Posted by: James McDonald | October 2, 2007

The Blessing of Daughters

Psalm 144:12b: That our daughters may be as pillars,
Sculptured in palace style

Tiffany and Melissa

I am a blessed man. God has graced me with seven godly, beautiful, talented, and gifted daughters who embrace their femininity and seek to glorify Him in every way. I thank God for enriching our family with each of them—as well as with each of our sons.

Most of my readers are already aware of the fact that I take seriously my biblical responsibility to protect and support all my daughters until they are married. I know this practice rankles many a modern blogworm (as in bookworm, one whose nose can be found in a blog, rather than in a book). Some may decry that the McDonald home is no more than a gilded cage that bars its female members from the delights and experiences of society.

But, contraire, dear reader. If this be a gilded cage, it is one with the ornate doors flung wide open. Our daughters are not only secure and content in the life they have chosen under our roof, they have studied the principles in Scripture for themselves and rejoice in God’s protection and sovereign plan for their lives.

To be a “stay-at-home daughter” does not mean that she should lounge about the house waiting for Prince Charming to come along. Our daughters are to be productive and industrious keepers at home. Yes, I said “keepers at home.” While they are preparing to be keepers of their own homes one day, until our daughters are married, they should serve as keepers at home in the house of their father. They are to be helpers to their mother and blessings to our entire family, as well as to our local church and community. Our daughters are to be busy preparing themselves to be helpers to their own husbands by developing their skills, continuing their education, enhancing their talents, and glorifying God right here where He has them – at home.

Since I am the head of the home, many times the tasks and activities in which our daughters are engaged reflect the occupation that God has given to me. As I am a pastor, many times my daughters (as well as my young son) rise up with my wife in assisting me with pastoral duties (hospitality, prayer, visiting the sick, preparing meals, and other various needs and ministries of the church). The activities of a family will often reflect the calling that God has given a man. While the husband and wife are one, and the wife is the suitable helper—the completer of her husband, the entire household should be pointed in the direction of its leader—helping him to fulfill his mission.

My Polished Cornerstones
Christa, married last year at age twenty-two, is living in the Dallas area with her husband, Daniel. She is a beautiful and talented young woman who is gifted in crafts, calligraphy, and the flute. In her “adult daughter” years, she was my “go-to girl” for any challenging job set before her. She was not afraid of dirt, bugs, or hard work. One precious memory of Christa at home took place during those last few months before she was married. She worked alongside me, helping me to lay the floor in an attic space I was refinishing. The memories made while working side by side with her are irreplaceable and could never have happened if our family was split by independent lifestyles and aspirations. While Christa is sorely missed, we rejoice that she has entered a new season of life and is fulfilling her role as a helpmeet to her own husband, Daniel. In addition, this coming spring, they will bless Stacy and I with our first grandchild!

Tiffany is now the oldest daughter at home. At twenty-one, she has been a great helper to me over the years. When we were in publishing, Tiffany was my subscription and customer service manager. Today, she still assists me as my “administrative assistant,” answering the phone and my emails when I get behind. In addition, she is a helper to her mother, assisting with homeschooling the younger children; helping to organize and run the home; and enhancing the household with her unique, creative flair. Tiffany is an award-winning writer, an accomplished chef, a convention speaker, a budding seamstress, and a gifted pianist.

Nineteen-year-old Melissa is a wonderful asset to our family. She provides steady and loving support to anyone who needs a hand. Taking a cue from her mom, Melissa is very organized, which has proven to be a great asset in our larger than average family—especially on Sunday mornings! She is also patient with the little ones, and can often be found reading Ten Little Monkeys Jumpin’ on the Bed to a younger sibling, yet “one more time”. Melissa has an incredible memory. From Bible verses to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Melissa is a memorization queen, and passes on that blessing to her younger siblings!

While Jessica is technically not yet an adult daughter, she is a delight to our home. She is an avid reader, devouring a stack of books in record time. Jessica is a gifted dramatist and vocalist, filling our home with sunshine and sounds of praise at any time, day or night. Often found late into the evening helping Tiffany with a new project, she is inquisitive and adventurous. In many ways, Jessica reminds me of…well, me!

I’ll save for another day the ways that my sons and younger daughters bring joy to this unworthy father – today my focus is my older daughters. Nonetheless, my life would indeed be lacking without any one of them.

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
Did I mention that my children have my heart? And I have theirs. Malachi 4:6 and Luke 1:17 have come alive in our home and we are so thankful to the Lord! Here is a cherished poem Melissa wrote to me a number of years ago:

This is my heart; I give it to you,
Until the day I wed.
Keep it safe and always true,
Until my vows are said.

Just as the silver is pure and bright,
I want my heart to be,
Filled with all the Saviors light;
Hold it safe for me.

Love is a most precious gift;
Never let mine stray.
Keep it from a worldly drift,
Until that special day.

Mold my heart and train me well,
So one day I may be,
Equipped to follow in your steps,
And walk on steadily.

Lest someone wonder why my daughter would share her desire to follow in the steps of her father, consider that God’s Word teaches that “the just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7) Not that any human father is perfect – I am far from that mark, but it is biblical for Christian children to follow in the footsteps and blessings (spiritually speaking) of their Christian fathers.

In Her Father’s House
Yes, I am a blessed man. Even today, in many nations, a man with seven daughters is viewed as cursed, or at the very least, burdened. Typically it is only the man with many sons who is viewed as blessed. How little the heathen know of blessings! Yet sometimes, even in our own country, when a daughter turns eighteen she is shown the door—expected to “stand on her own two feet” and face the world alone—not to be a burden to her parents any longer. Typically, “away to college” or “gainful employment” are the only choices given grown daughters. To protect and cherish a daughter is viewed as oppressive, to her as well as to the parents. I’ve heard parents joke about how eager they are for their children to grow up and move out so that they can have their freedom back.

How individualistic we are. We protect and covet our independent lifestyles. Today, it starts young: children want their own toys, their own room, their own phone, and their own friends. They get older and want their own car, their own bank account, and their own life. Some parents are no better, still wanting “their own friends” and “their own life”—preferably and frequently without their children—sometimes even without their spouse.

How thankful I am for those who are brave enough to stand for the beauty and strength of family unity. I am so grateful to the few brave families who defend the freedom daughters should have to demonstrate the obedience, service, and godly womanhood exemplified in the Holy Scriptures. I believe that such daughters will be the mothers of a new generation of faithful and effective Christians.  Work such has been done by the Botkin family stands firm against the prevailing winds, yet harkens to and uncovers the well-worn path to successful families—a path almost forgotten today.

But such a stand does not come without detractors. I recently heard of someone making a disturbing and thoroughly erroneous claim. This person assumed (and publicly shared their false assumption) that the book, So Much More, which my wife endorsed, teaches that an adult daughter who lives under the authority and protection of her father somehow becomes a surrogate “helpmeet” to him. Since very few seemed interested in clarifying this point with either author, and since my wife had endorsed the work, I decided to take it upon myself to see if this unbiblical and unwarranted charge was true.

Not only have we never known anyone who taught such a thing, my wife could not figure out how anyone could pull such a teaching from reading So Much More. After further research and combing through the pages, Stacy came across only one “stray word” that may be the source of the confusion. The word was “primary” and was an editorial oversight—not proof of any extra-biblical teaching. In context, these were the words penned by the Botkins:

“A father is most fruitful when he has the help of his children (in addition to his wife, his primary helpmeet), and a daughter is most fruitful when she is making her father successful in this way.”

Quite simply, the word “primary” should be stricken from the paragraph (and I am told will be, in future print runs). The Botkin girls never intended for anyone to glean that a daughter was a helpmeet to her father. It was simply an editorial mistake of one word. Imagine that – a mistake in a 350 page book. Sadly, rather than clarify the meaning of this phrase with the authors, and obviously ignoring the context of the statement, someone chose to ungraciously “take and run” with this phrase and cry “foul!” One would have thought clarification was in order since the rest of the book clearly contradicts such a teaching.

Here is a wonderful quote from page 47 of the Botkin book, So Much More:

“A good daughter can further her father’s estate and increase his wealth and holdings by caring for his estate, ‘looking well to the ways of her household.’ (Proverbs 31:27) You can help your father by helping his helpmeet (your mother), leaving her more free to help her husband in other ways.”

Those who may have read accusations from some of the over-zealous critics in blogland may be interested in reading the Botkin girls own words. In clarifying their position, they wrote this in an email to me:

“Our positions have not changed. They have been strengthened. Now, at ages 22 and 20, we believe more firmly than ever in every position we took as teenage girls. However, we understand more fully the need to be very, very careful in introducing potentially explosive concepts, ensuring that our wording is theologically precise and unmistakably clear.”

“We do not believe that a daughter is to be a ‘help meet’ to her father…”

“We should begin by stating clearly that we believe the wife is the only person in the household who holds the role of ‘helpmeet.’ In putting the above bold words [primary helpmeet] together, we meant to imply, first, that a father is entitled to the help of his entire household, but that his wife is his primary source of assistance; and secondly, that the wife is the one who is his helpmeet. We certainly did not mean to imply that the wife is the ‘chief helpmeet’ while the sons and daughters are ‘second-class helpmeets,’ and we do not advocate a family model dominated by a tyrannical father over a whole household of helpmeet hopefuls jockeying for the position of ‘primary helpmeet.’ …The book’s main theme is actually whole family unity, whole families working together, helping each other, united under the leadership of the father.”

“If our unfortunate and careless wording has been confusing or misleading to any, we apologize sincerely.”

Lastly, speaking of help meets for husbands, how thankful I am for the one and only husband-completer in my home, my wife, Stacy. Daily, she models feminine virtue and industry before our daughters that proves to be contagious. I am sure, like Christa has shown, my girls yet at home will prove to be great helpmeets for their future husbands, applying with ease the skills they have learned in our home from their mother.

Yes, indeed, I am a blessed man!

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Responses

  1. Praise the Lord Brother!

    How refreshing to read your post….

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Stephen Bratton

  2. Amen!

    God has blessed me with three daughters so far (as well as four sons). The Botkins’ book has been an excellent resource. In fact, we need to “buy it again” because we gave away our first copy.

    Geoff Botkin is providing a godly example to fathers. I greatly appreciate his tremendous example in raising godly sons *and daughters* to the glory of God.

    To explain his detractors, one must look no further than the scripture where Jesus declares,

    If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
    (Joh 15:18)

    Mr. Botkin, criticism directed toward you only confirms that you doing something right. Keep the faith, brother. And you too James… We are all in this together.

    Mike

  3. What a precious post! Having three daughters who have been “mothers of many” for years now, we have experienced that same contentment and blessing. And they (and their dear husbands, of course) are also raising their own daughters to be keepers at home. There is nothing, nothing to substitute for God’s divine and perfect order for the family. God bless the McDonald family as you see the rising (and raising!) of another generation.

    Dan and Bonnie Frodge

  4. James,

    With concern to extra-biblical media my family tries to “chew up the meat and spit out the bones”…

    My wife and one of my daughters (out of 5) has read the book and certainly didn’t find the same “errors” as the book’s detractors. That said- even if they disagreed with some of the points made- what good would it be to parade it all over the internet!?!? We don’t have time or energy to be plucking specks out of other people’s eyes…too busy yanking planks…

    Thanks for the article. While its good to see a bit of clarification, it certainly wasn’t necessary…

    Dave

  5. Mike – a quick point on your post.

    The concerns that I discussed regarding the Botkin book came from within the Body of Christ. Thus, it is not the world.

    This is relevant, because, although we may not agree with their perspectives, we need to treat those in opposition with grace.

    Dave – your point is spot on. There are big fish to fry, starting in our own ponds.

    My prayer in presenting this article is that we all see more clearly, and that Christian unity, as much as possible, will be the end.

    It is with this heart that I wrote my posts “Living in Unity” and “Will My Adversary be in Heaven?

    Grace and peace,

  6. Dear Readers,

    I have received a number of questions and comments related to the biblical term, “helpmeet.” There is quite a bit of confusion over what the term means and how it should be applied. To help (at least my goal is to help) bring understanding to this issue, I’ve decided to put together an article on this topic – and soon!

    Grace and peace,

  7. James,
    Thanks for the encouraging and clarifying words. I have searched the internet multiple times on this issue, and unfortunately, the Botkin girls are being harshly criticized, most especially by the “Christian” online community. I have read the book and met the Botkins. I pray my family will be more like theirs.

    Geoff Botkin will be sending me a premiere copy of Return of the Daughters sometime in the next week or so. I plan to show the film sometime in October, probably in Columbia, SC. Anyone interested in joining in the premiere viewing and/or organizing the event, please let me know.

    Here is a link to a promotional video regarding the film, made especially for homeschool leaders and pastors. This film will be a mighty tool for the glory of God.

    http://www.visionarydaughters.com/return-promo

    I hope to meet some of you men and your families at the premiere of the film. If we can find a place for October 20th, we will actually be the first public gathering to view the film. Personally, I see this as a historic event and am rejoicing at the opportunity to be a part of this with my family.

    Matt

    my blog: http://steeplemedia.com/blogs/as_it_is_in_heaven/default.aspx

  8. The Jay Shepherd Family of Alabama stands with you, beloved McDonald and Botkin families!

    May the Lord bring forth much fruit from your ministries.

  9. We will fundamentally disagree I am sure on most things, and yet across the divide of religion and politics we would be able to meet in the middle and discusss the joie de vivre that is provided by having a daughter, for it is one area where I feel my life has been enriched beyond merit.

  10. Thank you for your post. In this sea of ugliness, it is so refreshing to come to a blog like this and be able to read the truth! It is like a cool drink of water taken before wading back out into a battle!

    This morning as I prayed and thought over all that has been written about this subject on the web, one thought came back to me time and time again. Those leading the fight most viciously against the Botkin sisters and indeed against the Lord’s beautiful plan for women in His church are WOMEN!

    I have read other blogs and have tried in vain to engage them, and the veil placed over their eyes becomes more and more apparent with each passing post! They all pat each other on the back for their intellect and poise, and they ridicule those who will not spar with them. All one has to do is read past discussions to see the futility of any attempt to reason with them. One is shot down and taken in circles with their worldly logic!

    Please continue to offer those of us who know the truth a place where we can come and be refreshed and comforted. Your blog and that of your wife are so desperately needed and most appreciated!!

    In Christ,
    Trish

  11. Thank you so much for clarifying that! I’ve read so much on the subject, and read so many of the “discussions” attacking the Botkins, but no one ever clarified that, nor even tried. Thank you so much for taking the time to do it! It really helped me…

  12. It comes as no surprise that one sticking point would become the fodder for wicked attacks. It has become necessary to slay any possibility of the current culture’s stance as wrong, because not to do so would mean massive shifts in thinking……and behavior. It is easier not to reason, and to refuse to observe families that obviously carry respect, joy and great love for one another. In the meantime, we might pray that the joy of the Lord that is so obviously manifested in these precious women would cause at least an inkling of wonderment.

    Our family is happily awaiting the release of the Botkins new documentary. We share your vision!

    Thanks,
    Raising five (or more) in the Pacific Northwest

  13. Dear Pastor McDonald,

    This is my first visit here, finding the link at LAF for this article. I have not read the Botkin sister’s book, but I do look forward to doing so. My comment is simply this; it never ceases to amaze me that those individuals/groups calling themselves christian are the most vicious of attackers on families such as the Botkins.

    I come from a family of non-believers. There are some members of my family who are staunchly opposed and indignant about the dynamics of my own family, i.e. husband as the leader and myself as his helper. In each and every instance of this opposition it is the female members of the group. Women have been so completely duped into believing that the world’s vision of an independent female is the only way to live – and this deception has leaked into the church in dramatic ways.

    There is no Biblical way of explaining the feminism of today. There is no scriptural backing to excuse those who refute, ignore and assault God’s plan for women.

    There is a saying I read at one time that comes back to me constantly each time I come across situations of ‘church infighting’ – Satan does not need to attack the church, he has christians to do it for him.

    Thank you for speaking up and speaking truth!


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