This is the speech I delivered to the Trinitas Christian School Class of 2010 at their commencement Thursday night in Pensacola, Florida.
Good evening, Mr. Trotter, board of trustees, faculty, parents, grandparents, students of the Trinitas graduating class of 2010, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be your commencement speaker tonight. It is an honor to address this graduating class of eleven young women. Thank you, Mr. Trotter, and thank you, senior class, for inviting me to be here. It has been a pleasure to get to know some of you, and Doug and I have enjoyed your gracious hospitality.
I’d like to speak to you young ladies tonight about your future (now that’s a novel idea for a commencement address, don’t you think?) but, more to the point, the kind of women you want to be in that future.
You live in a time when women of all ages are hungry for purpose and direction in their lives. And it’s not just the young women who are flailing about trying to find their bearings. Even Christian women can be confused. The lies of the feminist story have had more than a whole generation in which to ripen and bear fruit, and it turns out, it is a bitter and barren fruit.
Middle-aged women who opted for the career instead of the home twenty years ago are now asking themselves what they have done with their lives; they feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Even those with lucrative careers are finding that they’ve missed something that money can’t buy, and they are not even sure what it is. If you have any doubt about this, wander through a bookstore and take a look at the titles of the books about women, and you will see that women are searching.
The barrenness of the birth-control pill and guilt of abortion and the tenuous status of live-in girlfriend don’t add up to a recipe for long-term happiness and fulfillment. Many women are panicking, feeling that they have lost their opportunity for a home and missed their reproductive window for having children. They feel cheated, and they don’t know what they are looking for. And the world, with their story about liberation and reproductive rights, cannot answer their questions.
Today everything is pretty much up for grabs. We really only have two cultural problems–but those are significant. First, we don’t know what our men are supposed to be doing, and secondly we don’t know what to do with our women. Other than that, everything’s fine. And because the church has become more and more enfeebled and compromised with feminism over the past generation, in many cases, it is not in a position to answer these questions either. Someone needs to talk about the men, but that is not my task tonight. I am going to speak to you about the women.
This is one of those moments in history, like many other moments in the past, when we need godly and dangerous women. And the hopeful surprise is that I believe many Christian schools like Trinitas are helping parents train up just this kind of woman.
Women are by nature dangerous. They will either be dangerous in a destructive way or dangerous in a constructive way. Our mother Eve was dangerous, but unfortunately, she was a threat to her husband instead of to the serpent. A harlot is a dangerous woman, but obviously, in the wrong direction. Christian women who just go along unknowingly are actually a liability and not an asset to the Christian cause. There really is no neutral ground. So I’m going to be talking to you tonight about the need for dangerous women in our day who see through the serpent’s cheap talk, who are not deceived by the lies the other team tells, and who are actively engaged in building a Christian culture. This is where your education comes in. You graduates have been given a healthy start to your education. Don’t let it stop here. Education is not an end but a means of equipping you to be and do all God is calling you to do. The being part must come before the doing. You want to be a godly and dangerous woman so that you can do the work of changing and rebuilding our culture. It is very important to keep these things in the right order. A good and godly education is a tool to be used wisely. Keep it sharp.
Graduates: Don’t let this be the end of your education, but continue to pursue wisdom. In a minute I will be talking about the role of women in the home, and I don’t want you to think for a minute that an education is unnecessary or superfluous for such things. Far from it. Your education is your preparation for life.
What is a dangerous woman? Is she a member of the NRA? Does she know karate? No. That is not the kind of woman I am talking about. Let me lay out a few of the characteristics of the godly dangerous woman.
1. First of all, she knows who she is. She is not having a life-long identity crisis. She knows who her people are, and she is loyal to her people. This, in itself, is a tremendous blessing. A woman who knows who she is can be free from herself to be herself. She can change the subject and think about others. She is not cowering and fearful, trying to find herself, because Christ has found her. She knows where she belongs.
Today, many young people are rootless and unconnected. They never sit down to dinner with a family around an actual table. Many don’t really have a family at all; they are isolated and disconnected.Their lives are more connected to and they are more loyal to a mythical heart-throb vampire than they are to their own parents and grandparents. This is a tragedy.
But the kind of woman I am talking about is loyal to her people because she knows which side she is on, and she does not wear the enemy’s uniform. She identifies herself among God’s people. She stands with her family, her church community, and her school community. And because she knows who she is, you cannot take her where she doesn’t want to go.
This kind of loyalty is a powerful protection that keeps her from getting swept up into unwise friendships, foolish relationships, or led into stupid behavior. She knows that she is a character in a story, and she wants to be the good, wise character, not the foolish one. We live in a culture that has been demolished, and much reconstruction is required. That is the building project that Trinitas is part of. And women who understand the project and have a view toward the final result are a tremendous asset to have on the construction crew. And the last thing we need right now are more people standing around in the wreckage, fishing out some keepsakes.
Graduates: Be loyal to your people. Never forget who you are and what side you are on.
2. Second, a godly dangerous woman knows what she is called to do. Women typically underestimate the scope and the significance of what they have been created to do on this earth. The truth is, God created woman to have a profound impact on the culture around them.
I have mentioned the construction project. God says in Proverbs that a wise woman builds her house and a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. This building is what women are called to do. Woman is created to beautify and glorify and remake. She beautifies and glorifies all God gives her, and the results are amazing. Call it the woman’s touch.
You know what I mean. We’ve all seen the old stock Western film where the old dirty bachelor cowboy gets a mail-order bride, and the new bride looks around at the wreck and ruin of his forlorn cabin, rolls up her sleeves, and changes everything. She remakes him and she remakes that cabin. (This may not be a popular stock scene anymore in this politically correct era, but the idea of the woman remaking the world is still as true today as it was in the beginning.)
Consider, for example, a house. It is just four walls until a woman moves in and transfigures it, beautifies it, glorifies it, and makes it into something new: a home. What is a kitchen but just a room full of shiny surfaces until a woman glorifies it with pies and mashed potatoes and loads of dirty dishes and singing. A woman receives her husband’s love, and God mysteriously glorifies it within her, and a baby is born. Woman is the glory of the man. She is his crown.
This is God’s creation design for women: they do this mysterious thing of remaking people and homes and cultures. Men want to be made new; homes are begging to be humanized; our culture is crying out for help. A woman’s touch is a powerful thing, and this is what homemaking is all about. This gift of remaking does not originate in the woman herself: God puts it there, and she reflects, manifests, and returns the glory to Him.
A godly dangerous woman understands that God has given her the tools to do this. She knows who she is and she understands what God has designed her to do. She is not distracted away from this truth. It is what enables her to be a productive asset to the community. She is indispensable. Women have this gift, married or not. They exert a tremendous influence on their community, whether that community is a home, a church, or a school. They are either constructing or tearing down.
Graduates: Be builders. Each of you, be the kind of woman who never forgets what she is called to do. Take the things God has given you and glorify them. Get your hands busy beautifying the world. You can begin now. You don’t have to wait.
3. Third, a godly dangerous woman understands that she is the root of this tree called humanity. God has created the human race this way. The woman is not the tree, but she nourishes it, and she grounds it because that is what God has equipped her to do. And the more she does this, the more dangerous she becomes. She has this strange power to extend herself, bestowing and adorning the world with a fruitful radiance.
Feminism has successfully drummed its story for women into our culture’s psyche. It is a bad story about women, a story in which the women play their assigned parts, detached, independent, unconnected, and autonomous. And millions of women have bought the story and tell it over and over again to themselves and their daughters. But the story makes no sense, and the devastating effects of it are easy to see.
If the root obviously cannot be disconnected from the tree, and do its own thing. Not only is the whole tree affected, but the root crumbles. The feminist story has gotten old. Many of the old guard are even starting to defect. The story that women should be disconnected and autonomous has taken its toll. You might as well put the root in the driveway or in the sky. What good is it there? Even a child can see the nonsense of such a thing.
Our military has even adopted this foolish feminist fairy tale. So now the root is in the submarine. What a silly story this is. Would someone please interrupt this story and talk sense to these people? Put the root in the ground! That is where it belongs. That is where it will grow. That is where it is dangerous! When it isn’t in the ground, it is weak, foolish, helpless and worthless. Nature itself teaches us these things. The feminist story is destructive, not constructive. It keeps telling women to keep the roots OUT of the ground.
The soil for the root is the Christian home. This is the domain and the dominion of the godly dangerous woman. G.K. Chesterton described the home as “a sphere of vast importance and supreme spiritual significance; and to talk of being confined to it is like talking of being chained to a throne.” The home is the kingdom where the woman has inestimable influence and power; this is where she can be dangerous to the serpent, where she bruises the serpent’s head by self-sacrifice and obedient love.
The home is where the root grows, where it does its work of nourishing, establishing, and glorifying the world. Women not only nourish and sustain the tree, they provide stability in unstable times, they anchor a culture to the ground. And if ever a culture was in need of stability and nourishment, our American culture is now. Quoting Chesterton again: “Despite efforts to find one, there is no alternative to the family.”
The home is where the action is. The home is the center of operations for the woman from which she extends herself, where she finds her fulfillment and purpose. This is the vantage point from which she can see future generations of faithfulness rising up. This is the Christian story about dangerous women.
Graduates: Let your roots grow deep. Love the true story and hate the bad. And be able to tell them apart.
4. Fourth, a godly dangerous woman believes and loves God’s covenant promises which He has made to His people. She is thinking long-term. Even when she is just about to graduate from high school, she has an eye toward when she will be a great-grandma to a hundred or more great-grandchildren. And she is loyal to them already. Think about this! This is why your parents want to stay in the neighborhood and not settle down on the other side of the world (though they may be hesitant to say so).
My children attended Logos School from kindergarten through twelfth grade. This is the school their father helped start for them. Now I have nine grandchildren there. Now I can see with my eyes what I could only imagine back when my children were little, and I had no idea wonderful it would be. It is hard to see ahead like this, but it is very important to think this way.
This is why a godly dangerous woman can stand up for what she knows is true. This is why she won’t be swayed by a stupid guy who tries to get her to do stupid things. Her calling is too important to squander on a man who doesn’t get it. What would her descendents think? She wants to raise up sons who will be leaders and daughters who will be pillars, equipped to raise up the next generation. This is why she is not interested in weak men. She is looking for strength and courage, not a man with wobbly knees.
If you doubt the tremendous impact that women have on our culture, here’s a thought experiment for you. What would happen to our culture if women all across our country had God’s promises in view and said something like this to their boyfriends: “Are you kidding? You must be crazy if you think I will move in with you without a wedding first.” Can you imagine the upheaval and dislocation? Suddenly marriage would be much on men’s minds, and not just on the women’s minds, and there would no doubt be a diamond shortage. Because women have believed the serpent’s lies, marriage is in a sore state, and this has an obvious affect on the heart of our culture.
God’s blessings flow downstream, and a godly dangerous woman understands that her behavior now will have consequences in generations to come, and this is a very big deal. My husband has taught this for years. When fathers are living with “secret sins,” they are in essence giving their sons covenantal permission to sin in the same way. When women are living sinfully, whether by being anxious and worrisome or in some other sinful way, they are giving their daughters and granddaughters covenantal permission to live the same way. A godly dangerous woman is not simply thinking of the present; she is thinking of the next fifty years, and she wants to live in a way that will bless her descendents and not scramble them. This kind of woman is rare. Her price is far above rubies.
She sees the long-term blessings that result from seemingly mundane decisions and tasks. She doesn’t mind; she can afford to be patient. God works over generations, and He takes His time. She can interpret the times in light of God’s unfailing love and providence. She sees His hand in all that comes to pass. Like the godly women of old, she sees that she is standing in a long line of God’s covenant faithfulness. He always blesses obedience, and He never forsakes His people.
Graduates: Love God’s promises. They are for you and your descendents. Live in light of them! Be this kind of woman.
5. Finally, a godly dangerous woman is not threatened by the unbelief in the culture around her. She is at war with it! She does not give way to fear. She knows who wins. She does not keep her head down when she enters into a secular job or a secular university. She knows who she is and what she is about, and she is not afraid of everyone else finding out. In fact, she is eager for everyone to find out, and this takes backbone. And this, it turns out, is actually threatening to everyone else! A dangerous woman assumes the center. This requires courage and faith. A virtuous woman is a courageous woman.
She laughs at the days to come. She sees through the lies in the serpent’s story clear as can be; she is not deceived. She is uncooperative with his agenda. He lied to our first mother, and she stumbled and her husband with her. But God has promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. And that is what the promised Messiah did.
So there is no need for a woman to go wobbly because she might lose friends or lose her job or fail the class. God’s purposes and plans are much too big to be squandered on such petty threats. She has too much to do, and time is short. She understands the final outcome: we win, they lose. A dangerous, godly woman is a threat to the other team because she is building, and refuses to tear down. A godly home is a dangerous weapon and a strong defense. It is both an offensive and defensive weapon.
Women of the graduating class, I urge you to be dangerous women. You have the tools to get to work on the next thing. After all, you have received a good and godly education. The world is in great need, and women like you need to roll up their sleeves and get to work, preparing to raise the next generation to play their part, transforming the culture one home at a time. You know who you are, who your people are, and what needs to be done. So get to work.
As you begin your life after high school, keep these things in your mind. The future is coming. What kind of woman are you going to be in it?
In closing, thank you again Mr. Trotter and the board. And congratulations, graduates!
55 thoughts on “Dangerous Women”
This was a blessing to read, and I graduated from high school 28 years ago! Thank you for renewing my vision this morning.
Wow! Mrs. Wilson this is beautiful! I’m going to read it at least three times through and then again next week.
Absolutely right on! This was such a blessing to read this morning. Thank you.
It must be nice to have the luxury of staying home with kids. Some of us need to work full time to keep providing for our family’s needs. And before everyone jumps on it, I have been married for more than 20 years to the same man and have three kids. He also works. However, if I didn’t work my family would not have health insurance and we’d lose our house. Certainly militant feminism has its obvious flaws, but thanks to them I am able to provide for my family.
Thank you for your thought and time that you considered to prepare the youg women at Trinitas. At 25, and a mother or two, I still think of myself as a young woman and am blessed to be reminded of the heritage that God has prepared for me. You are a blessing indeed.
Spot on! Wow! Very much a morale-builder. I have a lot of friends I will be forwarding this to. Thank you for adding such a blessing to the day.
This is such a wonderful gem to graduates. Is there any way I can get permission to share it with grads I know?
Excellent! Thank you so much for sharing!
Wow. Just. Wow.
Thank you again for your abundant wisdom.
thank you, mrs. wilson!!
I am so grateful you posted this! What a fantastic way of looking at our calling as women! Being dangerous is hard work but so much fun. 😉
Thanks so much – again and again! 🙂
Because I do not know your circumstances, I could not say that you had made a wrong choice by working. But I would say that it is sad that you had to take that route. The Lord bless you and thanks for leaving a comment on Femina.
Oh, I am so happy to see this here! I wanted to ask you about it but didn’t get the opportunity before you headed home. We were all so pleased to have you speak at the graduation and we really enjoyed the time spent with you and Mr. Wilson. I hope your trip home was pleasant and uneventful.
(Would it be okay to share a condensed version on our family blog with a link back here for the full read?)
I quit work several 15 years ago. I would love to have a fancy home instead of my humble 2 bedroom with a den turned into a 3rd bedroom. But I choose to quit work, to stay home with my family. The years I have spent with my children God has blessed me with, I would not trade it for any type of career. Yes, we shop the thrift store. We have reliable vehicles. We have food to eat and insurance too. I pray that you don’t become bitter against those who choose to stay home and live with less material things. God always will provide for our needs, not our wants.
Also, I have not walked a mile in your shoes, so I don’t know your situation. But take from the article and apply what you can. Love and treasure your time with your family, as those are the only things that you can lead into eternity with you.
A career, insurance, wants will all disappear. But a spouse and children who love the Lord will go with you into eternity.
Where your family spends eternity, and those you come in contact with, spend eternity is what it is all about.
I really appreciated this post, especially considering that it was addressed to 18 year-olds. Wouldn’t it be lovely if what we knew at 50, we learned at 18?
Marty and Alyssa,
Feel free to use the post any way you would like. And thank you for checking.
Thanks for this! It’s wonderful!
Thanks to those who replied for not jumping to conclusions.
I work full time to keep paying for our modest two-bedroom house with an office turned into a third bedroom. We house a family of five and for two years also housed another couple who had very little while they struggled to get a place of their own. We wear a lot of hand-me-downs and drive cars we bought used. We don’t live like kings by a long shot.
Also, I very much appreciate your comment about who I can take into eternity, and believe me, that is almost always at the forefront of my mind raising three boys (11, 12, and 15 atm). With partial scholarships and some help from my husband who is a part-time volunteer assistant pastor (deacon), we send (sent) our kids to a Christian school through 8th grade. That might seem like a luxury until you realize that we live in Southern California to be near my husband’s family and where he has with great effort built his consulting business. My kids have known no other home. I teach at a different Christian school that is a 45-minute commute from my home.
Thank God for the supportive Christian community for my kids, from Godparents to day care to preschool and beyond. All three of my kids know who they are in Christ, though I still worry about them.
The point of my post is that there is not just one path, and this message could be construed as very judgmental toward a lot of other Christian women/parents who are doing what is needful to provide for their families. I don’t condemn those who are wealthy enough that they can stay home, but I get VERY tired of those who see it as a virtue. It is a choice like any other made for reasons that depend on the individual, as any decision does.
One other note … I think my kids were better off with their superb Christian environment that wasn’t me, me, and more me than they would have been even if I had been able to stay home. They didn’t have only our Christian witness but also that of their daycare folks (who remain friends and live across the street and who still visit with them often), of their preschool and school teachers and Pastor, of their Scoutmasters, their school-age care providers … All of whom sent the clear message that it’s all about Jesus. They got to know And spend a lot of time with many faithful men and women, all of whom have different personalities and perspectives, and learned that it’s not just something their parents do … It’s TRUE.
My oldest is now in a large public high school and actively holding his own among anti-Christian friends, a history teacher actively and verbally hostile to Christianity, and the entire world that comes with a public high school. He has earned respect from his Christian and non-Christian friends alike for his steadfast but not harsh or judgmental perspective. I had one boy tell me that my son encourages him in his faith in some way every day.
The point? If you can stay home, that’s great, but it’s not the only God-pleasing option. In retrospect, I’m NOT sad I couldn’t stay home with them. I think their lives and faith are far richer for their dwelling among the larger Body of Christ and getting so much broader a perspective. My oldest has talked about eventually becoming a pastor, not primarily because of my influence but because of the influence of a multitude of believers and the grace of God.
When you speak to the young as though *really* Godly women stay home with their babies, you unnecessarily judge and alienate many. It is a very destructive message when for so many it’s not the best option (or not an option at all). Please consider how this kind of speech could cause distance and despair and discouragement among so many that I truly believe you would want to be supporting and encouraging in their faith.
Mrs. Wilson, What is it that your father-in-law says about throwing a rock into a pack of wolfs?
Kitty, I second your point about not judging/tearing down others and/or “limiting” the ways in which God can work. I know a family who has no choice but for both parents to work and even then cannot afford anything but public school–their children have been a powerful witness even in Kindergarten, as has the whole family in being involved in the school, and a number of people have come to Christ through them. Would she stay home and homeschool if she could? In a second!! Yet she has immense faith that if God has them in this position, it is for a reason, and God’s glory can result from it. I know another family who struggled terribly because they felt they were “supposed” to homeschool, and finally switched to Christian school with much better results. Each family, each school, each situation is different…
Reading this was also very emotional for me personally. I’ve had the perspective described in this speech since I was a child. I went to the best college I could, solely for the purpose of being a better wife and stay-at-home homeschooling mother–you can imagine how amusing that idea was/is to many people! However, it’s now been over 15 years since I graduated college, and I’m still waiting for God to bless me with a husband and children. I believe that there is a greater purpose in my waiting (although losing so many childbearing years is the hardest part), but when I read this speech, I feel ostracized and discouraged; I find it ironic that my life at this moment (and for so many years) appears to be just like the barren feminism you describe. What DeAnne says above is very true–only your family lives for eternity. I am thankful for the many blessings God has given me, but the things I have are not that rewarding without a family to share them. I pray for all those who have been called to marriage but have waited long that God might have mercy on their families, that He might “restore the years the locust has eaten,” and especially the lives of their children, and I look forward to the day when reading an article like this brings more joy than grief. I hope and pray that the church would spend as much time praying for Godly families to be created and strengthened in Him as they do discussing what they should look like.
Homeschooled children spend time with lots of people besides their parents, some of them the very people you mentioned, Kitty. It’s a misconception to say otherwise. Just thought I’d point that out.
I’m guessing it’s very difficult for most families who live in southern CA to keep the mother at home since it’s one of the most expensive areas in the country to live. It sounds to me like your family is doing well in your circumstances, Kitty, and I’m very glad of it. I would say overall, though, that most young women need encouragement to look upon the vocation of wife and mother as worthy of their time and effort. The world overwhelmingly sends them the opposite message. And whether we work outside the home or not, it is still true that the vocation of wife and mother is a high and demanding calling.
I was just sending this post to a dear friend of our family with a note saying that she is the most dangerous woman I know…and she has no children of her own and married very late in life. I don’t think that Mrs. Wilson is saying that each and every woman must be married and bear children to be dangerous – it’s the faith lived out that creates the danger. God uses each woman where she is…this friend has tremendous impact as a teacher at our Christian school and an active discipling woman in our church…not to mention as a respecting wife.
I do pray for more formation of families and for those that wait, that they would be content and fantastically fruitful while they wait. I know that nothing in this post was meant to make someone feel ostracized, please be encouraged that God works with us right where we are – just as Pastor Wilson says all the time. 🙂
Very timely! I had a house full of young ladies for the weekend, all here preparing their wares for a craft show. Anyhow, I shared some bits from your post here, and it was amazingly thought provoking for us all.
I was hugely blessed by your post, and by the ambitions of the girls here who understand that it will take strong determination and faith to become women of God who’s presence is felt in the world.
But I want to tell you that they were so much inspired by the idea of being dangerous in a GOOD way. They all got a bit of a spark in their eyes when they heard that!
So, once again, thanks for bringing on a blessing at my house. This was my favorite Nancy Wilson moment ever!
Just wanted to say to those others of us who are the exception, Mrs. Wilson speaks to the rule, not the exception. Yes, it is hard to understand the ostracism that we feel whether we are with or without a husband, with or without children, staying at home or working outside the home (the exception not the usual pattern)… when we are waiting for God’s blessings and doing the best we can in our circumstances yet do not fit the mold. Wherever we land in the sovereign plan of our loving Father, it isn’t really about how we feel. I acknowledge your discouragement and pain (all of you exceptions out there!) along with my own discouragement and pain. All of that said, I am thankful to have been given the grace to rejoice in the truth of Nancy’s message and not take it as a personal affront. This message is a much needed one. The Church needs a robust response to feminism. Thank you Nancy. Thank you Lord. Now we all need to get on our knees and pray for godly husbands who can provide for the young women who heard this message on their graduation day …
Now, I’m not trying to cause difficulties here, but isn’t a lot of the discussion over Mrs. Wilson’s speech a bit unnecessary? I mean, she isn’t just spouting off her opinions. The principles in her speech come directly from God’s Word ( Proverbs and Titus 2, anyone?). And, while I love to discuss and debate as much as anyone, this is one time when it’s really a moot point to do so. As Christians, God’s Word should be our one and only ruling authority. Individualism has nothing to do with it, and when we try to convince using worldly standards we ourselves start to look like wolves getting beaned with rocks. When God’s Word is placed before us, we shouldn’t try to rationalize against it, and we really don’t have to rationalize for it. It is the final say.
I think this article is right on!
Nancy, this was excellent! Thank you for your wise words to us all. What a beautiful picture of how dangerous (godly) women can change the world! Since your audience was made up of graduating young ladies, I thought it was appropriate to give them the vision of what to hope and pray for. Blessings to you!
Thank you for sharing this. I’m excited to discuss this with my two teenage daughters.
Nancy — I was right. This made a great post!
Lois — Amen, sister!
Thank you! Felt like it was an address of encouragement directed at this 31 year old mom of 4 :o)
I had to wait longer then I had ever hoped or planned for a husband & children(though not 15 years) and then it happened very quickly. Praying for your encouragement and fruitfullness today. (As a side note-don’t JUST wait for a husband, the internet is a powerful connective tool to be used in the search, ask a parent or pastor to help you make yourself available this way if you haven’t already….just sayin’ I’ve seen God use it time and again :o)
Thank you for such a powerful speach. There needs to be a lot more of these types of encouragements. I agree with you Claire! This is a general speach of how women should view their role in life, not on individual talents. Anna, the prophetess served in the Temple, the Bible doesn’t say that she had ten children, but at 83 years old, she was commended for humbling serving God in the capacity that God had for her and she got to see baby Jesus (from Elizabeth George’s a Woman’s High Calling). I also agree that the work-place can be unfulfilling if you don’t have proper perspective on what it is you are actually doing. (I’ve been there and done that). Godliness with Contentment is great gain!
I got married and dropped out of grad school and have been waiting for kids for 4 years. During that time I’ve worked part time or not at all. Plenty of times I’ve felt like a failure as a woman, but I’ve been learning (slowly) some of the lessons of womanhood that Mrs. Wilson has so compellingly illustrated. Whether you’re single or are waiting for kids, there are powerful ways to be a root in the community. Over the past year two things I’ve been trying to cultivate for myself are 1. being available for hospitality, and 2. working to tie more women into community by seeking out friendships and trying to facilitate (with more or less success) women encouraging each other in the grace of God. I’m a pretty fragile reed for the second ministry, but by God’s grace I’m seeing fruit. I also challenge myself at various times and in various ways. In the past year I’ve tried my hand at backpacking, bread making, yoga, food dehydrating, furniture construction (ok, so it was an Ikea hack), and other activities. My womb might be barren, but I am seeing more fruit in my life than I ever have before. Look around -there’s a whole sphere of womanly fruitfulness that honors the way God made us without condemning us for not having a husband or children.
(Hmm, that might have been more than two cent’s worth.)
Mrs. Wilson, thank you so much for posting this. It encourages me in so much that I’ve been learning over the past year.
(Hmm, that might have been more than two cent’s worth.)
That was worth at least a buck fifty, Natalie. Well said.
Nancy, I have been thinking about this post all day. I’ve concluded that it’s a fabulous address of both encouragement and challenge to our young and upcoming christian sisters (and me too).
Thanks for posting.
Thank you for posting this, Mrs. Wilson.
It is obvious that a lot of thoughtfulness and wisdom went into this address.
I especially was struck by, and appreciated, the part on generational thinking. For us to be considering our children and grandchildren before they are born.
Both sets of my grandparents sacrificed very greatly to make sure that they fulfilled God’s command to give their children a Christian education. I can see the fruit and blessings of this obedience fulfilled greatly even in my own life, their grandchild’s. I cannot be grateful enough to them, or the Lord. You are absolutely right: God does bless obedience. Even the descendants of the obedient. Our God is good!
Dear Mrs. Wilson,
Thank you. Our daughter is a rising senior in high school and we’ve been having these conversations as she looks at colleges and how God would have her prepare for His calling on her life. I particularly appreciated your comment that being proceeds the doing.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Thank you Kitty for sharing your thoughts.
It seems like Christian women sometimes create division. Isn’t how many children we have or if we work outside the home more between ourselves, husbands and God?
I have 2 boys and will return to work in Fall 2012 because both boys will be in school full-time. My husband would like to use my income to pay down debts and save for retirment, while his goes to pay the bills. We live in a nice home in a nice suburb but nothing super fancy — We could downsize our lifestyle and I’d never have to work again I suppose, but maybe there is a reason God might want me working outside the home. Should I listen to my husband or a female speaker?
I love and appreciate this post. Thank you for posting it. I’ve also found the comments very interesting and encouraging. (And I find it incredibly how civil and friendly godly Christian woman stay on the internet!)
Thank you Kitty for sharing your thoughts.
The Proverbs 31 women seemed to have a broad spectrum of duties she performed. I don’t know if God and our husbands all want us to fit the exact same mold.
kristen nixon sent this to me, and i sent it to my 2 sisters-in-law, one who just graduated from college and one who is 16. thank you for the reminder of the significance of staying at home! i have 3 under three and just transplanted to a new state, and am realizing how much i felt encouraged by my old community in this task. thanks for the long-distance encouragement!
What a powerful speech! Did you get through this without tearing up, I wonder? I can hardly read two sentences at a time without doing so. My goodness, so chock-full of God’s wonderful truth to women. Thank you so much for sharing!
Subjective thoughts on the matters of ones views and workings out of ones children don’t hold much weight. God’s Word says in Titus 2:4-5: “let the older women teach the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, to be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME, good, obedient to their husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” God himself could not be in the wrong, could He? Does He not understand OUR situations? Of course the God of the universe precisely understands US, He knit us in our mother’s womb. So how could it be that one lifestyle works for Susie Q and not for Patty? That ladies, is the very outspoken misconception of our day and the paradigm of our culture: what works for you, works for you; but you need to respect my choices, and in return I respect yours. (postmodernism in short)
Maybe we need to be renewed by God’s Word rather than our own justifications….
I see God having ONE people, for ONE purpose and that is to give glory, laud, and honor to HIM, King of Kings and Lord of Lords in our distinctive roles so that…..the Word of God be not blasphmed. It’s not about what we want or what seems right to us, it’s plainly saying to God in our heart that “this is my will, Lord, but not mine but Thine be done.” Why can’t we admonish each other to obey God rather than ask each other to sympathize with our untrustworthy hearts?
Now Kristi had mentioned the Proverbial woman and of course she had many tasks (jobs if you will) however
that woman clearly did not do all of those things at the same time. Those roles reflected different seasons in a particular womans lifespan and clearly no woman could do all of those things well simultaneously.
I am sure Mrs. Wilson has a different life at the present moment than she did when she was raising her wee ones. 🙂
Paige — I am a Christian woman although I sort of stumbled onto this blog and I gather it’s of a bit more conservative bent than I am used to.
So is every Mom who works outside of the home sinning? And also if both of my boys will be in school full-time in the Fall of 2012, what exactly would I do all day if I don’t get a job? Or did you just mean to stay at home prior to entering school full-time?
Not sure if anyone already addressed this, but in your first comment, you said something to the effect that you were thankful that feminism had given you the opportunity to work. There is nothing good that feminism in our culture has ultimately produced. If you are able to help provide for your family under the circumstances you are in, it is because God has given you that opportunity- not the virtues of feminism.
Wonderfully written speech. Wish I had (and could have understood) the information 23 years ago when I graduated.
I didn’t understand working outside the home as being sinful. Didn’t find the speech condemning. It eloquently points out our innate value as a woman is not defined by the job we hold. The speaker is describing our innate Godly attributes and the His design for our lives. God’s blueprint or game plan for girls!
Feminism and our culture teaches us that success is measured by level of education, income, and contribution to our chosen field. Worldly measures. Under this ideology, being a wife and mother isn’t a substantial career choice. Not important – not meaningful compared to what we can “do” at work. Success is measured in our ability to perform as well as or better than men in the same job position.
Working 36 hours in three days and running a household the other four is what I chose after having our second daughter.
“Having it all” was leaving me feeling overwhelmed and like an underachiever. Not fulfilling.
Realized feminism empowered us girls to work full-time, raise children part-time, run a household full-time, and be a wonderful wife for our husbands when we feel up to it. Now, I managed it for a while, but realized that this was not such a great deal after all.
As I’ve learned “God’s plan for gals”, my life has been rearranged. Work is secondary to being a wife and mother. Attempting to fulfill what God desires for a woman’s life is my pursuit. Gaining peace with His plan and not allowing my success to be defined by our culture has been liberating.
The impact of attempting to be a Godly mother and wife is incredible. The counsel our husbands receive from us alters the course of our very lives. Mothers impact generations of children. Learning the role of wives and mothers through biblical examples is helping to improve my abilities. Seeking out mothers who are more mature in their walk have blessed me by sharing their wisdom.
I’ll admit working is far easier than pouring oneself into children. Ours appear to be bottomless pits. My time at work is very limited but enjoyed.
I’m thankful to understand the message in this graduation address. My goal is to help raise 5 dangerous daughters.
just what i needed!
Respectfully, it is unwise to call other people on their understand of God’s word if we aren’t even quoting it correctly.
I understand that we’ve heard Titus 2 misquoted for so long that we’ve sometimes forgotten what it actually says, but the teaching mentioned in the passage should not be confused with the result. Reading Paul’s whole thought carefully actually clarifies a great deal about this important passage.
Of course God is not wrong, but the verse does NOT say:
“let the older women teach the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, to be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME, good, obedient to their husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.”
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Catch the difference?
Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding the older women is simple. The older women among God’s people are to behave reverantly, and control their tongues and not be addicted to alcohol. They are also to be leaders of others: specifically teaching “what is good.” Paul could hardly be more broad in what he wants them to teach. They are to be disciple-makers. Teaching everything from the doctrine of God (who, above all, is Good) to the “law of kindness” (which is on the tongue of the Prov 31 woman). So many forget this. Titus 2:3-5 is not written to limit the teaching of women to a 7 item list any more than Titus 2:6 is meant to limit the instruction of young men to a one-item list.
Paul then moves from the broad instruction for older women to “teach what is good” to his expected result: good fruit in the lives of the younger women.
Older women in any culture have a powerful influence on younger women, as friends, mentors, disciple-makers, encoruagers, tradition transmitters, and teachers. When women are disciples of their Lord, they will be conformed to the image of God through Christ, growing in godly character. Paul expects that godly character to manifest in younger women who adorn the gospel by loving their families, being self controlled, pure, kind, keepers of their OWN homes (besides being the keeper – also translated manager or head – of their own household, this was also a caution against being gossips who think it their job to keep other people’s homes; it was not a prohibition on plying a trade, which many women did, even in that society), and submissive to their own husbands.
Women cannot be who God wants them to be as individual persons if they are not following hard after God himself. They must learn “what is good” if they are going to produce godly fruit in their lives.
Sadly, many Christians have reduced Titus 2:3-5 to a “to do” list for Christian women, a limitation on what women are allowed to teach each other and a measuring stick against which Christians compare women. They forget about teaching what is good and instead concentrate on the 7 pieces of fruit that Paul identifies as the fruit of good teaching. That rarely satifies the soul.
I don’t want to be pure simply as an item on a “christian woman’s to do list.” I want to be pure because I am made in the image of God who is pure and perfectly holy and I am called to image God to a lost and dying world! On top of that, I am empowered by the Spirit and transformed by the renewing of my mind so that I, a sinner, can be pure. That changes everything.
I’m sorry, i’m late to the party. I just found this post and it really spoke to my heart.
My husband and I have 5 children. We live in Southern California and our children go to the local public schools. We are not able to homeschool. I won’t go into why, because that is a personal issue.
My littlest just went off to first grade and I am really enjoying being able to learn how to be a better homemaker, learn the lost art of hospitality, and be able to meet with other Christian women in the mornings occasionally while the children are in school.
I have been doing some crafts (working with eager hands! :0) ) that I haven’t been able to do in a while, and it is blessing my family and loved ones, and I plan on trying to sell some of it for extra money within the next year or so. I started a small vegetable garden (proverbs 12:11) on our little patio and it has brought us a lot of joy to eat some of our homegrown veggies. On Fridays, in the mornings, I am going to start setting aside a time to go visit with widows in the senior home for a few hours each week. There is so much to do while the kids are at school, I am glad to be able to devote some time to all these different things-I was not able to do a lot of this stuff before they started school. while my first choice would be to homeschool, it doesn’t seem to be in His will for us for the time being so I am trying to fill my time with blessing my family and others while the children are in school.
We live in a very poor section of town, sometimes called the projects. When we first moved in, I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen this neighborhood, but it was the only apartment we could afford. We have a 3 bedroom, townhouse style apartment (4 girls in one room, our teenage boy has his own room, and my husband and I have our room). I was told not to move here, that it was dangerous, etc. I have never regretted it. We open our home to the children of the neighborhood whose parents are gone working, or doing other things, (drug abuse is a big problem here) and we have taken so many kids to church-it has been an awesome journey watching kids come over, stay for dinner, some try to call me “mom”, (I tell them that it is dishonoring to their own moms, and don’t let them.) A few have even continued to go to church with us and been baptized! One older teen, now an adult, has recently started working with the 3 and 4 year old class at our church-before he came to our house he didn’t go to church. Anyways, I just feel like when women are working outside the home to have a standard of living that He may not have intended for their families, they are not only denying their family the blessings that come with living humbly, but they may be denying others too, like maybe people that might have benefitted from them living in a poorer place, or children their kids may have brought to church from the local public school that may have never been to church before. Our homes are our mission grounds, and it is our job to spread His love. How can we if we are not home? How are the younger woman to learn from the older woman (Titus 2) if nobody is home because their kids are at school so they feel that it is not fun to be at home anymore? It is a joyful thing to keep my poor little home in the projects, and I am so happy that I was given this calling.
I don’t need to travel around the world to be a missionary. I just need to open my home, be here, and show others God’s love and hospitality. I can’t do that if i’m off at work 40 hours per week.
I’m not trying be a martyr or anything, or act like i’m a better Christian than anyone else, i’m totally not, i’m just saying in this society women think they can argue against God’s word to be at home with their families, and in rare occasions maybe a woman needs to work outside the home (i.e. the kids are hungry for lack of food), but in most situations, people just don’t want to settle for whatever their lot is in life. Even in my rundown apartment in a poor neighborhood, I am materially more rich than most of the world’s population. It is common for whole families in the rest of the world to live in one room huts, and yet where I live people tell me I need a bigger house. I am so blessed! We need to accept His blessings at whatever level he gives them instead of striving for a lifestyle that takes women from their families, and leaves the younger women lacking for older women to mentor them in the Word.
Took me awhile to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be very useful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also engaged! I’m sure you had fun writing this article.
AMEN! Next week, I’m going to post about this and give readers a link to this page. You’ve spoken the truth and God bless you for being a dangerous woman.
Like Mrs. Beaver said to Lucy, “oh my no. Aslan isn’t safe but he is good.” We’d do well to remember – Christ and following Christ isn’t safe but it is good and right and rewarding, both now and hereafter.
I was able to read both the speech and most of the comments. I personally was raised in a family where my dad was completely submissive, all ten of my uncles were either alcoholic, or divorced and depressed, and my brother spent his time doing less than honorable things with women parading through the house. My mom was the bread winner in the family, fiercely independent, and doesn’t trust men as far as you can throw them since her mom was abused. That being said, I did not come from a Christian family, but God still found me. I HATED the topic of women in the home and submission because for many years I felt like an outsider looking in. I come from dysfunction so how could I ever be what Christians tell me I should be?
I think the comment about the potatoes really got to me… I don’t know how to make potatoes… in fact, my version of cooking a meal for someone is paying for their meal when we go out to eat or ordering Chinese. Am I deficient because I can’t cook potatoes? Am I useless because I do not put my hope in marriage and family and home?
Rather, through much pain, alienation, and hardship, I had an epiphany. I am a Christian. I follow Christ. I submit to Christ. I want to give Christ glory. Nancy’s speech bothered me, particularly when talking about roots. No, roots shouldn’t be in the air or in the driveway or in a submarine, but they should also NOT be in the home. Our roots are in CHRIST. If He blesses us with family, then that is His prerogative. If He blesses us in other ways, with friends and church and career and missions, we are equally blessed by God. I am only 22 and I may still yet ‘fit the mold’, but God is my giver. Ladies, feminism is not the only enemy out there. Anything that distracts and divides our attention from God is the enemy. Putting our main hope in career is just as destructive as putting our main hope in home. Our hope is Christ. The eternal perspective we must have is not our grandchildren, but God and our eternity with Him.
To any Christian woman that is feeling hurt by another Christian woman (or man): your worth is found in Christ. Your truth is in his word. Read it holistically and don’t simply focus on the few passages about how a woman should act. As long as you are pursuing Christ AND NOT YOURSELF, you will fight the good fight, you will finish the race, and you will keep the faith.