Desiring to be God's Woman
- Thursday, July 24, 2003
"We don't know what tomorrow brings, but we do know Who brings tomorrow. There is no way that we personally can get through it; it is only through Christ that we can." - Emilie Barnes
Emilie Barnes is a very familiar name in Christian circles. She has written on many home-related topics: organization, healthy eating, gardening, manners for children, and more. In addition to her own two children, she helped to raise her brother's three children, giving her five youngsters under 5 when she was only 21 years old. Her heart, in writing and speaking, is to encourage women in their relationship with the Lord, and to help in the practical areas of their lives. All of us have a story to tell, and Mrs. Barnes is eager to share how the Lord has worked in her life.
Q: Emilie, at the age of 21, you found yourself the mother of five children under age 5. Can you talk about that season of your life and how you managed such a monumental task?
A: I think the only way I was able to survive was organization. I was young, but fortunately I had learned organizational tools from my mother. As a girl of 11, I was ironing, washing, planning for meals, shopping for meals, going to school, learning the dress business, and more. So, by the time I was raising my own family, I really believe that God had equipped me for what was to come. But, it was still a monumental task.
Q: How did you grow in your relationship with the Lord during those years?
A: One of my Scripture verses over the years has been Psalm 73:26 and it says, "My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength. He is all I ever need." I have hung onto that. And, parents can find Scriptures to adopt as their own. We need to be guided in the Word of God and continue to have a teachable spirit, to be willing to be taught. You know - the older women are to teach the younger women, Titus says. I looked at myself one day and said, "I am an older woman!" But, remember, we are all older than someone; even teenagers are older than younger children. It is really sad where the family is going today, but it doesn't have to go there. We can begin to teach younger women as they are starting their families, and then they can pass that onto their children.
I have to say, though, I grew in the Lord most dramatically when the children went off to college and I was an empty-nester. I loved being a mother; it didn't matter what age they were. So, when they were gone, I just cried out to God, "I want to be your woman." He answered that prayer through Florence Littauer, who has been my mentor for more than 20 years. We did seminars together, and she encouraged me to write my first book. I said, "Everything in the world that I know is in this book." Who would have thought a little Jewish girl, who grew up behind her mother's dress shop, with only a high school education, would have been able to write more than 60 books? Only God can do that. He has given me people that love and encourage me. And then, in the last five and a half years, He has taken me through my journey with cancer.
Q: Tell us more about your experience with cancer.
A: I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997. I could not speak anymore, so at that moment I lost my job, and my husband lost his job as the businessperson for our ministry. We didn't think I would ever be well enough to speak again. I had a bone marrow transplant in 2000 that was very successful, and last September, I spoke for the first time in five years. I cannot say enough about what God has done in our lives. We were married 47 years ago, and when we gave each other the vows, "For richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse,"
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