In six short days I’ll be free! Or at least that’s how I see it.
For the last few months Rebecca and Katie and I have been working nonstop creating The Whole Story: Not-So-Scary Talks about Sex, Puberty & Growing Up. It’s our video-based course to help moms have those awkward conversations with their daughters. It was a lot of work, but I think it’s great, because the girls are so relatable.
Today’s the last day of our launch period. To celebrate the launch, we put the VIP Package of the course, where you get LIFETIME access to both the younger version and the older version, plus a ton of parenting bonuses, on for $69 rather than $99. But that special is up tonight at midnight!
So if you haven’t taken a look at the course yet, check it out here!
Anyway, I’ve done all the work for the launch now, and then tonight I’m speaking near my hometown, giving my Girl Talk presentation about sex & marriage (I always have fun with that!). Then this Saturday the girls and I are speaking at our home church with the first ever of our official Mother Daughter Events. We’re doing one in Missouri and likely one in Oshawa, Ontario this fall, too, so we’ll be taking it on the road. I’ll feel so much better after the first one is done!
For the first time in a few months, then, I feel like I can see the end of the tunnel in terms of how much work I have to do. And that’s really nice.
So this morning I’m feeling kind of mellow. I’m taking some deep breaths before I have to talk tonight, and I thought I’d share a few random things that are on my mind.
First, we do get tons of emails at this blog with questions from readers. And I can’t answer them all. So here’s a solution!
I’ve written over 2,500 posts on this blog, mostly with marriage advice and parenting advice. So chances are that if someone has a question, I’ve already answered it!
But how do you find those posts? Well, two places that may help.
Check out my topics list! That’s where I list all the broad things I talk about, along with the top posts in each category.
Want to get more specific into the nitty gritty? Check out my FAQ page. I’ve got over a hundred posts listed there with the most common questions. Chances are you’ll find what you need.
Second, make sure you’re signed up for my emails.
That way I can put you in a group to get posts specifically on the things you care about. And you won’t miss anything!
Okay, now for something completely different.
I thought I’d just get chatty for a while. I was busy writing an email that’s going out later today to some of my subscribers, and I wrote about the big mistake I made talking to my daughter about puberty. It made me think of a bigger issue, so just bear with me for a minute.
Here’s what I said:
Twelve years ago, I thought that the best idea to teach my daughter about sex was to have her listen to a guy her grandfather’s age explain it on a CD.
Okay, I never said I was a perfect parent.
But there I was, knowing that Rebecca needed “the talk”. She was 10, and she was starting to develop, and I knew I had better tell her everything soon or she was going to get her period without being prepared.
I also knew I wasn’t up to the task of explaining sex to her. So when I saw a program for sale that would do everything for me, I jumped at the chance!
After all, people who had been in ministry for decades and decades must really know how to explain this best, right?
Nope. My daughter was so weirded out by having an old guy explain to her what a “vagina” was and what sex was that she never talked to me about it again–until I made her when she was 14.
It wasn’t even that the guy did a particularly bad job. It’s just that it was an old man to begin with.
I was smart in one sense: I knew I needed help.
But I looked for it from the mature leaders in the church, rather than from someone that my daughter could automatically relate to.
That’s the strength of The Whole Story: Not-So-Awkward Talks about Sex, Puberty, and Growing Up. My daughters (20 & 22) deliver the videos, so there’s an immediate lowering of tension. There’s an immediate sigh of relief. This isn’t going to be awkward! That’s why the course works. Daughters are immediately put at ease.
But this is actually what I want to talk about today: We need to stop assuming that only older, male men in leadership can do the important mentoring jobs.
When I woke up this morning and got my cup of tea and took a look at the comments that came in overnight, there was one from a pastor’s wife, who said this (I’m shortening the comment):
My husband is a pastor, and he gets a lot of people calling him with their problems, mostly women. Before we got married, we both had an open discussions on our boundaries. We made a decision that after marriage, we won’t talk to anyone after 10pm. We currently live in different cities and I find that for some time, my husband’s line is always busy. I decided to check his phone bill and found that there’s this particularly number he has been calling at late in the night or first thing in the morning and they speak for hours. I asked him and he said he had been counselling or sharing the word with the lady to grow in the Lord. I cannot help feeling that their frequency of communication is quite inappropriate for a married and single lady and especially the talking that late at night.
I replied to her comment, and basically said, OH MY GOODNESS THAT IS TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE. You’re right to be upset.
But let’s put aside the complete lack of professional standards or wisdom here, and take a step back for a moment. Maybe the reason that pastors get into such trouble in the first place is because women in the church have nowhere to go with their problems.
I remember in the last church I was in, which had all male leadership, the question was once asked, “If a woman needs spiritual counselling or someone to ask questions to, where should she go? How does she find a good woman to talk to?” The answer given was, “She should talk to elders’ wives or to the pastor’s wife.”
Now, in our particular case, the pastor’s wife was actually pretty wonderful. But many pastor’s wives are not good counsellors. Many elders’ wives are not good counsellors. This idea that because a husband is qualified for something that the wife automatically is is silly. And what if there are wonderful women in the congregation whose husbands aren’t in leadership?
That’s the problem with this model that modern churches have, that only official leaders should help people.
When Rebecca was hitting puberty, I thought that credentials mattered. I thought that because this man had been in family ministry for decades that he was the best one to teach Rebecca.
I looked only at his qualifications, not at her needs.
I’m not saying qualifications don’t matter; I’m just saying that other things matter too.
One thing I always told the girls when they were teenagers was that they had the Holy Spirit just as much as I did, and so I expected them to follow God in the same way I expected myself to. I believed they could make good decisions because the Holy Spirit was in them, and they were demonstrating fruits of faith.
That is true of anyone who follows Christ wholeheartedly, no matter their age, gender, race, education level, or income level. Wealth and power in the business world do not necessarily equate with spiritual wisdom, and yet the people we often put in leadership positions in churches tend to be men who have excelled in the business world. I am not saying that those people shouldn’t be elders; I am only saying that it’s very doubtful that they are the only ones spiritually qualified to be.
I believe one reason that the church does not function well as a body is because we are ignoring the spiritual wisdom and gifts of the vast majority of our members.
We think that you need a degree from a Bible college or seminary to be able to offer advice.
You know what? I have read Lydia Purple’s comments here for years, and that woman is WISE. I also know she’s a stay at home mom with several kids in her thirties. I have read Phil’s comments, and he has such humility and a heart for God, I know he could help men going through a rough road. I have read Kay’s comments, and she is a trooper. She has lived through a very fundamentalist, dysfunctional family, and she is standing firm and trying to show the proper way to embrace God in all His fullness, and she is not wavering. I know she could help many wives who feel downtrodden. I have found alchemist has made me think more deeply about many of my beliefs that I haven’t really challenged, and I would love to be in a small group with her. I think iron would sharpen iron!
And that doesn’t even cover Sunny dee and Ashley and Libl and so many more who chime in and try to help others and encourage them!
Finally, I have seen my daughters blossom. Rebecca’s book Why I Didn’t Rebel is out October 3 (the boxes arrived last week but she won’t let me open them until she’s home!). That book is simply amazing. And there’s an insight she has about families being teams vs. being clubs which is simply brilliant, and I want her to explain it to you all sometime this week or next, because it changed my thinking on how we do family and church.
I guess the point is this: There is a lot of wisdom out there. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to engage. Don’t be a hero-worshipper and think that you always need the pastor or that the older and richer someone is, the smarter they are. It’s not necessarily true.
It’s like what Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:12:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Learn from those around you. Help those around you. Talk to those around you. That’s how we grow. And if the Holy Spirit is in them–then God can speak to you through them, even if they don’t preach from a pulpit.
Okay, that’s the end of my random rant for the day. But let me know in the comments: Do you have someone to go to OTHER than someone in church leadership to help you? Do you help anyone else? How can we get back to that model?