A woman of immense power. Part 1.

In Karkh

Just imagine  you are a fly, sitting on the wall, listening to this couple conversation in the morning. A husband shots his bullet first:

‘Why my tea is so weak? You know that I like it strong. Two sugars. You can’t even prepare this right. You are so selfish. And lazy! What are you doing all day long at home anyway? My family will not be impressed. Women expected to be perfect housewives in Australia. You will find it hard there.’ Yes, that’s right the traditions of some cultures follow you even as far as Australia!

If you are a Western woman and you think that your life is generally hard and limited, you can’t be further from the truth. Becoming friends with a young woman from Iraq had been an eye opener.  It seems the more she talks to me about their customs, the highers my eyebrows fly.

‘The women do not swim publicly. We step in to the water with her clothes on to cool down.’

‘After your marriage had been arranged and you got engaged, you can’t talk to any other man before the wedding. If you do, the whole family and every relative you have, will cut you off. They will consider you as a harlot.’

‘ A country woman might as well be a brain of Iraq, but it is unlikely she will be able to go to University. She is expected  to give birth to the children and look after the house.’

All women in Iraq are in the same boat regardless their spiritual convictions. The influence of Islam and ancient traditions  are still as strong as death upon all.

After a few conversations with this lady I felt as I came not just  from another country, but another planet.

Can a woman be that suppressed in society? Yes, no doubt. I think people who believe that  Christianity  has not done anything to liberate women, are misinformed. The privileges of women around the world are varied like weather.

But what kind of role and power God entrusted a Christian woman with? That is an excellent question to investigate.

There is a controversial understanding  in Christian circles  about head covering. If you want to know my honest opinion, this is simply a diversion from Satan. He wants to take women’s eyes from the real source of power that lies in her heart, will & mind, not on her head necessarily.

My husband thought that the children brushed their teeth. I told him that they didn’t: ”Touch their toothbrushes and see if they are wet or dry.’ ‘Yes, Sherlock.’ He was impressed. I love watching detective stories or FBI involved thrillers. To have an attitude of a detective towards spiritual reality could be even more fun.

A lot of factors form a person: personality and genes, upbringing and education, in what part of the world the Lord Sovereignty placed her, whether she is  married or not. We  know that. And once you are married, you life changes more than it ever will. The spouses have so much influence on each other it is unreal, Christian even more so.

From the start, the Bible teaches that Adam was created first, he is the head and a woman was created to be his helpmate. It might give you an impression that man is with more power here. Hmmm, may be more authority for sure.  Do you think a Man would be the same man spiritually whether a Woman had incessantly prayed for him or if she didn’t? Whether she was respectful in public to him, but painfully honest in her prayers and  in conversations, when the Lord gave an opportunity? What If she was busy most days, organizing the market, teaching her children, travelling here and there? I know, as a fact, that the more I take on, the less I have time to pray for my husband. So the best advise I could give to a Woman is to be completely committed to her husband in every way.  The biggest mistake a Christian woman can make is  to stop taking God’s strength and sufficiency to stay  honest with him even if it isn’t welcomed while taking care of the children mostly. Thank God for single women, widows, young and unmarried yet in the church who are praying during all those moments. Western men, more so Christian men could be just as bad as that young man from Iraq, except they have no foolish traditions to back them up. Phew!

I believe that well being of a husband, pastor, leader of any significant ministry is in the hands of the women. Only because he does all the jobs up front and they behind close doors, doesn’t mean they are less powerful. A wife must provide healthy and nutritious meals, kick him out towards the gym, swimming, walking, cycling if need be – any activity is better than work 24/7 or sitting in front of a TV; must intercede for him through constant prayer, remain spiritual, in active relationships with the Lord  herself. In one of the thrillers about an FBI agents work, a wife of one of them  could not handle his job and walked out on him with a baby. She  got tired of criminal cases that devoured his personal life as much. On the other hand, he felt that he was destined to catch those mad men: how could he rest while they are killing the innocent, unsuspected citizens? Even though he remained at his job, he appeared to be a wounded man. I’m sure in real life it is worst drama.

Who is here with all the power, who really needs to be a strong helpmate ready to go and do whatever the Lord has her to do in order to make her husband bulletproof ? The woman. After all, when Eve took an initiative and  offered the forbidden  fruit to Adam, she changed the course of entire humanity. Does that sounds like a suppressed weak creature? From that moment on, the Woman, more so a Christian one, still remained in a place of great influence over men, either for better or for worst.

That’s why the only advise I could of gave to my young, newly married Christian friend from Iraq, is to pray for her husband until God answers her. Pray for herself at the same time.Carry on reading the Bible. ‘I wish I could  stop lashing out when he talks so negatively about me.’ ‘Yes.  The only solutions – self-control. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.‘  No one  is out of God’s reach. It is only a matter of time. Even world ruler do exactly as He pleases.

Once, in early days of acquaintance with Susanna,  Spurgeon asked her: ‘Do you pray for your husband somewhere in the world?’ That was his plea as a preacher that people would pray for him as much as they could. No wonder he was titled ‘the Prince of Preachers.’ Today I find his writings still the most inspirational by the Holy Spirit.

But there are  mature, deeply spiritual Christian women as they seem to be, are out there who think they can afford not to intercede for their husbands.  The interest and eagerness to support what he does is lost. And it doesn’t worry them or others. Simply  shocking. Perhaps they got tired to be  sacrificial on the back stage. May be they are not strong or wise enough to confront a deep pain that a husband caused at one point.  I certainly struggle with ‘being sacrificial whenever it needed’ from time to time. I read some of the stories about female missionaries and think to myself: ‘She can’t be human.’ But I also know  that anybody could be weak and apathetic. It takes effort and will to remain spiritual. Let’s be encouraged, not forfeiting God entrusted  power to create better households with husbands who are imitators of  Christ – how powerful that is….

How about a coffee?

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Not long ago, my husband and I were getting so caught up in doing things, while the children & the ministry multiplied before us, that  all the  fun was gone from our lives. There is nothing new about being busy while serving God! You forget what God advised NOT to do. Just like king Solomon did. God specifically asked him not to multiply horses or women. He did exactly that over time.  When great & wise fail, we bound too.

Then we came to a brilliant solution.  We thought if we don’t have money or time to go fun places, we at least could got out for a coffee every week to talk.  And we did. It is amazing how a little effort could revolutionize relationships with your spouse. There is something special about  consistency.

Christians tend  to miss out on the obvious. A friend, with much regret, once said: ‘It never crossed my mind to pray for my children’s spouses.’  There was such spiritual maturity about her at the same time.

Even in a Christian marriage, it is vital to be in love with Jesus first. Isn’t that plainly obvious? Yet, emotions could be as ‘a slow released bomb’. Women are blessed to feel and experience like no one else. But this feelings: Danger- don’t enter-ground of a woman can be such a weak spot. I believe that is exactly where the enemy attacks on the evil day that the Bible mentions: ‘Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.’  We know it, yet the enemy strikes a bulls-eye  every time!

An encouraging thought

I encourage any mother to make the most of the opportunity while your children are under your roof. (And I mean mother, not parent: in some Christian circles women are not allowed to pray out loud while men are working. Yeah, right)  Years ago we hosted a Swiss student. He came on his bike all the way from Switzerland. He was obsessed with ecology. He would not fly on the plane. He would rather take 6 days to reach England with his  camera & tent on his bike. I was amazed.

What was interesting he came from a family with a Christian heritage. His grandparents & parents were believers. He wasn’t. I was puzzled. He wanted to practice English & I was determined to get to the bottom of his unbelief. He shared with me that he went to church on Sunday. Most of the week he and his dad talked about environment, pollution, nature and ect. He has not mention much about his mother. That itself speaks a little bit. If she had a massive spiritual input in his life, I think he would mention her. I can’t tell you how sad I felt the whole time while he stayed with us. Let’s not waste time producing children that are talented & knowledgeable in everything, but God’s truth. Invest in your kids while you can. That is one thing no one will ever regret.

Top Tip.

The most effective way that I found  to upkeep my spirituality, and particularly be right with my children, is to fast from time to time. The desire that I have for God’s word & prayer is incredible during fasting. The anger that rises in my heart is towards the right things that God hates, not irritation with my children. You can have a liquid fast (drink whatever you want) & even pregnant & breastfeeding mother can do it. (I was pregnant while fasting once & didn’t even know it) I mention all my children by names to the Lord. I pray that each one of them will walk with the Lord! This  brings such comfort & assurance that you can’t obtain any other way. I pray for toren apart families where children  get caught in the mess of brokenness. The Lord reminds about people you haven’t thought lately. Instead of judgement (because while you fast, you must first of all judge your walk  with the Lord)  compassion floods & reality of hell.  The urgency of time is so high because  your flesh is mortified & your spirit leads you. God left us with such powerful weapons as women. You could be a housewife who moves nations by fervent prayers & fasting, not even leaving the house. I love that perspective.

Here some of the benefits:

  • you naturally pray & read more (cooking & digesting food takes so much energy)
  • you are doing everything slower, so a speeding ticket is not an option
  • you don’t gossip, argue or talk unnecessarily
  • your stomach shrinks, so you don’t overeat later
  • your body feels relieved from toxins/fat/extra salt & ect.
  • you become spiritually disciplined once again
  • all  secular books,films & other rubbish doesn’t appeal to you as much
  • after the fast (you realize how hard work this is) physical exercises are much more appealing. 
  • particular fears are dealt with
  • you are able to identify more naturally about those are oppressed & unjustly treated.

I hope & pray that anyone who reads it would be persuaded to do it more often.

What must we fight?

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One day I was standing on the high pier about to jump off it in to the Black Sea. I was in my early 20’s, not a great swimmer, but loving a challenge.  It is one thing to set up a challenge, it is  completely different to   go through it. Often we say ‘this year is going to be a year of changes’, the year comes to an end, but still no changes.  So, I stood there for about 20 minutes which seems like forever.  Two spectators were passing by, one of them commented: ‘And how long are you going to stand there?’  After that I knew ‘if I don’t jump now, I will never respect myself again.’ So I did. It is hard to describe, but  that was one of the most liberating experience of my life. I wasn’t a good swimmer, I just learned how to dive, and I was jumping off the high pier. When I came up from the depth of the water, I was so full of joy and confidence. I jumped tirelessly from that and other places  since.  The first step towards a challenge is often defines who you  will be. Once you done it, you have conquered your particular fear!

I can see that the Bible plain clear about fighting  against our sin. The Lord Himself is on our side: ‘And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ .’ Any believer can rest assured that God will do it no matter what, and even in spite of ourselves at times. But what is really interesting to me is where our personality and habits fit in? You have two Christian mothers going to the same church and yet  they miles apart by their personalities (which is fine), but also habits. That is puzzling indeed.

I don’t know if my theory is correct or not, but this has been my experience, so I might as well share about it. After I became a Christian, I realized that I must fight my habits. Even my  very own personality. I think when we by the grace of God come to that conclusion, we present more opportunities for God to use us for His glory. I believe this is exceptionally vital for the future mothers. Children will copy everything that you do even if you don’t want them to. So that is another generation at stake right there. One of the Christian mothers I know of struggles with a messy house. You can’t even imagine it. She suddenly decided to home school of  her children. This is rather commendable, but how can you organize your thoughts and actions if your house is one big tip?

On one of the travels my husband met a pastor of a massive church in Indonesia. After getting to know him a bit, he learnt that this pastor’s mother made a habit of praying for him and his brothers. Today he is not only a pastor, but a leader of many missions around the world. That’s what God can do when we develop and nourish godly habits in our lives.

An encouraging thought.

Every time when we decide to do something against the main stream, take a stand for the Lord or simply live a quiet but godly lives, it will present a challenge. If not to ourselves, possibly to the world around us. Our stand in life won’t be popular, will be criticized & ridiculed. So what? All that opposition & swimming against the tide  only make a fish stronger and tastier, I mean a more Christlike person out of a Christian! Let’s do it & let’s not forget that we are not the only one’s.

Top Tip

Godly habits & challenges to our personalities are vital. When I started this blog I thought: ‘there is no chance, English is my second language, it can’t be done and ect.’ A few months later, I’m still writing away with bigger plans as ever before, finding more & more like-minded or completely diverse from me fellow bloggers. One more fear got conquered. Blessings are abounding. This battle will carry on till we die. Then it can safely cease it. Not because we are no more, because we will have superior, up to total perfection personalities!