Missional Homes, Mothers, and A Changing America

I recently attended a conference on how our religious freedoms in America are being infringed upon in the name of a new sexual and moral revolution. A society that has abandoned its principles in concocting a new world—relative, immoral, self-exalting, and self-governing. This new world is not satisfied coexisting with other religions and beliefs. It rather prefers to devour anyone in its way with a Neronian appetite for control, driven by an insatiable dogma of you are either with us, or you are not at all. One of the speakers articulated this with some poignant words that hit too close to home for me. He referred to this new world in terms of a place governed by what he calls a dictatorship of relativism. In other words, the growing demands—increasingly forceful—of a uniform, progressive, all-inclusive, morally-relativist culture are costing Christians (and others) more and more their religious freedoms.

The reason these words resonated deeply with me is because I was born and lived my first 8 years in one of the cruelest dictatorships in history. What made our then Communist leader Ceausescu infamous was his diabolical desire to rule people’s hearts and minds more than to lead the country. He aspired to become the only god my country should know. The power of one man kept many fearful hearts silent and dominated. And although America is not a political dictatorship by any means, there are progressive, intolerant cultural pressures that are creeping in, demanding present and future changes at the cost of disrespecting and nullifying people’s religious consciences. In the face of an increasingly radical, self-autonomous culture, Christians and their worldview are being marginalized at breakneck speed.

Undoubtedly, new times are sweeping upon America.

In the face of new changes in the religious arena, many of us women may think that the battlegrounds for spiritual warfare in times of persecution will be held in supreme courts, on university campuses, or in public squares. And while this all may be true, I’d like to challenge you with some thoughts that perhaps the greatest spiritual battles during times of persecution will be carried out from within the walls of our own family’s home. These are days when we mothers carry one of the greatest responsibilities and privileges to train our children for the difficult religious times ahead, not only by teaching them God’s Word, but by also modeling for them our missional living from our homes with an outward focus.

My grandparents are my heroes of faith. I spent many summers in their home, but the college years I lived with them have greatly impacted my spiritual life. It was during the horrors and unimaginable times of our former Communist Romania that they met their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In this atheistic desert of political totalitarianism, my grandparents found the well of living water, because no dictatorship or political dogma can ever stop God from being God.

Sure, the path was thorny and the sacrifices costly. They walked for hours, crossing hills and braving frigid Eastern European winters to get to the underground house of worship in the neighboring village. They knew they could be caught at any time and, boy, did they come close a few times. Not even the punishment of jail, house confiscation notices, or corporal punishments could stop any of these brave Christians from meeting and opening the God-breathed Word. Poverty abounded as food rations increased and yet the richness they discovered in Christ satisfied their surrendered hearts in spite of grumbling stomachs. They met in forests, basements, cellars, workshops, and having counted the cost, they bowed their knees to the One who took all costs upon Himself at Golgotha. Their homes and material assets they laid down at the foot of the chipped cross of a stricken Savior, ready to be handed over to the Communist State, because they found their hidden treasure to be worth far more than the pile of Romanian rubbish surrounding them.

These two poor and humble Christian warriors ministered to hundreds of hearts from their modest, old- fashioned, unglamorous home. Their home was under constant threats of being confiscated by a ravenous political system, and yet it did not stop them from their focused mission to share the good news in whichever village they moved to. Instead of investing their earthly treasures in new cabinets and modern flooring, they chose to invest in planting churches where they lived.

To this day, I have no doubt that where I am in Christ is due mostly to the rivers of tears they shed for me in prayer, along with gospel messages of good news modeled in front of me during summer breaks and family visits. I am a testimony of their answered prayers and Christ-centered living. Their life for Christ has continually pointed me to the Lord. And in changing times such as these, their missional life still ministers to my family as I strive to raise my children unto the Lord, even as our religious liberties grow fewer and fewer. Here are some of my thoughts, shaped by my past, about what will be vital in the days ahead.

Homes Shaped By God’s Word

Christian homes stood strong during decades of persecution in Romania because they were built on the strong foundation of Jesus Christ. On the outside, most Christian homes looked nothing out of the ordinary. They were not eccentric, nor lavished. And yet, there was a secret whisper of the identity of their members among the established communities. Neighbors knew that in those households there were songs about Jesus and teachings of the Bible. The homes stood out not by their architecture but by their inner gospel living. The songs and Bible teachings penetrated walls, windows, and doorposts, pressing upon them the then-ridiculed trademark of Christians—”the repenters,” (the ones who are repenting)—in the midst of a hurting and dark community.    

The same should be said of our homes in America as Christianity becomes gradually strange to the society around us.  Our homes should represent the culture of heaven, with families who delight in Christ, no matter the costs. As society shifts far from Biblical values, our children should be able to see the strong difference in the culture around them and the one at home. The culture in my grandparents’ home was sweet and life-changing. It was a Deuteronomy 6 kind of home. The Word of God was spoken everywhere—inside, outside, on all sides. The Word of God was taught, cherished, visualized, written, seen. Hearts and households coexisted in the focused mission of internalizing and externalizing God’s Word.

The more our culture pushes away the Biblical truths, the tighter we should embrace them in our homes. The White House, the political climates, the cultural changes may sever themselves from Christian principles. But only homes firmly planted in Word-breathed foundations will stand strongly against the waves of hardships and persecutions. The gospel missional culture begins then from our homes outwards. Errands, chores, commitments are but glorious gospel opportunities to teach our kids and reach our lost community with the freeing and saving gospel of Christ. We “impress” God’s Word on the hearts of our children as as we hang out at home, run errands, clean dishes, wash clothes, mop the floor, homeschool, work on projects, get ready for bed, in between ball practice, ballet lessons, and dinners (Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Deuteronomy 32: 46-47). In the midst of our daily routine, our mission as mothers is to train and teach our children the wonders of the words of God.

How do you teach God’s Word to your children in the midst of your daily routine?

Homes Used For Gospel Mission

Life lived at home became even more intentional during persecuted times for my grandparents. Their home turned quickly into the hub of the family’s ministry in the political war zone. These people’s lives evolved around the gospel. Their life grew busier, more joyful, and more strategically planned for Christ’s kingdom as persecution grew harder. They learned to live busy gospel lives in spite of life-threatening conditions. They refused to coward under hardships. Instead, they did everything through Christ who strengthened them. They found ways to work through the harsh circumstances nonetheless. If they couldn’t carry a Bible in the open, they’d hide it in the bag’s lining. If they couldn’t use certain words, they’d use coded language. If they couldn’t build a church, they’d find a storage cellar to worship there.

Inside the home, the Bible and the chores meshed together daily. Their house vibrated with work, noise, songs, prayers, Scripture. No matter the outside conditions, political or seasonal, their home had a mission for Jesus and all within its walls knew about it. There was a prayer for a sick woman, a villager needing money, potatoes being harvested, some Gypsies needing clothes, corn needed to be planted, farms plowed, pigs slaughtered, the Scripture read and explained, and a deep reverence for God’s Church no matter what. Plans were made about new ministries to be started, new believers to be baptized, and new underground churches to be planted in neighboring villages. They rejoiced in victories and wept in defeats. Each day they welcomed trials with an unshakable hope in Christ and His Word, and not in the country’s politics, rules, and new developments.

I wonder – are our homes truly a hub for missions, or are they just nice places to crash for rest between a collection of activities and schedules that are busy in many directions? What is your home’s mission?

The greatest impact on my life was seeing the Word of God on mission, in action, before my very own eyes. In their own imperfect way, my grandparents taught me what the Word on mission looks like from the very heart of the home. Our children will understand best the great commission if we open our doors to lost friends and invite them into our lives, sharing meals and loving them sacrificially and selflessly. Our children will understand the importance of honoring God’s Church if we model to them the priority of being a part of one each week, serving it with commitment and honor. Our children will understand God’s gift of a sacrificial love to them if we model in our own homes the sacrificial love of serving every day.

How do you use your home as a place to share the gospel with family and friends?

Our Homes in Persecuted Times—A Mothers’ Manifesto For Training Courageous Solders

As raw as my memories of my persecuted grandparents still are in my heart, I often wonder if perhaps these times of growing persecution may be one of the best gifts from a loving God to a progressive America. As I look back to my past, I recognize fervently that Satan’s hatred is Jesus’ loving opportunity to a world gone sinful. Just as His undeserved death on the cross is still a powerful testimony of love, grace, and forgiveness today, so it will be when every believer is persecuted in our backyards. Jesus reassures us of it in His own words: “

[The persecution] will lead to an opportunity for testimony” (Luke 21:13). We can’t bypass persecution on our way to heaven. But we can courageously train and prepare our children to know and expect to be persecuted when they follow Jesus. What Satan intends for evil, Jesus works for gospel good.    

Mothers, let’s take heart. As we face transitions of threatened religious freedoms, let us remember that a home on mission for Christ can never be silenced by dictatorships, governments, cultures, revolutions, or politics. A heart resting in the hands of Christ the Victor reigns gloriously in eternal victories.  Therefore, we resolve that our homes are not to be gloomy and silenced into a discouraging sigh of hopeless circumstances over a loss of any freedoms and privileges. But rather, the life that the hope-filled Words of God gives will resonate confidently ever so loudly to our children, family, and beyond. We will remember God’s statutes within the walls of our mission hubs—our homes. The walls, the windows, the activities, the kitchen tables, the pictures, the tablets, the phones will all be but tools of furthering God’s kingdom in our daily warfare. Even as the world marginalizes the gospel, our homes will keep it front and center, inviting people in, serving them, loving them, sharing the good news with them. Our homes must become beacons of lights in a soul darkened world. We shall persevere in our present times, reassured that our mission of the gospel shared from our homes passes through the chains of persecution straight into the gates of eternal glory (2 Timothy 3:12).

Hundreds of people heard the gospel over the years as a testimony to my grandparents’ faithfulness in missional living in their humble homes. I am a result of that myself. The ripple effects of their ardent love for the gospel have passed through my life, well into eternity. Our present changing times will benefit best from Christians living the gospel life courageously and boldly from their homes outward.

Satan couldn’t keep Christ in the grave, didn’t stop the gospel from thriving in former Communist Romania, and he won’t destroy God’s Church in today’s world either in spite of laws of infringement and bricks of persecution. Living a godly life in Christ is seasoned with persecution. Beatings, killings, temptations, loss of a job, of a family, even of an entire community are all but roaring of an enemy whose sounds are more frightening than his bite will ever be. As a mother of four beautiful children, at the sight of a fast changing secular culture, I cling to the gospel truth that only through Christ our homes stand strong, and the roaring of the enemy are but squeals of defeat in the face of the bloody cross of our Savior.

By |November 2nd, 2016|Categories: Blog|

About the Author:

Anca Martin is the wife of Todd, mother of 4 children, born and made in Eastern Europe. She loves running, reading, writing, coffee, books, dancing, international students, trips, adoption, and decorating.