Cultivating a Peaceful Home
About the Guest
Priscilla Shirer, the daughter of Tony Evans and the author of "The Resolution for Women," reflects on a few of the resolutions that build contentment and joy into a woman's life and those of her family: devoting herself to her primary roles, cultivating a peaceful home, and blessing her man.
Priscilla Shirer reflects on a few of the resolutions that build contentment and joy into a woman’s life and those of her family.
Cultivating a Peaceful Home
Bob: Are you a woman who has resolved to live with God’s grace as the fuel that powers your life? Here is Priscilla Shirer.
Priscilla: A woman that lives with grace is one who does not allow herself to get wrapped up in the rat race of society but carves out time and attention to be with God—to invite His presence into her space. That takes real resolve in a generation in which we are living—in which, “The faster you are going and the bigger everything is, the better.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 19th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I am Bob Lepine. Priscilla Shirer joins us today to talk about the resolutions a woman needs to make in order to live her life as God’s woman. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. I am just curious about this—we’re going to be talking today to the author of a book called The Resolution for Women. This is a book, Dennis, that was written in conjunction with a movie that came out a few years ago called Courageous, which was really a movie made for men. I’m just curious what our guest thought of the movie when she saw it for the first time a few years back.
Dennis: Well, let’s ask her. Priscilla Shirer joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back.
Priscilla: Thank you.
Dennis: What did you think of the movie when you first saw it?
Priscilla: I found myself very intrigued with the female characters. The wives were very good illustrations of—the way they handled the situation where Javier didn’t have a job, and he wasn’t able to find work.
We didn’t find a wife that was berating him and, you know, just keeping him under her thumb during this very hard time for him. We found her speaking to him encouragingly; and so, even though it was focused and centered on the plots surrounding the men, the way the women in their lives handled that was very teachable for me as well.
Dennis: You know, I hadn’t thought about that; but one scene where a wife was reminding her husband, and the father of her son: “You know what? You are not spending time with him. You need to spend some time with him.”
Priscilla: Yes; that’s right. That’s real stuff!
Dennis: She didn’t nag him, but she was speaking the truth to him. I think sometimes we are afraid to empower women to really come alongside their husbands in a constructive way to call them up.
Bob: Well, and that’s a part of what you are doing in the book that you have written—that is a companion to the movie—because the movie ends with this climactic scene, where men are challenged to be men and to make a resolution to be the men that God has called them to be. You have written a book called The Resolution for Women that just is the other side of the coin—
—that says, “If men are going to step up, women need to step up as well.”
Priscilla: Absolutely! I am hopeful that women will get together in groups—that they will not only read it individually—but that they will get together in groups and hold each other accountable to their own standard of resolutions so that—even if they are with a spouse or a partner / or it's a daughter of a father—and that guy in your life has not read the book, he has not seen the movie, he has no interest in making resolutions—that you will still see the benefit and the possible ripple effect in your life when you are a woman of great resolve, regardless of what others around you are doing.
Bob: You tried to keep in mind that there would be older women, younger women, married women, single women—all of them reading this book—and tried to speak in a way that really covers life for every woman in whatever stage God has her; right?
Priscilla: Absolutely. There are 13 resolutions. One of them is specific to being a wife. There is one of them that is specific to having children. Other than that—and by the way, we deal with even single mothers in that section about children.
But other than those two, everything else is just a general resolution that, as a woman, regardless of the season of life that you are in or the station of life you are in, you will be able to benefit from.
Dennis: I want to go back to the movie for just a moment. I realize this is a bit of a curve to kind of step out, but I really have to ask this question of you because you are Tony Evans’ daughter—
Dennis: —and you watched a movie on being courageous. Okay; so you are watching it and—
Priscilla: I don’t know where this is going—I am scared. [Laughter]
Dennis: So you are watching this—you are absorbing it, as a wife and as a mom—and you are thinking about how this applies to your husband / how you can help him and all that—but you observed a very stout Christian leader—Christian man, husband, father, pastor, author, speaker. I just had to wonder: “Was your dad courageous as he raised you?” and “Did he ever push back on any of the guys that you wanted to date?”
Priscilla: That would be all of them. [Laughter]
Listen, I will just tell you this; and it will give you an inkling of it. You know, my dad is a fun-loving, easygoing guy. I don’t know if people realize that. If you are with us when we are all around, he is like Cliff Huxtable. He is always making jokes and cracking up, and he’s just real laid back. He is an easy guy to get along with.
I will tell you, though, when my husband asked my father if he could marry me, my father’s response was, “You need to put that in writing.” So, he wrote a letter to my father that my father took six weeks to respond to. [Laughter] He did not really receive an official permission slip from dad for six weeks. So, now—my mother’s father had had my father do the exact same thing—so, that’s where he got that from. He did put Jerry through the wringer just a little bit.
Dennis: Jerry had attended his church for goodness’ sakes—for how many years?
Priscilla: Seven years before we had started dating, but I don’t know that they really knew each other well like this. This was kind of the first interaction they were having when we began dating each other.
Bob: So your dad’s fun-loving and easy-going.
Bob: As a teenage daughter, growing up, were there times when he had to step in and not be so fun-loving and easy-going?
Priscilla: Oh, yes! I mean, he was definitely a disciplinarian. He kept us in line. I was—of the four of us, I was grounded more than any of the four. I was certainly the one who gave my parents the most trouble. But I will tell you that my dad was also extremely encouraging. So, you know, all of my talking that got me in trouble—I remember I got demerits in school for talking when I wasn’t supposed to be talking in class. Well, all of that talking, as I got into junior high and high school—he began to talk to me about Communications as a degree plan.
I didn’t even know that you could study Communications in college. That seed was planted by my dad. So my degree was in radio and television. It was from there that people began to invite me to go speak at little Bible studies and things. And then, the entire ministry that God has given me was birthed out of the direction and the path that my father put me on—taking what could have been a weakness / something that another parent, who didn’t value the things that drove them nuts about their kids—because all of that talking would get me into lots of trouble!
Dennis: Yes; yes.
Priscilla: ButDad had to discipline me appropriately when needed, but then he would always sit down and talk to me about what we were going to do with all this talking that I did.
Bob: I just have to know: “What was the worst grounding you ever got for? What did you do that earned the biggest grounding?” Do you remember?
Dennis: She’s smiling.
Priscilla: —because I am remembering a spanking more than grounding. I can tell you what the worst spanking was.
Bob: Go there—that’s fine.
Priscilla: I was in 6th grade. There was a girl in school that drove me nuts! She just thought a lot about herself, and I didn’t like her. I took out a spiral notebook. I decided to write a very mean, nasty letter to another girl in the class and sign this other young woman’s name on the bottom of it.
Bob: Oh, goodness. Oh!
Priscilla: So, I wrote out this letter. Of course, her handwriting was very beautiful and distinct—so I had to practice. I was practicing / practicing. It took three or four pages to practice. Then, I wrote the letter—wrote the name on the bottom, balled it up, and tossed it under the other girl’s desk. Eventually, she found it and took it to the teacher. There was a whole thing on, “Who did this?” Everybody said, “No.” I said, “I didn’t do it.”
Dennis: So, you lied?
Priscilla: I lied. Why did you have to bring that up? [Laughter]
That’s not where we were going here. [Laughter] Then the teacher, Mrs. Hall—my precious 6th grade teacher, who lives down the street from me now—she went through everybody’s locker. As she was going through everybody’s locker, she found all of my practices, trying to get her handwriting right.
Dennis: You didn’t destroy the evidence.
Priscilla: I did not! I got a paddling at school because these were the days where I could get paddled at the Christian school that I was going to. I lived in the kind of household where, if you got in trouble at school, when you got home, you were still in trouble again. That did not cover the parental side.
Bob: One paddling does not cover it.
Priscilla: That’s exactly right!
Dennis: So, was it Daddy?
Priscilla: It was Dad; yes. If Dad was home, it was Dad. If Mom was home, it might be Mom then; but then she was going to tell Daddy when he got home, and there was going to be Dad again.
Dennis: Well, speaking of Mom—your mom’s name is Lois.
Priscilla: It is Lois; yes.
Dennis: She has to embody many of these principles of The Resolution you have written for women.
Dennis: Which one would you say just has your mom all over it? Does one come to mind?
Priscilla: Yes. Let me just tell you that I dedicated this book, not only to my mother, but to my two grandmothers on both sides—
—and then, my four aunts—because I have a great legacy of women who are women of resolve. I am grateful for that.
The resolution I think—man!— would probably stand out with my mom—I think I would have to say one we have already alluded to. That is devoting the best of yourself to the primary roles that the Lord has for you in this season. My mother stopped her college degree. She was getting her college degree; then, when the babies started coming, she wanted to support my father in seminary as he was going through school and be at home with us. All those years that the church was forming and being built—she really invested herself fully in us.
It was just in 1991—when she was in her 40s, I believe—that she finished up her college degree and got her master’s degree. She had put that on hold for a couple of decades, while she was raising us. It was interesting to just see the decisions / and yes, the sacrifices that she made because she felt like her time was better spent, during that particular season, investing in her children.
Dennis: Now, you are a mom. You are looking back to this legacy.
Priscilla: I am going, “How in the world did she do it?
“How did she do it?” [Laughter]
Dennis: Yes. Well, the answer is: “She didn’t do it all.”
Priscilla: That’s right; that’s exactly right.
Dennis: You get asked that question a lot. Barbara, my wife—we had six children in ten years—the ministry was growing at 40 percent a year. People would ask her, “How do you do it all?” The answer was, “I don’t!”
Priscilla: “I don’t,”—that’s right! [Laughter]
Dennis: You don’t it all; no one does it all. That is a myth!
Priscilla: Yes. I think people look at our lives and maybe think that I am traveling all the time, speaking all the time, and writing all the time. That is not true. All week-long, I am at home with my children. If we do have a trip, normally it is from Friday to Saturday; and I am right back home and with the kids again.
So, again, it's just pulling out what the primary roles are for you for today and then making the sacrifices—saying, “No,”—being willing to say, “No,” to something so that you can say, “Yes,” to the things that matter.
Dennis: We have primarily been applying what you have written to wives and moms.
Dennis: Undoubtedly, there are single women, though, who are listening right now, and they need to be exhorted with a couple of these principles of these 13 that comprise The Resolution for Women. Is there one or two you would—if you were looking to a sister, who is single and maybe wants to be married / maybe doesn’t want to be married—but one that perhaps she needs to hear?
Priscilla: Absolutely. Obviously—and we won't go back into it again—but that first one on contentment, I think, will speak right to the heart of single women. Also, there is a resolution to cultivate a peaceful home / a place where God’s presence is sensed. We call that one: “A Resolution to Live with Grace.” The reason why I think that is so important for a woman that is single is that, oftentimes, we think that, until we have a man and some children, then there really is no home to cultivate—that we don’t have a home until there is a family in it.
Priscilla: And there is a nesting place for God’s presence and His peace that you need to have a resolve of making in your home, even when you are a single woman.
It's okay to make a home right where you are. A woman that lives with grace is one who does not allow herself to get wrapped up in the rat race of society but carves out time and attention to be with God—to invite His presence into her space. That takes real resolve in a generation in which we are living—in which, “The faster you are going and the bigger everything is, the better.”
If you are able to establish that now, as a single woman, it will help you when you are married. It is harder to draw those boundaries. If you can draw some boundaries now, then it will be easier for you to carry those into the next season of life.
Bob: Have you met single women who you think are doing a good job at this?
Priscilla: I have! I have met some single women, but I will say so many of them don’t realize that it is often harder to do some of these things when you are single because you don’t have the built-in boundaries that a married woman might have. There are some things that are kind of built-in boundaries for us because we need to check with our spouse before we can spend this amount of money or we need to think about our kids before making this decision.
Well, as a single woman, you can accept so many different opportunities at work. Before you know it, you are completely fried because you didn’t have the built-in boundaries that you might have when you get married. So, right now, is a great opportunity for you to go ahead and establish, personally, “What are my Sabbath boundaries going to be?”—boundaries, not only in your calendar, but boundaries also in your living space.
Priscilla: I mean, you can accumulate so much stuff to where your home isn’t inviting and isn’t a place of peace anymore. You are enslaved in your living space. You can't really enjoy anything because you have too much of everything. If you don’t personalize these boundaries, then you won't have anything to carry you over into the next season of life as well.
Bob: You mentioned that only one of the resolutions is specifically about your husband. I smiled when I read that one—about being a woman who blesses her man.
Priscilla: Blesses her man! [Laughter]
Bob: And part of the reason I smiled is because you and I both had a chance to see a cut of the movie, Courageous, before it was edited down.
That phrase was in that cut that got edited out—a wife saying, “I want to bless you.”
Bob: And it was with a little wink.
Priscilla: Yes; that’s right. She did not mean making him a nice meal—that is not what she meant. [Laughter]
Bob: So, when you said, “Being a Wife Who Blesses Her Husband“—was that what you had in mind?
Priscilla: Well, that among other things.
Bob: Okay. [Laughter]
Priscilla: But I did know very clearly—and I alluded to this right at the beginning of those sections on blessing your man—that I encourage the reader to go to their men and ask them: “What would be a blessing to them?” I am very sure that one of the first couple of things on that list—probably, number uno—is going to be very specific to their intimate relationship with each other. That’s kind of a given.
Bob: Grilled cheese sandwich is going to come underneath the rest of them. Yes; that is right. [Laughter]
Priscilla: So, there is something that is very important that we have to understand, as wives—that, as important as it is to us to talk through things / how we want to be able to talk to our husband and the edification that it gives us for him to engage in conversation with us—
--that is exactly the same feeling that it gives to our husbands to make sure that, not only we are intimate with him—because you can just kind of be lying there and not being involved. What they want is a wife who is involved, and initiating, and is interested in being there.
That does so much, not only for them physically, but that does so much for them, emotionally and mentally. They feel more courageous and like a man who can take on the world when there is a woman at home that is expressing to them in a way that speaks love to them—expressing to them that they are really eager to be with them and to have a relationship with them.
Bob: Is that something you have learned as you have been married or is that something that you understood, from the get-go, as you married your husband?
Priscilla: No, I am kind of learning that. [Laughter] We have been married 12 years, and it's just occurring to me how important that is in his life!
Bob: I think that’s good for folks to hear because it is a learning / growing process for couples—the whole intimate side of a marriage; isn’t it?
Priscilla: It is because I think—you know, as a single woman—when you are getting married, you kind of go into it with the whole butterfly-starry thing about what intimate relationship with your husband will be like. Sometimes, it is not always—you know, it should be butterflies—but sometimes, it's not always the butterflies.
I feel like I need to quote Kay Arthur. I was with Miss Kay somewhere, and we were having a panel discussion about this. She said: “Particularly during a time of economic downturn, like we have had, where maybe your husband is struggling to find a job / he is struggling to feel like the provider in your home. It is more important during that time that you make sure you are available sexually for your husband because that bolsters him up as a man.”
In that setting—what she was saying is: “It is not just about, ‘Oh, this is romantic.’” Hopefully, it is romantic; but some of it is: “You know, this will help your husband to make sure he feels secure in the man that he is.” By the way, after she made this statement, David Platt came up to the platform to give the closing prayer. He said, “I have never been so glad for the recession in all of my life!” [Laughter] He said, “May the recession never end!” [Laughter]
I just think, again, we have to turn the tables and remember—that if talking to your husband and him being engaged with you really does something for you—I mean, it does something for me when Jerry leans in / when he is not half-watching the football game and talking to me, but he leans in and really is asking me questions and wants to know what is going on in my heart—that kind of conversation does something for me. Well, it’s the same kind of confidence that that gives me—it gives him that same feeling of security and confidence in our relationship when he feels desired by me, not when I am just willing, but when he feels desired by me.
Dennis: You know, I am sitting here, smiling, because I know Kay Arthur. She probably said it with some zest!
Priscilla: Oh, my goodness! [Laughter]
Dennis: You went on to quote her, though, in your book—
Priscilla: I did.
Dennis: —about how men—she outlines two of the greatest fears men have.
Priscilla: Yes. They have the fear of being found inadequate and the fear of being controlled by a woman. Those are two fears. I wrote that because I think that if you know, upfront, that guys have these fears, then you can do your best to go ahead and dispel them right off the bat.
If you can make sure your husband doesn’t feel inadequate—that you don’t say anything or do anything that just makes him feel less than “the guy.” We all know we have inadequacies, male or female. We are all very aware of our weaknesses. What we don’t really like is when people call them out—when they make it apparent to us and to everybody else that we have those weaknesses.
So if, as wives, we can go out of our way to cause them to know we are on their team, and we are not going to point out their weaknesses and faults to everybody else—if they have confidence that, when they see you laughing with another woman across the hallway, that you have promised him that that little snicker: “I promise you will not be about you. I won't be behind your back, talking about you,”—if you can dispel those fears, you can cause him to feel more secure in rising to the position of leadership and headship in your home that God has called him to.
Dennis: I have got a feeling right now, Bob, that the Courageous movie website is being bombarded with questions from men: “Why did you cut that scene out? [Laughter]
Priscilla: That’s right!
Dennis: “What’s with you guys? Why did you cut—
Priscilla: I don’t know what is up with that.
Dennis: “Why did you cut—
Bob: They had to shorten it. They had to shorten it. I understood—
Priscilla: That is because you guys don’t need anybody encouraging you in that area. [Laughter] All the women could say, “Amen,” to that!
Dennis: Yes. Well, I want to tell you I really appreciate what you have done here for women because I do think—sometimes, we do look men, eye to eye, and we get, chest to chest / at points, we put our arm around them and we say: “Come on! Let’s go! You can do this thing. I know it’s tough to be a man, a husband, a father, grandfather; but step on up.” You know?
Dennis: “Embrace the call. Embrace the pain. Be courageous.”
For any man to be able to step up—and this is really what you have modeled here for our listeners today, whether single or married—for a man to have the courage, he needs some wind beneath his wings.
Priscilla: He sure does.
Dennis: A woman is powerful / unspeakably powerful in her man’s life.
I can just testify that Barbara has empowered me over our 39 years together, as a couple, in so many different ways, and just encouraged me to be “the man.” At points, when I haven't stepped up—
Dennis: —a little bit like the movie, where the wife kind of got in the face of a dad, who wasn’t taking care of his son—ministering to his son / helping his son kind of find himself during adolescence—Barbara has gotten / kind of gotten in my face, and kind of—not kind of—she has spoken the truth in love.
Bob: Respectfully, appropriately, but firmly.
Dennis: Yes. I can honestly say I really don’t recall those times when she didn’t because there have been so many times when she did it right. I am sure she hasn’t done it perfectly.
Bob: Well, she pretty much acknowledges that in the book that she’s just finished writing called Letters to My Daughters, where she’s very transparent about mistakes that she’s made, as a wife and as a mom.
But the point is we all make mistakes. The question is not: “How do you live mistake-free?” The question is: “First, can you minimize the mistakes you make?” and secondly: “Do you know how to turn, and confess, and be forgiven, and move on when you do mess up?”
Really, Priscilla, you address that in your book, The Resolution for Women. Barbara talks about it in her book, Letters to My Daughters. We’ve got both of the books in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Our listeners can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, to order either of these books from us online. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. The two books are The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer and Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey. You can also order the books when you call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Now, I don’t know exactly how many listeners we have who live in North Carolina, and who listen to FamilyLife Today on WRTP; but if you live in Smithfield or around Smithfield, North Carolina, and if you know Robert and Amanda Willis, you’ll want to congratulate them. They’re celebrating their anniversary today—11years of marriage—just at the beginning / a lot of years still ahead for the Willises, by God’s grace. We just wanted to wish them “Happy Anniversary!” here as they celebrate today.
FamilyLife is the “Proud Sponsor of Anniversaries.” We exist so that more anniversaries will happen with more couples every year. Our goal is to effectively develop godly marriages and families—to see every home become a godly home.
We appreciate those of you who join with us as financial partners in this ministry—those of you who give, from time to time—
—and especially those of you who are Legacy Partners, giving each month to help support FamilyLife Today and to keep us on the air on this local radio station. We’re grateful for your financial support. During the month of February, we’re asking God to raise up 20 new families in every state where FamilyLife Today is heard. That would be one thousand new Legacy Partner families.
The question for you today is: “Would your family be one of those families in the state where you live?—becoming a Legacy Partner, making a monthly contribution to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.” Find out more about becoming a Legacy Partner when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link that says, “DONATE.” You can sign up and become a Legacy Partner right there, online; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY if you have any questions or if you’d like to enroll over the phone. Again, the number is 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
And, with that, we’ve got to wrap things up for today. Thanks for being with us. I hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family can worship together in church this weekend. And I hope you can join us on Monday. We’re going to meet a couple who got one of those knocks on the door that every parent dreads getting—when you get to the door and it’s late at night—and there’s a police officer there, and your son is not home. You know there’s trouble. We’ll meet Chris and Michelle Groff on Monday and hear their story. I hope you can be here with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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