Panel Discussion | Women’s Session
Panel: Amy Davis, Sarah Conti, Jenn Forchetti, and Bethany Clark.
Moderator: Spencer Davis
- Once you complete the social media detox, how do you decrease awkwardness of re-entering society? – Amy Davis
- What does God say about fighting for your marriage when physical/emotional/sexual abuse is occurring? – Sarah Conti
- How do we reconcile women’s rights/march with the Gospel? – Jenn Forchetti
- How do you submit when you feel your spouse is not walking with the Lord? When his decisions with them, money, my desires, and even aggression are not glorifying God? – Amy Davis
- I have a desire to be a missionary, but I am single. Do you have any encouragement for me as I wait for God’s timing? – Bethany Clark
- All of my friends are Christians, and I am around Christians at work. How do I meet lost people and get involved in the community in order to share the Gospel? – Sarah Conti
- What do you do when your husband doesn’t lead spiritually? Is it okay to lead if he doesn’t? – Bethany Clark
- As a single woman, I’m curious about how you balance being a wife, mom, and in ministry? – Amy Davis, Sarah Conti, Jenn Forchetti, and Bethany Clark
Once you complete the social media detox, how do you decrease awkwardness of re-entering society?
Okay, well, first of all, if you are detoxing from something, anything from toxins in your body where you’re doing one of those cleanses, to even alcohol and substance abuse, when you’ve completed that detox, you don’t wanna go back and put that back into your body. So that’s good, if you have completed the detox for social media, that is fantastic. And that’s awesome. So how do you decrease the awkwardness of re-entering society? I kinda wanna answer that in a way that’s like, how do you overcome the fear of re-entering society? Basically, how do you overcome the fear and anxiety of making new friends? And that’s kind of how I’m gonna answer it.
Basically, most everything that the enemy tries to do is to convince us that we’re nothing and to make us afraid and scared and just live inside these little shells. He doesn’t want us to get out and to live the way God created us, which is to be in community with other people, so he is gonna lie to you, and it is gonna be scary, but the enemy is gonna lie to you and tell you that you’re too depressed, or you’re too anxious, or your two whatever to actually make friends and to talk to people, ’cause now think about it, you’ve gotta be face-to-face with people instead of phone-to-phone with people even screen-to-screen with people, so having to practice those things is…
I’m an extrovert. So I don’t have much problems with that, but people who aren’t sensitive, normally introvert, it is a little bit tougher, it is scary to put yourself out there, but one, recognizing that’s okay to be afraid, but we can’t be paralyzed with that because God created us to be in community with other people. So submitting that fear up to Christ, and the way that we do that is by practicing what we’ve been preaching so far this weekend, by studying your Bible and learning who you are and the value that Christ has and has put in you and has on you and your work thing found in him, studying that, praying over your anxiousness and that fear and things that can rob you of just being yourself and also just being yourself and serving other people, a lot of times…
If you think about this, Zach talked about this so well this morning about a lot of social media is based on us, “This is my plate of food, this is my new dog, this is my new hat, this is mine new whatever,” and it’s all self-focused, whereas when you take that away, you have to start talking to people as like my kids on the playground, “Hey, what’s your name? You like to play on the swings? Me too, let’s go.” You gotta break it all the way back down, if that’s what you need to do to start making relationships with people and start talking to others. Then go back to those days.
What about you turning the conversation on the other person, not just me, me, me and being a “me” monster, but trying to talk to them about who they are and what their favorite things are and what they enjoy doing, finding those commonalities that you share so that you can build relationships with other people, and hopefully be able to share the gospel with others, but it’s also just getting over that fear and that anxiety, and by prayer and supplication, all those things and putting into practice all of those things that we’ve learned.
What does God say about fighting for your marriage when physical/emotional/sexual abuse is occurring?
Okay. So this is obviously a really heavy question, and I just wanna preface by saying, I don’t know if this is a hypothetical question or if this is something that’s currently going on, and without knowing the details, there’s obviously a wide range of severity in this kind of situation, and so I’m gonna do my best to adjust it and I’m gonna air on the side of it being a little bit more serious, because I don’t want to underestimate what someone might be going through right now. It’s clear in the Bible that marriage is sacred, and that it’s supposed to be a picture of Christ in the church. So I wanna start by saying, this is your situation. Then what is happening to you is wrong, is wrong.
It is a desecration of the picture that Christ has given us, and so I want you to know it’s wrong, and I’m sorry that you’re in that. And that is not your fault. And so in that situation, the husband is, he is disobeying, he is blatantly disobeying the Word of God, and he’s also disobeying the laws of our country, and so he’s breaking God’s law and man’s law. And so the first thing that I would encourage you to do is to get outside intervention so that… I’m not saying abandoning the fight for your marriage, but there needs to be outside intervention, and you first and foremost, need to be in a safe place before you can even begin thinking about fighting for your marriage.
So that would be outside intervention from the church surrounding you, outside intervention from the law, if he has done something criminal, then there needs to be justice, and then I guess just this idea that there’s certain sins, so in marriage, is clear in Scripture that we’re called to forgive and forbear, however, there’s some sins that push, push forgiveness into where it becomes enabling sin, and so certain sins is like with adultery and abuse and porn addiction, and these things like forgiving him, forbearing in the sense of just allowing it to continue is enabling sin. And so it may be a situation that calls for separation, and I think it was John Piper that said “redemptive separation: , so that you pull away from the situation from a safe distance and you fight from a distance, and…
I wrote down a couple of things that I think could take place during that time. One, as you let justice take its course. Being merciful to that person is not removing the consequence of their sin. So let justice take its course, surround yourself with godly people in your church to walk through with you this season. Cling to the Lord, cling to the Lord and pray and seek your own healing, pray for his healing, and let someone else take point on ministering to him and walking through this with him during that time of separation. And then finally, my final thought on that is just that separation, if it comes to an end, if there’s healing that needs to end on your terms, not on his terms, it’s not just, “I’m sorry, I’ve changed, I’m done.”
And you are called to go back, like you can set the terms of how that ends to protect yourself, that there’s evidence, like if he is in submission to church leadership and other men are involved in his life and they’ve seen over a long period of time, consistent fruit and change and believe. Yes, this is legit, then considering to go back. So I think overall, I’d say the way that you fight for your marriage and this kind of situation would be from a distance with a lot of outside intervention and godly wisdom and prayer and seeking the Lord.
How do we reconcile women’s rights/march with the Gospel?
I’m gonna take a look at Genesis 1-27 that says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created them. Male and female, He created them.” And I think we need to step back and always remember that we are created in God’s image, and the beauty of the fact that God took his character traits and who he is, and he deliberately instilled some of those into females, and he deliberately instilled some of those into males. And so we should celebrate our differences and our different genders and how God created us, and so we should be celebrating the fact that we’re women and that God made us a certain way for a certain reason, to bring Him glory.
And so, I want us to remember that Jesus is for women’s rights, he loves women deeply. As you study scripture, you will see that many times he went against cultural norms to protect women, to include women, to love women well, and so don’t let the world tell you differently. I think what’s happened is we have allowed our culture and our world to lie to us and tell us that if you’re a woman and you wanna be treated fairly, then you need to act a certain way that is clearly contradictory to what scripture teaches us, and instead of celebrating women, they’re actually abusing what God has created women to be, and so always be mindful when society is telling you something, to make sure it’s lining up with who the scripture tells us who we are.
And we should advocate that women are treated fairly and women are treated correctly the way that God intended, but we should never allow the world to tell us that we have to do certain things or think a certain way if we wanna be considered free women, and so be… Have your guard against that. And the way to have your guard up against that is to have yourself deeply rooted into scripture.
How do you submit when you feel your spouse is not walking with the Lord? When his decisions with them, money, my desires, and even aggression are not glorifying God?
Wait, first of all, I’m gonna read a passage out of 1 Peter just so we can, first of all, hear from what God’s Word says about this topic, but this is 1 Peter 3-1, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands so that even if some do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word, by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. And do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or clothing you wear, but let your adorning be with the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by submitting to their own husbands.”
And so I don’t wanna also… Like Sarah said, I don’t wanna take lightly this question either because this is a very serious question, and this could be addressing a lot of different situations in one marriage, like the question was talking about time, money, and desires. So first of all, the Scripture is telling us that if you’re married to an unbeliever, that is possible for an unbelieving man to be one over by just the testimony of the wife’s service and work in the home, and just the kindness and the genteelness and just her disposition and who she is, like day in and day out, that being like an example or even just like being Christ in the home that he could see every day.
It may be refer… Your question may be referring to a man who is just like, maybe even just lazy or just not really pursuing Christ, but is a Christian. Maybe he’s just an unrepentant Christian, and in that way also your life and the manner that you live your life is an example to him and is probably really convicting to him as well. So I would say, first of all, how do you submit when your spouse is not walking with the Lord? And that is an opportunity for him to see the gospel in your life when you’re submitting first to Christ. And I don’t… I know that we were talking earlier, Spence and I, that if your husband is asking you to do things that’s contrary to scripture, that that’s not the submission that the Bible is talking about when it’s talking about submitting to your husband, but to just be in prayer about that and asking the Lord to just break your husband, asking the Lord to give you opportunity to be a servant and to see the Lord work in your heart towards him, and to also maybe even having a friend that can be in prayer with you about that.
If this is you, please feel free to come up and talk to us afterwards. We’d love to pray with you. If you came with a group, maybe even talking to the ladies in your group to have some accountability and being creative in ways that you can submit in ways that he would see because you’re reflecting Christ in the home, you know? But the last thing I would wanna say about that is you could be dealing with a dangerous man, ’cause it was… She said something about being aggressive. So just to kinda piggy-back on what Sarah was saying, if you feel like in any way that that aggression is dangerous or putting you into a situation where you feel this could be dangerous for you or your kids, I think taking a step away, separating out for a while to be able to… Until he’s able to get that aggression under control could be… It could be a biblical thing to work on your marriage from a distance, still being in a safe place to be able to have clear thought and not also at the same time being fearful of your life.
So I just definitely would encourage you to seek out ways that you could serve in the home and be consistent with your example of Christ in your home even though he is not receptive to it, and just praying that God… And making a group even of some friends that would just pray together that Christ would just soften his heart to the gospel and change him.
How do you forgive and show mercy when someone has abused you sexually or physically?
So, this is not gonna be a very long, lengthy answer. And again, these are topics that we could discuss much better in different contexts than a five-minute clip. But I do you want to just clarify a few things about forgiveness and showing mercy. I probably am gonna keep saying those kind of interchangeably, forgiveness and showing mercy. In the Bible it says that we are to forgive as Christ forgave us, and I wanna clarify a few things that forgiveness is not, okay? So forgiveness is not a substitute for justice, okay? So forgiving someone that has hurt you in this way does not mean you cannot testify against them, that you can’t let justice take its course. “Well, because I’ve forgiven them, so am I still allowed… “
That’s not true. So forgiveness is not a substitute for justice. Also, forgiveness does not mean a removal of consequences in the relationship. So you can forgive somebody and there can still be brokenness in the relationship. And what I mean is there might be a situation if you’ve been sexually assaulted that it is not only possibly dangerous for you, but also just traumatic emotionally and physically to be in the same room with that person. And so let’s say they wrote you a letter and said, “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” and you’re able through Christ and his mercy towards you to bend that mercy hours towards that person, you can do that and still say, “I forgive you, but I cannot be around you.” And that’s fine. So forgiveness does not necessarily mean a full restoration. And we see that in scripture, we see that in the life of David and other places in scripture that someone is forgiven of their sins, but God does not remove consequences from their life.
And so also, I guess the third thing I just wanted to say is being prepared on your side of it to extend, to bend that mercy out. And in the biblical picture of forgiveness, we see both that on one side condemnation being removed, but on the other side there’s repentance. And if this person is unrepentant in their sin, then that forgiveness can’t totally be completed. You can’t extend forgiveness to someone that doesn’t want to be forgiven in that sense. But I don’t know the best words for describing that, but there’s a way of dealing with the bitterness and allowing the Lord to heal you and bring you to a place in healing where you’re even able to pray for that person’s salvation and that type of healing, where if the day came that they were repentant, you would be able to extend it. Does that make sense?
I have a desire to be a missionary, but I’m single. Do you have any encouragement for me as I wait for God’s timing?
Okay, who’s single in here? Can I see who I’m… Be bold, it’s alright. Okay, this is… There you go. I love this question, because I didn’t get married until later, which I thought at the time was later in life. I was 26, so that seems really young now that I’m older, but… So I didn’t get married till later in my opinion, but I didn’t spend a lot of time in my single years just thinking about my wedding day and… I really did… I really thought a lot about what was I gonna do. I knew I wasn’t gonna be content in a regular situation or a job. I’d worked retail in high school, and I thought, “I just cannot do this the rest of my life.”
I really just… I have a… My parents had done a good job giving me a biblical worldview, so I knew that I wanted to do something… I had been raised on missions stories, so that was something that I just really was excited about. However, I got to be older and realized, “I’m probably gonna have to do this on my own”, because there wasn’t… I didn’t have a significant other or whatever. So in college, I started to just really pray. And I really had a hard… I’m gonna talk a little bit tonight about my testimony, but college was difficult. I couldn’t go off to college, I had to go to a community college for financial sake or whatever, and God didn’t allow me to go off to college till later.
So I just started plugging in at a Baptist Student Union. I went to Motlow State Community College, home of the Lady Bucks. That’s where I went to school, okay? So there was a lot of deer around there, not much else. There was one Baptist Students Union, is what we called it. It’s not called that anymore, is it? Baptist Student Center? Anyway, so I went there, and I started trying to plug in there, but they were just not my kind of people. In my mind, I’m like, “Okay, they love the Lord, but everybody’s wearing black, it’s scary, I don’t know.” So it was just really difficult, I didn’t understand. But they did this thing with the North American Mission Board, and I thought, “That’s what I wanna do. I just wanna go, I wanna try.” So I did that, I did a summer with the North American Mission Board, and God changed my perspective. So I would just encourage you, if you’re single, get plugged into something like that. If you’re not in college, there’s opportunities. If you’re involved in this ministry at all, you know that. If you sit still long enough, we’re gonna put you on a pole, we’re gonna give you somewhere to go. But be open to that. If you really wanna be a missionary, just give that to the Lord and go do these things.
I went over, I did a whole summer there, and it was in that summer that we did four weeks of camp. We did a week with deaf camp, and we did two weeks of children’s camp and a youth camp, and I loved it. And it was in that time frame that the Lord began to say, “I think camp ministry… ” I began to feel the Holy Spirit calling me into camp ministry, but I was overseas when I did that. So that’s how he narrowed down my direction, if that makes sense. So if you don’t know where you’re gonna go or what you’re gonna do with your singleness, go. Go do something when you can. I’ve got five kids now. You know how hard it would be to get our rear ends on a plane and go anywhere? So now when you don’t have all that going on, do it, and just use your time. I went to… I did my student teaching. I went to college and I got a teaching degree, but I knew I didn’t wanna just teach, I wanted to do something with that. So I asked, “Can I go do my student teaching overseas?” So I did that.
So just go and make yourself available, and don’t… Eventually, if that’s God’s plan for you, that maybe he’ll bring someone into that picture, but that’s not the main goal, right? The goal is to serve the Lord and grow. I would really encourage you to just lay aside thinking that you know everything. Find a lady that’s gone before you and ask for their help, like, “Titus 2 me, I need somebody to disciple me.” ‘Cause a lot of times we think we know all the answers and we’ve got everything figured out, and we really need those missions trips and those times to realize I don’t have anything figured out, and you just… You lay your life before the Lord there and just be used. But I will also say on the flip side, those of you that are not single that your mom’s in here, if your child comes to you and they say, “I’m gonna go to the ends of the earth”, you gotta support them. That’s how you’re raising them. You want them to do that, but when they say something like that to you, sometimes you shut down and you’re like, “But I meant for you to do that at the First Baptist Church of wherever I live, not overseas.” And y’all… I am excited for one day for my kids… I told one of them has to live with me, and it’s the one that gets on my nerves all the time. I’m like, “I’m gonna live with you when I’m old.” So I tell them that. But I want them to go.
I want them to go to the ends of the earth, and I wanna go visit. I’m excited to be able to do that one day. Now, I know, my oldest is 11, so I’m not there yet. I may have to eat these words one day, but I’m raising them for that purpose in mind. And if they’re just businessmen, and they’re godly, and they’re leading their families, I’ll be thrilled. But if they say, “Mama, I’m going to the jungles,” I’ll be like, “Sweet, I will get the booster shot and get on the plane and come visit you.” So single in here, just really encourage you, plug into a ministry, come work a summer at Snowbird Outfitters, get plugged in spend your time doing what you can for the gospel. And that may mean plugging into a family and just seeing, “How do they do… How do they raise kids?” ‘Cause you know, on the mission field, a lot of times the wife is tending the house and working with women, and she’s having to… Brittany Worth is in here, she had to learn how to make tea and do all this stuff. And I know that that’s not what she did here, but she learned and she had to be this way ’cause she couldn’t talk to Muslim women just anywhere, she had to adapt to her surroundings. And so, you need to do that in America before you go, find women that you can plug in with before you leave.
All of my friends are Christians, and I am around Christians at work. How do I meet lost people and get involved in the community in order to share the Gospel?
Okay, so this is my scenario a lot. We work here, people come here expecting to hear the gospel. I’m at home with my kids who have been taught the gospel since they were just learning to talk and listen and all that, so… I wanna encourage you that there are ways. And you might have to be creative, and it might depend on your stage of life. For us, one thing that we have going on in our church here… And it may be through your church, and it may be just through casual activities. And so through our church here, we have a tutoring program where we bring in kids. It’s called Pinwheel tutoring. Little and Moose spearheaded that, I think, and Fosho last year. ‘Cause Jenn’s a teacher in the school. And so this need came up that these kids that aren’t getting help at home with their homework would just really benefit from extra help.
And, of course, from our perspective was very… Our objective is taking the gospel into these homes, and so we get to hang out with these kids. They come up, they play in the basketball court for 15 minutes, then they go up to the metal building and we feed them food, and we read them stories out of the Bible. And then we sit down and we do their homework for an hour. And what that has done is, one, we build relationship with that student. I have the same little girl every week, and so that builds that relationship there, but it also gives us a doorway into their homes so that we’re able to go visit them at home, invite them out to events here at camp, give that child a ride home maybe, and you start to build a relationship with the families. And you’re providing a service.
You’re doing something that is beneficial for them. They are thankful that you’re helping their student do better in school. But then you’re also getting an entry way into their lives of people that you would not have met necessarily and being able to share the gospel. And so that’s one way practically here, but there’s also… I think right now my mind is all centered in kid activities, ’cause that’s the stage of life we’re in with… I know that other families here use… None of my kids are really into sports yet for some reason, I don’t know. But other families that have kids that are into sports use that as an opportunity to meet other parents and to… I think the big focus is that if you’re intentional, if you have the gospel-centered mindset that you want to take the gospel out to other people, then you’ll… Even just praying that the Lord would make you aware of opportunities that pass you by every day and you just don’t notice it. We get busy, we get focused on our own agenda, and we just miss it. And so I think just being flexible in that situation, and if someone…
You know, my whole thing, I’m always in the grocery store and I’m like, I see the same cashier every week, how am I gonna get a gospel conversation in the two minutes that I’m checking out? No, it takes longer than that. And my kids are running around and I’m trying… And I’m like, I wish I could share the gospel. But I’m just trying to think about, how can I do this? And a few weeks ago, this lady is checking out next to me, and she had bought four cases of Mountain Dew, and she did not have a way that she was gonna get at home, she would have to walk to the store and she was asking them, “Can I leave these here ’till I can get a ride back?” And I was just half hearing it, and then she just point blank turned to me and said, “Would you be able to give me a ride home?” Which I was like, “Oh, yeah, I can do that.”
And so I established in my mind, because I went through these different things, ’cause I thought, “Is my husband gonna tell me that I was crazy and I could have got killed? And he’s gonna be mad at me for getting in the car with a stranger I don’t know.” But… So I determined that if I did get killed, I was gonna at least have shared the gospel first. [chuckle] So I was like, alright, I’m gonna do this. This is gonna be my accountability, I have to share the gospel in case I die doing this.
So I did and it was really, honestly, it’s humbling to admit, but it was like the first time in so long that I just have straight out shared the gospel with somebody that I met in the community, no church context or any other thing like that. And so I think just being aware and praying that God would give those opportunities to you, being intentional in the way that you think about the relationships that you already have. Because no doubt at some point in your day, you are coming in contact with people that are lost, even if you feel surrounded most of the time, so… Yeah.
What do you do when your husband doesn’t lead spiritually?
How much time do we have? Y’all, this is really intimidating. Y’all are tired. How many of you all were in the three man today? Everybody? Okay. Y’all are still sick to your stomach? Alright. So this is a hard one. It’s got a lot of answers to it, and I don’t know… Again, we don’t know the context. I think it’s awesome that I got this question. I’m gonna talk a little bit about this tonight, my husband does lead spiritually, and I’m thankful for that, but is it okay for us to just take over? Okay. So you gotta back up a little bit, you have to think about your personality type, are you…
When you say your husband doesn’t lead well, you gotta think through that, I would even maybe jot some stuff day and not leave it on the table where he can see it, ’cause that’s manipulating, but think through What are you saying that he does that he’s not leading well? Is he providing for your family? I struggled with this when I first got married, and I’m gonna talk about it a little bit, but I’m so glad the Lord really took me through some hard times quickly because I was about to destroy my family before I even got going.
So I think, No. The answer is you shouldn’t lead spiritually from the front, as far as pushing him to do something and being discontent, but you can lead by this… Let me give you some things. You can lead by practically being thankful. Thanksgiving produces joy. So if you’re struggling in here and you feel like you’re looking at marriages, and this is the thing, Facebook and social media, and you go to church and you think we are all doing Bible study and prayer every day with our husbands. That’s not a correct perspective. That was awesome. And maybe in heaven that will happen, but we study different. My husband studies really differently than I do, and I can’t speak for all of them, but I think when we all got married, we thought that that would be our reality.
That we would all just sit and sing hymns and it would just be this beautiful picture. And a week later, we’re like, wait a minute, we’re not doing that. Our tendency is just to take over. I’m very tough… I’m a recovering type A and I’m… [laughter] The Lord just kept giving me children two at a time, things like that. [laughter] And he’s like, “You’re not gonna have control.” But my tendency in my home, if I’m not careful, is to take over. Now luckily, my husband is very… He is a steady guy and he is not… He doesn’t desire to be upfront and push, but he is… He leads our family. And there’s times when he’s disciplining the kids, they’ve done something and I’ve told him and he’s trying to correct them, and I find… I’ll over talk him, and he turned to me and say, “Well, you didn’t let me finish, but I was gonna address that.”
And I love when he does… It doesn’t happen a lot, ’cause I remember those words and I try. I’m like, I don’t wanna do that. He’s the leader in our home, but I’m with them all the time, it just… So I have to work on not trying to lead. But if we look at Genesis 3 real quick. In the garden, “The serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit… ” They have this dialogue back and forth, and he deceives her. And I think that’s important to understand that the bottom line is that we enjoy being spiritually elite or something like over other people, and that’s a sin thing that runs in the female line, and we’ve gotta be very careful to trust our own discernment, to trust our own spiritual awakenings or feelings.
You’re not gonna hear a man on a given day be like, “I feel the Holy Spirit,” or… You know what I’m saying? We use those terms. So we need… Whether you think your man is leading or not, and maybe I’m assuming in a situation, he claims to be a believer and you’re just not happy with how he’s doing things, so what I would encourage you to do… And this is, again, we could have a whole session on this, but… Think about… Proverbs 17-22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. But a broken spirit drives out the bones.” Now, when he married you, he didn’t marry a dry boned lady. He didn’t do that. You were cheerful. You smiled. You were happy to see him.
Now, I’m 13 years into this thing, and some days I’m not happy when he gets… It’s not his fault. There’s been a whole bunch else go on before he gets home, but I want him to be cheerful when he comes home. Amy has done a good job, we talked to each other about this because we want our homes to be a haven, a place of rest when they come in, whatever that looks like. And you know what? He may not deserve that, in your mind, you may think, “Oh, he doesn’t deserve that.” But can you find one thing to be thankful for? There’s a million things you can complain about. His muddy boots at the door after you’ve just done this whole cleaning this floor… Be glad his boots are there, you know? Be thankful that they’re there and not down or out somewhere else.
So look for ways that you can just say, “Hey, thank you for doing that.” And you may, inside, be really struggling ’cause you wanna give him a speech, you wanna let them have it, but get accountability. Ask for somebody that you respect. When I first got married, we started doing a woman’s Bible study, there’s a lady that came and did that for us and it was awesome. She just helped us as women because we didn’t know what we were doing, we’d never been married, we never had kids, and we needed a tathastu person in our life, so y’all need to find somebody. If there’s an older woman that you’ve seen is doing this well, ask for her opinion, ask for her help. So no, you shouldn’t just take over.
Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t disciple your children, hopefully he’s going to church with you, but just say thank you. If he’s not been going to Sunday morning, Sunday night, Bible study Wednesdays, Bible study… All the different things that you think he should do, be thankful for when he does go. And if he’s letting you go, be grateful for that. A woman that steps outside her nature and assumes the dominant role will soon be emotionally and physically exhausted because that’s not how we were created, our role in marriages that we are his help mate.
Now, there’s again, there’s a lot of context to that. But if we’re trying to take over and lead, then we’re gonna be exhausted. And we’re just gonna get madder and meaner and not cheerful and not thankful, so in that situation, if you feel like your husband’s not leading, check your heart first, check yourself. Make a list of all the good things that he does do. Do you have a roof over head? Does he provide for you? And pray for him, because maybe by your humble example, maybe he’ll start to lead. Invite him to the Men’s Conference, he’ll get hammered at Snowbird Outfitters about this. But not by you, because he needs to be the hero in his home, not the doormat that gets… Undermine his authority.
The last thing I will say about that is, be careful how you speak about him in front of your kids. If you’re always undermining his authority in front of your children, then you’re gonna teach your daughter or your sons that that’s what a marriage looks like, and that’s not okay. So if you’re not happy with your situation at the house, you make it as awesome for your kids as you can, and you pray the Lord does the work in his heart, and just see what God does. He will do some cool… We’ve seen it. I’ve seen some cool things happen when a woman submits and trusts and you seek counsel. Seek counsel, and have an accountability partner in that.
As a single woman, I’m curious how you balance being a wife, mom and in ministry?
Amy Davis, Sarah Conti, Jenn Forchetti, and Bethany Clark:
Amy: First of all, I definitely refer to myself as a trophy wife lots of times. Yeah, but that’s just kind of a joke, but one thing that the Lord is really like, but seriously, I do, but it is just like… It’s only kind of a don’t yet, man. Man, the whole mom thing for me in throws it off, because one, I don’t like being labeled like Jewosha was saying earlier, I really enjoy just that I can have come to the spot where the Lord’s like, “You’re mine, you’re my child. Done,” like not a wife, not mother, not friend, not… But just being satisfied with being like, I’m Amy and I belong to Jesus, and this is what I need to do to minister to other people around me, and whatever, all that is.
Because when I started putting these little things in my mind about, “This is what a wife does, this is what a mom does, this is what a friend’s supposed to do,” then I’m dropping birthdays, forgetting birthdays or like I’m embarrassed to say, “Yes, I homeschool my kids.” And I feel like I’ve got these expectations of what Amy, what I think a wife is supposed to be, a mom is supposed to be, and then I’m trying to overcome these stereotypes that I’ve come up with in my own head instead of just being who Christ has called me to be, which is obedient and loving the people that God’s put in my life.
Does that make sense at all? So it has helped me to be like, “I don’t have to wear all these hats, I can just be me, and this is how I clean my house, but I’m not a housekeeper, and this is how I teach my kids how to read but I wouldn’t call myself a teacher,” and just be myself and also to cultivate like a home for my family and that fits and works for my family, and not feel like, “Oh, well, this is what Sarah does at her house or what Bethany does at her house… ” It’s like, “Oh well, we sleep till 9 o’clock and then maybe we’ll get school go until 9:40. That’s what works for our family.” And that’s okay, you know, because our schedule is so crazy, but not feel like I have to fit into somebody else’s expectations of what a family is supposed to look like.
I hope this is encouraging to you, this praying about who God has made my family to be and how my family is supposed to relax and chill out, how my family is supposed to be obedient to the call of the Gospel, to share the Gospel, and that’s really just been such a huge thing for me in the past couple of months even, to just be like, “Okay, I don’t have to balance all of these different stereotypes and these different levels of whatever it is, I just have to be obedient to who God’s called me to be, love Jesus, read. Focus on those things and God’s gonna fill in the rest of it for other people, if he needs me to even minister to other people.” Does that make sense? So I hope that is encouraging to you.
I think one thing that I would say about all of this and just changing roles like that is that just being flexible, that there doesn’t have to be a formula that’s gonna last through all those stages and it’s gonna change, and so you might go from being on the front lines of ministry and you’re serving in all these formal capacities or whatever, and then all of a sudden you’re in the background, you’re at home with your kids, and that’s good, and that’s okay, and that’s fine, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not doing ministry. So for that season of ministry, a big part of your ministry might be filling up sippy cups and changing diapers and teaching a kid how to talk, but you’re doing those…
Those things are still for the gospel, as long as everything you’re doing is for the gospel, so I’m teaching my kid to talk and for the sake of the gospel one day, I hope his mouth is gonna proclaim the Word of God, I’m teaching my kids to read and one day he’s gonna read the Word of God, you know like that, that there’s purpose behind those things, and that you can still serve even in supporting other people in ministry, and whether that’s cooking a meal for somebody or for me when I was at home then it also had to change my mindset that I’m still part of the ministry that my husband is doing because I’m taking care of all this, so he can be… They are doing that and that’s still part… You’re just in the background. But that’s fine.
And honestly, for me, it was really good to have a season of obscurity, like the Lord taught me a lot through that and humbled me a lot through that, that I don’t have to be the one on the front lines, and so… Also even with young kids to older kids, that changes what you can be involved in, what you can do, and then my final thing I would say is seeing your home as a center for ministry, so while going out and doing all these things might not be as easy anymore, you bring people in, you fold someone into your family, you invite people over for dinner, you let them stay after dinner while you have devotions with your kids and just fold them in and make them part of your life, whether that’s full Nepal laundry beside you or sitting and having a cup of coffee, like there’s ways to keep ministry going, it’s just gonna look different and you just have to be creative and just flexible and not have a standard that you think, “This is what it has to look like.”
Bethany: This last verse, they’ve covered it all, that’s all… We’ve all worked through that ’cause we were all single here and then got married and have inner different season, so it’s just a progression, don’t hold tightly, hold loosely to everything, whether you’re single, you’re married, because there’ll be a stage where you’ll be single again, you know what I mean, that’s just life. And just holding loosely to all of that is the key, and seeking advice and pressing into scripture all this whole day has been based around that, that’s how you go from being single to married, to married with kids, married the kids are gone, or I’m widowed, or whatever it is that God calls us to, we all have to cross these stages, but Little had this first in her house for all of us, just like when we were all single and running around her house and having us over, and it said, 1 Thessalonians 4, 11 and 12, “Make it your ambition to live quietly and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands.”
And she had that above her kitchen, and I just remember watching her modeling that because now she’s able to be around and do way more. But there was years where she would play music and go home, and a lot of you all didn’t know that, but she would just piece out and now she’s in a little bit different season, but that was huge for us as single girls to watch that, like Where are all the moms? Where are all the wives? Well, that’s a big… That should be very telling for you all that we’re not just camping out on the door step right now, because right now our ministries at our house, and hopefully that in the years that’ll change and our kids are getting older, they’ll be into stuff all over Camp. We have to get them out of a, Hey, don’t go into cabins, we’re in that stage. You know, I am in that stage now, so it’s a little bit… We’re a little bit freer than we were two years ago, so… Yeah, it’s just changing. That was good.
Jenn: I want us to guard against thinking that one is better than the other, that being single is better than being married, or being married is better than being single, ’cause I think at some point, we all deal with that. I know women who are married who yearn for the days when they had the freedom of singleness, and then I have single people who think that they just can’t even start their life or find or feel whole until they’re married. And so guard against that and just embrace where the Lord has you, may it be for your whole life or for a time or season, and wherever he has you, guard against thinking that the other is better or the other is easier, ’cause there’s things that are definitely awesome and easier about being single.
You have more flexibility, you have more freedom, you don’t have as many responsibilities, and then there’s some awesome things about being married, you have a partner to talk things through, you have someone who helps with the dishes, maybe… You have someone who can run to the store when you’re sick throwing up, and so there’s beautiful things about both, and so be mindful that the Lord has you in whatever season for a reason and a purpose, and guard against thinking the other is better, and then just be obedient and faithful with whatever it is that He puts before you.
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