Keep Growing

"You never stay status quo; you either grow or diminish." A young mission wife takes to heart the advice of an older friend.

La Verne Beeler is a minister's wife, mother, and receptionist at the Christian Record Braille Foundation in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dear Shepherdess: As ministers' wives we find that our husbands are being encouraged to read widely. But it is easy for us, overwhelmed by the routine of living, to consider "continuing education" as an option and to give it a "back seat" in our schedule.

"In many a home the wife and mother has no time to read, to keep herself well informed, no time to . . . keep in touch with the developing minds of her children. There is no time for the precious Saviour to be a close, dear companion. Little by little she sinks into a mere household drudge. . . . Too late she awakes to find herself almost a stranger in her own home. The precious opportunities once hers to influence her dear ones for the higher life, unimproved, have passed away forever.'' —The Ministry of Healing, pp. 368, 369.

From the various newsletters put out by groups of ministers' wives around the country I've gleaned a number of references to books that will lift you spiritually and broaden your horizons. I'm listing them for you on page 29.

Marianette Johnston, writing on this subject to the ministers' wives in her area, says, "You've heard it said, 'Reading maketh a full man.' I'd just like to paraphrase that as 'Reading can help .make a fulfilled woman.' As ministers' wives we find our husbands are constantly challenged to wide reading and new studies. With the demands of husband, family, and church, when do we find time to expand our horizons? I believe a well-planned reading and study program can provide the answer."

The problem, of course, is how to sandwich into your overcrowded schedule time for Bible study and the other top-priority items that so easily get pushed aside, as well as find time for personal growth. It isn't easy, I'll admit. But if it is important enough to us, we will find some time somehow. In fact, one of the books listed deals with this very question—How Do You Find the Time? La Verne Beeler's article ought to en courage you to grow too.

I do hope you 'II make a habit of doing really helpful reading. I plan to. With love, Kay.

"Look what I found for $1.25," my husband announced as he came through the kitchen door, five tattered volumes in his hands. "You'll love reading them too," he told me. I read the faded title—History of the Reformation, by D'Aubigne.

Not those ugly-looking books in our bookcase! I thought. "They will look fine," Charles assured me, "when I cover them with brown paper and print the title on the spine."

And how I did enjoy reading them! As the depression era wore away, so did the wrapping paper on these treasured volumes. Red bindings eventually replaced the old covers. The stories of Martin Luther and other Reformers took their place along with the Bible, Josephus, Pilgrim's Progress, and other treasured volumes as part of my life. Then there were titles by contemporary authors, and those books necessary for keeping pace in my profession as a teacher. These, along with the journals that came to our home, made up my repertoire of must reading.

When I was young and just awakening to the demands of a parish minister's wife, I spent a memorable afternoon with Evangeline Mattison, who with her husband, Howard, was home on fur lough from mission service in India. Our family, with two small daughters, was under mission appointment to the Dominican Republic. Evangeline and I sat looking at Indian saris and art mementos that she and Howard used in telling their experiences. Then we settled back in our chairs for an hour or so of talk.

"You never stay status quo," Evangeline told me. "You either grow or diminish." That was her special message to me—advice I took to heart.

The importance of this advice was later underlined by whispered references that came to my ears regarding the wives of certain political figures in Washing ton. They were referred to as "the girls they married in their youth." They had not kept pace with their husbands' political and intellectual growth.

Few ministers' wives—or wives of other public figures—deliberately choose the lives they lead. Each wife fell in love with a dreaming youth—little realizing the scope of his dreams. As his dreams matured and he grew in his career, she either grew with him or was left behind.

The early professional years offer priceless opportunities for the minister and his wife to develop acquaintances with community leaders and with per sons of different religious beliefs and racial cultures. Even during the full years, with children at home, a minister's wife can become an authority in some field of interest or activity. Perhaps her contribution to her family, church, and community is in demonstrating the art of running a home, expertly combining a job with homemaking, making friends, or being a good conversation a list or superb cook.

To read good books, to appreciate inspirational music and a variety of art forms, to love people and understand different cultures, customs, and geographical backgrounds—these things feed the soul and make a full life. A minister's wife often has greater access to such experiences and materials than others do. She can share these with a wide range of persons and groups through various avenues—book reviews, study groups, children's stories, or talks before parents', women's, or youth groups.

To grow spiritually as well as intellectually, the minister's wife will constantly seek to broaden her horizons. She will learn, with God's help, to rise above self-doubt, hurt feelings, and discouragement. With a praying heart and serving hands, the trend of her life will be so glowing and radiant that it will light up her environment. Keeping pace with her husband, she will be at ease serving by his side.

Books for growing

The Art of Listening With Love, by Abraham Schmitt, Word Books, Waco, Texas 76703, 1977, $5.95.

Communicating Love Through Prayer, by Rosalind Rinker, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506, 1966, $1.75.

The Compleat Marriage, by Nancy Van Pelt, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee 37202, 1979, $2.95.

The Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, by Anne Ortlund, Word Books, Waco, Texas 76703, 1977, $6.95.

The Fight: A Practical Handbook to Christian Living, by John White, Inter- Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois 60516, 1976, $3.95.

How Do You Find the Time? by Patricia King, Women's Aglow Fellowship, Lynwood, Washington 98036, $3.45.

How to Be Happy Though Married, by Tim La Haye, Creation-Life, San Diego, California 92115, $3.95.

Knowing God, by J. I. Packer, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois 60516, $4.95.

Lord, Change Me, by Evelyn Christenson, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, 1977, $2.25.

Make Love Your Aim, by Eugenia Price, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506, 1972, $1.95.

Prayer: Conversing With God, by Rosalind Rinker, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506, $1.95.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, by Ronald Sider, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois 60516, 1977, $4.95.

You Can Pray as You Ought, by Arnold Prater, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee 27203, 1977, $2.95.

What Happens When Women Pray? by Evelyn Christenson and Viola Blake, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, 1975, $2.25.

Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey, Osterhus Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55422, $3.95.

Why Teen-agers Reject Religion and What to Do About It, by Roger L. Dudley, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C. 20012, 1977, $4.50.


Prayers from the parsonage

by Cherry B. Habenicht

Lord, bless these few faithful workers who volunteer their time to the church's Community Services for the routine jobs of sorting, washing, mending, and packing. Since most of the clothing they process is shipped overseas they do not have the joy of distributing it or of hearing a thank-you for their concern.

Each week they face new piles of donated clothes, toys, or household items. Sometimes they mutter about a careless contribution—unwashed garments, hopeless castoffs—but usually they look on the bright side. The clothes need mending? At least they are clean. The toys need repair? At least they are good quality.

Bless the willing hands that scrub stains, thread needles, and fold clothes until the label "Gift of the Seventh-day Adventist Churches" can be attached with pride to each object.

You who ordered that fragments be saved must certainly approve the frugality of these workers. Outdated suits are cut apart for usable fabric. Material scraps are snipped for quilt blocks. Brocades and satins are saved for Vacation Bible School crafts. Recovered blankets make warm bedding. Clean, worn-out hosiery stuffs soft toys. Long before re cycling was popular, these workers transformed people's discards into something useful.

Perhaps if each member understood what these individuals accomplish, there would be more help and fewer gifts of garage-sale leftovers. Then perhaps this group could stretch out their hand to the poor and reach forth their hands to the needy, providing more than material goods (see Prov. 31:20). What can I do, Lord, to achieve that goal?


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La Verne Beeler is a minister's wife, mother, and receptionist at the Christian Record Braille Foundation in Lincoln, Nebraska.

May 1980

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