The older women should ‘teach the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Tit 2:4, 5)
My husband and I are married for 46 years. We have three adult children and seven grandchildren. I live in Nigeria without any interruption (except for short vacations) since 1980. I worked as a medical doctor for twenty years. My husband and I are the founders of Lily Clinic, Warri. I work as a pastor for the past twenty years. My husband and I started Father’s House Bible Church, Warri/ Effurun. All these are the achievements of God’s grace and not mine! To God be all the glory!
My testimony as a wife and a mother is based on my understanding of the Word of God. It is also influenced by the Nigerian culture. My husband is a Nigerian and I have lived here in Nigeria for the past forty years. Because I lived here more than I lived in Romania, I understand the Nigerian culture and ‘flow’ with it more than any other. To God be all the glory!
This testimony is just a part of the bigger picture. In Nigeria, the responsibilities of a wife and a mother, as the ‘manager’ of the household, are bigger than in Europe. I had to adjust to that mind set. During all these years, I needed help in the house, especially when the children were still little. On and off, as needed, we hired nannies, gardeners, drivers, cooks, ‘house-boys’ and ‘house-girls’. We treated all of them with dignity and respect, as members of the household. Some were faithful to us and some were not. That is not important now… God always gave us the grace to move on no matter the challenges we had encountered. As a wife and a mother, one thing was clear to me: this is my work and responsibility given by God! I am a steward and a servant of Jesus Christ, and He is my Boss! I must give account for the choices I make and the things I do. I have always seen my work at home as a ministry. Because of that vision, God has promoted me and blessed me in so many ways! Another thing I have decided: to be jealous over my home ministry. I pray daily for wisdom and strength to do it ‘as unto the Lord’. I do spiritual warfare as the Spirit leads. Please listen! I’ve never abandoned my home to any man or woman from outside. These people worked as our helpers, not as our leaders. In the kitchen, I never stopped deciding what we shall eat or how to prepare the food. I can learn how to cook new dishes but at the end, it is my recipe that stands, not the cook’s. The nanny can help but it is my ideas of how to bring up children that stand, not the her own. I can listen to advice about the traffic and danger in different parts of the town, but it is where I want to go that matters, not where the driver wants to go to. When it comes to cooking for my husband, I never delegate that ‘holy work’ to nobody. (There was a time of transition, when I came to Nigeria. I had to learn how to cook the Nigerian dishes. God bless my mother in law, now late, Mama Apopo Leigh, who thought me the basics (and the spices) of how to cook Nigerian Itsekiri dishes, especially how my husband likes them! Since then, I took control over the matter. Thank God for His grace!)
It was my decision that I should never ‘retire’ from doing household chores. I have never abandoned my skill to clean the house, cook for my husband and wash his clothes. This keeps me busy and it is a good exercise for the body and for the mind. I can handle a broom and a mop with as ease as I can teach Bible studies. You may laugh now… but it is the truth… It is my privilege and my pleasure to be ‘a full-time housewife’. This title is not related to time only. It is a spiritual position that it’s mine alone. God has entrusted me with the well being of my husband, spiritually and physically. I must answer to God for all my decisions and actions, including the little details like what we shall eat for dinner. Now, with this lockdown, I need to be wiser, to always have a plan B in mind. But the principle remains the same! In this way, we are both safe and happy.
Finally, let me say this: It is true, that some women are incapacitated one way or the other and cannot do what I recommend here. I understand! God gives different levels of grace to each one of us. Obedience, even to a good advice, must not be legalistic. But try to apply these ideas in your own home. This advice is spiritual and general. Be flexible! Be encouraged too! God rewards our work in the home. Don’t look down on yourself or on your work. Let it be a labor of love! I mean love for God, for your husband and for your children! For example, I can wash the dishes with a frown on my face. The dishes do not mind. But the Holy Spirit minds. So, I do the dishes with a smile on my face, listening to praise and worship music in the kitchen. It is so much better! Frustration has no place in my home! Holy Spirit, You alone are welcomed! Dear daughters, natural and spiritual, may God bless you, your families and the work of your hands! In Jesus’ name! Amen!
(In the picture, I and our older daughter, Alina, ‘gisting’ happily about life in general)