The last of the True Woman conferences was held this past weekend in Ft. Worth, TX. Tim Challies was among the blogging team there and he brought his wife, Aileen, with him. It was a pleasure to meet Aileen after reading about her for years! You can check out what Tim posted (on momentum and on the definition of a true woman), as well as what others on the True Woman blogging team posted. But even better: the True Woman team has posted all the messages from all three events online! You can even create a True Woman event for your own church or small group by downloading the leader's kit.
I left the Ft. Worth conference thinking about something Dannah Gresh said during our panel discussion. Dannah encouraged us to begin teaching our girls at a young age about modestly, purity, and serving—and not to wait until they are young teens to guide them in forming godly values. She emphasized that the grade school to 'tween years are the prime time to shape the value systems of young girls. So I decided to be intentional about discussing the True Woman event while visiting afterward with my three nieces, who range from age 8 to 13. (They get this perspective from their mother, too, but I wanted to add my auntie input.)
With their mother's permission, I introduced my seminar topic about the challenges girls face in developing nations. I gave an overview of the issues (skipping some of the more graphic problems), and then focused on how some girls aren't allowed to go to school for either political or economic reasons. We then watched a short video produced by the New York Times about girls in Swat Valley, Pakistan, who were banned from attending school by the Taliban. I prepared them for the sobering images of Taliban justice, but I thought it was important they understand how valuable their own education freedom is in this nation. (During my seminar, I mentioned I had sent this link to them, but they hadn't had the opportunity to see it.)
Then we talked about why God wants women to manage their homes and what kinds of ministry can take place in the home--and why that's important in light of eternity. I told them how you can go much deeper in conversation in the privacy of your home, as opposed to being in restaurants, and about how the Bible portrays the home as being a discipleship center and mission field. We talked about all of that over a home-cooked meal of beef brisket (a yummy pot-roast style recipe from the New Basics Cookbook), mashed potatoes with sauteed mushrooms, steamed garlic broccoli, and pistachio pudding. The girls were all involved in creating the meal--trying new recipes together is one of our traditions. Then the next day, we invited a friend over for dinner and a home-cooked pumpkin pie with spiced hot cider. As we prepared, we talked about how to create ambiance and make a guest feel especially welcome.
I wasn't sure how much was sinking in, but I discovered even my youngest niece was listening closely. After church on Sunday, I took them to Starbucks for more discussion time. As we sat down with our drinks and muffins, I mentioned how fun it was to have this special girl time together. Abigail shot me a knowing look and said, "But shouldn't we do this at home?"
Busted! But it was worth it to know they heard me.