A Minute for Mommy

“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is
to sit down and look comfortable.”

-Lane Olinghouse

If you’re a mom, I know you’ve discovered the truth of that quote! Moms rarely get time to themselves to use the bathroom, let alone read a good book.

Even though we don’t have much time to read, busy moms still need biblical encouragement as much anyone, and that what’s A Minute for Mommy posts are all about, sharing Godly wisdom from solid teachers that you can read in right around a minute or less.

So, mommy, if you’ve got a minute, get some encouragement! 

Sally Clarkson

Before I had children…I really had no clue that admiring a Beanie Baby’s pen, taking a picture, finding a T-shirt, and helping to unlock a gas cap would be the kinds of sacrificial acts required of me most often while I attempted to fulfill the mission
of motherhood.

As I have grown through the past eighteen years of motherhood, however, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the many thousands of routine moments in a mother’s life, for it is in these moments that real greatness tends to be taught and caught.

It is certainly important to grasp the great calling of motherhood and respond to a vision for what a family can be. But it’s the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.

If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant’s heart, then I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life.

The Mission of Motherhood, pp. 62-23

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Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Some of the feminist beliefs that were shocking in the beauty parlors of the 1960s have gradually become accepted in our way of life. The influences may seem subtle and perhaps unimportant, but to the degree that they result in an unbiblical value system, they are deceptive and sinful. Only the Scriptures can guide us through the confusing maze of the influence of feminist thinking

As we study the Scriptures and mature in our understanding of godly thinking and beliefs, we will become more discerning about the wrong ways we have been influenced. Instead of being drawn to the ear-tickling allure of feminist philosophy, the author of Hebrews wrote that our senses will be “trained to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

God commands all Christians to:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Col. 2:8)

The only way we will not be taken captive by the feminist beliefs is through the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace enabling us to study and believe and embrace what God has told us in His Word.

~Martha Peace in Damsels in Distress

Photo: OBMonkey

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What traits does a godly woman have? The Bible has quite a bit to say about that.

“Ruth 3:11: ‘And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid….All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.’ ”

Do you have a reputation for being a woman of godly character?

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26).

Do you spend time with the Word of God so that you can speak wise words to others?

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission” (1 Timothy 2:11).

Do you have a teachable spirit?

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and an angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19).

Do you have a spirit of welcoming people or of pushing them away? Do you find yourself arguing and getting angry easily?

Why not spend some time in the Word of God and ask Him to show you what kind of woman He wants you to be?

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “How Does a Woman Act?

Photo: OBMonkey

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There is a danger of trying to reduce our manhood, our womanhood to a set of lists, to a set of bullet points. This is feminine, this is masculine. But in spite of the fact that we don’t want to reduce it to a set of lists, we still need to recognize its importance and to remember that all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity—distinctive womanhood—in their various relationships by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.

I think when I say those things you can picture some of the opposite of those characteristics. A woman who is using her body, her feminine wiles, to lure in men. That’s not distinctively feminine. Now that may be the world’s view of femininity but that is not a biblical type of femininity.

Aggressive women have this attitude. They’re in your face. There’s a harshness, a brazenness, a hardness in so many women today, and I look at this and I sense it, and you know what I’m talking about, and you feel she’s missing so much of what God created her to do and to be. Women who are controlling, who are manipulative, who are stubborn. This is the opposite of this modest, responsive femininity, this gentleness of spirit.

Now that doesn’t mean that we have to wear ruffles and pink, okay? It does mean we have to have a feminine heart, to exhibit a distinctively feminine spirit. It does not mean that we have to have a timid personality, to be sedate, to be a wallflower type of person. In fact, to the contrary, we are called to be bold, courageous, women of faith…

Unfortunately for most of us, there are very few positive role models today when it comes to the matter of femininity. In fact, as you look around in our culture, you’re hard pressed to point to really great models of womanhood. We have quite the opposite in so many women who are well known. Some of you are raising daughters, you’ve got teenage daughters, daughters in their 20s and they’re looking to these icons of the world and that’s what they’re basing their understanding of womanhood on, and it’s taking them in all kinds of wrong directions, unhealthy directions.

I want to encourage you to look to the Scripture rather than to culture for your role models.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “The Core of Femininity

Photo: OBMonkey

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Nowhere are the devastating effects of sin more evident than the relationship between male and female. In Genesis 3, we have the seed planted—that is sin—out of which has grown up a disastrous and devastating harvest. The relationship between men and women was created to function in complementarity, to respect and honor and enjoy and communicate with and love one another, as takes place within the Trinity itself. Now we have them at odds with each other, at war with each other.

Remember that the next time you have an argument with your husband. This is the result of sin.

Remember, too, that your husband is not the enemy. Men are not the problem, ladies—and if I were speaking to men, which I don’t do, I would say: “Men, women are not the problem.”

What is the problem? The problem is not men or what they’ve done to women or women or what they’ve done to men. The problem is sin and what it has done to all of us. It’s not just your husband’s sin or the sin of men, it’s our sin as women. It’s your sin as a wife. If you are a married woman, you are a sinner married to a sinner…If you are a single woman, you are a sinner living in a world of sinful men and women.

Sin takes the beauty and the grandeur out of God’s creation and makes it ugly and twisted. So don’t be blaming the men in your life for what they have done, heinous as it may have been in some cases, and I know I’m talking to some women who have been greatly wronged by men, and probably the other way around could be said as well; so don’t put the blame there. Remember, we are fallen creatures living out of a distorted, marred image of God.

Sin has separated every human from God, and it has made us incapable of reflecting His image as we were created to do. So where’s the hope? The only hope for sin, the only hope for healing from sin’s consequences in our own lives and in our relationships as men and women is in the gospel, the gospel of Christ.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “Are You Wearing Fig Leaves

Photo: OBMonkey

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The first woman was made specifically for the first man, a helper, to meet, respond to, surrender to, and complement him. God made her from the man, out of his very bone, and then He brought her to the man. When Adam named Eve, he accepted responsibility to “husband” her—to provide for her, to cherish her, to protect her. These two people together represent the image of God—one of them in a special way the initiator, the other the responder. Neither the one nor the other was adequate alone to bear the divine image.

God put these two in a perfect place and—you know the rest of the story. They rejected their humanity and used their God-bestowed freedom to defy Him, decided they’d rather not be a mere man and woman, but gods, arrogating to themselves the knowledge of good and evil, a burden too heavy for human beings to bear. Eve, in her refusal to accept the will of God, refused her femininity. Adam, in his capitulation to her suggestion, abdicated his masculine responsibility for her. It was the first instance of what we would recognize now as “role reversal.” This defiant disobedience ruined the original pattern and things have been in an awful mess ever since.

But God did not abandon His self-willed creatures. In His inexorable love He demonstrated exactly what He had had in mind by calling Himself a Bridegroom—the Initiator, Protector, Provider, Lover—and Israel His bride, His beloved. He rescued her, called her by name, wooed and won her, grieved when she went whoring after other gods.
In the New Testament we find the mystery of marriage again expressing the inexpressible relationship between the Lord and His people, the husband standing for Christ in his headship, the wife standing for the church in her submission. This Spirit-inspired imagery is not to be shuffled about and rearranged according to our whims and preferences. Mystery must be handled not only with care but also with reverence and awe.

~Elisabeth Elliot in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Photo: OBMonkey

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It is plain then that when we talk of femininity we must make careful distinctions between distortions and God’s original design. “Mature femininity” refers not to what sin has made of womanhood or what popular opinion makes of it, but what God willed for it to be at its best…

The disposition of mature femininity is experienced as freeing. This is because it accords with the truth of God’s purpose in creation. It is the truth that frees (John 8:32). There are sensations of unbounded independence that are not true freedom because they deny truth and are destined for calamity.

For example, two women may jump from an airplane and experience the thrilling freedom of free-falling. But there is a difference: one is encumbered by a parachute on her back and the other is free from this burden. Which person is most free? The one without the parachute feels free-even freer, since she does not feel the constraints of the parachute straps. But she is not truly free. She is in bondage to the force of gravity and to the deception that all is well because she feels unencumbered. This false sense of freedom is in fact bondage to calamity which is sure to happen after a fleeting moment of pleasure.

That is the way many women (and men) today think of freedom. They judge it on the basis of immediate sensations of unrestrained license or independence. But true freedom takes God’s reality and God’s purpose for creation into account and seeks to fit smoothly into God’s good design. Freedom does include doing what we want to do. But the mature and wise woman does not seek this freedom by bending reality to fit her desires. She seeks it by being transformed in the renewal of her desires to fit in with God’s perfect will (Romans 12:2). The greatest freedom is found in being so changed by God’s Spirit that you can do what you love to do and know that it conforms to the design of God and leads to life and glory.

~John Piper in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Photo: OBMonkey

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You may have been hurt by men; you may not have felt treated with respect and honor by some of the men who been a part of your life. You can’t control that, but we can control the way that we respond to men. That doesn’t mean that all men are equally worthy of honor and respect, but it does mean that we speak respectfully and we show honor to men.

I think it’s important, as women, that we accept expressions of gentlemanliness from men. If they want to open the door or pull out the chair for us at the table, stand when a woman comes in the room, women, don’t be a shrew. Don’t do as so many women have in our generation and reject those expressions of manliness.

You know what we’ve done? We’ve beat the men down; we’ve beat them back, and then we get mad at them because they don’t act like men. If we want them to act like men, one of the things we can do to help the process along is to let them be men.

Women whine today about how men are so passive, and there’s a lot of truth to that in our day. But I think one of the reasons is that we, as women, have not encouraged it when men do take leadership.

So when a man has an idea, don’t be quick to throw water on the idea. If you do, it’s going to be a while before he comes up with another idea that he is willing to risk sharing with you. So affirm leadership when you see it in men, and it’s appropriate to do so as a single woman.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “Single and Feminine

Photo: OBMonkey

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Proverbs describes how a woman with no character got a man’s attention. Some of the descriptives used for her include the following: smooth tongue, captivating eyes, persuasive and seductive speech, a mouth smoother than oil, and flattering speech (see Prov. 5:3; 6:24-25; 7:21). The techniques used today by the modern woman are as old as the first woman who ever snared a man’s soul. The whole emphasis is on the superficial, external aspects of a woman–aspects that fade with every passing day. Many women’s magazines glorify this woman’s techniques rather than expose her bitter end. Marriage based simply on outward beauty can lead to immorality and ultimately, divorce when an even more attractive body comes along.

The Word of God very clearly warns women not to fall into “the body beautiful trap.” “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes” (1 Pet. 3:3 NIV). Although braided hair and gold jewelry are not wrong in and of themselves, real beauty is not found on the outside. This verse does not advocate homeliness as proof of godliness. Some women are under the misguided perception that to be holy, one must look homely. This is not true. Women should seek to look their best. This verse simply challenges you to not devote all your energies toward painting the outside, thus neglecting the enduring qualities that need developing on the inside…

When you look at the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31, you will see God’s picture of a beautiful woman. There are 20 verses describing her. Only one verse mentions her outward appearance. If you were to spend 1/20 of your time on outward physical beauty and the other 19/20 on developing the other qualities God describes as beautiful, such as wisdom, kindness, and godliness, you would become the excellent woman Proverbs 31:10 says a man should try to find.

~Debby Jones & Jackie Kendall in Lady in Waiting

Photo: OBMonkey

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Wherever the gospel has spread, the social, legal, and spiritual status of women has, as a rule, been elevated. When the gospel has been eclipsed (whether by repression, false religion, secularism, humanistic philosophy, or spiritual decay within the church), the status of women has declined accordingly.

Even when secular movements have arisen claiming to be concerned with women’s rights, their efforts have generally been detrimental to the status of women. The feminist movement of our generation, for example, is a case in point. Feminism has devalued and defamed femininity. Natural gender distinctions are usually downplayed, dismissed, despised, or denied. As a result, women are now being sent into combat situations, subjected to grueling physical labor once reserved for men, exposed to all kinds of indignities in the workplace, and otherwise encouraged to act and talk like men. Meanwhile, modern feminists heap scorn on women who want family and household to be their first priorities; in so doing they disparage the role of motherhood, the one calling that is most uniquely and exclusively feminine. The whole message of feminist egalitarianism is that there is really nothing extraordinary about women. That is certainly not the message of Scripture. Scripture honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).

Scripture never discounts the female intellect, downplays the talents and abilities of women, or discourages the right use of women’s spiritual gifts. But whenever the Bible expressly talks about the marks of an excellent woman, the stress is always on feminine virtue. The most significant women in Scripture were influential not because of their careers, but because of their character. The message these women collectively give is not about “gender equality”; it’s about true feminine excellence. And that is always exemplified in moral and spiritual qualities rather than by social standing, wealth, or physical appearance.

And that’s setting the record straight. Far from denigrating women, the Bible promotes feminine freedom, dignity, and honor. Scripture paints for every culture the portrait of a truly beautiful woman. True feminine beauty is not about external adornment, “arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel”; real beauty is manifest instead in “the hidden person of the heart … the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV).

~John MacArthur in “The Biblical Portrait of Women: Setting the Record Straight

Photo: OBMonkey

A Model on a Mission for Modesty

When professional model Rachel Lee Carter became a believer, her understanding of the importance of modesty took time to develop. She shared the following story with Covenant Eyes

About ten years into my career I was asked to model a bra for a department store catalog. I had never modeled lingerie before but wasn’t dead set against it. I justified it telling myself, “Even Christian women wear lingerie.” Besides, this wasn’t smutty underwear—it was full-coverage lingerie. I booked the job without counting the cost and the pictures came out in Sunday’s paper.

During this time, I was just about to launch the ministry Modeling Christ. I went to my pastor, to seek an endorsement, but instead he gently prompted me to consider just what I had been modeling. He confronted me, in love but with firmness, on appearing in the lingerie advertisements. I felt stubborn and immovable, but I told him I would pray about it. I must confess I didn’t understand because I felt the clothes were modest. What irony. This is how I know modest is a relative term. It means different things to different people.

My pastor proceeded to tell me men think differently than women do, and that even though the garments weren’t revealing to me, they still had the potential to make men stumble. I wondered just how that was my problem. He went on to tell me many men had come to him in need of counseling because they were struggling with pornography. At this point I began to feel anger because my modeling was definitely not pornography. As he gently continued, he shared with me most of these Christian men admitted their lusting and stumbling began with the images seen in a typical Sunday paper…the kind of images I was appearing in. The way I heard it—and the way he intended it—was these kinds of ads were an introduction to pornography. One thing I understood for certain: men do think differently than women.

I did pray about it, but I struggled with the concept. I wrestled with the idea of needing to change the way I dressed because of the potential my choices had in making someone else falter in their faith or in aiding pornography. But the more I prayed and sincerely wanted to know God’s will, the more my heart became convicted of the matter. My heart was changed, not because of my pastor (though God used him to initiate it), but because God cares about this issue. God did create men to be different from women.

When I accepted this standard and asked for God’s forgiveness (for my unyielding spirit and for any damage I may have already caused another), I realized I’d have to explain to my agency I would no longer be available to model lingerie. This was a difficult task because I feared their judgment. Fortunately they appreciated my honesty and conviction and removed it from my status list…

The reason I share this story is to convey the importance our decisions have on others and on our walk with the Lord. As moms, we must model dignity and modesty to our kids. The Word of God is clear: I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety (a love for spiritual things)…appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

It can be easy for us as women to look harshly upon other Christian women who dress immodestly, but we need to realize that many simply haven’t been taught biblical principles of modesty. Like Rachel’s pastor, we need to look for opportunities to lovingly teach others what God’s Word has to say about feminine beauty, and soon they may be passing those truths on to others just like Rachel is…

Rachel Lee Carter has recently written a book on the topic of modesty entitled Fashioned by Faith.

Where True Beauty Is Seen

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake,
I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

Psalm 17:15

Author Leslie Ludy describes the key to becoming a woman of beauty. This is worth passing on to other women that you know… 

Photo: Vea Avernalis

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Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

In my twenties, whenever I blew out my birthday candles, I wished for the same thing: I wanted to respect my husband more. I had read it in the Bible, which instructs each husband to “love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy any consistency on this point. While the candle smoke wafted upward, I sat back, crossed my arms, and waited for Tom to do something that I could fully respect.

What was wrong? I thought I needed Tom to inspire me to take the action of respect. Instead, I needed to obey God and take the first step toward respect. It has been said that it is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting. We would be wise to adopt Nike’s motto and “Just do it!”

We live on a small farm, and the term “pecking order” has taken on new meaning for me since we added chickens to our stock. We observed that the dominant chickens chose a chicken to chase and peck. Every time she went near the feeder, they chased her all over the coop—keeping her from the food she needed for survival.

It didn’t take long to determine which chicken was at the bottom of the pecking order. It was the one with missing feathers and patches of puffy, bloody skin. When one of our chickens looked like this, it was only a matter of time before we found her dead on the floor of the coop.

Ever hear the term “hen-pecked husband”? A hen-pecked husband is usually at the bottom of the pecking order in the home. When you emasculate your husband to this condition, you reduce him to a state that is no longer respectable. You have become your own worst enemy because you truly want a respectable husband. Once again, you thought you were helping elevate your husband to higher and higher levels of manhood, but, in reality, you were diminishing him. His place is now at the bottom of the pecking order of your home, and he isn’t able to get what he needs for survival: respect.

~Sandy Ralya in “Encouraging Romance From Your Husband

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

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Feminism has failed miserably, and ironically it has exacerbated the very problem it set out to resolve. Instead of promoting a healthy self-identity for women or contributing to a greater harmony between the sexes, it has resulted in increased gender confusion, increased conflict, and a profound destruction of morality and family. It has left in its wake a mass of dysfunctional relationships and shattered lives. People of this culture no longer know what it means to be a man or a woman or how to make life work. What has been lost will not easily be regained.

Though feminist theory has progressed just about as far as it can, the practical outworking of that theory has not. Feminism will dramatically affect our society and churches for years to come. Given the current situation, one could easily be pessimistic about the future. But it is in the deepest darkness that light shines the most brightly. The new generation is disillusioned. Feminism has not brought women the satisfaction it promised. Today’s youth are searching for new answers. They want to know how to make relationships work. Ultimately their longing will only be satisfied by embracing the gospel of Christ and a biblical understanding of manhood, womanhood, and gender relationships. The time is ripe for a new movement—a seismic holy quake of countercultural men and women who dare to take God at his word, those who have the courage to stand against the popular tide, and believe and delight in God’s plan for male and female.

~Mary Kassian in The Feminist Mistake

Photo: OBMonkey