Women: The Road Ahead (Elisabeth Elliot)

I know I didn’t write this, but I promise you should read anyway. Elisabeth reminds us that choosing obedience to the call of God on our lives means warfare and fighting the good fight. I think that sometimes the initial choice is so hard we forget that the battle has only begun with that first step.

Read on. And when you’re done, pray for someone you know, that she would have the grace to stand — and having done all else, stand.

A special issue of a leading news magazine had this title for its theme. There were pictures of women in prison with babies; an inconsolable “crack” baby with a tangle of tubes connected to machines, crying his little heart out; a mother charged with a felony: delivery of drugs to her newborn child; women in politics “sharing real rather than cosmetic power;” a veiled Muslim woman; ten tough-minded women who “create individual rules for success,” e.g. a police chief, a bishop, a rock climber, a baseball club owner, a rap artist, a fashion tycoon, an Indian chief, and others. There were single mothers, lesbian mothers, divorced mothers, working (outside the home) mothers. There was a twelve-year-old who fixes supper for her sisters when Mom works late, and there was a man who is a househusband. But there was not one picture of a father and mother and their children. Not one.

“A jockstrap was a parting gift when Marion Howington retired last year from the once all-male post of senior v.p. at J. Walter Thompson…. For Howington, a striking 60, who began climbing the agency’s ladder in Chicago in 1967, the key to success was to `be aggressive’ and `think like a man.’…

`There’s not a woman anywhere who made it in business who is not tough, self-centered, and enormously aggressive.'”

Readers occasionally ask me why I write about horrifying stuff. Well, to precipitate prayer and to remind us that we do not engage in a war against mere flesh and blood. As Ephesians 6 says, “We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the headquarters of evil…Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God” (PHILLIPS).

There was at least one bright note in that special issue. Sixty-six percent of women aged 18-24 answered yes to the question, “If you had the opportunity, would you be interested in staying at home and raising children?” They are beginning to see that the corporate world is no day at the beach. There was encouragement also in a letter to Ann Landers from a former executive: “It suddenly dawned on me that I had my priorities bollixed up and my children deserve better. I had to admit getting fulfillment from my career was a pipe dream. It may elude me in motherhood as well, but I now know what really matters. After nine years of paying someone to raise my children, I was forced to admit my family is more important to me than anything else. I wish I had known this when my first child was born. I am now thirty-six years old and happy to say we are expecting our third child… This means cutting down on vacations, and our entertaining will be reduced to popcorn and video parties with a few old friends…. `No success in life can compensate for failure at home.'”

I had a letter from one who made it her goal to be like the godly woman of Titus 2:3-5. As usual, when one determines to obey the Lord “the enemy was there causing me to feel like my whole world is on a roller-coaster, that my family was not important, that I am worthless, lazy, because I am a homemaker. I was so tired sometimes I could barely get meals on the table. I heard remarks like, `Oh, you aren’t working at all? How do you manage to live on one income? It’s hard on your husband! What do you do all day? You must be bored!’

“As my husband and I listened to your program we reaffirmed the goals we had set and committed them to the Lord once more…Pray for me to be strong and of good courage and to remain faithful, with an attitude of submission, a true handmaid of the Lord.”

Women need to be prayed for. They need all the encouragement they can get. Sadly, it is not always forthcoming even from other Christians. I saw a lovely girl in the market the other day with the sweetest of sweet baby girls in her grocery cart. I asked about the baby–five months old, her only child so far. “Are you able to stay home to care for her?” “Oh yes! Oh, I can’t even imagine putting her in day care.” I gave her my blessing. Perhaps even a brief word from a stranger can make a difference to a young mother.

Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Things happen which would not happen without prayer. Let’s not forget that. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer. As we pray against abortion and pornography and homosexuality and divorce and drugs and for the strengthening of homes and families, we often feel helpless and hopeless until we remember, “We do not know how to pray worthily as sons of God, but his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which never find words” (Romans 8:26, PHILLIPS).

7 Comments Women: The Road Ahead (Elisabeth Elliot)

  1. LisaC.

    P.S. I have been able to respond with grace to a few women who have said to me, “Boy, I would LOVE to stay home with my little ones.” I used to just smile and pray for them. Recently I started saying, “Oh, yeah- well GO AHEAD!” or “You should do it.” A friend of mine actually quit her teaching job and called me recently with the exciting news, “Since I haven’t been working this school year, our family has enough money to go on vacation to Florida this winter! Have you ever heard of such a thing!?”
    I laughed and said, “Yup.”

  2. Quinne

    Wonderful, Danica! You are so right, we all do need to read this.
    And encourage one another. And pray. And stand :)

    I loved the comment by Lisa C above – priceless! Love, Q

  3. Mary

    Excellent post! I have met a lot of young women (early 20s) who would love to settle down: get married, have children and be the ones to stay home and raise the children. I’ve noticed that once women near their 30s, if they haven’t already had at least one child, they tend to get caught up in the ‘corporate world.’ (Of course, there are some exceptions.)

    It is always encouraging to me, when I’m out with my three little sweeties, when I see other people smile at my kids and hear encouraging comments. Unfortunately, there have also been many time where people are just outright shocked that I have 3 children. (Just imagine their shock when I tell them that I would love to have several more! *winks*)

    It really is a joy. I take the long, weary days as a challenge. There are so many more days that are just so much fun, filled with learning and excitement. Being a stay-at-home-mom is such a joy. I would never want to trade it!

  4. Bob Howington

    As I sit here today, planning my beautiful mother’s funeral, I began searching the ‘net for stories about my mom’s fabulous career. Only in one place did I find her name used perjoratively: your site.

    I defended my mother in life, though she didn’t need any help, and now I defend her in death. To use her name in your story in the manner you have is disgraceful. She raised at least one wonderful child, my sister, and myself. If you want to meet me any time to judge me as you judged my mom, bring it on. I’ll be there. In the meantime, know this: she accomplished more in any day of her career FOR HER FAMILY than you could possibly imagine. What a rock.

    Mom, Marion, R.I.P.


    Bob Howington


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