Dennis Rainey, DOROTHY KELLEY PATTERSON Foreword, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Dorothy Patterson, Dorothy Kelley, GOOD NEWS PUBLISHERS WHEATON, Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois, J. B. Phillips, John Piper, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Wayne Grudem, pastor's wife, motherhood, Fayetteville, Arkansas, First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, personal creativity, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Dorothy Kelley Patterson, creativity, Crossway Books
WHERE'S MOM? The High Calling of Wives and Mothers DOROTHY KELLEY PATTERSON Foreword by Dennis Rainey C R O S S WAY B O OK S A DIVISION OF GOOD NEWS PUBLISHERS WHEATON, ILLINOIS
Where's Mom? Copyright © 2003 by Dorothy Kelley Patterson Published by Crossway Books
a division of Good News Publishers 1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187 Adapted from a chapter in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper (Crossway Books, 1991). The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was established in 1987 for the purpose of studying and setting forth biblical teachings on the relationship between men and women
, especially in the home and the church. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except as provided by USA copyright law
. Cover design: David LaPlaca Cover photo: Wood River Gallery First printing 2003 Printed in the United States of America
Unless otherwise designated, Scripture is taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version
. Copyright © 2001 by Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture verses marked PHILLIPS are from The New Testament
in Modern English, translated by J. B. Phillips © 1972 by J. B. Phillips. Published by Macmillan.Library of Congress
Patterson, Dorothy Kelley, 1943-
Where's mom? : the high calling of wives and mothers / Dorothy
Adapted from a chapter in Recovering biblical manhood and
womanhood / edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper. 1991.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 1-58134-534-8 (alk. paper)
1. Christian women--Religious life. 2. Women--Biblical teaching.
I. Recovering biblical manhood and womanhood. II. Title.
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Foreword By Dennis Rainey One of the people I admire the most is Dorothy Patterson. She is a courageous patriot for the family. For more than forty years she made her own marriage and family a priority, and she has spent more than three decades of her life equipping others to be successful in their homes. Increasingly, we live in an age that depreciates and demeans motherhood. As a result, we have a generation of mothers and children who have suffered much. In her book Where's Mom? Dorothy explores the high and holy calling of being a wife and a mother. Her writings are persuasive, and her illustrations are conclusive: Mothers matter. During the last thirty years, our nation has languished in the midst of a feminist social experiment with the family. But feminism has failed. It has not delivered on its promises to women of self-actualization and fulfillment. Instead it has brought women more suffering, more confusion, and more restlessness than ever before. In the wake of feminism's failure, Dorothy offers a clear and
compelling biblical pattern for wives and mothers. If there has ever been a day when this book was needed, it is today. My prayer is that God will use this book to raise up a generation of Women and men
who esteem, value, and honor one of life's most noble and high callings--motherhood. Dennis Rainey, President, FamilyLife
1 Is Homemaking a Job? Upon completion of our graduate work in theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
in 1970, my husband, Paige, and I moved with our two children to Fayetteville, Arkansas. My husband assumed the pastorate of the First Baptist Church
of Fayetteville, and I continued my role as his helper-- but with some major adjustments. First, the responsibility of caring for a premature infant "crying machine," added to the already arduous task of keeping up with a card-carrying member of the "Terrible Twos' Society," was a life-changing jolt to the efficient routine I had of working as a highly paid executive secretary by day and amusing a drop-in toddler at night. Second, my weekend responsibilities as a pastor's wife in New Orleans, which I had previously fulfilled as a mere addendum to my role as a "professional woman," were certainly not from the script that had been presented to me upon our arrival in Fayetteville. There I was to play the part of a young wife, following the steps of an older and highly experienced pastor's wife who had enjoyed star billing in the community as well as the church for many years and whose wardrobe did not take into account two babies!
Third, the intellectually stimulating and mind-stretching dialogue of a theological community definitely overshadowed the dissonant and monosyllabic monologue of a frenzied mother whose only moments for reflection came within the confines of the bathroom--and that only if she managed to enter the room alone, which was a feat in itself! Confused and frustrated, I wondered if this season, too, really would pass and if indeed it passed, whether I also would be passed by forever--at least as far as making any worthwhile contribution to society. During my seminary days I had maintained a rigorous schedule as a full-time student, studying both Hebrew and Greek, coupled with multiple part-time jobs and the unending responsibilities of a pastor's wife. After completing my master's degree, I entered motherhood and moved to a full-time job while my husband completed his doctoral work. Although I pursued motherhood as enthusiastically as I had every other adventure in my life--I even breast-fed my son for thirteen months while working full time--I can see in looking back that my first and freshest energies, not to mention the most productive part of my day, were devoted to professional pursuits away from home. When my family moved to Arkansas, I quickly became aware of a void in my life. My theological training seemed a waste in preparing me for the task of motherhood. In the midst of this frustrating time, I turned to the Lord. I determined to read through the Bible systematically with a new purpose in my daily quiet time: I committed myself to finding God's message for me personally as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother. This experience became the catalyst for my life and ministry. From it came "The Bible Speaks on Being a Woman," a series of messages that I have been sharing with women through the years. My life and goals and perspective were forever changed. In
Is Homemaking a Job?
every single book of the Bible, I found that God had a word for me. That word was not always comforting; in fact, sometimes it was like a sword to my heart; but always I knew that it was authoritative and, if authoritative, true, regardless of culture, circumstances, or perceived relevance. I came to realize that God did not expect me to determine how to adapt His Word to my situation. Instead, He expected me to mold myself according to the consistent and clear principles found in His Word. God did not expect me to interpret His principles in light of my gifts and intellect, but He admonished me, including my gifts and intellect and creativity, "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8:29).1 Even at this juncture as I enter my senior years, God is not waiting for me to determine what directives are relevant for me as a twenty-first-century American woman, but He is making clear throughout Scripture His demand for my absolute obedience, even willing submission in the Spirit of Christ Himself, who said, "I desire to do your will, O my God" (Ps. 40:8). Consequently, even in those early years of motherhood, my chosen role of wife and mother took on new significance; I viewed my extensive academic preparation and professional experience in a new light; my commitment to marriage and home gained an added dimension--a divine covenant relationship reaching beyond a contractual agreement between my husband and me to include the Creator God Himself, who said, "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt. 19:6). Bearing a new liberated identity, many women--even those who are committed evangelicals--have devoted themselves to ambitious busyness everywhere but in the home. They are enmeshed in overwhelming volunteerism, either consciously or subconsciously working to achieve accolades and recognition in the community; or they are half-hearted wives and mothers ded-
icated to hatching professional pursuits that promise powerful positions and pocketbook rewards. The biblical model that honors the keeping of the home, the helping of your husband, and the nurturing of your children
is considered obsolete. Instead of encouraging adolescents to cut the apron strings from mother and venture out into society, now mothers are being begged not to cut the apron strings on their babies and catapult them prematurely into a menacing world! Mom and hot apple pie have been replaced by day care in institutional centers and cold apple turnovers at McDonald's! Women have been liberated right out of the genuine freedom they have enjoyed to oversee the home, rear their children, and pursue personal creativity throughout the generations; they have been brainwashed to believe that the absence of a titled, payroll occupation enslaves a woman to failure, boredom, and imprisonment within the confines of the home. Although feminism speaks of liberation, self-fulfillment, personal rights, and breaking down barriers, these phrases inevitably mean the opposite.2 In fact, the opposite is true because a salaried job and titled position can inhibit a woman's natural nesting instinct and maternity by inverting her priorities so that failures almost inevitably come in the rearing of her own children and the fashioning of an earthly shelter for those she loves most. The mundane accompanies every task, however high paying or prestigious the job, so that escape from boredom is not inevitable just because the workplace is not at home. And where is the time for personal creativity when she is in essence working two jobs--one at home and one away? In the quest to be all you are meant to be, you must not forget what you are meant to be! The question has never been whether or not a woman wants the best for her husband and children and even for herself. Rather the real question is this: Is being
Is Homemaking a Job?
someone's wife and another's mother really worth the investment of a life? Are the preparation of skills, the concentration of energies, and the commitment of both necessary to keep a home? The secular presuppositions of the present age, as well as your own assumptions and priorities, must continually be tested against the sure written word of God
, which warns, ". . . but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). Scripture contains timeless and unchanging principles that are to be the bedrock and foundation for living the Christian life-- whether in the days of Abraham or in the twenty-first century in which we now live. Scripture also guides those who seek to unlock its treasure through timely and changing applications of those principles for every generation throughout history until the present day and even until the Lord returns. QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW AND CONTEMPLATION 1. Profile your idea of the modern-day homemaker. 2. Compare biblical guidelines for homemaking with contempo- rary practices and discuss whether these are to be reconciled. If so, how? 3. Consider in your own life how to separate unchanging bedrock principles from changing cultural applications, especially as concerns what the Bible says about your role as a woman in your home. 4. What are the rewards for a woman who devotes her primary energies to her home and family? SCRIPTURES TO STUDY Genesis 1:27-31; 2:8-25
Notes 1. Unless specified, all Scripture quotations
come from the English Standard Version. 2. Frank Zepezauer, "The Masks of Feminism," The Human Life Review, Fall 1988, p. 31. 3. Dorothy Morrison, "My Turn," Newsweek, October 17, 1988, p. 14. 4. Paul Fussell, "What Happened to Mother?" The Wilson Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 5 (Winter 1988), p. 154. 5. David W. Moore, "Family, Health Most Important Aspects of Life" (1/3/03) www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr030103.asp?Version=p (Accessed 1/31/03) The publisher of this site is The Gallup Organization, Lincoln, Neb. 6. Hymen E. Goldin, The Jewish Woman and Her Home (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., n.d.), pp. 130-131. 7. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God: With Spiritual Maxims (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Company Publishers, 1958), pp. 11-12. 8. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), pp. 288-299. 9. Elizabeth Dodds, Marriage to a Difficult Man (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), p. 84. 10. "What Is Christian Marriage?: A Debate between Larry and Nordis Christenson and Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen," Transformation, vol. 5, no. 3 (July/September 1988), p. 3. 11. Defined as "one who stands in order or rank below another." Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Springfield, Mass.: G & C Merriam, 1971), p. 2277. 12. "Subordinationism," Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
, ed. F. L. Cross (London: Oxford University
Press, 1958), p. 1301.