Children and just a little bit more about marriage:
Here's one more verse about marriage for us to look at:
I Peter 2:21 through I Peter 3:7 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. KJVLikewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
There's so much in this passage that we can't cover it in one post. Maybe, you'd like to study it on your own in your home making journal.
However, I did want to point out a couple of things:
Why does Peter, through God's inspiration, place such emphasis on our doing what is right without giving way to fear? It's my thought that much of a woman's contentment in marriage (and in life) comes from trusting the Lord to take care of her, to work through all circumstances for her good. That doesn't mean that she never speaks up or that she never addresses problems. There are Bible verses that offer guidance on how to do that. It does mean that the basic quality of her spirit is calm, gentle, and full of faith in the Lord. She trustfully and humbly does what is right and believes God will see her through anything. She does not need to nag or complain, for she speaks with her life. Though she may work for the betterment of things in life, she doesn't strive in her own effort or stew or act contentiously. Again, she doesn't need to, for she trusts in the Lord's care. Again, she speaks most loudly with the example of her life.
In the same way, much of a woman's discontent in life (and in marriage) comes from fear. I know this is a temptation for me. What things are we likely to be afraid of? In this context, I believe that the passage is speaking directly about being afraid that a husband's decisions will affect a wife negatively. That certainly can be a big fear for a woman. Other fears we might carry are of aging, will we ever get married if we are single, what if I can't do or be all that God wants me to be, what do other people think, what if I get sick, what if my husband gets sick, are my children healthy, what if they get sick, etc. The antidote to fear is to trust the Lord.
The other thing I wanted to point out is how beautiful God finds it in a woman when she does put her hope fully in Him. It is precious to Him when we have a calm and gentle spirit.
A calm and gentle spirit, or, as the KJV puts it, a meek and quiet spirit, does not come naturally or immediately to most of us. In striving for it, we can turn to Philippians 4:4-8 for instructions on how to have peace and also to the Lord's example in Gethsemane, where He prayed until He got his will in line with His father's. For some of us, the road to a meek and quiet spirit means that we must daily ask the Father for help in this area.
Some women who are vivacious in nature mistakenly believe that because God values a quiet spirit, they must try to be what they think of as "mousy". They find that to be a daunting task. It's my opinion that the word quiet here means quiet in the sense of being untroubled -- as in quiet waters. The original Greek word, Hesuchios, means quiet or tranquil. A woman can be bubbly and outgoing, yet possess a trusting and tranquil heart.
A young girl can begin to train herself to put her hope fully in the Lord and not give way to fear. This discipline will serve her in good stead throughout all of her life, whether it is the Lord's will for her to marry or not. It's often in adolescence that we establish habits of thought and of emotion. If we begin as children and teens to foster healthy and godly habits, this is a great foundation for beginning adult life.
Some of us, however, did not acquire healthy habits of thinking and of emotion in our childhood. No matter where we started out in marriage, it's not too late for us to acquire the peace that passes understanding.
Of course, our thoughts and emotions are affected by hormones, genetic tendencies, experiences we've had in life, and other factors. If we find ourselves struggling with undue fear or depression, it's wise to seek help. However, even when seeking medical or other help, we should still use God's word as a guide to training our thoughts. Since our thoughts lead to emotions, this training will benefit us greatly.
How about you? What thoughts do you have about his passage?
Remember, marriage is a life time relationship. God's word offers many verses that counsel us about marriage and relationships. Make it a lifetime study to keep growing in your marriage. Great marriages are built over time.
Children: Again, we don't have the scope in this blog to cover all that a real home economics course would study about child development. We'll look at child training in a few other posts. But, one excellent study is to read through the book of Proverbs and note every verse that mentions children.
Maintaining a peaceful heart is important for us as mothers, as well as in our roles as wife. If anything can tempt us to the fears that disturb our trust in the Lord, it's mothering! Here are some thoughts from the Mother at Home by John S. C. Abbott for us to think about. This is something that I need to work on.
"In your morning prayer, you pray for a cheerful spirit, as one of your...duties and blessings. You then go fortified by prayer from your chamber to the family below, with a placid countenance and a still more placid heart. If any domestic annoyances arise, you are thus prepared to triumph over them. And there is a mysterious influence by which the serenity and good nature of one heart are transmitted to all surrounding hearts. As you speak in kind and pleasant tones to the family; as you are continually active in making peace and in keeping peace; in preventing, as far all possible, all occasions of annoyance and in sacrificing, with alacrity, your own ease and your own rights to make all things go smoothly -- you maintain an unruffled state of mind, which most richly compensates you for every act of self-denial. The reward comes with the duty. It is surprising what an influence one really warm hearted, cheerful person may thus have upon a whole family. I once heard it said of a certain child, "There can be no sorrow where she is. She has the faculty of making everything go pleasantly, and everyone feel happy."
...If any mother will set out perseveringly and prayerfully, this this course of life, resisting every emotion of discotent, cultivating, day after day and hour after hour, a cheerful and happy spirit, contenting against every wrong feeling and cherishing everything that is love of good report, with an effort, never intermittent, to keep a smile up on her countenance and peace in her heart, she will soon gain such control over self and get into such a habit of being happy, hardly anything can interrupt her joy." Excerpts from The Mother at Home. John S. C. Abbott
Also, do you know what to expect from your children at certain stages? Whole books and courses are devoted to this topic, but here's a magazine article that gives us just a taste of this important idea:
How a child thinks
Typical Behavior Problems
Birth to 4
Understands no reasoning, only the simplest directions, no explanations. Responds best to physical distraction and discipline rather than verbal commands
Won’t go to sleep (usually if not on an orderly schedule)
Fights over sharing
Fears of separation from parents (usually if parent is overprotective)
4 to 7
Lives in a world of fantasy
Prey to nightmares; fears of imaginary things
No sense of time beyond the present.
Doesn’t understand reasoning.
Takes words at face value, often mistaking adult humor for the literal truth. Very intuitive, especially in picking up hidden family problems
Lies (as part of fantasizing)
Exaggerates and brags (because developing self image)
Doesn’t keep promises (because doesn’t understand the concept of future commitment)
Inexplicable behavior (often based on undiscussed family problems)
7 to 11
Able to understand logic and reason
Can grasp cause and effect if distinction is made clear.
Can be taught to keep commitments
Ready to learn simple systems for organizing things.
Likes games, competitions, rules, facts
Schoolwork, chores not done
Sibling rivalry – especially if sibling is in different developmental stage
Growing up too fast
12 and up
Has to be different than parents (whatever parents say is wrong)
Needs to talk to parents but is afraid of being judged
Idealistic, sees everything as black or white
While building own set of beliefs, often adopts ready-made set of beliefs from others. Likes cause and effect reason and if-then reasoning
Needs non-threatening adult (sometimes a friend’s parent) he can be close to
Sneaks behind parents back or defies them openly.
Acts obnoxious or rude.
Hates family activities (though it’s important for him to participate in them and he will remember them fondly later)
Picks up bad habits from peers runs with the wrong crowd.
This came from a 1989 edition of Woman's Day. Later studies have shown that teens continue to develop the ability to think logically even up to age eigtheen or so.
Keep in mind that these are generalities based on studies that physicians have done. Your child is not a generality but a specific child. He or she is your child. Parents will likely be more in tune with his or her developmental stage at any one time than anyone else will. The key is to know what your child is ready for and how he or she is progressing.
I've also found that children mature on different levels. For example, a child may be quite physically developed for his or her age, but his emotional or spiritual development may not quite have caught up. Or, a child may be intellectually advanced, but not as mature emotionally.
Happy home economy!