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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Family Controversy

Since before we went to Hawaii (got back very late last night - and that, by the way, is why there was no Tidy Tip Tuesday today), I have wanted to do a post about same-sex marriage. In California right now, same-sex marriage is legal because four California Supreme Court activist judges ruled against 4 million people to overturn marriage as defined by those people - that being a legal and moral union between one man and one woman. On November 4th, the citizens of California have the opportunity once more to preserve the definition of marriage in their state. They have the opportunity to protect marriage as it has been from the beginning of time.

I am currently watching a video that is quite lengthy (over an hour), but just from the first 15 minutes of viewing it, I have been informed of many aspects of this controversy that I was not aware of. For instance, did you know (I did not) that all legal benefits have already been bestowed on members of gay unions living in California that are currently available to traditional married couples? These same-sex unions have simply not been allowed the distinction that heterosexual unions have been allowed - that of being united legally and morally in a union called marriage. And one reason is because they cannot procreate independently in a union between themselves (it will never happen without at least a third party). Marriage has always been defined as one man and one woman who have the capacity to create new life within their union of two by the addition of children (though infertility or the choice not to bear children does not dismiss a heterosexual couple from being married for obvious reasons.)

May I beseech you to watch this video with me? It will inform you so that you can intelligently and accurately state to those who may be undecided (and even to those who have decided but are open to hear opposing aspects) just what the implications are of marriage being redefined to include gay couples. It is a message that all should hear and know even if redefining marriage is not being challenged in their state at present.

Go here to view the video and pass it on to others that you know even if they are not Californians. This is so important to the health of our society and to our religious freedoms.

God willing, I will be writing about this again soon.


Posted by Sharon Kaufman

A Family Controversy

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rock Me, Mama!

Though I have never mentioned this before, it may interest you to know that, at 59 years of age, I am caring for a child in my home. Last year I began watching a baby while his mom was at work (it has been a necessity for her to work at this time). Riley was just under one year old when God blessed me with him. He is now just under two years of age.

He comes to my home at 5:30 in the morning, five days a week and stays till about 3:15 in the afternoon. Riley is a very happy and well behaved little boy and loves to come to stay with "Granny" and "Poppy". Though he is not a grandchild, he thinks he is and we love him like he is.

I said that to say the following. Yesterday I came across a post on another website that I thought was interesting. It was about the pros and cons of allowing children to sleep with their parents in the parent's bed.

This idea of mom and dad and baby being in the same bed leaves me with a question: "Whatever happened to the age-old, tried and true rocking chair? Do mothers of young children ever use the rocking chair any more? I now hear and read so much about this practice of having the baby in bed with the parents. I just don't get it for several reasons which I will express in the following questions:

1. How do mom and dad get adequate sleep with baby in the same bed?

2. Isn't there concern that the baby could be smothered by mom or dad if they actually do sleep soundly?

3. Whatever happened to the truth that the bed is a marriage bed, not a family bed (even as far as an infant sleeping in their bed for 3 months goes)?

4. And lastly, with baby in bed with mom and dad, will this not put dad at a disadvantage since he has to go to work and earn a living? Will not his performance levels at work be affected by interrupted or inadequate sleep?

Now may I offer an alternative that may be superior to the family bed option?

From the time my children were infants till they were toddlers I rocked them. My parents rocked me to sleep. Rocking my children provided a structured time for me to cuddle with them and to sing and read to them (in other words, to teach them). This also gave me much-needed down-time to relax, though it still served as quality time with my children.

Enter Riley on the scene - I now rock him. At first, he didn't like it. But I did not give up. It wasn't long before he began to love our 15-20 minutes together before his nap. I sing simple children's songs to him and he has actually learned to carry a tune and sing the words. His favorite song is Old McDonald Had a Farm which he sings as "Ol McGonnel" (so cute!!!).

We also discuss all the topics relevant and important to a toddler, such as the sounds that animals make and where his and my eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, tongue, etc. are. Of course, I also read to him - small-sized board books. And he loves to have his "blankey" during this time. (It is the only time he has it other than to sleep with.) When Riley finally falls asleep I put him in his bed. If he wakes up when I lay him down, he knows he must stay put and go back to sleep. His nap lasts about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Now lest you think that this trains a child to depend upon the rocking chair to fall asleep, you need to know that when this little guy comes in the morning (at 5:30), I put him to bed without rocking him. He does not fuss at all. In fact, he smiles sweetly, kisses me and says, "Night, night, Granny." That's it! He goes right down and sleeps till at least 7 and sometimes till 7:30, which gives me time with the Lord before making breakfast. Riley has learned to adjust to my agenda and time schedule.

Rocking my children, grandchildren (and now Riley) has proven to be only beneficial. All of my little ones loved their rocking time and consistently went to bed willingly for their naps. I never had to wean them off or break them from the habit of the rocking chair. They eventually just outgrew the chair and my lap - literally. They got too big to rock. As it was uncomfortable at that point, they no longer desired to be on Mommy's lap and the feeling was mutual.

Another benefit was that when the children were too big to rock anymore, rocking time just naturally graduated into a reading time with them. Since the time was already set aside, I just moved the children into their beds and sat at the bedside and read (at night and nap time also). Thus they learned to love books and reading.

Rocking time was also advantageous in that my husband and I slept soundly at night. However, I always woke when any of my infants were hungry. I got out of bed and rocked them during their feedings. Then I was able to return to bed where I knew I could stretch out however I wanted. My husband did not have to worry about rolling over on the baby nor was he disturbed and kept awake when it was time to feed and change her. This was obviously helpful for him (we are to be helping our husbands in ways like this, are we not?) since he had to get up and go to work in the morning.

It seems to me that the rocking chair is a win-win way of nurturing babies and young children, but it seems to be a lost grace. I would be interested to know if anyone out there still rocks their children. Reiterating, I hear and read much about the bed thing, but never anything about the good old fashioned rocking chair. What a shame for this is how I remember it:

The Rock of Love

My mama rocked me in her chair.
My papa also tried,
Though on his shoulder still I laid,
My eyes were opened wide.

What tender words I heard from them,
And songs so dear and sweet.
They nestled me and whispered love,
Then rocked me fast asleep.

With fond affection I recall
The stories that they shared.
But precious more, their kind caress
In that old rocking chair.

It made for such sweet sleep and dreams,
For Christ's love was displayed.
"Now let the little children come."
It seems I heard Him say.

This habit carried on until
My feet - they reached the floor.
Though too big now for mama's lap,
She loved me like before.

I too have rocked my precious ones,
And tender words I spoke.
Yes, that old rocker, though it creaks
Still nurtures little folks.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Rock Me, Mama!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Woman is Helper - Three Facets of the Woman's Role as Helper

Aiding by Complementing Godly Male Leadership - Part 2

The following is a series on Biblical womanhood that I have taught both here in the states and abroad. It is universal because it is the Biblical model of the helper role and therefore applies to Christian women the world over. It will be delivered in bite-sized pieces in the following weeks. I pray that you will be encouraged as you read. (Please find Part 1 of this series here.)

Whether you are married or unmarried, as a woman you are "helper" to godly male leadership. That would translate into being a helpmeet for your husband or, if you are not married, into being a helper for church leadership. As a helper you will basically fulfill your role in three specific ways. God has designed us, as women with distinct inclinations. Women are endowed by their Creator with specific characteristics that enable them to function as God intended when He first created woman. First of all I want to state what those three characteristics or facets are and then I will define and elaborate on each one throughout the coming weeks:

Facet 1. As helper to male leadership, woman is an aid or supporter: 

A) As an aid woman completes godly male leadership 

B) As an aid woman complements godly male leadership (this post will address this aspect - complementing - being an aid/supporter to godly male leadership) 

C) As an aid woman submits to godly male leadership

Facet 2. As helper to male leadership, woman is a keeper in the home.

Facet 3. As helper to male leadership, woman is a nurturer of life.

In this post, I will cover what it means for woman as helper to aid godly male leadership by complementing that leadership (Facet 1, B).

Though man and woman are equal in that each is an image bearer of their Creator, they are also different, are they not? We can see the obvious physical differences, but women are also different emotionally. For instance, women enjoy the intricate details of whatever it is they are involved in, while men tend to be bottom-line creatures. We, women, know that the real story is in the particulars and their implications and we happily get lost in the finer points.

So when I am relating an important incident to my husband, sharing the details is just second nature to me. Robert then, typically gets a little impatient with all the minutiae (that's how he sees it) and says something like, "Just give me the bottom line, Honey. I don't need to know all the small stuff." Though I don't understand that, I have given up trying to convince him otherwise. He's a man and I just need to accept the fact that God created him to be different than me. And when God finished His creation (man and woman in particular), He pronounced that His design was good, in fact, it was "very good" - even this difference between us. 

The Beauty of Man and Woman as God's Ultimate Creation is Seen in Your Hands
God created the genders, as different as they are, to complement each other. Again we can see this illustrated with the helping hand. My left hand always complements my right hand. It never has an agenda all its own, but always identifies itself with my right hand and what it is doing and supports it. My left-hand makes things easier, not harder for my right hand. It complements its counterpart, and never competes with it.

The appendages on my right and left arms are equal yet different, illustrating the same thing with man and woman. Both are hands, but they are different in significant ways. The physical design of my left hand is exactly and equally the opposite of my right hand. That's equality with diversity, just as woman is equal in her humanity with man, both genders having been created in God’s image, yet woman is exactly the opposite of man in physical and emotional characteristics and in function. Though my hands are exact opposites of each other they fit together perfectly. And the only reason they fit together so perfectly is precisely because they are exact opposites. If I had two right hands or two left hands nothing much would be accomplished and the two certainly could not become one.

Feminists tell us that women must compete to become equal in all ways with men. But God designed the differences between man and woman for the purpose of complementing one another – just like the right and left hand complement each other.

My left hand is physically weaker than my right hand and so is somewhat dependent upon it for its strength, but still my left hand assists my right and adds its own independent strength to my right hand. The strength and independence of my left hand is absolutely needed by my right hand, and visa versa. The two are interdependent upon each other. Together the two are stronger than if they were alone, though one is physically weaker. This is the true nature of a complementary relationship.

And so it is with man and woman. Though she is the weaker vessel, physically, she needs man and he needs her. She is to complement him in all he does rather than pursue her own independent course, that essentially competes with his calling and purpose.

This does not mean that she never seeks a ministry in which her husband is not involved if she is married. It does not mean that she gives up her personality to be glued to her husband's side as if she had no individuality herself. It simply means that whatever God-glorifying thing (this could be planting a garden) her husband pursues, she is available to help him achieve it. She does not make it hard for him. She does not compete.

Think again about how the left hand complements the right hand, never working against it - always there whenever the right-hand needs it, but it is so different and individual that it is called "left". It is situated on the opposite side of the body and if it had to, it could function without the right hand. I got along just fine when I had my right hand in a sling for several weeks. Though it was challenging, it was not impossible. Life went on.

The call to complement my husband has not always been something that I have embraced. There was a time when, if Robert asked for my help and wanted my undivided attention immediately if it was something that I thought could wait, I became perturbed. Perhaps he needed my point of view for a lesson he was preparing for the Sunday morning adult training time that he was scheduled to teach in two weeks. If I was absorbed in doing something for myself, I would expect him to wait until I was finished. Philippians 2:3-5 was not my mindset:

Looking out for my husband's interests or the interests of the leadership of the church is part of what it means to be a helper. This is the woman's assignment from her Creator. Helping godly male leadership by working alongside and complementing, never competing, is a high calling that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reiterating, woman aids by complementing male leadership, whether that is her husband's leadership in the home or the leadership of the elders in her church. And again, woman aids in this way regardless of her marital status.

For the next post, we will continue to explore how woman aids godly male leadership, this time in regard to submission. And I don't want to hear any groans!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Woman is Helper - Three Facets of the Woman's Role as Helper