Over the years I’ve spoken to many groups of women of all ages. And over those years I began to see commonalities to all married women regardless of age, number of children or life stage. In this podcast series I share three essentials for every married woman.
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Priorities of a Christian Woman
Guest: Barbara Rainey
From the series: Three Essentials for Every Married Woman (Day 1 of 2)
Air date: September 1, 2014
Bob: Want to do something that would really help your husband today? Here’s counsel from Barbara Rainey.
Barbara: One of the great callings of wives is to intercede and pray for our husbands. When we pray for our husbands, and for all that they’re facing and all that God has called them to do, we are imitating what the Holy Spirit does for us in our lives. It’s how we can help our husbands. It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give them in our role as helper.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, September 1st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to hear today about a number of ways wives can lovingly support their husbands. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. Whenever we are with a group of couples—in just about any setting we’ve ever been in—the women in that group are always wishing that they could get a little extra time with your wife.
Dennis: I do too! [Laughter]
Bob: Well, you’ve got her all the time! But these women really look forward—
Dennis: Oh, yeah.
Bob: —to getting some mentoring / some coaching.
Dennis: My wife has good economy of words. You know, there are some people who talk a lot and don’t say much.
Bob: And only say a little.
Dennis: She doesn’t use a whole lot of words, and she gets a lot said. I think because of her stage in life and because of, frankly, some of the hardship we’ve endured—as a couple, as parents, and as a family—I think she’s got a lot to say. It’s not all out of our success. It’s not all out of some cookie-cutter perfect home.
But it’s out of a biblical grid from a woman who’s walked with Christ for, well, almost 40 years, and been obedient in following Him—not perfectly, again—but she does have a lot to say.
Bob: And some of our listeners have had the opportunity to hear Barbara speak at one of our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. In fact, I wanted to mention, Dennis—that this week and next week—we’re kind of kicking off our fall season for the Weekend to Remember. We have 14 events coming up this fall. We’d like to encourage our listeners to attend one of those events—in Florida, or in Texas, or in California, or in Missouri, or in Tennessee, or Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Idaho. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link that says, “GO DEEPER.” You’ll find a list of dates and locations for the upcoming Weekend to Remember getaways this fall.
And this week and next week, we’re making a special offer to FamilyLife Today listeners.
You can sign up for one of these events. When you pay the regular price for your admission, your spouse comes free. It’s a buy one/get one free opportunity for the Weekend to Remember. And by the way, it’s good for events this fall; or if you want to go ahead and schedule your Weekend to Remember getaway for the spring, you can do that as well.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER.” Find out more about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaways in the fall of 2014 and in the spring of 2015—plan to join us at a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway so that you can get a weekend of refreshment / some time together and some biblical coaching on how to have a strong, healthy marriage relationship.
And that’s really part of what we are going to get today as we hear a message from Barbara Rainey—a message that she calls “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman.” And, quickly, here’s the outline: A married woman needs to be a woman of the Word, she needs to be a husband-helper, and she needs to be a world-changer.
Barbara: Good morning! I’ve realized that one of the advantages of being in the season of life that I’m in is I have a little more time to reflect, and to think, and to look back on my life and to just look at it from a big picture. I think when I was raising my kids I was so swamped in the daily-ness that I couldn’t ever pull back enough to look at the big picture.
As I’ve done that, one of the things that I have realized that is true for me—and I think it is true for most women—I think that there are three things that are just essential for every married woman, no matter what your age is—if you’re just starting out, if you’ve got teenagers, or if you’re in the empty nest and you’ve got grandkids all over the country, like we do.
I just think there are some things that are universal—that are common to all of us / that are needed by all of us—and those are the three things that I want to share with you this morning. Then, hopefully, we’ll have some time for questions in the end. So, I’m going to share three essentials / three priorities—whatever you might want to call them—for every married woman.
The first one is that I’m really convinced—and more so with each year—of the importance of us, as women, of being in God’s Word. I remember—when I was raising kids, how hard that was for me. It was one of those things that I felt a great sense of failure over, for many years, in my life because I had this ideal and I had this goal of spending time in God’s Word on a regular basis. I felt very frustrated and very defeated much of the time because my kids interrupted me. Or I’d get up early in the morning, and they’d get up before I would. Or I’d try to do it during naptime, and somebody wouldn’t go to sleep like they were supposed to. Or somebody would be sick, or I’d be so tired I couldn’t focus and continue a train of thought in prayer.
But as I got older and began to get into serious Bible study—I tried a lot when my kids were little—but it was just hard. I did it, but I did it very sporadically. But as my kids got older and they were all in school, I was able to do that on a pretty consistent basis. I realized how important it was for me—for me, personally, to be in God’s Word myself—and not to just be dependent on second-hand information that I got on Sunday mornings, sitting in church, or second-hand information that I got from a book I was reading, or second-hand information that I got from somebody else who said that: “This is what I learned. This is what God is teaching me.”
I realized, through doing consistent Bible study myself, that God could speak to me and He wanted to speak to me. He delighted to speak to me. I could actually hear from Him! That was such a wonderful discovery. It was something that I knew was true—it had happened some—it wasn’t that it never did—
—but as I got into Bible study in a serious, consistent way, it began to happen more often. I began to hear more from God myself—not from somebody else and then to me—but directly from God to me. It was a wonderful, wonderful discovery.
So, as I look back on those early parenting years, I just think, “Oh, I wish I had made it more of a priority.” I think, for every married woman—no matter what season of life you’re in. If you have little bitty kids, I know it’s hard. My daughter’s got five boys, and it’s hard for her. But I’ve really encouraged her to make serious Bible study a part of her life. She’s doing a much better job than I did. She’s in some pretty consistent Bible study. I’m watching her raise her boys—and it’s really helping her keep her peace and her sense of calm—even though she gets frustrated and angry with her kids, just like I did. But she has this strength to draw on more than I did, at her stage in life. I think it’s an extremely important thing for all of us, as women.
One of the things that I’ve realized, as I’ve been thinking about this, is that, not only is Bible study important for us, but I think God wants us to be theologians, as women. How many of you ever thought of yourself as being a theologian?—probably not. I’m not sure I still do either, for that matter; but theology is simply knowing God. It’s the study of God—it is knowing who He is.
I’ve realized that, when we know who God is—we know how He thinks, we know what He does, we know why He does what He does. It’s the essence of a relationship. When we’re studying God’s Word, we’re getting to know Him personally. We’re getting to know God, and we’re developing a relationship with Him. So, therefore, we understand better why He does what He does. We may not always know why He does what He does; but we can understand it better, and I think we’re stronger.
This fall, I went to a conference in Chicago—a women’s conference. It was a really big women’s conference.
John Piper was one of the speakers. He made a statement that I wrote down because it really applied to this, and I liked what he said. He said, “Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.” I thought, “Ooooh, I like that,” because if we really aren’t in God’s Word, then, we just have second-hand information—we’re living on somebody else’s insight or somebody else’s discovery. That makes for wimpy theology, and it makes for a wimpy woman too. I don’t want to be a wimpy woman. I want to be a strong woman. I want my strength to come from a one-on-one relationship with God.
So, by contrast, a confident woman is one who is confident in her theology. She clearly knows what the Bible says, and it makes her a strong woman. That’s what I want for me. I think that’s what you would want, too, because I think all of us, who make a claim to know Christ—we want to be strong women—we don’t want to be wimpy women. So, the way to become a strong woman is to really be strong in knowing Christ and His Word.
Women who stand strong, when everything under them gives way, have powerful theology because knowing God well and knowing His Word is what gives us the strength to stand strong. We discovered that in a very personal way with our granddaughter, Molly, who was born this summer and died. I found myself, during that week of her life, spending a lot of time, when we were in the waiting room—especially in the last few days of her life—just having to read Scripture to remind myself of what was true.
One of the interesting things, as we were there, is that we had all these meetings with doctors. They were very gracious, and they were very kind—and they had to deliver devastating news. How do you do that? I don’t think they get much training for that in med school. That’s a skill that they have to learn, and some of them do it better than others. So, even though they were gracious and very kind, they were trying to be helpful too.
One of the things one of the doctors said, that I heard, was that he was trying to give us an explanation for what happened. His only way of explaining it was that it was a random mutation or some kind of gene that just went awry. If you really grasp onto that, then, what does that do with your theology? How do you reconcile a “random mutation of a gene” with the truth that God is in control and that God is sovereign? How do those two mix? What do you do with them? They don’t mix too well; do they?
One of the verses we read over and over again this summer—that I still go back to, regarding Molly’s life—was Psalm 139, which says: “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed.” That’s the truth. It’s not a random mutation. God was in control. God knit Molly’s body together in my daughter’s womb.
He made her the way He wanted to make her.
The assurance that I have that that’s true is in this Book. We, as women, need to know what this Book says so that, when the storms of life come—and they will—when the troubles of life come—and they will—we can stand strong. We won’t be wimpy women. We’ll be strong women because we know what God’s Word says.
This verse goes on to say, “And in Your book were they written all the days that were fashioned for me when as yet there was not one of them.” So, even though that was really, really difficult in our lives, we were confident that God formed Molly. We were confident that He knew the number of days of her life—and the number of her days was seven.
Even though we heard those things from the doctors—and they temporarily caused us to sway a little bit because it was a little unnerving and a little unsettling to hear some of that—yet, we went back to God’s Word. God’s Word became our anchor.
God’s Word became our strength.
So, I think, for women in this generation—with all that’s going on in our world, with all the multitudes of things that our kids are exposed to—and I don’t mean just little kids or teenagers—I mean even kids my kids’ ages, who are married, and are dealing with the world; and they’re trying to raise their children. The world is getting increasingly difficult. As the world gets increasingly more difficult to live in, our time in God’s Word needs to go up accordingly because God’s Word is the only thing that will make us strong in the storms of life.
So, the first thing I want to encourage you to do—and I know many of you are doing a great job of being in Bible study and serious Bible study—but just make sure that that is a regular part of your life. I promised myself, years ago, that I would be in consistent, serious, inductive Bible study until I breathed my last breath. If I’m not in a class of some kind, I don’t do it!
I just have learned that about myself. If I don’t have the accountability of a class and an assignment that has to be done on a weekly basis, it’s too easy for me to put it off.
Now, maybe you’re better than I am as far as disciplining yourself and you can do it on your own, without the help of a class and a teacher and something like that; but I have to have it. That’s what I have learned about myself, and that’s what I’ve decided to do for myself for the rest of my life. So, number one is: “Make being a student of God’s Word a priority.”
And then, the second thing that I have learned is how important it is for us, as women, at any stage of our marriage, to be a helper to our husbands. I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned recently about that. I think, just as we need good, strong, biblical theology, as women, in our lives personally, we also need it in our marriages. To be the kind of wife that God wants us to be, we need to know what He says. We need to know what His Word says about how to do this job called “wife”—how to fulfill this role that He’s called us to and created us for.
In Genesis, when God created Eve, He told Adam that He was making a helper for him. Before the fall—before sin made a mess of marriage—God declared that woman was to be the helper. That was the title He gave to her in her job description. In the New Testament—in Ephesians—we learn that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. So, in those two verses—in those two statements—we see that each of us, in marriage, has a model, in the Godhead—that we’re to imitate and to follow in our roles in marriage. He is our model and the One we’re to look to for each of our roles in marriage.
I think there’s so much misunderstanding in the church about the Holy Spirit, and His role, and who He is. It’s the part of the Trinity that’s the least understood, I think, among believers.
Likewise, I think, it’s not surprising that, as women, there’s a lot of misunderstanding sometimes as far as our role, too, if we’re to be a helper, as the Holy Spirit is a Helper.
The Holy Spirit is called—in the Old Testament—in the Greek, the term is Paraclete for Holy Spirit. It means “intercessor.” It means “advocate, consoler, and comforter.” So, as we look to God / as we look to the Holy Spirit to be our model—and we’re to imitate Him in our marriage relationship, as wives—those are four words that describe who the Holy Spirit is that we, as wives, likewise, can imitate and follow.
In the book of John, Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit. He told His disciples, on the eve of His death, that He was going to send someone to be with them. He said, “I’m going to send you the Holy Spirit,”—in John, Chapter 14, He said. Then, He goes on to say what the Holy Spirit will do for us. I think there are some lessons for us, as wives, in those instructions that Jesus gave His disciples concerning the Holy Spirit.
The first one is—Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will be with you forever.” What does that do for us, as Christians, when we know that the Holy Spirit will be within us forever and that He will never leave us and never forsake us? What does that do for us? It gives us a great sense of security; doesn’t it?—because we know that, no matter what we do, He will always be there.
Likewise, if we, as women, are supposed to imitate the Holy Spirit, as a helper—because the Holy Spirit is a Helper and we are to be a helper—what does that do for our husbands?—if our husbands know that we are going to be with him forever: “No matter what he does, no matter how bad things get, I am going to be with my husband forever.” It provides great security for him too.
Jesus goes on to say that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. I think what that does for us, as believers, is that gives us the ability to trust because we know that, no matter what God says, it is Truth.
I think, as a wife, I need to be so careful that everything I speak to my husband is truth. I need to be careful about passing on things that I’ve heard that may or may not be true. I just need to evaluate my speech and be careful that I’m speaking truth to him.
Jesus said that “The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” When you think about the context of when that was spoken, the disciples knew that something was beginning to happen—something big was going to happen. They may not have understood—and they didn’t, clearly, understand everything about the crucifixion—what all that meant—but they knew that Jesus had been saying, “I’m going to leave you.” But when He said this to them—that the Holy Spirit would remind them of everything that Jesus had ever said—that, too, would bring great comfort; wouldn’t it?
Because if someone you love is going away, what do you long for? You long to hear their voice again.
You long to hear from them again. Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit is going to bring to your remembrance everything that I said to you.” I think, as wives, when we bring to our husband’s remembrance the truth of Christ / the truth of Jesus in their lives, we, as women, can be a great comfort to our husbands in the same way.
Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears from Me He will speak.” Again, it’s just an encouragement, to me, to be careful what I say and not pass on stuff that I don’t know is the truth or things that aren’t going to do my husband any good. Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him. I need to be careful, in my speech, that what I say glorifies God.
In Romans 8:26, it says that “The Spirit helps our weakness, for the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.” I think one of the great callings of wives is to intercede and pray for our husbands.
When we pray for our husbands—and for all that they’re facing and all that God has called them to do—we’re imitating what the Holy Spirit does for us in our lives. It’s how we can help our husbands. It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give them in our role as helper. So, I want to encourage you to be a holy helper to your husband by imitating what the Holy Spirit does for us, as believers.
And then, I have a friend, who made this statement—that I’m going to quote in a letter that he wrote. He said: “Don’t give up on people. Over time, people, with a heart for God, do mature and grow up. The fruit of the Spirit gradually ripens in their life,”—which it does in ours, too. This is what the Holy Spirit does for us, and it’s what He does for our husbands. It’s a gradual ripening of the Spirit of God in our lives over time.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to Barbara Rainey with a message for wives on the “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman.”
In fact, we’re going to hear Part Two of this message tomorrow on the program; but, Dennis, these are just good, basic reminders for every wife about what her focus and priorities need to be.
Dennis: And I’m glad that I’m married to the woman who gave this message. You know—I’m thinking—it’s really true about her. But, even as I say that, Bob, I kind of wish there was a way—and you can’t do it on radio / you couldn’t do it on video either—but I wish we had a way of really, truly explaining to people what this truly looks like, day in and day out, because it’s not nearly as glorious as we can make it here in a 25-minute broadcast on FamilyLife Today.
I mean, it is hard work—it’s diligence—it’s faithfulness. It’s making mistakes—and not being a woman of the Word, and believing the wrong things, and not being a husband-helper but being a husband—well, complainer—[Laughter]
Dennis: —or chipping away at him.
You know—you make mistakes. Barbara’s made mistakes; but overall, she’s been faithful to live out what we’re talking about here. That’s really what we’re trying to encourage women to be and to do in their own marriages and families. It’s not a matter of perfection—it is a matter of faithfulness—just stay after it and keep following Jesus Christ and looking to God to be the North Star of your life.
Bob: Yes. And I’m thinking about Sunday mornings at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways, where we have the opportunity to speak to the men and the women separately about what it is God’s calling us to do and to be, as husbands and wives, in a marriage relationship. What we’ve heard from folks is that Sunday morning time is some of the most important time of the weekend as husbands and wives get a chance to reorient, and refocus, and make sure they are about the right priorities, moving forward in their marriage relationship.
Again, Dennis, I want to remind our listeners that, this week and next week, we’re making a special offer to those who would like to attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We have 14 events this fall. We’re going to be in California, and Texas, and Florida, and Pennsylvania, in Missouri, and Tennessee, and South Dakota, Iowa, and Idaho. If our listeners are interested in attending any of those events, and saving some money, now is a good time to get in touch with us.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” That’ll take you to where you can find more information about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway—find out when an event is coming to a city near where you live or a city you’d like to travel to. And then, plan to join us, this fall or next spring, at one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.
If you sign up this week or next week, when you pay the regular registration rate for yourself, your spouse comes free. It’s a buy one/get one free opportunity. It’s good this week and next week only.
You can register, online, or get more information at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” You’ll find more information right there about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. And we hope you’ll plan to attend one of these upcoming events, either this fall or next spring.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear Part Two of Barbara Rainey’s message about a woman’s priorities in life and in marriage. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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