Today’s Post is from Ann Dunagan
It’s kinda a weird title, but as I’ve been praying about what to share with moms and daughters for my “little nugget” for this 30 Days of Homemaking for Girls here on Home Grown Mom, the phrase, “Teach your daughters wailing” has kept coming to my mind:
Is “Wailing for Girls” a Homemaking skill?
Before I begin, I think I need to give you a bit of background about our family.
We’re the Dunagan’s. We’ve got 7 kids (5 boys and 2 girls, currently ages 24, 22, 20, 18, 15, 13, and 10, along with a brand-new 22-year-old daughter-in-law). It seems like we’ve been homeschooling for forever (20 years); yet we’re happy when people still sound surprised that we do! Throughout this time, although we’ve always lived in the United States, we’ve been focused on remote Christian mission work, all over the world.
The other night around the dinner table, my husband and I were asking our kids for some parenting thoughts from their perspectives. Specifically, I wanted some feedback from the kids about what they appreciated about how they were raised.
Now it’s funny how kids can focus on the craziest things.
For some reason, the topic of our conversation immediately drifted to how they all were really proud of the fact that we never had band-aids.
Our beautiful new daughter-in-law just didn’t “get it” as she tried to sweetly explain how reassuring it was for her growing up, to know that whenever she got hurt, her loving mother would always give her a pretty princess-band-aid. But our kids were adamant about how they never appreciated sissy stuff like that; although our newlywed son, reassured his bride that he definitely would have liked those cute little princess-band-aids, on her!
Now, you’d think our kids would appreciate some of the big stuff we’ve done . . . like maybe all those years of education, or all our fun family parties and potlucks, or some cool trip they took around the world. But nope. The one thing that stayed in the forefront of our kids’ appreciation was our silly lack of band-aids.
I’m not talking about wimpy crying . . .
Now, I’ve never even had a boycott on band-aids. It’s just that with 7 kids, our medicine cabinet was often all out of band-aids when they were needed. So we just used hydrogen peroxide, toilet paper or gauze, and packing tape . . . and told ‘em to tough it up.
As I’ve thought about this conversation (because I was genuinely trying to get some parenting feedback, and because I’m always over-thinking deeply about everything), I think this band-aid analogy represents a very different mindset for parenting.
We do love to help hurting people, especially those who desperately need it, but we don’t have a lot of mercy, at least not the kind of “mercy” that registers on those spiritual-gifting tests (the kind of mercy-definition that just naturally delights in giving-away free hand-outs to lazy folks who aren’t willing to excerpt effort). We believe in training our kids to work hard, to be disciplined, and to be able to take care of themselves. We’ve trained our kids to pay for their own cars, to buy their own insurance, and to work for their college tuition (although we did help them with scholarships). They’ve learned that if they’re hungry, they can cook. If they’re out of underwear, they can do laundry.
They know that as a family, we’re all focused together on serving God. Our kids don’t expect to be waited-on hand and foot; instead, they’ve all learned to wait on others. We’ve always trained our sons to be strong, and our daughters to be daring.
Giving our girls something to really cry about . . .
Our family doesn’t care for crying around the house — unless we have something to really cry about. The other day, our competitive 10-year-old started whining-and-crying about losing a game of Monopoly, which resulted in an instant lecture from me about how crying is for real-stuff — like when someone is dying, or a kid is starving, or when we need to repent.
Recently, I found a weird verse that I shared with my daughter. It’s from Jeremiah 9, and in context, the prophet was talking about how horrible it was that Israel had fallen from God’s ways. The nation was dealing with wickedness, deceit, idolatry, and all kinds of evil.
In verses 17-18, the Bible says,
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for skillful wailing women, that they may come. Let them make hast and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run with tears, and our eyelids gush with water . . .”
Isn’t that kind of strange? God was calling for the professional criers and the wailing women. There was a need for tears, but a total lack of mourning and grief. Then in verse 20, Jeremiah 9 says,
“Yet hear the word of the LORD, O women, And let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing . . . “
Wow. This verse really stopped me.
I’m a mom with daughters, and I’m always on the lookout for what God tells me to teach my girls. So here, God is saying to teach my girls to cry . . . to shed tears . . . and even to wail. God is talking about big stuff, like rebellion against God, and not caring about sin.
Wailing for the world . . .
As moms, how often do we allow thoughts about the injustices of this world to penetrate into our hearts, to the place where we would care enough to cry? Or care enough to motivate our girlfriends and our daughters? All across the globe, and in our own nation, and right down the street, and (sadly) even blaring into family rooms through televisions and movies, there’s horrible stuff going on.
It’s stuff God calls SIN and INJUSTICE.
Even while living in God’s joy and peace, there should be seasons when the needs of this world should make us so sad, and so shocked, and so ashamed (especially as mothers who deeply care for the next generation). At times, we should be compelled to our knees, where we should cry, and even weep. Yet as women and as moms, most of us are just too calloused . . . or too busy . . . or too tired.
It’s hard enough to just to keep up with our mundane chores and our daily disciplines. We’re tackling unending laundry piles, trying to keep-up with our scrapbooking-goals, and working hard to make our houses look pretty. We’re taking our kids to church . . . and holding our breath through the teenage years, hoping our kids will beat the odds, and turn out okay.
Sisters, I challenge you to a higher calling . . .
Moms, we need to quit striving, and to quit caring so much about what others think . . . about us, and about our homemaking skills, and our motherhood successes (or failures).
Instead, we need to care more about what God thinks. He loves us so much, and He loves our daughters, even more than we do. For both moms and daughters, our calling is to simply walk with Him and to abide in Him, and to follow His leading, day-by-day. As we each draw closer to Him, He will show us His daily divine balance, to keep our family (and for our daughter’s future family) in His order, as He will also show us how to help others.
Please know that I highly esteem marriage, and motherhood, and homemaking. As a life-long, home-based, homeschooling mother, I value the continual investment needed to focus on the needs and priorities of our family and of our children and our home. But I also know that there’s a whole world out there, with so many desperate needs.
Needs that should concern a godly girl . . .
As Christian women (of all ages), we need to allow ourselves to see the big needs of this world, especially those that concern women, and girls, and children . . . like teenage pregnancy, abortion, pornography, the plight of orphan children, child slavery, human trafficking (especially of young girls), hurting and broken hearts, neglected children, and so many unsaved women and lost children who desperately need the love of Jesus.
Many of these are feminine needs that should “pull” on the God-given “nurturing” and life-giving hearts of our daughters. In this next generation, it’s going to take a mighty army of godly daring daughters to minister to these needs. But will our girls even hear about them?
It’s a responsibility of godly motherhood to instill in our girls a heart for the world’s needs (just look at Proverbs 31:8-9, about pleading for the cause of the speechless and those appointed to die, or verse 20, about extending our hands to the poor and the needy). As Bob Pierce prayed, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on you, but as women of God, we need to care. Will our girls grow up to be pampered or passionate? Will they be cute, or compassionate? As moms, let’s ask God to give us more of His heart and His perspective. Our little girls don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty details of the world’s horrible evils; but as they’re old enough to understand, we need to teach our daughters to pray, and to pray HARD!
Our daughters can be radiant pure lights . . . to reach a very dark world.
We need to teach our daughters to wail.
Daring Daughters . . . and Dirty Feet Article @ Harvest Ministry
Mission-Minded Compassion Ann Dunagan: Audio @ Harvest Ministry
Women of Courage in a Critical Time Kay Authur: Audio @ Revive Our Hearts
I’d like to end this challenge with a strong excerpt from David Wilkerson, a world impacting minister for over 50 years, who recently died.
Ann Dunagan lives with a passion for the LORD and the lost. She is a homeschooling mother of 7 children (ages 10 to 24), an author, and an international minister alongside her husband, Jon Dunagan.