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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Being a World-Changer
Guest: Barbara Rainey
From the series: Three Essentials for Every Married Woman (Day 2 of 2)
Air date: September 2, 2014
Bob: The kind of woman God uses in her home and in her world is a woman who has dug down deep in His Word. Here’s Barbara Rainey.
Barbara: “Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.” [John Piper]—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. It makes for a wimpy woman too.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, November 20th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. A wise woman knows that the foundation of her relationship with her husband is, first and foremost, found in a strong relationship with God. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. You looked tired when you came in today. Was it because of dinner last night? [Laughter]
Dennis: You saying that dinner wore me out? What are you saying?
Bob: You were just—as you were—
Dennis: I slept well.
Bob: As you recounted to me, you said that you had a meal with your wife and that she was—you were pretty worn out by the time it was over.
Dennis: I did not say— [Laughter] Barbara, if you’re listening to this, I want you to know I did not say that!
Bob: Okay, that’s true. You did not say that.
Dennis: Bob is construing—I actually said: “Last night, over dinner, Barbara was talking about all the stuff she wants to do and be a part of. She was dreaming and thinking and had a list of 12 projects she wanted to accomplish—
Bob: Here’s what you really said. You said she talked for an hour before you got a word in edgewise. [Laughter]
Dennis: I did not!
Bob: That’s exactly what you said! [Laughter]
Dennis: I did not say that. [Laughter] I enjoy talking to her. In fact, I said this to her. I said, “You know, in our relationship, you have become the extrovert; and I am becoming an introvert.” She said: “No, no, no. Don’t you give me that! You are not an introvert!” And she’s right. I’m not an introvert. But I do enjoy listening to her because she’s energized, she’s excited, she’s got her head up—she’s looking to the horizon with ideas for the future.
Bob: In fact, if folks are interested in looking at what Barbara has been working on in recent days, they can go to FamilyLife.com and click at the top of the page where it says, “GO DEEPER.” There is a link there for the Ever Thine Home® resources—the complete line of resources that Barbara Rainey has been working on over the last couple of years now—great collection of discipleship resources that look beautiful in your home. That’s how I would describe Barbara’s line. Again, find out more—go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER,” and then the link for Ever Thine Home. Take a look at what Barbara has been up to over the past couple of years.
Let me also mention, while you are on our website—this week and next week—we’re making a special offer available to FamilyLife Today listeners who would like to attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. We’ve got 14 getaways happening this fall in some pretty nice locations—Monterey Bay, California; Estes Park, Colorado; San Diego—there’s going to be one in Fort Myers, Florida; and in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—some great locations for the upcoming Weekend to Remember season.
If you and your spouse would like to attend one of these upcoming getaways—if you sign up this week or next week—you pay the regular rate for yourself, and your spouse comes free. It’s a buy one/get one free opportunity for Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this fall or for next spring. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, ‘GO DEEPER.”
The information about the Weekend to Remember is available there—find out dates and locations. Again, when you register online, you pay the regular rate for yourself and your spouse comes free. Take advantage of that opportunity. Plan to get away for a weekend together, as a couple, at one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.
Alright, we’re going to listen to Part Two of a message now from Barbara Rainey about what she calls the essentials—the “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman.” She has already said, this week, that a woman needs to be a woman of the Word, and she needs to be a husband-helper. Today, we’re going to hear her thoughts on how a woman can become a world-changer.
Barbara: And then the third thing I want to challenge you with—that I think is, again, a truth for all women of all seasons / of all generations—and that one is to be a world-changer. All of us, as women, need to see ourselves as being world-changers.
No matter where you are / no matter what your age, the Christian life is permeated with purpose. Jesus rescued us from meaninglessness / from futility to give us a life of great purpose and great calling. He didn’t just save us so we could be happy and have sweet little families with perfect little children. He saved us for a purpose, and for a calling, and for a mission, and for a ministry.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” That means—for every single woman in this room, God has works prepared beforehand for you to walk in just as He does for me. We need to find out what those are and walk in them.
There are two categories of women who are world-changers. The first one is for those of you who still have children at home and are still raising children.
I want to say to you, who are still parenting, that: “Mothers are the biggest world-changers that there are when you raise your kids to know Christ, and to follow Him, and to want Him because, as we raise our kids for the next generation, we are raising young men and young women who God can use for great purposes; and we are protecting them from the enemy.”
I was talking to a friend the other day—this young man who works in our office—and their oldest is five. They have three kids. I said, “Well, how’s it going with your kids?” He said, “Oh.” He just rolled his eyes; and he said, “We are really struggling with Emma,”—their oldest, who’s five. We’ve had lots of Emma conversations since this little girl made her entrance in the world because she has been the one of their three who has learned how, at a very young age, to press every one of their buttons.
He said, “We are just worn out at the end of every day.” He said, “My wife just feels like she’s failing, day after day after day, because every day Emma comes up with a new way to disobey, and a new way to push back, and a new way to break the rules.”
He said, “It feels like all we do is discipline this child.” I said: “Oh, I understand. I had one like that.” I said, “I felt like that’s all I did, all day long, for years was spank him three or four times a day because he was just so determined he was going to do everything his own way.”
But that is a part of raising our kids for Christ—is training them and disciplining them so that some day they will choose Christ. I want to encourage you—those of you who are moms—that you will be diligent to raise your kids for Christ and that you will find opportunities to teach them and to expose them to what God is doing around the world.
One of the very best things you can do—for those of you who still have kids at home—as they get to be maybe eight or ten, start taking them on mission trips. When they’re younger, you can find things to do in the city—whether it is serving in a mission in the inner-city or working with the homeless—something that’s close at hand. But I would highly encourage you, as your kids get older, to take them on international mission trips. Take them to some orphanages.
Let them see these children who have nothing.
It was life-changing for my kids to take them to Russia and to go to these orphanages, where these kids had absolutely nothing. It was a wonderful experience for my girls to walk in there and see those children who had nothing. I would highly encourage you to take your kids and let them see the other side of the world because American Christianity is not all there is—and it’s not necessarily the best forum either. So, encourage them to do that.
Read them missionary stories. I don’t know how many of you are doing that with your kids, but it’s one of my favorite things that I did with my children—was read them lots of missionary stories. If you don’t know where to start, start with The Hiding Place. I read that to my kids. I remember reading it to my youngest two, again, when they were in high school. I got up on their bed when they were, like, 14 and 15. We read that book through every night. It’s such a wonderful story.
In fact, I re-read that book myself this year. I just love that book! It’s a story of such great faith. Read them the story of Jim Elliot, who’s another missionary—Elisabeth Elliot’s husband. And there are many, many more if you can get busy and find them.
And then for you women, who are empty nest women—there are so many opportunities that we have in this season of life. It took me several years to adjust to being an empty nest mom and not being a full-time mom. I didn’t like it at first. It was hard to adjust to not having kids around. I didn’t know what my purpose was. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with myself. But it has really been fun now that we have made that transition over the last couple of years. We are really enjoying this season. But I’m more convinced than ever—that women in this season of life need to discover a fresh new purpose for their lives. Yes, we still have our husbands to minister to and to walk with. Yes, we still have adult kids.
Many of us still have parents living who need a relationship with us / need us to care for them. Many of us also have grandchildren. And all of those relationships take up a lot of time. For some empty nest women, they take up almost all of their time.
But more than likely, when you’re in your empty nest season of life, you’ll have time for, at least, some other activities—some other kind of ministry. There are so many things that need to be done. There are so many avenues that you can choose from. Mentoring is one of the best—it’s one of the easiest. It’s one of the most accessible things you can do in the empty nest years of your life. Even if you’re not in the empty nest / even if you’re just close to the empty nest, there are women, who are behind you a few years in life, who would love nothing more than to have coffee with you once a month and just let them ask questions.
The first night, which would have been Thursday night, at dinner, I sat next to Joann and asked her some questions that I’ve asked her before—because she’s probably about ten years ahead of me in this.
I was asking Joann questions about what she’s learned about relating to adult kids and grandkids because there are a lot of lessons to be learned in that. So, mentoring is one of the very best things you can do in your empty nest years. It’s one of the easiest things you can do; and it’s a great, great ministry.
We talked, last night, a lot about orphans and foster care. The need is enormous. I think that God has equipped us, as women—especially empty nest women—because we’ve got all these years of experience—raising our kids—to do something about the orphan and foster care crisis in the world. We love children naturally. We’ve got experience in raising children because we’ve raised our kids.
There are so many needs in children around the world. You don’t have to adopt. You don’t have to take foster care kids in—although it would be a great thing—but, in the empty nest years, that may not be what God wants you to do.
But you could start an orphan care ministry in your church. You can get involved in the foster care system and recruit young families who can take these kids in. There are so many things that you could do and that need to be done in this area.
And I think we need to be really careful that we’re not taking our empty nest years and just spending them on ourselves and doing the things we’ve always wanted to do—not that we can’t, because I am doing some of the things I’ve always wanted to do—but I want to make sure that I’m living my life and spending these years for God’s Kingdom. I want to make sure I’m doing what He wants me to do and that I’m investing in eternity.
Another one of the, sort of, conclusions that I’ve come to myself is that I want to make sure that I’m really maximizing these next ten years of my life. I want to do everything that I can do in the next ten years. Part of it is that I just don’t know if I’ll be around in ten years—I mean, there’s nothing wrong with me that would indicate that I’ve got only ten years left—but I might only have ten years left.
That might be true of all of us in here. Who knows?
So, I’ve decided that rather than assume I have another thirty years ahead of me—which I may, but I may not—I’m going to really focus on this next ten. I’m going to really make this next ten years count. I’m going to find out what I can do, where I can make the biggest impact—“What does God want me to do in these next ten years?”—and really do it! I may not die in ten years / Christ may not come back in ten years; but I could have a stroke in ten years, and then I’m not as able to work for the Kingdom.
So, I’ve made that decision for myself. I think, as empty nest women, we need to, sort of, look at time chunks. Maybe we only want to look at five years. But I think we need to look at time chunks and say: “What can I do in the next five years?—with the capability and the time that God has given me today to really make a difference for Christ.”
It may be that, in five years, I’ve got a situation in my family that I need to attend to—almost full-time.
God may pull me off of the frontlines for a while, and He may park me over here where I’m giving care to my parents. Or there may be a situation with one of our kids—I don’t know. But I do know that—in these times / in these days, when I’ve got the time and I’ve got the energy, I want to make sure that I’m maximizing my life for Christ. Because I do know that the purposes of God for my life and for your life will change from time to time. So in ten years, God may have something else for me that I don’t even know about today. But I want to make sure that these days, today, really count for the Kingdom.
Dennis read that verse on Thursday night. I’m going to read it again because, when he read it, I thought, “That really works for us too.” But it’s the verse in Acts 20:24, where he was talking about Paul. I read the context to that, which I thought was interesting because Paul had been hearing from God—that he was going to be in chains. He was telling the people in this passage—the disciples he was with / the churches that he was with—in this paragraph—
—that he was going to be in chains—that he knew that there was trial ahead of him because God had revealed it to him.
That’s the context for this verse. He said in here, “None of these things move me...”—he’s talking about being in chains and being taken to Rome. And I thought, “Isn’t that an interesting statement?” I think what he means is “None of those things frighten me because I know God is in control and God has revealed it to me.” “…Nor do I count my life dear to me...” He wasn’t hanging on to his life. He was willing to give his life for whatever God had for him—whatever that purpose was. He said, “… so that I may finish my race with joy and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus Christ to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
I want to encourage you to find out what your ministry is, as a woman. If you still have kids at home, your number one ministry is your husband and children. Don’t forget that because that’s the primary thing God has called you to do.
But, if and when you are an empty-nester, find out what that ministry is. Maybe God has something for you to do with your kids—some kind of a ministry that you can do with your children because taking your kids to do ministry things is one of the best ways to raise them for the Kingdom. Find out what that ministry is and be busy about it.
I wanted to read you a story that does come out of the book, The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom because it goes a little bit along with what Paul just said when he said “I wasn’t afraid of these things—none of these things move me.” She tells the story, in the early part of the book, about being in their home still in Holland. One night there was a bombing raid going on. There were these bombs dropping all over the city. In the middle of the night, she and her sister Betsy woke up. They both walked downstairs to the kitchen to have tea together and wait for the bombing to stop so they could go back to sleep. Can you imagine?
I just can’t imagine waking up, with bombs dropping all around, and going down to the kitchen and having a cup of tea. Amazing; isn’t it?
But she tells the story about that night. She said this in the book, “In the early days of World War II …”—when they were still safe, relatively speaking, in their own home. When they came down to the kitchen that night, during the bombing raid, Corrie told Betsy about a dream she had had and what she saw happening in their family. She’d had this very vivid dream of all of them being loaded in a cart and taken away. It frightened her, and she didn’t know what it meant. But when she told it to Betsy, Betsy’s response was this—she said, “I don’t know what it means,” she said softly. “But if God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know, to tell us that this, too, is in His hands.”
I love that story because it’s exactly what Paul was saying. Paul knew that bad times were coming for him. But he knew that this, too, was in God’s hands.
I think, for all of us, as women—with everything that’s going on in our world—there are so many things that can be very frightening. All you have to do is watch the news at night to be frightened. We’ve stopped watching it so much because it is frightening—but we need to remember, as women, too: “This, too, is in His hands.” We can have the confidence and the strength to really believe that—not believe it because I said it, not believe it because Corrie ten Boom said it—or Betsy, actually—but to believe it because this Book says so.
That’s why we need to be in this book—because your confidence needs to come from God’s Word to you / to your heart—not God’s Word to you through three or four other people—but God’s Word to you through this Book. Let it guide you into the ministry He has for you—into the calling He has for you and the way He wants to use your family for His Kingdom.
There’s a little phrase I heard many, many, many years ago. It goes like this:
“Only one life—‘twill soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” You’ve probably heard it too. It’s a good reminder that we need to be living our lives for the Kingdom—especially in this day / in this generation, when so much is going on around us.
I want to encourage you to be women of the Word, to be a helper to your husband, and to be a world-changer where God has put you today, and to be open to whatever calling He might have on your life—whatever that purpose is that He has for you.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to Part Two of a message from Barbara Rainey on “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman.” You know, being a world-changer, as Barbara was talking about today, is something that really has been at the center of her heart since the time you met her; hasn’t it?
Dennis: It has. In fact, she believed, and I do, too, that having children and being a mom was one of the greatest, and highest, and holiest privileges she’s had on this planet.
And yet, as we have become empty nesters, she’s moved on to the next assignment, which is being a woman, who’s looking out to the horizon, from the empty nest and going, “What’s next, God?”
Dennis: I think He’s answering that prayer. As we mentioned at the outset of the broadcast, we’ve had some conversations about some of her dreams; and she has a lot of them. And you know—that’s good. I don’t think God put us here to rust out. I think He put us here to be worn out for the right objective.
Bob: When you’re in the season of life, where you’re raising your kids—that’s really world-changer work—to raise young men and young women who have an eternal perspective. But you do come to a season where they’re out—
Dennis: That’s right. That’s right.
Bob: —and you have to look up and say, “Okay, what now?”
Dennis: I think one of the great needs today, within the Christian community, is for older women, who are moving into this season of their lives, to be able to step back and say:
“What’s my vision? Where am I headed? What are my dreams and my goals?” It doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to decide those overnight; but you’re in the process of determining what’s going to get the next 10, 15, 20 years of your life, as long as God gives you good health, and the ideas and the dreams, and enables you to accomplish them. I think, today, one of the greatest untapped resources in the church for the Kingdom of God is women. I think there are a number of women today who are having tremendous ministries, but there needs to be more.
Bob: And Barbara’s point is that this is an essential for every married woman; but it’s got to be kept in the priority of her responsibilities to be growing in her own relationship with Christ, and to be serving her husband and her children. Keeping that tension and those priorities together is not an easy task.
Dennis, I’m thinking about Sunday mornings at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways, where we talk to the husbands and to the wives separately—different rooms. We talk about what it is that God has called men to do, as husbands, and what it is that God has assigned to women, as wives—and how it is you keep a healthy balance with your priorities.
I want to remind our listeners that, this week and next week, you can sign up to attend one of these upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways at a reduced rate. You pay for yourself, and your spouse comes free. It’s a buy one/get one free opportunity. It’s good this week and next week only. It’s good for any of the upcoming fall Weekend to Remember marriage getaways; or if you want to go ahead and plan ahead for spring of 2015—get it on the calendar now and save some money—buy one registration / a second registration is free.
Your spouse comes free when you pay for yourself.
We’ve got getaways happening, this fall, in places like: Del Ray Beach, Florida; Las Colinas, Texas; Couer d’Alene, Idaho; Monterey Bay, California; San Antonio; San Diego—some great locations. You can find out if there’s an event happening in a city near where you live, or a city you would like to travel to, when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” That will take you right to where you can get information about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. Again, when you sign up this week or next week, you buy one registration and your spouse comes free.
Hope you will take advantage of that. We’d love to have you join us at an upcoming Weekend to Remember this fall or next spring. Once again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or if you have questions, call 1-800-358-6329, that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about differences in marriage—about the fact that we don’t both think alike about everything in marriage, as husbands and wives. Our friends, Tim and Joy Downs, are going to be here. We’re going to talk about how we deal with our differences and how differences can actually be a benefit in marriage, not just a source of conflict. We’ll talk about that tomorrow. Hope you can tune in.
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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