probably admitting my ignorance and may be the only person who wasn’t familiar with this term. (I’d heard it before, but couldn’t define it.)

— Ha! Flashback!! The Mandrel Sisters! Do you remember them?

— I loved hearing how she had a party for Shakespeare’s birthday. Ha! That’s so fun.

— My post about how I manage my home and homeschool while my husband travels.

Pam’s Simple Ways to Add Joy to Her “Week”

1) Bubble Bath (whenever possible) — Little treats for yourself.

2) Learning — Continuing to learn by reading or taking classes.

3) Worship –Finding regular time to worship.

Resources for Making Your Morning Smoother…

Your Morning Basket Ad
Minimum Viable Morning

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

— Don’t forget to listen to the other fabulous guests I’ve had on the podcast. Just go to my Simply Joyful Podcast main page and pick a topic or speaker…or just listen to them all.

Words to Remember…

Here are a few fun quotes from this episode. Please feel free to “click to tweet” or share the images on social media. 

  • “I always feel better when my mornings are organized.” — Pam Barnhill
  • “What are the basic little habits that you need to put in place for yourself so you can have the very best homeschool day?” — Pam Barnhill
  • “Don’t forget to have fun with your kids.” — Pam Barnhill
  • “Remember to smile at your kids, too.” — Pam Barnhill
  • “Make it something that’s going to work for your family.” – Pam Barnhill

Connect with Pam…

Pam Barnhill has a heart for helping connect homeschool moms to practical solutions that will make a huge difference in their homeschool, their days, and the way they feel about teaching at home.

A former high school journalism teacher and yearbook professional, Pam has taught classes in her local school, organized and presented multi-day yearbook workshops, and presented at events like the Columbia Scholastic Press National Convention in New York.

Her website pambarnhill.com receives over 120,000 page views each month and is the home to three homeschooling podcasts with a combined total of almost a half-million downloads.

She has authored five homeschooling books including the popular Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace and Your Morning Basket: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty for Your Homeschool Day, a guide to implementing Morning Time in your homeschool.

Her practical solutions and ability to break big tasks into small, manageable steps while keeping it real, makes her a popular choice for events.

Pam lives with her husband Matt, three crazy kids, and two pugs in Alabama where she enjoys reading and watching football in her free time.

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.”

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Apparently, I’m a parent. And every 2.56 seconds, one of my children gets bored. They get bored more often than they blink their eyes. So, how do they respond to their boredom?

They fidget.

I’m talking full-on “power fidgeting”!

They drum their fingers. They drum their toes. They flutter their hoodie zipper. These kids can even fidget with their bellybuttons!

It drives me nuts.

And, every time I ask them to stop, they answer the same way:

“Whuut?”

“What? You don’t hear that obnoxious sound you’re making?”

“Whut? That bothers you?”

“Nah, son… I dry heave whenever I’m happy.”

Now, fidgeting actually does absolutely nothing to solve their boredom problem. However, watching a parent blow up must be a nice change-of-pace for their mundane lives. Plus there are added benefits: destroying their father’s sanity leads to an early inheritance!

Clean Comedy with Daren Streblow and Bob Stromberg

Image: Jake Omrod

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I  don’t deserve all this. In fact, I’m convinced this is all God’s doing. When I was a kid, I myself used to loudly fidget… even at school. When I was in the seventh grade, I would drive my teacher so insane, he would throw erasers across the room at me. It was like a napalm bomb full of chalk dust! But it never slowed me down. I just kept on fidgeting like an oblivious dope… aka teenager!

Like I said… it’s not like I don’t deserve it!

Next, my buddy Bob Stromberg joins the show.

Every day, I check my email inbox and I find the most creative daily musings from Bob. They spring from the well of creative thought that also led to Bob’s Mastering the Craft of Creativity online course. What’s amazing is that Bob discovered that creativity is not some special gift that only a few of us are blessed with. No, it’s actually a craft that we all have woven into our genes. Unfortunately, it gets “educated” out of us pretty quickly when we are young. By junior high, it’s pretty much squeezed out of most of us entirely.

What we need to do is find a way to get it back! And, like any craft or skill, in order to get better at it, you simply need to practice it.Clean Comedy with Daren Streblow and Bob Stromberg

Bob recommends practicing three disciplines that help people to emotionally wake up. This is necessary because most creativity comes out of our emotional world. In other words, art and emotions are closely related. Yet, because life often gets too busy, too boring, or too distracted, we often shut off or emotional life. Yet, neuroscience tells us that every single thought that goes through our brains actually has an emotional component to it. Of course, they vary regarding the levels of emotion, but they are there. Sadly, most of us are closed off to everything except the major emotional moments of our lives.

So, to begin with, Bob recommends grabbing emotional moments. Everything that touches us emotionally, spanning from laughing out loud to crying and all stimuli in between… whenever we encounter something within this spectrum, we should “grab it” by writing it down, speaking it into our cell phone notes app, or whatever else you can do to “grab it” so that it cannot go away. Because, the hard truth is that if we don’t “grab it”, we will inevitably forget it!

The second step, or discipline, is to interrogate it once you’ve grabbed it. Dig in and ask, “Why did this touch me emotionally? What is it about this that I find so interesting and compelling?”

When that random thought becomes an actual idea, you have your AHA moment! That’s when you realize that you can actually do something with that emotional thought / idea.

Then comes the third step: Transforming it into something that communicates with the world.

So the process is: Grabbing, Interrogating, and Transforming!

That’s how you G.I.T. your masters in creativity!

You can learn more of Bob’s wisdom and receive his daily musings by visiting BobStromberg.com.

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Have you ever met someone and thought, “Wow! Did she get hit with the talent stick!” Ha! That is pretty much what ran through my head as I sat in the audience listening to Chrystal for the first time last year at a Sally Clarkson event. I hadn’t heard of Chrystal or her podcast before that weekend. We ended up connecting over conversations of podcasting and Periscope. Funny how when you find someone who speaks your same crazy “tech” language you become instant friends.

Well, I’m all too familiar with Chrystal and her ministry now! I have listened to numerous podcasts, watched videos of her speaking, and read her articles on her blog. She is an incredibly talented and gifted orator just like her dad…well, like everyone in her family. That saying the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is very true for her!Encouragement for the weary mom with Chrystal Hurst

When I listen to Chrystal’s podcast I’m completely drawn in. You feel like you are practically sitting across the table from her enjoying a nice cup of coffee. I can’t wait for you to glean from her in this podcast! You are about to see exactly what I mean.

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Chrystal is going to blow your mind when you hear her talk about how she simplifies her busy life. She has some incredible systems in place to create balance for her ministry and for her family. You are going to love it!

In This Episode…

In this episode, Chrystal shares about her life and her book Kingdom Women. She also gives us a little “sneak peek” into her new book She’s Still There. Chrystal is so inspirational. I know you will just love this episode.

Highlights from This Show…

  • Here’s a link to Chrystal’s book Kingdom Women. This book is so encouraging. I hope you’ll check it out. There is also a Bible study for it.
  • Chrystal reminds us of the importance of asking for help. This is actually one of my “sanity saver” tips in mySanity Savers for Moms
  • She refers to the story of Jessica McClure.
  • We talked about Chrystal’s new book, She’s Still There. It won’t be available until summer. Be sure to connect with Chrystal so you will know when the book releases. It sounds incredible.
  • Chrystal shared about her awesome podcast on how she organizes her life and creates balance. Here’s a LINK to that podcast.
  • Block scheduling is Chrystal’s time management hack.
  • We all do things differently. We need to simplify for the season we are in.
  • Chrystal’s favorite worship music: Travis Greene! (not “Green”…wrong guy)
  • Kristi’s favorite “whole album” worship purchase: Phil Wickham’s Sing Along albums!
  • “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.” by Rend Collective has been such an encouragement to me and I feel so honored that I was given permission to use this song in my podcast.

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Words to Remember…

Encouragement for the weary mom with Chrystal HurstChrystal is highly quotable! I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what things she said that stood out to you! Here are a few of my favorites:

“We don’t have to have it all together. We have to make peace with not having it all together.” — Chrystal Hurst

“Keep aiming for God and let Him work out in you what He needs to work out, so that you can be who He wants you to be and do what He wants you to do with the life that you’ve been given to live.” — Chrystal Hurst

“We need to partner with God. While we trust Him to dig us out with the truth of His Word, we have to get the shovel and participate in doing the job.” — Chrystal Hurst

“When we mess up, we have to trust that God is big enough to forgive, redirect, & have a Plan B” – Chrystal Hurst

“Multitasking is a Myth!” – Chrystal Hurst

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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We have a lot of questions from parents of prodigals, and those parents want to walk wisely. Dennis, a father, writes in: “Pastor John, thank you for this podcast. I have a 16-year-old prodigal son who has left our home and walked away from Christ. I struggle to know whether I should generously financially support him in the world, like the father in the prodigal son story. Or, unlike what it seems Eli should have done, should I take a more strict position in relation to my rebelling son? The prodigal was given his inheritance, blew it on lewd living, and returned home in repentance. Eli’s sons were wicked, lived in all sorts of sin unchecked and unrepented of, and they died for it. Abundant grace or strict restraint? What should the father of a prodigal do especially in regards to finances?”

I love the way he has already thought a lot about this and thought about it from the Scriptures. Frankly, I wish I had precise and clear answers, but let me say what I do have, and maybe the Lord will use it in some way.

One of the things that makes a relationship with a prodigal so difficult and complex is the interplay between passages of the Bible concerning church discipline and passages concerning parenting. One of the hard church discipline issues is that, on the one hand, we have a call, for example, not even to eat with someone who is a professing believer and living in immorality (1 Corinthians 5:11). And on the other hand, normal expectations of what godly parenting is might make that kind of guideline very difficult to carry through. And there are many other kinds of ambiguities as we try to sort through the special role of a parent in the life of a child who will not submit to his parents’ authority any longer or doesn’t believe any longer in what the parents believe.Should a Christian parent give their rebellious child money?

So, with regard to financial help for a prodigal, I can’t see that there is just one rule that applies to every situation. It seems to me that there are so many factors that make a difference. How old is he? How serious is his sinful behavior? And what are the effects of it on others and the harmfulness of it on himself? Are there elements of respect remaining in his heart? Is there departure? Was his departure ugly rebellion or just a more honest difference of conviction? Is he eager to get on his own feet financially, or is he just aimless and simply mooching? And on and on the questions go that we have to ask.

The reason I think these questions matter is because they are the sort of thing we have to ask about all of our generosity towards others, especially those who mistreat us. I am thinking of Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:38–42,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

However, as radical as those are — and I will circle back to that radicalness in just a minute — it is plain that from the Bible itself that there are structures of society, spheres of society where the Bible puts limits on those teachings. For example, in the family, children should obey their parents and parents should discipline their children rather than always turning the other cheek (Ephesians 6:14). In government, the state has the right to punish criminals rather than turning the other cheek (Romans 13:14). In schools, teachers have a right to give failing grades to students who don’t do their work. In businesses, employers have the right to see that employees fulfill their expectations in order to earn their salary; otherwise, they could lose their jobs. In the church, people can be excommunicated. But when all those spheres of life are taken into consideration, Jesus did mean something radical when he said, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,” and when He said, “Give to the one who begs from you.”

So, the older I get, the more inclined I am to take those commands more literally than I once tried to justify myself in not doing. I don’t think there is a simple rule that will dictate when you help a prodigal financially and when you don’t. On the one hand, you want to show the child that Jesus is your all-satisfying treasure. And any withholding of money which might be wise in any given situation is not owing to stinginess or fear or greed or insecurity. It is owing to a desire to do the child good. We want him to see that. And that would mean that parents would look for other ways to continually do good to the child.

I think that is a significant principle that, if you have to say no in one area because the child’s expectation is harmful as you see it, you try to help him see your heart is still there for him by pouring yourself out in other ways. You will continually reach out to him rather than write him off. You will continually offer yourselves even if you don’t offer your money. And that may be much more difficult. To get on a plane and go across the country might be much more difficult than wiring money. You will go out of your way to be there for the child.

And, yes, at some utterly surprising moment, you may give him a wonderful gift that is not designed to advance his sin, but lavish him with grace in the hopes that God might open his eyes. Above all, I would just say to this parent: Immerse yourself in the word of God and join hands with your spouse in continual prayer for wisdom and love and boldness and even joy while your heart is breaking. And I think God, out of that, will show you the way forward.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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I could not be more excited to have my amazing friend Tricia Goyer be my first official guest on my new podcast. Tricia is one of the most inspiring people I know. I find myself sharing parts of her story (anonymously) with others all the time. You know those conversations like, “I have this friend who…” People are always so blown away by her story and how she and her husband have said, “Yes!” to God in some ways that not many would be up for. I can’t wait for you to hear it!God Uses Your Pain and Your Past for Good

We all have “baggage.” You know, those things in our past that we wish hadn’t happened. Past pain and hurt that left a scar on our heart or a wedge in a relationship. There we are all the same. However, how we deal with that pain is often dramatically different.

Some ignore it and try to stuff it down deep inside where they hope it won’t bother them again. Some hide it and pray that no one will ever find out about it. Some choose to forgive and find peace with their past.

Then there’s Tricia…

This is where Tricia’s story is so amazing. I can’t wait for you to hear all about how Tricia allowed God to weave together her story in such an impactful way — both for others and within her own family.

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

I love talking to my guests about ways they add simplicity and joy to their lives. Well, Tricia is also one of those people you stand back and think, “How does she do it all?” She is a mom to ten…did you catch that…10 kids! Yep! Plus, she’s a very accomplished author!! She’s written over 60 books! I can’t wait for you to hear that segment of the podcast.

In This Episode…

In this episode, you are going to be blown away by Tricia’s story. She will encourage you to “press forward” toward what God is doing in your life.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,.” — Philippians 3:13 (ESV)

She also shares some of the advice that she received from her life coach that has helped her to find more balance and joy.

Highlights from This Show…

— We talked about the importance of taking every thought captive.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” — Philippians 4:8

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take everythought captive to obey Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 10:5

— Tricia is involved with Teen M.O.P.S. and Project Zero (in Arkansas)

— I just love the photos that Tricia shares on Instagram and Facebook. You’ll want to be sure to follow her there. (I wish I was able to find that picture for you to see…that was a lot of shoes.)

— Books we discussedPrayers That Changed History (my favorite) and Praying for Your Future Husband.

Words to Remember…

Here are a few fun quotes from this episode. Please feel free to share the images on social media. Tricia always has so many wonderful words of wisdom. Here’s a few that stood out to me. I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what stood out to you in this podcast.

“God can use what we feel ashamed of to make a difference in others lives.” — Kristi Clover

“God showed me that my story can help people so they don’t don’t have to go through the same pain.”  — Tricia Goyer

“We always want our kids to grow up, follow their dreams, and do great things for God…but then we are afraid to do that ourselves. It’s a great example for our kids to see ‘if Mom does it and can do great things for God, I can too.’”  — Tricia Goyer

“That is my hope for all my kids, that they find that thing that makes them feel like “I was created to do this.” And for them to be able to pursue it and really enjoy it. Even though it is hard and there is work, there is joy in it, too.”  — Tricia Goyer

“Whatever negatives thoughts are running in my mind, capturing those thoughts and thinking in positive ways, has brought so much joy.”  — Tricia Goyer

“A lot of circumstances haven’t changed, there is still laundry and messes, but my attitude towards them has changed. I don’t rehearse those negative thoughts over in my head and that has brought me joy…”  — Tricia Goyer 

“God showed me that my story can help people so they don’t have to go through the same thing.” @triciagoyer Simply Joyful Podcast (CLICK TO TWEET)

“We always want our kids to grow up, follow their dreams, and do great things…but then we’re afraid to do that for ourselves” @triciagoyer 

God Uses Your Pain and Your Past for GoodPlease Note…

— Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.

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I am so excited that this day is finally here! The Simply Joyful podcast is finally “live!” 

The purpose of the Simply Joyful Podcast is to encourage and inspire you to find simple ways to bring more joy into your day. Whether you are looking for a little encouragement in your faith, family, home, homeschooling (if you do) — or just in life — then this is the podcast for you! Let’s get real and talk about the challenges that we face as women in our day-to-day lives. My guests and I will discuss practical tips and “hacks” about how to find harmony in relationships, order in your home, and how to add a little good ol’ fun to your week. My prayer is that this podcast will bless you and add a smile to your face (even if it causes a few new wrinkles) — and to hopefully help you “Live Simply” and “Be Joyful.”

This podcast has been a long time in the making. I’ve spent so much time researching and praying about this podcast. The last couple of months I’ve been busy recording interviews with some extraordinary guests — yes, in my closet. I’m a closet podcaster. As silly as it sounds though, the sound quality is great in there. Plus, I can lock the door of my bedroom so I don’t have little visitors pop in while I’m recording.

In This Episode…encouragement in simple things that bring joy to your day

In this episode I share about my vision for the Simply Joyful podcast and a little behind the scenes on why it took so long for the podcast to get off the ground. (It was originally going to launch in spring of 2016). I want to take this opportunity on my very first episode to let you know what to expect in each episode, as well as let you get to know me and my family a bit better. I actually share the story about how my husband and I met and a little bit about each of my kids. I also talked about how God uses topics that I speak about as opportunities to refine me. Speaking on family unity years ago and now on joy have come with some crazy struggles.

I hope you will be encouraged with every episode of this podcast…starting with this one!

Highlights from This Show…

  •  My God story about how Steve and I couldn’t see eye-to-eye about having more kids. I wrote a post all about it HERE.
  •  Our family’s favorite comedianTim Hawkins (this is Wade’s favorite DVD of his comedy acts).
  •  Speaking: I love to speak. You can see the topics I speak on HERE.
  •  The first workshop I did for our church was on organization for moms. I wrote a series on it! The introduction to the series can be found HERE. (It’s called the “M.O.M. = Master Organizers of Mayhem”)
  •  My crazy trip to Spain was definitely not a typical DITL for me. I share about that story HERE.
  •  The death of my father-in-law was very hard on our family and definitely tested the source of our joy. I talk about how we learned to find balance through this time HERE. I share a few extra details about what we had going on this past summer in this post.
  •  “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” by Rend Collective has been such an encouragement to me and I feel so honored that I was given permission to use this song in my podcast.

Please Note…

— Every podcast episode will have all the highlights and links from each episode (just like this) on my website. So, come on over to the blog to find the show notes.

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Kicking off our show this week is my Canadian buddy, Wil Twynstra! Besides being incredibly funny, Wil is an amazing dad… so amazing that he just keeps having kids! As he puts it, “It’s like joining a club… FedEx rings the doorbell every so often and just drops off another kid at our house… they just keep showing up!”Clean Comedy from Wil Twynstra and Ray Comfort's Atheist Delusion

As an involved parent, one of Wil’s favorite book series is the Berenstain Bears. He loves how the stories gently walk children through life’s potentially tough moments with tender familial care. Kids hear stories of Brother Bear’s first day of school or Sister Bear’s first trip to the dentist. By reading these great stories, Wil’s kids aren’t afraid of these moments when they encounter them in real life.

If only the Berenstains had continued writing these books for adults!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be encouraged with titles like, “Mama and Papa Bear are Visited by the Taxman” or “Papa Bear Goes in for a Coloscopy”?

There’s a huge market there!

Wil says that he’d order a subscription to that… even if it came with another kid!

Clean Comedy from Wil Twynstra and Ray Comfort's Atheist Delusion

Image: Lauren Leigh Noske

Next, my dear friend and mentor calls in from California – author, speaker, and film maker Ray Comfort. Ray has been so instrumental in my life across the years, challenging me to grow, making me laugh, and helping others to laugh at me!

His latest film, The Atheist Delusion, is absolutely incredible! Judging by the title, I thought he was coming out guns a-blazing, but the film and its message is actually quite gentle, especially in his argument for Intelligent Design and Creationism.

The funny thing is that the project’s roots are something of a mistake!

A while back, Ray was creating some promo material for his book, Made In Heaven. He saw a guy looking at it, turned on his video camera and started asking the shopper a few questions. Almost immediately, Ray learned that the guy was a devout Atheist, so Ray gave him a copy of the book. But first, Ray asked:

“Do you think that this book could have happened by accident? Could ink have fallen from the sky and made itself into words and page numbers? Could the book have made itself a spine and spontaneously formed its own cover? In other words, could this book make itself out of nothing?

“Absolutely not”, was the man’s reply.

“Well, switching topics a bit, do you know what DNA is?”

“Yes, Deoxyribonucleic Acid, of course.”

“Right. It’s basically our book of life. It’s our programming. It’s information on how our body makes our eyes, ears, skin, as well as everything about us – our personalities… everything! From the moment we are created, our programming is there in our DNA! Now, if anyone were to believe that my book could create itself out of nothing, we’d think they were an idiot… but what about someone who believes that DNA, at some point, had created itself?”

After thinking this concept through, he was transformed from an Atheist to a believer in God’s existence.

Ray found this amazing, so he went to the local universities and colleges in search for another “humble Atheist”… which is hard to find! But, over the course of a few days, he was able to interview a dozen or so hardened Atheists whose minds were changed when they realized that DNA couldn’t make itself. After realizing that something, or someone, intelligent must have designed us – and that someone is God, they were open to hearing the Gospel… God’s plan for humankind.

Think about this… every day, about 150,000 people around the world die.

That means that 54 million people each year pass into this great black hole, called “death”. But, that’s not the end. God has given us the answer to our fears of death within the Gospel.

That’s Ray’s message. He doesn’t tell people they need to join a church or ask for any of their money. He simply, gently, asks people to listen and open their hearts to God’s plan for us. Because where you will spend eternity is the most important thing that you ever will establish. It’s what gives you hope, even in life’s worst circumstances.

But, as Ray says:

“Hope is probably the most misunderstood word in the English language. ‘Hope’ is weak in the eyes of the world, like when someone is rooting for their favorite team and says, ‘I hope we win. I really do hope so.’ But, really, hope is what happens when you are standing on the edge of a plane 10,000 feet up without a parachute, but about to jump out of the plane. You are horrified beyond words, when someone suddenly hands you a parachute! Hope, now… give you life! It gives you joy and peace because you’ve got the parachute. The second you put your trust in that parachute, you are no longer terrified by what you face. You have hope that you are going to live because your trust and faith is in that parachute. And, when we face death, we have a parachute, we have a Savior. We have a hope that is an anchor to our souls (Hebrews 6:19). And, the second that we put our trust in Jesus Christ, the fear of death leaves us. The power of death goes because Jesus has ‘abolished death’ (2 Timothy 1:10).

“This is the greatest news that the world could ever hope to hear!”

That’s why Ray produced The Atheist Delusion, which has had 800,000 views on YouTube! This brings the total amount of views for Ray’s films up to over 42 million!

You can see them for yourself at FullyFreeFilms.com.

But, why would an Atheist watch Ray’s film, knowing that he wants to change their worldview? Maybe for no other reason than that they hate Ray?! Or, maybe they think he’s like a train wreck and they can’t keep their eyes off of him? He’s good either way, so long as they watch.

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Funny woman Donna East joins the show this week from NYC, packing her machinegun of a cackle!

For Christmas, Donna’s husband spoiled her and bought her a gift card for a facial at a local top of the line, luxurious Manhattan salon!Comedy with Donna East & Cooking with Katie Kimball

But, instead of being pampered and soothed, her aesthetician told her that she has age spots on her face!

“What you need is Olive Oil”, said the facialist. “When you are cooking, throw some Olive Oil on your face. When you are roasting your vegetables in Olive Oil, also throw some on your face!”

And you know what? It works!

So, for next year, Donna has asked her husband to save some money and instead of springing for an expensive facial, just go to Costco and pick up a bottle of Olive Oil… then give her the remaining amount in cash!

Next, Katie Kimball, the chief mess-maker from Kitchen Stewardship calls into the show!Comedy with Donna East & Cooking with Katie Kimball

Now, I’m no chef, but I love to cook! Which is why I turn to purveyors like Katie. I actually discovered her when I was recently looking for a recipe for homemade condensed milk (which shows how much of a cooking nerd I am!) Her takes on parenting, cooking, life balance and so much more impressed me.

For instance, we all know that we can spend less when it comes to feeding our families, but it will take more time to prepare these meals. Or, we can pay a mint and have everything delivered to our kids by door-to-door waiters. We can forage strictly organic ingredients for our kids, but then our bank accounts would be emptied faster than our refrigerators. We are constantly being stretched!

Also, when it comes to our health and our budget, as well as the lives of our children and even the resources around us… they are all gifts from God! And God wants us to be good stewards of all these gifts. So, as Katie puts it,

“There’s got to be a way to balance all of this without losing our minds about one more ‘gift from God!’”

As the old saying goes, we are what we eat. And Katie has learned that by striking up a balance between what is financially smart and what is dietarily smart, even things like her husbands battle with Crohn’s Disease can be won with the right foods… even when prescriptions couldn’t!

The key is simply being aware and not overwhelmed. Which is why Katie is here to help!

The first step to navigating this journey is to give yourself grace. Realize that it’s perfectly fine to simply take baby steps. No one should expect themselves to save their families and the Rain Forest in a day!

One tip is to cut and then to add: Cut out something from your fridge that your family regularly eats that isn’t very healthy… say a five-pound container of margarine… and switch to butter.

You can find more simple advice and corner-cutting tips on Katie’s website.

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Welcome back to the Ask Pastor John podcast with John Piper. We begin a new week with a question from a young woman named Kate. “Dear Pastor John, thank you so much for all that your ministry has done for my faith and relationship with God. I can’t fully express how much your words have changed my walk with Christ forever. I was very encouraged by your words in episode 908 about fatherhood, directed to the husband of a wife who wanted children. In the episode, you said, ‘There are glories of motherhood, too. That’s for another time.’ I would like to hear about this glory and any other encouragement you have for me.

“I have never taken it lightly to have children. It seems overwhelmingly weighty to me to be responsible for forming another person’s character for 18 years and beyond. It has absolutely terrified me in the past, and for a time I decided not to have kids. As I have found my identity in Christ, I have also found strength to agree to willingly have children, and obey God’s call on my life, but I am still so afraid of perpetuating my own dysfunction and sins into them. I am afraid of childbirth, also, but ruining their hearts scares me the most. I would love to hear any advice you have for me. Thank you.”

There are glories in motherhood that every woman should think about and embrace and rejoice in as God calls them to motherhood. And when I say “glories,” I don’t necessarily mean things that are easy, but things that are profoundly significant and beautiful and precious in God’s sight and essential for his purposes in the world. So, that is what I want to focus on. So much more could be said about those other issues she raised, but she asked me to say what are some of those glories that you said were for another time. So, I will mention five.

  1. It is a glorious thing that human life originates in the womb of a woman and is sustained for nine months by the woman’s own body and in most cultures is sustained at her breasts for another year or two. Both Moses and Paul saw this as a glorious thing, a great wonder of the world, that a mother should be continually amazed at. To be sure, all the glories of this life are fallen glories, imperfect glories, corrupted glories because both our souls and all of nature have fallen under the judgment of God because of sin. But the glories still shine through, and in Christ we are meant to embrace them and free them as much as we can from the contamination of the fall. Immediately following the words of God’s judgment on the serpent and the woman and the man in Genesis and immediatelybefore God’s merciful clothing of the man and the woman with animal skins, right in that little place, Moses records this: “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).

What If I Ruin My Kids?Now, it seems clear to me that God intends this right where it comes — after the curse, before the mercy of those skins — God intends this to be seen as a gift of unspeakable grace. Both Adam and Eve were warned that the day they eat of this fruit they will die (Genesis 2:17). And, in one sense, they did. But instead of only death, not only did they live, but Eve becomes the source of all human life. He could have done it another way for the mother of all the living and every woman after her. Then Paul tries to show how significant this is in 1 Corinthians 11:11–12 where he says, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” In other words, every man that has ever lived, however small or great, owes his life to a woman, his mother.

  1. Then the Psalms multiply the glory and the wonder of all of life originating in the woman by saying explicitly that her womb is no mere natural cocoon, but the sacred place of God’s own personal handiwork Himself. Psalm 139:13–14says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” God is at work in the womb of every mother, and his hands are forming an everlasting human being just as closely as if he were using his fingers and knitting needles — and that is a great glory.
  1. Then the Bible describes the glorious ongoing shaping of every human by the influence and teaching of his mother.Proverbs 1:8–9says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” She has given her sons and daughters life and now, by her teaching, she gives them garlands and pendants for their neck. These are intended to be signs of glorious ministry. In my opinion, the most influential people in the world are mothers. Thousands of men may rise up to positions of power all over the world. All of them come from the womb and the influence of mothers, even kings and presidents. This is amazing: it says in Proverbs 31:1, “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him.” So, not only do you have the words of a king, but you have Scripture as the oracle of his mother that she taught him.
  1. God’s design in all of this is that a mother should be duly honored, or, you could say, appropriately glorified for her gifts and her sacrifices to her children.Ephesians 6:1–2says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother.’” Children are to honor their mothers because their mothers have done an honorable and glorious thing in all that they have birthed and influenced.
  1. Lastly, the sorrows that every mother will experience in giving birth and raising her children will be glorious sorrows. And what I mean is that, when a mother has sorrows — even over the forsaking of God, the forsaking of a family by a child — when a mother has such sorrows, it is a glorious sorrow because it is a partaking in the very sorrows that Jesus himself experienced at the one point where he compared himself to mothering: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). So, here we have Jesus comparing himself to a hen, a mother longing and aching and crying and praying out for the wayward children in Jerusalem, and they are not coming — and he is weeping over Jerusalem. Your sorrows as a mother are glorious sorrows because they share in the very sorrows of the Son of Man when he compared himself to motherhood.

And Kate, the list could go on. So, take heart. Of course, you and every woman and man bring brokenness. That is what you emphasize. You bring brokenness as well as faith to the challenge of parenthood. But remember these promises. I will just give you two. They are daily precious to me:

  1. My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus — that includes mothering needs, as well as others (seePhilippians 4:9).
  2. God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all mothering sufficiency in all things related to mothering, at all times in your mothering, you may abound in every mothering good deeds (see 2 Corinthians 9:8).

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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