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Redefining Womanhood

with Jennie Chancey, Stacy McDona...more | March 14, 2008

Mother of eight, Jennie Chancey, and mother of ten, Stacy McDonald, join award-winning author and speaker Dennis Rainey for today's broadcast. Jennie and Stacy, co-authors of the book Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, encourage wives and mothers to remember their high calling and to look forward to the legacy they're leaving behind.

Mother of eight, Jennie Chancey, and mother of ten, Stacy McDonald, join award-winning author and speaker Dennis Rainey for today's broadcast. Jennie and Stacy, co-authors of the book Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, encourage wives and mothers to remember their high calling and to look forward to the legacy they're leaving behind.

Redefining Womanhood

With Jennie Chancey, Stacy McDona...more
|
March 14, 2008
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: In Galatians, the Bible says that "we are not to become weary in well doing."  For a mom who is home each day with her children, that verse is easier said than done.  Here is Jennie Chancey.

Jennie: Well, I think it's important to remember that even Moses needed to have his arms held up, and all of us who are weary, we do have our times where we think, "I just can't do this for five more minutes," and my father used to send my mom away, spring and fall, for four days to go visit her best friend in a town two hours away, and he'd say, "Just go, download, sit, talk, have coffee.  Let's remember what our focus is here, and let's glorify the Lord."  And we all need that reminder.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, March 14th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  If you are a stay-at-home mom, and you find yourself getting exhausted, we'll offer some encouragement and some help today.  Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  In the midst of raising your six children, did Barbara ever resign, turn in her papers?

Dennis: Oh, oh, written – a written resignation.

Bob: Really?  When did you get that?

Dennis: We were going through some challenges, and she said, "You know what? I'm resigning."  She wrote it out, signed it, and I refused to accept it.

[laughter]

I mean, you know, the responsibility of being a woman, wife, and mother today – I'm sure there have been other generations and other cultures in which it's been challenging, but I don't know, I have to believe this has to be one of the most challenging times in all of history for a woman to be God's woman and to fulfill what the Bible talks about there.

Bob: Well, particularly, because the culture is not reinforcing the idea of a woman being God's woman, so you're swimming upstream if you're going to embrace that.

Dennis: Not only is it not reinforcing it …

Bob: Yeah, it's selling something else.

Dennis: It's got crosscurrents and flash floods occurring through the media that want to undermine what the Bible has to say about being a wife and a mom.

Bob: Well, and in addition you've got your own flesh that gets to be a problem and tries to pull you in other directions, right?

Dennis: No doubt about it, and we've got a couple of moms, just a couple of downstream moms here, speaking of the stream.  You know, a mom of eight and a mom of 10.

Bob: Eight almost nine – a pregnant mom of eight.

Dennis: That's exactly right.  Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald join us.  Stacy, Jennie, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.

Stacy: Thank you.

Jennie: Thank you.

Dennis: Both Stacy and Jennie have co-authored a book called "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God."  Stacy is a pastor's wife, and Jennie is an author, and you ladies really are passionate about turning away from the world's definition of what a housewife and mom ought to be, to a biblical definition of that role and responsibility.

Stacy: Mm-hm, I think women have to fight against two different streams of thought, maybe even more, but the two major ones in today's culture are the stereotypes of, "Oh, yeah, you stay-at-home moms, you all want to be June Cleaver," or you're saying I have to wear the dress and the pearls and the high heels and look perfect all the time and never have a messy house, and I just can't have that.

Dennis: I must add at this point, Stacy does have a couple of pearls on.

[laughter]

Dennis: I can't tell you don't have any pearls on.

Jennie: No pearls today.

Dennis: Okay.

Stacy: And then the other one is this new cultural quagmire that's opened up that basically says behind-closed-doors housewives are actually adulteresses, and they are murderers, and they hate their families, and they would like nothing better than to escape and get out into the real world.

Bob: You're talking about the TV show.

Stacy: Yeah, which I've never watched but just reading the synopses makes you shudder and think, "Yikes, this is what people are buying into."

Jennie: If they want them to believe housewives are like behind closed doors – all deceptive.

Dennis: Just in case there are some who are listening who still don't know what television show we're talking about …

Bob: They don't need to know what television show.

Dennis: There we go, okay.

[laughter]

We're not going to advertise it, no doubt about it.

Stacy: No.

Bob: Well, I'm just curious, because I know one of the things you talked about in your book was one of you, I don't remember which one, put your kids in Mother's Day Out, and then decided that was wrong.  Do you think, is that …

Dennis: Hold it, hold it, wrong?

Bob: I guess that's my – was it wrong for you or is it wrong …?

Stacy: My focus there was that I thought that my son needed to be more socialized; that he needed to – this was going to be good for him.  He was going to go there and learn Bible stories, and he was going to learn Bible songs, and it was going to – yes, it was going to give me some time to do things on my own as well.  I was tired and wanted a few hours a day to myself.

And after a few times of taking him there, and hearing him cry as I left, and I snapped.  I realized that my whole reasoning for taking him there was false.  Not only could he get all those things in the home, but my real motivation was I just wanted time away from him.  I wanted time to focus on the things that I wanted to do.  And, you know, he can get Bible stories at home.  He can sing Bible songs with Mommy, and those are the things that he was getting and more in that time with me.  But my focus was more on self.

Dennis: Stacy, I look back on our raising six kids, they were born in 10 years, and I look back on that blur of four teenagers at one time and, again, I don't have many regrets, but one of the regrets I have as a husband is that I did not give Barbara some time away from the kids.  You're not saying that moms don't occasionally need some islands of clarity in their lives in their week to be able to get their bearings, to make sure their wheel alignment is straight, make sure they're own walk with Christ – I mean, just getting a time in the Bible for Barbara was an heroic accomplishment as far as she was concerned.

Stacy: Right, right.  I actually have a chapter in the book called "Weary Women," where I discuss the quiet time and how, for the longest time, I thought my quiet time had to be – if I didn't get a quiet time every day all by myself and peace and quiet, then somehow I wasn't as spiritual, or somehow I was going to be unhealthy spiritually, and then I realized, God started to show me that my quiet time– I needed to rely on Him.  There were times that He allowed for me to have that time alone.  But my trust and reliance needed to be on Him.  He would supply what I needed.

And so if God has ordained that we not have that time in peace and quiet that day, that's okay, too.  We can still have our time with the Lord, we can still spend our time in His Word, and we can still spend our time in prayer with our children at our feet.

And so we just need to make sure that we're not saying we have to have this or we're not spiritual.

Dennis: I understand that, but we want to make sure the husbands hear us saying that your wife does need some islands of clarity, some oasis, if it's only two hours to refresh a friendship and renew her own sense of fellowship and remind herself that her life can be defined by the body of Christ holistically.

Bob: Well, and some of the moms who are listening just drop their kids off at Mother's Day Out, right, and for some of them it may be once a week, some of them it may be three times a week, some of them are doing it from 9 to noon every day.  Would you tell those moms they need to rethink what they're doing?

Stacy: Well, I think it's important to remember that even Moses needed to have his arms held up, and all of us who are weary, we do have our times where we think, "I just can't do this for five more minutes," and my father, my late father, used to send my mom away, spring and fall, for four days to go visit her best friend in a town two hours away, and he'd say, "Just go, download, sit, talk, have coffee, really refresh and come back.  And she always came back totally energized and excited and happy to share the insights that she and her friend had come up with over the Bible and just reconnecting.

Jennie: Yeah, God supplies this.

Stacy: He does.  We have to trust that the Lord is going to give us these islands of calm that if we put ourselves first, and we're always saying, "I've got to have this, I've got to have this, me, me, me, me, me," we'll run ourselves ragged, and I've done that.  I've looked back over my life and been able to see these times when I was the most miserable are the times I was most self-focused and not trusting that the Lord would give me the sleep and the rest that I needed and the encouragement.

Jennie: And that's the thing, Dennis.  Imagine the mom, maybe a military mom, whose husband is deployed somewhere, or who is very alone in her – maybe she doesn't have a very large church family, or there is no one willing to help her.  What is she to do if she can't have that quiet time alone? 

What I found myself doing was becoming very bitter against my children.  I would try to get up very early to have that quiet time alone, and it seemed – it never failed, I would get in there and it's a darkened room, and I'd turn on the little bitty lamp so I didn't wake anybody up, and I'd open my Bible, and here I'd hear somebody trudging down the stairs.  You know, "You're ruining my quiet time with God.  Get back to bed."

[laughter]

It was a wrong attitude.  I needed to know that God was going to give me what I needed, and He knows what we need, and sometimes it's not what we actually need.  Our wants don't always line up with what we actually need.

Dennis: No doubt about it.

Bob: And I think this is what Chuck E. Cheese is for, by the way.  You know, you just take them and go, "Go play in the ball pit while mom sits here and eats a piece of pizza."  You get your half hour and you get back a …

Jennie: There's plenty of things.  I mean, during that time, there are ways to get times of rest, absolutely.

Dennis: No doubt about it.  But moms, I just remember, for Barbara, she was tired.  I mean, I'm not just talking about the carpooling, either.  I'm talking about all the emotional squabbles, and the correction, the teaching, the instruction, all the things we're commanded to do in Scripture that really demands you keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Bob: Some people might hear you talking about this and think, "Well, this sounds like you're making your home a priority.  Can't that become a child-centered home, and isn't that a dangerous thing?"

Stacy: Oh, it is a dangerous thing.  We definitely don't want to have child-centered homes, we want to have Christ-centered homes, and we want to have our marriages be first, because if Mommy and Daddy ignore each other and basically say, "We've just got to triage here and keep up with the messes that are happening," you will lose the locus of the marriage, you'll lose the middle ground of Christ being all.

And we want our children to come to see that what Mommy and Daddy have is important that Daddy takes Mommy aside for 15 minutes and says, "Kids, you're going to sit here on the couch with your books, and I'm going to go take Mommy, and we're going to have or talking time for 15 minutes, and don't come and knock on the door and don't bug us."

My husband will do that from time to time when he comes upstairs from his downstairs office and sees my hair on fire and the dinner almost burning, and he says, "Let's go get the fire extinguisher and sit in our room for a little bit," and he'll remind me, "Hey, who is setting your priorities here?  Because I'm certainly not up here driving a whip.  So calm down, I don't care if dinner's 15 minutes late.  I don't care if it's an hour late, let's remember what our focus here, and let's glorify the Lord," and we all need that reminder that Christ is the center.

Bob: And the mom who is hearing all of this, she goes, "I just feel like I'm on a guilt trip now that if I’m not doing it this way, I’m failing as a mom, but I just don't know that I've got the energy, the stamina, I just – I'm not sure how to recalibrate my life."  What would you say to her?

Stacy: Well, you know what?  You don't have the energy and the stamina.  There is nothing in us that can equip us for raising children and being helpers to our husbands.  Only Christ can give us what we need, and we have to just stop and say, "Am I trying to put too many things on the table here that don't belong?  Is there a way I can refocus, re-prioritize, can I get rid of stuff that I don't need to be doing?  Am I too concerned about the dust on the table and less concerned about the squabble that's happening?"

And there are days where I told my mom, it literally felt like all I did today was separate little boys from squabbling over toys, and it felt like it was fruitless, and she would remind me, it's not fruitless.  You're building, every day, foundation by foundation, until you build that house, and it's complete.

Bob: That building process – you don't necessarily see results at the end of the day.  You've worked hard all day, and you get all done, and you go, "I don't think I did anything today.  In fact, it looks like things slipped back a few notches today."

Stacy: One thing we want moms to do is when they look at their children, not just to see their children at 18 but to see their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren and their great-great grandchildren.  We want to see the generational impact.

Jennie: Right, so don't lose focus.  And all this little nitty-gritty that's going on every day, you've got to remember, this is going to trickle down, Lord willing, through the blessings of God through generations.

Sometimes on certain days you just don't have the vision.  You're, like, I'm not visionary today.  I just want to get the laundry done.

Dennis: Yeah, I'm not building a castle, I'm laying a brick.

Jennie: Exactly, and that's what my mom – she's a very wise lady, she reminds me over and over again – small steps.  You're not –

Stacy: [inaudible].

Jennie: Right, you're not getting the Eiffel Tower erected in a day.  Just go one step at a time.  Remember sometimes you're just screwing in a bolt today, and that's all.

Stacy: There are different seasons, and there are seasons that we'll get a lot done, and there are seasons that we're just moving forward.

Dennis: I think it's at this point in the conversation that – well, I've just been sitting here thinking, there is a missing third member of the Trinity that needs to be talked about here.  God the Father gets talked about a lot, and His plan; and the Son, who certainly we owe our redemption to; but the Holy Spirit really does relate to a wife and a mother and this challenge of energy and how do you balance competing demands.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and perhaps you need to pull out your Bible and take a look at John 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17.  Just look at how Christ talks about the Holy Spirit in there.  He was sent to comfort us, He was sent to guide us, He was sent to direct us into truth, to correct our ways, and I know, for Barbara, one of the ongoing studies she had in her Bible study was just looking at the ministry of the Holy Spirit and what He does in the life of a mom as she is fighting a job description that is impossible.  I mean truly impossible, but the Holy Spirit does empower and He does guide, He fills us, and He can give us the joy we need to have.  That smile on your face, Jennie, that you were talking about earlier, as we fulfill our duties.

Jennie: Yes, and you know what's beautiful is that the same word that's used for the Holy Spirit, the Helper, is the word that God gives to women.  It's the exact same Hebrew word, the same word in the Greek – we are to fulfill this specific aspect of God's character to our children.

And as we do it, He does equip us, because Jesus said, "I've sent Him to bring to your remembrance everything I have told you."  There are times during the day where I'll just say out loud, in front of my children, "Help me, Lord, I need to remember what to do in this situation."  And the Lord just brings the Scripture to mind that is exactly right for that moment and that squabble or that issue, and you think, "Thank you, Lord, that your spirit is right here and He's is helping me.  I'm not by myself."

Stacy: And that's important for our children to see that; to see where we turn when we have trouble and that we're not perfect, but we know where to turn when we need that.

Jennie: Yes.

Dennis: There is another mom who finds herself in a challenging situation, and, Stacy, you mentioned her a bit earlier.  You talked about a military mom whose husband may be away.  There is also those who are single parents whose spouse may have died, they may be divorced, but they're raising a brood of children, and you talk about a challenging job description, what encouragement do you have for that mom?

Stacy: Well, in a lot of cases, that's where the church has dropped the ball.  We would like to see churches really reaching out to the single moms and the moms who find themselves, like the military mom with a husband far away.  You know, a lot of our Titus 2 mothers, the mothers whose children have grown, the grandmas, we would like to see a lot more of them being involved in the lives of some of these young moms.  Even young moms with husbands that are there, but they're struggling to be in there, and not only give them a physical hand but to be there to be a mentor and a spiritual strength as well.

Bob: I think this all comes back to, again, deciding what our priorities are and deciding not on the basis of what we want them to be but what the Scriptures called them to be.

Stacy: Right, exactly.

Bob: We can look at our lives or our desires and say, "Well, this is what I want," but we really have to come back to the Scriptures and say, "What does God want and am I willing to be obedient to what He wants even if it goes against the grain or goes against the culture."

Dennis: That's right.  One of Barbara's favorite verses comes right after Mary found out she was pregnant with Jesus, and, you know, she said, "Be it done unto me, according to the will of the Father," and I think, again, there's a real tension here of not submitting to evil or to an abusive husband but, at the same time, of accepting what God has given you – the role and responsibility of being a wife, being a mom, and embracing it and saying, "You know what, God?  I want to fulfill that to the best of my abilities."

I've got one last question for you ladies.  I want both of you to pick one word – one word you would give these young moms starting out their journey.  Then I want you to give them the word and explain why you chose that word to encourage them, all right?

Jennie: I would say my word is "hope."

Stacy: You stole my word.

[laughter]

Dennis: We'll let that be your word, too, Stacy.

Jennie: Well, the reason I choose that word is that the next generation is our hope, and our hope is in Christ first, but God gives us the next generation to remind us that He has plans for the future; that He is going to take the Gospel, and He is going to do mighty things on this earth, as He has promised in His Word.  And as we are going through the day-to-day working out of being moms and training toddlers, especially when they are all young, and you are wondering how you can enough hands, just keep your eyes focused on the Lord, and live in His hope.  He has hope, and if He has hope knowing what the future looks like already, and knowing what our past looks like, then we can have hope.

Dennis: Okay, Stacy.

Stacy: Okay, I'll choose a new word.

Dennis: No, you …

Stacy: No, that's okay, I have another one. 

Dennis: Okay.

Stacy: "Vision" – I think my word would be vision.  Oh, they're cheering in the background.  Your husband knew vision was going to be your word.

Dennis: And you win the Father of the Year award.

[laughter]

Stacy: Well, kind of what I said earlier about when we look at our children, I think that we should not just see our children and how we're going to manage to get them to 18 and still be Christians.  We need to look at them and see our grandchildren and our godly legacy that's going to come later on.  So it's all worth it.

Bob: And there does come a day in the midst of all of this when things get quiet, and it's not as hectic, and you start to look back, as Barbara did, when the house emptied out and goes, "I kind of miss some of that."

Dennis: Man, it gets really quiet.  You know, I was just listening to Stacy's comment about her vision, and I was reminded of something she wrote – I just want to read this, because this is really pretty cool.  She said, "I've recently calculated the potential in our family.  If each of my children only bears half the number of children that I have, my husband and I will have been blessed with 50 grandchildren.  Skip only one generation and assume my great-grandchildren each have five children, and I've left a legacy of 1,250 great-great-grandchildren.  This may seem far off, but this coming spring, we are expecting my own grandmother to hold in her arms her first great-great grandchild."

And, you know, when I read that, I thought, that really is a picture of what I think Jesus Christ came to do – generationally, He came to make a handoff, and the family was His choice for the relay race.

Stacy: He created it, that's right.

Dennis: He started the relay, and He commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

Stacy: Amen.

Dennis: And it just wasn't with children, but it was with godly children who bore the imprint of moms and dads who labored and who strived to teach them the Scripture.  I just want to thank you, Stacy, and you, Jennie, for not only your work on the book but also just your model, just for being moms.  And what a noble calling and what a great calling.  Thanks for being on our broadcast.

Stacy: Thanks for having us.

Jennie: Thanks for having us.

Bob: I'm just sitting here doing the math.  I'm thinking if I was still alive when my great-great-grandchildren, 1,000 of them, or whatever it is …

Dennis: Well, at the pace your kids are going, it's going to be a while.

Bob: That would be an average of three birthdays a day.  You couldn't keep up with all the …

Dennis: I wouldn't have a mind left at that point to remember.

Stacy: Don't remember your birthday.

Jennie: I think we'd forget the birthday cards at that point.

Bob: That's right.  Well, I don't think we really have to worry about it, I guess we won't be around to see 1,000 grandchildren, but hopefully we will see our own children grow in faith and in godliness and that that will transfer to the generations to come, and I know that's the desire of you ladies, as you pour yourself, as you invest yourself, in your children, and that's what you're encouraging other moms to in the book that you've written, which is called "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God."

We've got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and if our listeners are interested in getting a copy, they can go to our website and click on the right side of the screen, where they'll see a box that says "Today's Broadcast."  That will take them to the area of the site where there is more information about your book, also information about a devotional book written by our friend, Mary DeMuth, called "Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God."  It's a book designed to provide daily encouragement for all moms who are working hard to raise the next generation.

Again, our website is FamilyLife.com, and from the home page click the box on the right side of the screen that says "Today's Broadcast."  Or if it's easier, simply call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.  Someone on our team will make arrangements to have copies of the books you need sent to you.

Now, a week from this Sunday is, of course, Easter Sunday, and I don't know how your family prepares for that celebration, but one of the things we've done in years past is to watch the movie, "Jesus" on DVD.  It's a faithful retelling of the story of the life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke, and it's the most viewed movie of all time.  It takes us from His birth through His ministry and all the way through His death, His burial, and His Resurrection.

This month we're making a copy of that DVD available to any of our listeners who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount.  Because we are listener-supported those donations are critical for the ongoing work of this ministry, and our way of saying thank you for helping us is to provide you with a copy of this DVD when you request it. 

So if you make a donation online, and you're filling out your donation form, if you'd like to get a copy of the Jesus film on DVD, just type the words "JesusDVD" into the keycode box or call 1-800-FLTODAY, you can make a donation over the phone, and just mention that you'd like a copy of the Jesus film on DVD, and we're happy to send it to you.  Again, we appreciate your financial support of this ministry, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Well, I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us on Monday when we're going to talk to a couple who heard about the orphan crisis in Africa, and decided to do something about it.  They've done something fairly significant.  We'll let you meet them on Monday, and I hope you can be back with us 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'll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.

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