Help Issue 4 - Part III - Copyright 1989 Mary Pride, 1997 Home Life, Inc.

Cheryl Rocco, NC

Here is a "wish list" of what I'd like to do during future pregnancies.

Preparation of meals is a major problem for women experiencing nausea and vomiting. Here are some possible solutions (the first two depend on the husband's skill in the kitchen; the third on willingness of other Christians to serve).

  1. Plan two weeks' worth of extremely EASY MEALS. Include a shopping list for each week and write out recipe cards as well. This is more expensive over a long period of time, as "convenience" foods cost more, but it's well worth it to a tired husband at the end of a long work day.

    Examples of EASY MEALS:

    The same planning may be done for children's lunches, making it easy for the children or husband to prepare. During my worst period of nausea, my husband even set the breakfast table for the children. He cooked hot cereal and boiled eggs or fixed yogurt and fruit, or cold cereal and toast.

  2. Husband cooks meals on weekend. For example, he might roast a chicken while cooking a double batch of chili or spaghetti. These ingredients could then be used in a variety of dishes, alternating nights. Examples: Chili- on tacos, with cornbread, over rice, or layered with corn chips and cheese. Spaghetti-with meatballs, meatball submarines (add meatballs and mozarella on french bread), or Chicken Cacciatore (add pieces of roast chicken to leftover spaghetti sauce and serve over rice or flat noodles). Chicken-roast with veggies and rice, casserole, or soup.

  3. Have a sympathetic Christian sister organize a group of five women to cook a meal for your family one day each week, Mon-Fri, similar to what is often done after the birth of a baby. Since this might turn out to be a long-term commitment, depending on the severity and length-of-time of your nausea, the family receiving help may want to pay the sisters for the cost of food ingredients.

  4. Either enlist a sister to clean the house once a week or hire someone. It would also be helpful if someone would be willing to do the laundry. Your husband could drop it off and pick it up.

Unless the church has a close-knit body life, it never seems to occur to other Christians to minister in this way, unless there is an accident or hospitalization. But if a group of women with problem pregnancies could covenant together to pray and help each other through their pregnancies, there could be workable solutions. That's why it's helpful to fellowship with other believers who are committed to God's plan for families. Otherwise, the woman with one child is not going to be sympathetic with the woman who is vomiting through her sixth pregnancy.

Mary Pride [from a response to Cheryl Rocco's letter]

I was sick eight months with our firstborn (he was born one month early), then most of the time with our second. It got somewhat better with the third-after the first six weeks, I only was severely nauseated at the time of month when I would have had my period, and at the end. This trend has continued, until now, with our sixth, I am feeling much better.

Perhaps part of the reason for my improvement is our greatly improved diet and the better quality of air in our house. Thanks to the Brewers' book, I began making whole wheat bread during my second pregnancy. Now we use whole grains all the time and eat many more vegetables. Our food tends to be simple (also time-saving!) standbys like roasted chicken with rice (pour the chicken juice into the rice), spaghetti with whole-wheat noodles (for sauce, I just mix some spices, ground beef, and tomatos), and so on. I started avoiding onions and fish when the smell turned my stomach while pregnant, and we don't really miss them.

[Ed. note-I quit eating according to the Brewer diet halfway through my last pregnancy and immediately (though it took foolish me a while to see the connection!) developed diabetes-like symptoms. Keep on making your own bread or at least buying natural food at the health-food store as long as you can!]

I wonder how much difference air quality makes to others. To me, it makes a lot. We used to live in a city apartment right next to the storm sewer, and it smelled. So did the city air! I could not go for walks, since we had dog packs roaming and I had to take all the children with me if I left the house. Cutting out as many smelly cooking operations as possible did help. Now we live close to the country in a new house that does not smell of previous residents' cigarettes, and I can go for walks. That fresh air really helps!

We have also been a lot more conscientious about vitamins lately. I started taking multivitamins, Barley Green (natural dried barley juice), Vitamin E, garlic capsules, and calcium tablets several months before this pregnancy. Carol Bond Health Foods (our mail-order vitamin source) also sells protein tablets (they are supposed to help you keep from being overhungry at meals) which seem to help relieve that pre-meal yukky feeling.

Two other helpful ideas: avoiding garments with waists, or that are tight around the stomach, and carry-in meals from the local restaurants/fast food joints on really bad days, to avoid cooking smells.

Nancy Krumreich, Indiana
(speaking about women who have incapacitating pregnancies)

I think there are two separate aspects to their (and others') leeriness of allowing the blessings to continue. First the actual suffering of the sickness. This they might be able to handle (one kept her attitude good by realizing she could be sick from cancer treatment rather than having the end result be a wonderful baby!), but the second aspect is weightier because it is not concerned with self only: the inability to carry on any basic responsibilities for months on end, including the nurture and education of children. I believe this is where the church should come in, and particularly the older women. It seems to me that if there were more women whose children are raised willing to help younger ones through these pregnancies, there would be more young women (and husbands) willing to bear more children. It is also something teens could do, especially home schooled teens not tied down by school and extra-curricular activities.

In our home church, a mother of a one-year-old was expecting another under these dire circumstances. Four of us took turns spending days at her house through the worst of it, but we realized there are categories of people better equipped for that than us with our own small children. I'm just saying there is a glaring ministry opportunity here, one which exists partly because so many of the women in the category-most-available-to-help are not available because they are pursuing careers . . ., and partly because churches are too busy with programs to do such practical things. . . .

L.G., CA
(a certified childbirth educator, registered nurse, and midwife)

I can't give any other advice on living through a difficult pregnancy other than eat well (the "Brewer diet"-NAPSAC carries their book) and trust God. So many pregnancy problems are diet-related! Eat 2400-2600 calories of fresh whole foods each day, including 100 grams of protein.

I also see problems caused by stress (worry). So many Christian women have amniocentesis, ultrasound, induced labor, etc., etc., so they can be sure "everything is OK." Where is their faith?! and joy?!

I have had many older women in my prenatal classes. My experience is that if they eat well and get regular exercise such as swimming or walking, they do just as well or better than a mom who is under 40. Their wisdom and experience allow them to sail gracefully and easily through pregnancy and birth. They are also wonderful moms! (Don't you wish you knew what you know now when you had your first baby?)

Mormons, who are famous for large families, believe that a mother births better with each baby, and becomes a better mom with each baby. Studies have shown this to be true in their culture. Their secret? They have a good diet and believe in what they're doing.

Beryl Singer, MA

I have had pregnancy nausea with each pregnancy and have found a few strategies that helped me:

The last month of my pregnancies, when I feel tired and enormous, I try to plan a special project to take my mind off myself, like knitting or writing or planning what I want to do after the baby is born.

Mary Almquist, MN

Your phrase "maternal missionary" is really an accurate way of viewing pregnancy and childbirth for me. I don't have much room inside for babies to grow, so they tend to "pop out" early in the pregnancy. I carry them way out front. People kind of gasp when I walk in during the last six weeks.

Because of this, my abdominal wall has torn open on two different occasions. I have had it surgically repaired five weeks after my second baby was born and also halfway through Elizabeth's pregnancy. I think my relatives think I'm nuts to want more children. (Frankly, after Elizabeth was born, I must admit I had a flashing thought like that, too, but have since changed my mind). . .


S.B. from MI, who wrote to me several years ago wondering if she dared get pregnant again after two terribly hard pregnancies, did go ahead and have another baby and rejoice in that baby. Recently she wrote again to announce that she is again with child, and that THIS time she is not excessively sick at all!

A missionary mother

Costa Ricans are very definitely infected with the movement towards smaller families, i.e., one boy, one girl. Although the nation is predominantly Roman Catholic, birth control is widely used; abortion is illegal by law, but practiced.

It is very common for women to have children without husbands in the home, and for the children in one family to have more than one father. . . . If a woman has to choose between children and a husband, she will choose children-there's more security in them.

It appears to us that many many women work out of the home-as maids, and in many other fields which require an education. I wish I had statistics for all of this, but I don't.

There is also a goodsize evangelical population here (20-25%), but in many ways the roles are the same as for unbelievers.

In 1981 CR went through a big recession and many "Ticos" feel they can no longer afford large families.

Even the [ethnic people] with whom we work are interested in birth control for the same economic reasons, but have less access to barrier methods, and are often left with only the sterilization (tubal) option. Few have chosen that.

We do feel personally that the economic reasons are a poor excuse . . . for instance, we live in a basic paradise in the jungle with food and land aplenty and the option to cultivate many fruits and tubers, squashes, etc. But it appears that because the society has disintegrated so much, many people no longer plant as much as they could, and many steal even from their own family and neighbors. Compounding this problem are many families with no male head of the house to support a wife and kids. So the poverty cycle begins and people's needs grow, the welfare system gets burdened, people get dependent and men and women no longer fulfil their God-given roles.


(There's also lots of overt and covert witchcraft in Costa Rica-bound to affect family life . . .)

Generally speaking I feel that attitudes towards men's and women's roles are fast approaching those of the USA. Some parts of society are right with the general U.S. population; the rest will catch up in 10-20 years. Perhaps Catholicism will spare the country from legal abortion. I'm not sure how aware of it the evangelicals are.

In a sense, the traditional Cost Rican male machismo makes male-female roles more tradition. The male is the macho head and the wife is the servant. The man can have his mistresses but the wife better toe the line. Not quite the Biblical model of love and service.

Most of the evangelical missionaries in Bible schools and seminaries have taught that the Genesis account of "be fruitful and multiply" applies generally to generations and is not a mandate for individual families. And so this idea is quite prevalent as well as the push for birth control. (Of course busy missionaries are too busy to have more than their quota of 2-3 kids!)

Costa Rica has European roots and Spanish flavor. It is a democratic socialist republic and has the highest rate of literacy in Central America, as well as a fairly decent economic life, in spite of the recent recession. It is probably one of the best Latin countries to live in, with little political violence and upheaval (no coups) and no standing army.


Susan Horton, FL

While visiting a Moravian (a Christian denomination of German descent) settlement in North Carolina, the tour guide explained to us the lifestyle of the people of the late 1700s. She guided us through each room, and as she came to the kitchen she explained how many facets of their life depended on the fireplace. The meals were cooked there, the hot water for washing was heated there, the candle-making depended on it to melt the beeswax, and the live coals were used to relight the lamps each morning. She then elaborated on what a disgrace it was for a woman to let her fire go out and have to borrow a live coal from a neighbor. Immediately Proverbs 31:18 came to mind: "her candle goes not out by night." I had always wondered if it were consistent with other scriptural principles to expect a woman (or man) to arise well before dawn, then stay up well into the night. I saw that day the more correct meaning of that scripture. God gently reminded us to arise early but also reminded us to be diligent in caring for our responsibilities in the home-not letting our fires go out.

At the time of this awareness I felt much pressure lift from me, as I had been feeling quite guilty about not being able to get up early each morning and feel awake. . . I knew that staying up late was much of the reason I could not arise with any vigor, but Proverbs 31 had seemed to advocate it . . . .


Judy Goshorn, IN

While growing up in my parent's home, I watched my share of TV and, as an only child, became quite absorbed in some of it. However, during six years of college and graduate school I had little time nor interest in the screen. What spare time I had was devoted to reading. When my husband and I were married, some kind relatives donated a used TV which we promptly sold to buy a freezer. We then bought a small, used, black and white set, but didn't watch it much. I had become increasingly appalled at the changes wrought in six years and very little programming (or commercials) appealed to me. My husband, however, enjoyed losing himself occasionally in a ball game or a movie. This was not a problem until his 13-year-old son came to live with us. This teen spent hours watching anything, and my husband often joined him, becoming completely oblivious to the rest of life. In his words, it was "something they could do together." Yes, I thought inwardly, you can vegetate and degenerate together.

I began to lobby (not nag, of course!) for some limits to viewing. We could curtail the number of hours that Mike watched or, even better, put the tube in a closet and take it out only for special programs. My husband, a Christian, could not see what I was so upset about. His argument was that to take away TV would further widen the gulf between us and his son, a non-Christian. To his credit, however, he did somewhat monitor the shows that Mike watched.

When my first child was born, I became desperate. I could not let my baby grow up ingesting all the trash watched by a teenager, even the evening news. Still, there was little or no understanding from my husband. So (and why is this often the last resort?) I prayed. I believed that God was saying, "No TV." But, if so, He would have to get the message across to my husband. I couldn't.

Shortly after I had prayed this particular prayer, we experienced an ordinary thunderstorm. Afterwards, the TV did not work. When my husband investigated, he found the inside parts of the TV completely fried, fused together! We had had no indication that lightning had struck. The TV was in the middle of an inside wall; the antenna was in the attic. I was thrilled and reported my prayer to my husband. He was speechless (highly unusual) and, thankfully, convinced. God had spoken!

And so, we lived for five years with no TV. After the teenager moved out, we bought a small set and video cassette player for using videotapes. The children watch no network TV. Occasionally my husband will decide to watch a special show of some sort. Then the real miracle occurs. Now he can see and recognize the degradation. It affects him and he wants to protect his remaining children from it. Before the zero-TV years, he would not have been aware of the filth that he was taking in.

Incidentally, the children have terrific imaginations and are wonderful at entertaining themselves . . .

Mary Jane Kestner, MN

Concerning Life Without a TV: we've never had one in our home. Kevin reads in the evening to us, we play "memory game" with the children, listen to "Unshackled," a half-hour radio program (real-life dramas of how people have come to know Jesus). In the warmer months we often go to a nearby park to swing or cook out, or go for a walk around the block. We most often just sit in the living room and talk as the little ones play or romp nearby.

We all look forward to our camping trips. Especially Joshua. He was picking up little sticks all over the yard. When I asked what he was doing, he answered matter of factly, "MAKING A FIRE!" The state park we go to has a wonderful hiking trail and you can see so many stars on a clear night. We honestly don't miss the TV at all. Once a week we let them "camp" on our bedroom floor. Kevin tells an extra long story on that night. They love to do this.

Many people never discover how much fun and good times you can have just staying at home with the children. Know what I mean?

We got rid of our TV years ago, when TV was just beginning to get really nasty. Now we have a video-cassette player/monitor system that does not receive TV signals. I was astonished at how much better its resolution is that a normal color TV . . . and of course, we now have control over what we and the children watch!

When I found this system, I immediately listed a distributor for it in THE NEXT BOOK OF HOME LEARNING. However, through an odd chain of events, the original distributor wound up asking us to take over distributing to home schoolers and others outside the company's usual business market.

Personally, we think these systems are wonderful. Will tell you more in our next catalog!

In the last issue of HELP, I made the point that Scripture gives us no warrant to encourage unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption. My concern arose out of two actual situations I was aware of, where the mothers were made to feel guilty for keeping their own babies and pressured to hand them over to some more "worthy" woman to raise. This is, of course, an entirely different situation than the case of abandonment, where both parents totally disavow any responsibility for raising their own offspring. In such cases, the Lord says, "When father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up," and Christians have traditionally understood this, and the passage in Ezekiel 16, to encourage adoption of abandoned children.

I received several letters in response to this article. Two adoptive mothers wrote to say (without any Scripture backup) that it IS all right to encourage unwed moms to consider adoption as an option. Two others wrote asking me to clarify that I do believe adoption is good in the proper circumstances . . . one thanked me for stressing our obligation to care for the truly unwanted children rather than just the beautiful babies. And finally, these letters came, which I'd like to share with you. --MP

Pamela Boswell, CA

I have hesitated to share my feelings about adoption with others because I have not personally suffered from long-term infertility and what I have to say may seem insensitive to those who have. However, I came to my conclusions after two women with adopted children shared their experience with me. After reading what you wrote about this issue, I was moved to tell you what these women told me. Both of these women were barren and unable to have their own children, so they adopted each of their children. All of these children are now grown, so what they told me was in hindsight.

Let me back up and say that the cause of the infertility in their marriages was not known. It could have been the wife, the husband, or both who had the problem. Anyway, looking back they both agreed that the infertility must have been God's will, and they now feel that unless the couple is blessed with children of their own, they should not adopt.

This really shocked me, because I have always respected these women and thought they were wonderful, loving and devoted mothers. All of their children were adopted as infants and were raised in Christian homes. Unfortunately, they did not grow into mature Christian adults and have had and caused various problems throughout their lives. I realize this happens with natural children as well, but I was compelled to regard these ladies' opinions as the voice of experience.

They felt that their husbands had not fulfilled their responsibility in leading and controlling their families, and that God's foreknowledge of this is why they were not blessed with children of their own. They did not lay all the guilt on their husbands, but felt their own as well. These husbands are also exemplary Christian men, have always been very involved in the church, and are held in high respect by those around them. So this all was a puzzle to me until I thought about how much time through the years these men spent doing church work instead of overseeing their families-maybe that was what their wives were referring to.

Now, I'm not about to insist that infertile couples should not be allowed to adopt children, but perhaps God has something else for them to do and that is why He has not blessed them with children. I think that is what those women were telling us. Even though the longest I have had to wait for a baby to be conceived is nine months (this last time in fact), I have had a small taste of that feeling of desperately wanting a baby and not being able to have one and wondering if I ever would get pregnant. I grieve for those who wait for years! It is a very complicated issue.

Ann Ivey, TX

As an adopted child myself, with an adopted brother and two adopted children, I have always viewed my adoption into God's family through my trust in Jesus' death for me on the Cross as a wonderful parallel with my experience with adoption here in the world. Our legal system of adoption in this country is similar in areas of legality, birthright, and inheritance-and even names! -with God's plan for adopting us!

I have counseled for years in a crisis pregnancy center and always encourage young single women to consider adoption as an option. No one should "push" anyone toward adoption, but I consider it a very Biblical alternative. While I don't believe that the Bible definitely teaches one option over another in the case of raising a child as a single mother versus adoption, I see that a mother's placing her child into a Christian home is a Biblical way to take care of her child, just as well as raising it herself. . . .

Your admonition to adopt because we feel a burden for a particular orphaned child, and to seek truly need children, is wonderful . . .

LuAnn Hummer, PA

I don't believe it's right to be sterilized and then adopt. But for those of us who are not able to have our own, I believe adoption is an option. "Truly needy" children sometimes have living mothers and fathers who chose not to take care of them in this fallen world. . . .

I am an adoptive mom (as you might have guessed!) as well as a foster mom. I also read your book The Child Abuse Industry and found it very informative. I have seen children who don't have extended families to care for them. I think more Christians should be foster parents and only accept children in their homes who are in need.

Since reading The Child Abuse Industry, I'm more aware of what agencies can try to do to families and I've decided to only accept children in my home who are in real need-not just some accusation or hotline case. So far, all the children I've cared for have been placed in foster care by their parents because they had no extended family to help them out. . . .

A.K., WI

I want to comment on Jean Slocum's letter about adoption. Anyone who adopts must do so only because they feel called by God to do so. Raising children who are not physically our own is not an easy task. It is very different because these children have a different genetic make-up. They also come with problems that stem back to ancestral blessings and curses (Ex 20:5, Jer 32:18, Lam 5:7). It is best to be prepared for such things and follow only God's leading. Only then will there be an abundance of blessings; although the road will not necessarily be smooth!

My parents were led by God to open their home in 1965 to children. They already had three of their own children, aged 10, 5, and 1, at that time. Today they have nine, ranging in age from 33 to 6, with a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. And there are many more who called them "Mom and Dad" but were unable to stay and become "legal" family.

My parents have adopted infants and older children. (Just today their guardianship of my six-year-old brother was finally approved.) It was a great joy to be raised in their home. There is a great sense of being loved and wanted when your parents will turn no needy child away.

My parents are very special people. I believe God has blessed them richly. But that is not to say that they have not had some real sorrows and heartaches. . . .

In response to your comments on living parents taking care of their own children: I would agree with you in most cases. However, as each of us is unique, so is each situation. My parents could contest that personally since today ends an 18-month court battle to keep my six-year-old brother with them. The Indian tribe of which he is a member wanted him back, although my parents had him since he was four months old and the tribe never seemed to know he was alive until his fifth birthday. I could go deep into the story, but the question is, "Do we allow the children God has sent to return to 'family' that is pagan? or do we fight the politics to protect a frightened child?" At great cost my parents chose to fight. I believe they chose right! Today they won-to God be the Glory! Great things He has done!

As I said above, there is a difference between taking a child from a present parent and taking in an abandoned child, like the Indian baby AK's parents took in. I don't believe, however, that the argument that Christians are entitled to the children of "pagans" simply because the pagans are pagans holds water. The Bible says that we are not supposed to covet another man's "house," which Scripturally includes his children. Christians are not entitled to take children simply because we disapprove of the children's parents. When a child has been abandoned, we can and should take him in, and once we have done so he is our child. Natural parents have no Biblical right to give up a child and then later, after years of neglecting their duty, pop up demanding the child back. Otherwise, unless someone can show me otherwise from Scripture, it seems to me that it is our duty to try to help the child through his parents, respecting God's chain of command, and that this includes encouraging the parents to keep their child.

Pamela Boswell, CA

I want to defend teenage mothers for a moment. Two of my pregnancies took place while I was teenaged, and they were conceived within marriage. While the situation was different from those who are not married and are not able to share the parental responsibilities with a loving husband, I don't believe your age automatically disqualifies you from being a fit parent.

We were married right after my graduation from high school when I was 16 and my husband was 19. Our first child was born when I was 18, and I was 20 when my second was born. Three more came along in my twenties and now I'm 30 and awaiting my sixth. We have been married for fourteen years and our love for each other has grown and matured tremendously.

I wish all teenage mothers could have their children under the same circumstances, but I know that is not so. At the very least, we should encourage them to keep and raise their babies as best they can and provide the emotional and financial support they need to remain with their babies (instead of finishing school and/or pursuing a career). That is the only way they can mature and bring something good out of the sin of fornication.

I believe most teenage mothers want to keep their babies and want to be good mothers, but others are always trying to convince them that adoption is the best thing for their babies and for them. It is not right to force a loving mother and child apart, no matter what the mother's age or how the child was conceived. If God, in His wisdom, sees fit to bless an unmarried woman with a child, who are we to question it and try to "fix" it?

D.M., IA

I was so pleased to see your comments to Jean Slocum in Nebraska about not encouraging unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption. I am an unwed mother of a six and one half year old boy. I have always wondered whether I was being selfish in keeping him but always had this nagging feeling that no one could be more committed to raising him to be a godly man than I am.

I also believe that in giving up your child you are doing away with the consequences of sin. Raising my son has been really hard but I also know I wouldn't have grown in maturity and in my relationship with Jesus if I had not lived with the consequences of my sin.

Pamela Harrington, IN

As I know almost all larger families are seeking ways to make needed income, let me share a fairly novel idea that I believe the Lord gave to me. I had all kinds of excess "stuff" lying around due to inheritances from two very elderly family members (a great-great aunt who died at age 87 and my great-grandma at 97 years of age). Also just the usual accumulation of eleven years of marriage. Of course I wouldn't part with certain things from my family members. But I seemed to end up with a lot of things that nobody else wanted. Anyway, I found that there is a huge market these days for antiques and things called "collectibles." Collectibles are any and every thing imaginable. Do you have old dishes that you don't use any more? . . . Girl Scout or Boy Scout books and related material . . . Avon bottles . . . old Barbie dolls (original ones people my age played with as children are worth $100 or even up to $300 in some cases) . . . old wooden building blocks (I received $11 for a set my kids didn't play with) . . . old books (or not so old-I received $5 for a 1952 Fanny Farmer Cookbook I never used) . . . baseball card collections . . . old calendars . . . Beatles (ugh!) fan club items . . . decoys, Coca-Cola patches, openers, etc . . . old childhood games (I received $5 for a 1967 edition of Uncle Wiggily) . . . I could go on and on. The time is ripe to sell all of your unneeded, unwanted items. If a person goes to an antique shop rather than having a yard sale, he can make more money and it's a lot less trouble.

I'm a novice at all of this-checked some books out at the library-and I've already sold $120.25 worth of things that were merely cluttering up my home!

Jane Swanson, WI

We have four children and people are always saying to me, "You sure have your hands full!" I reply, "It's better than having them empty." "Well . . . uh . . . sure," they stammer. Others say to me, "They sure must keep you busy!" I say, "Well, we're all busy at something. There's nothing I'd rather do!" Ordinarily, these wouldn't be bothersome comments, but we get them all the time!

Cindy Rollins, PA

I have a snippy answer to people's rude questions about our children: "Yes, perhaps I should have had an abortion!" I say this to wake them up to what their attitudes actually suggest.

Arlene Dryden, CA

One tennis partner said to me when I was pregnant with David, "I'm sure glad it's you and not me!" I replied, "I'm sure glad it is, too!"

Kathy McRae, MI

I have sure enjoyed those Zippy Answers. When people ask me how many children we plan to have, I have always just smiled and said, "Just one at a time!" Put in that perspective, no amount sounds like too much, and it really has worked for me. People don't press the issue. Maybe they're trying to figure out what the smile means!


Here are answers to some questions readers have asked us. If you have more to add, we'd be glad to hear from you!

Kathy von Duyke, DE

I have received your newsletter with some disappointment. There seems to be a lot of whining, "But Mary," as if you had all the answers! There seems to be a lot of searching for some "expert," be it you, Gothard (a single man!), or whatever-instead people need to think through the Scriptures with prayer.

An interesting point. Bill and I talk a lot about the need to become independent from "experts." So what are we doing soliciting or answering questions? The answer is twofold-we do not try to answer everything ourselves, as if we were gurus, and we also recognize that there IS such a thing as expertise based on experience and Biblical insight. Not to say that we are great experts-that is why HELP is a forum and not a soliloquy! Still, we believe that the combined wisdom of HELP's readership really does amount to significant help for those of us with questions. The kind of "expertise" to avoid is the kind based on image rather than Biblical qualifications-people who come "in their own name," with their clever theories based on everything under the sun except the Bible. We want EVERYONE to become an expert-and this process involves asking questions and learning from others.


A frequently asked question is, "What about childless young wives and homeworking?" Another is, "What about single women? What is our calling?"

God's Word makes it plain that a ministry of Christian service to others is a higher calling than employment.

Today, young mothers have virtually no one to help them-especially right after a baby comes. The sick go unvisited. Volunteering is at an all-time low. I am not suggesting that you become a "busybody, gadding about from house to house" but rather that, given your financial freedom, it makes sense to inquire if you are needed for any freelance Kingdom work.

Now is also a great time to get that older woman/younger woman discipling you need. Perhaps you can find an older (not necessarily ancient!) woman who could use a hand and would in turn share with you her years of wisdom. This is also a great time to spend in deep Bible study and reading great Christian books. I felt guilty when I had only one child for all the time I spent enjoying Christian books. Now I don't have anywhere near the amount of time for study, and am glad I studied when I could!

P.N., NY

I could also use some help in how to schedule time for a home business. I'd like to do sewing, but feel like it may be more than I can handle. How to involve the family?

If you have four kids, ages 9 to 2, you don't NEED a home business! I know . . . I have one! Maybe a better idea would be for the kids to start THEIR own business . . . keeps them busy and happy, good character training, and you can serenely supervise and advise without contending with extra deadlines of your own. EXTRA CASH FOR KIDS (a Writer's Digest book, available from Home Life) is about the best book I have seen on this subject.

A Canadian reader

You talk about building up your family dynasty. When do you plan on letting your adult children go? The reason I ask this is because my husband and I are caught in between both of our parents trying to "build up their dynasties" and they both want us in their family businesses. Between the two families there are over twenty aunts and uncles who visit and of course we are expected to visit everyone when they come for visits. It gets very hectic running between the two places for business and for social meetings. . . . I feel the problem is they both have very controlling spirits concerning us and do not want to let us go. They make us feel very incompetent most of the time and I think this had a great deal to do with my husband and I practicing "planned barrenhood" for the first years of our marriage. We each were striving hard to turn out the way they wanted us to rather than more actively seeking God's will for us as a couple.

When Bill and I talk about "building your house" or "building your dynasty," we don't mean building it for YOURSELF. We are talking about house-building in the Biblical sense of building up the Lord's city, as in Psalm 127. The goal is to raise children who go on to be "mighty in the land" for the Lord (Psalm 112), not some sort of parental power trip!

As to when to let them go-according to the Bible, we never totally let our children go, in the sense of washing our hands of all responsibility for them. Grandparents are supposed to teach their grandchildren the things of the Lord (Psalm 78). But we can't and shouldn't force our way into our children's homes. We are supposed to raise them in such a way that they INVITE us in!

Your husband is the head of your home, not your father. You have a right to cut back on all this socializing if, as you say, it is interfering with your own family devotions and ministry; and you don't have to go into the family business just because a parent wants you to.

Dr. D. James Kennedy answered this whole question quite well in a sermon we heard recently. He pointed out that we all are supposed to "honor" our parents, but that only children (that is, non-adults) are asked to "obey" them. As with other areas of authority, once we start taking responsibility for paying our own way and live on our own, we also gain authority over our own lives. Parents who don't pay the bills have no Biblical right to issue commands.

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