The winner of last week’s drawing for a free copy of Passionate Housewives is Sarah.
The winner of this week’s drawing is Mrs. Mordecai. Congratulations!
And a second winner, courtesy of an anonymous donor: Bethany!
If both of you will email your shipping address using the contact form, I’ll see that you get your book.
Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, by Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancey, is a new Vision Forum book aimed at Christian homemakers who need encouragement in their role and calling.Jennie runs the website Ladies Against Feminism, a site dedicated to promoting beautiful womanhood. I had the privilege of spending some time with Jennie and her family several months ago, and was delighted when she found time to answer the questions below.Your book is already getting quite a bit of favorable attention from a wide variety of sources. Did you expect this kind of reception?I really didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you! I knew the message of dying to self wasn’t very widely popular, so I rather expected more negative reviews than we’ve received. I’ve been so blessed and encouraged to read all the positive reviews and emails we’ve received. To God be the glory! All Stacy and I did was try to point back to God’s Word and His ways, and it’s been our prayer that women who have struggled or felt overwhelmed would be lifted up and drawn closer to Christ. God’s ways are best for us!What motivated you to write this book?I was disturbed by the trend I saw sweeping through Christian publications (online and off) that urged women to put themselves first, have more “me-time,” and find ways to wiggle out of the clear Scriptural commands for women. I contacted Stacy to let her know how upset I was that these views were gaining traction, and she told me she’d already outlined a book to encourage women to crucify the flesh and live for Christ. When she sent me the chapter outline, I was stunned. She had put down everything I wanted to address. That’s when Stacy asked if I’d be willing to co-author the book. After talking with my husband and praying, I accepted. From the beginning, Stacy and I wanted to issue a clarion call for women to return to the Scriptures and obey them–to stop listening to the siren song of the world, which is the old lie of the serpent. Putting self first is not biblical; dying to self is. Insisting on being first isn’t Christian; serving others is. My motivation was to draw women to the simplicity and clarity of God’s Word and encourage them to embrace it again.
Who did you write this book for? Do you think it will go beyond your intended audience?
I really wanted to reach out to the women who have already given an ear to the lie or been tempted to drop their duties as wives and mothers to pursue more time for themselves. After all, I’ve been there myself! I came out of college a “Christian” feminist, determined to make it on my own and do God’s work my way. I prayed that this book would reach weary women, discouraged women, and women who were looking for answers from Scripture. But I also wanted to encourage and bolster women already walking in the right path. I hope the book reaches all of these women wherever they are in life.
Did you learn anything new in the process of writing and researching Passionate Housewives?
This question makes me smile! What I learned over and over again is that my timetable isn’t always God’s timetable. Stacy and I fully intended to knock out this project during the summer of 2005, but the Lord had other plans! So many real-life happenstances cropped up that kept us from writing on any kind of “schedule.” In fact, it took us two and a half years to finish the book! I got most of my chapters done on the laptop in the car while on long family trips–or late at night when my husband was over in Sudan. The Lord taught me how to use odd moments of time here and there to get the writing done. So real life goes on, and book chapters have to take a back burner! Another thing I learned (or re-learned) was just how pervasive feminism is in the Church. It has been “baptized” and cleaned up, but it’s still feminism. I was really amazed to see how insistent evangelical feminists are about negating the clear commands of Scripture. It is very discouraging that so many pastors and elders have just fallen into lock-step with egalitarians in the church, but I am encouraged by the numbers of women waking up and saying, “This is not biblical. This is not the gospel.” I pray the Lord will continue to purify His Bride and help us to cling to His Word.
I love how you refer to “the fanatical sock-matching wonder woman” in chapter 3. In our house, if 2 socks are the same color, they match. If they fit you, they’re yours. Do you think some housewives discourage themselves by maintaining unnecessarily high standards in the wrong areas?
Oh, totally! I say this as a “recovering perfectionist” myself, so I know! It is very easy to look at unrealistic standards in magazines and elsewhere and feel like a failure. But I remind people that I live in “House Full,” not “House Beautiful!” Sure, there are times when my house looks fantastic, but real people live here, so we’ve got our share of Legos, puzzles, crayons, and stray shoes scattered around–not to mention all the fingerprints on the walls! But a house can’t be a home if we don’t get our eyes off the stuff and focus on the people. My mom always told me, “People are more important than things.” You can always wipe fingerprints off and mop the floors; you can’t always sit down and read a book with your toddlers. We need a holy perspective on what’s important. Do I like a clean house? You bet! But I’ve learned not to make it into an idol. It’s no fun bowing down before the shrine of household perfection!
In chapter 4, you indicate that quiet time is not necessary. I know you are talking about quiet, personal one-on-one time with God, but you have me worried. What about afternoon quiet time, when all the children rest quietly whether or not they need a nap? I know a lot of moms feel a need for some peaceful time to recharge during the day; are we being selfish?
Great question! We definitely have daily quiet time in our household when the littlest folks are down for naps and the older children need to work on quiet projects, read, or simply rest. My mom did this with my siblings and me when we were little, and it really taught us to take time to be still. There’s nothing wrong with scheduling quiet time! The point we wanted to make in the book is that, in reality, quiet time doesn’t always mean total silence and seclusion, and that’s okay! Many afternoons I curl up on the couch with my oldest boys, reading (in snatches) while they read or rest. Interruptions are par for the course, but the time is still restful. I think a spiritual “quiet time” has been turned into an unbiblical idol for many women. They feel guilty if they don’t take an hour to read and pray before starting the day (or before going to sleep). They wonder how God can expect them to have this one-on-one time with so many little folks needing them and so much going on in the household. Our point is simply that God is looking for a quiet heart. He wants us to rest in Him even when the toddlers are in our lap or we’re nursing a baby. It is possible to read His Word with the children all around or while nursing or even while folding laundry (put in the Bible on audio!). And we can truly lift up our hearts to Him and “pray without ceasing” throughout the day. No closet required!
Sometimes it’s easy to neglect your husband because the children have so many needs; but (to borrow a phrase from your book) we also have to avoid falling off of the other side of the horse. How do you recommend that women find the proper balance between being a wife and being a mother?
Scripture is clear: We are called first and foremost to be helpers to our husbands–not mothers to our children. Christ must be at the heart of the home, and a godly marriage built around Him must be at the core. Our children thrive when they see how Mommy and Daddy love each other and make time for each other. And putting our husband’s needs and priorities first teaches our children to honor and obey their father as well. Children need to see that, when Daddy asks Mommy to do something, she gladly does it right away. Mommy is modeling for her children the kind of response they should have to their father. So nurturing our marriages is absolutely a top priority. Our mothering will naturally flow out of a strong, godly marriage. While it is obviously very important to be faithful in child training (Deut. 6), we do have to be careful not to become child-centered and dance attendance upon our children’s every whim. Children need to learn that they are here to die to self and serve others, too! Sometimes when I have a child who is being very insistent on having what he wants right now, I place him in a chair and tell him that he now has to go to the back of the line and wait until I have served everyone else. Insisting on being first guarantees you’ll be last in our house (unless you’re bleeding or on fire!). Children actually gain security from boundaries, so we need to give them good ones (biblical ones) and help them learn to honor them.
Are you working on any other books right now?
Nope! LOL! I think book writing is over for me for the time being. I loved this project and am so glad the Lord saw it through to completion, but I don’t have any new books on the horizon. The newest “chapter” I’m working on is the birth of our eighth child, due in April!
Now it’s your turn to weigh in: Have you heard of the book? Have you read it? What did you think? What questions would you ask Mrs. Chancey?