LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Becky Freeman’s mental image of a godly woman used to resemble super hostess Martha Stewart, but now looks a little more like the down-home Aunt Bee from Mayberry.
Freeman, author of “Real Magnolias” and other collections of funny stories, said a godly woman makes people feel comfortable enough to kick off their shoes, pull up a seat in her kitchen and share a laugh.
Freeman, the featured speaker at a series of recent Kentucky Baptist Women’s Lifestyle Evangelism Conferences, offered the audience many opportunities to share a laugh throughout her presentations peppered with anecdotes from her own life.
She outlined four characteristics of a godly woman:
— Godly women have a merry heart. Freeman said her sense of humor is rooted in her family’s tradition of sharing funny, embarrassing stories about themselves at family reunions.
Growing up, when she found herself in situations throughout the year that would have mortified the average teenager, Freeman instead would think “there’s some good material for the family reunion.”
Finding humor in difficult situations helped Freeman gain a sense of perspective and humility.
— Godly women “bloom where they are planted.” Freeman shared that she used to feel self-conscious about inviting guests to her home, which was renovated over a period of several years.
The Freemans ran out of money to renovate and enlarge their tiny 860-square-foot cabin after constructing the shell of a large, two-story house around the outside of the cabin. For three years, they lived inside the cabin, now located inside the shell, until they had enough money to resume renovations.
In the midst of the chaos, Freeman’s home frequently was filled with friends of her teenage children. One of the teenage visitors said, “I love coming to your house because there’s nothing we can do to mess it up.”
Freeman said she learned from the young guest that what matters most in a home is not perfect order, but love and laughter.
— Godly women don’t always have the answers to life’s difficult questions. Freeman recalled that when her son Zeke was injured in a football game, she had to decide whether to scale a chain-link fence and get to him and risk embarrassing him or stay put on her side of the fence and ignore her deepest motherly instincts.
Faced with a difficult question, Freeman didn’t “sit on the fence” for long seeking an answer. She scaled the fence to be with her son. Unfortunately, when it was time to go back over the fence, her knees were so shaky that the cheerleaders had to form a pyramid and help her back over. She landed so hard on the other side of the fence that she hurt her knees and followed her son to the hospital in a second ambulance.
The fact that she launched herself over the fence just five feet from a gate she could have walked through made her earlier decisive answer a little less appealing. In retrospect, she said, remaining undecided on her side of the fence might have been a better answer.
— Godly women desire to know God. “Every woman wants a passionate love. Some think it will come from a man, and some have discovered that it won’t,” Freeman explained. Godly women realize the depth of God’s love; they appreciate the depths to which he will pursue her and reciprocate by seeking his will for her life.
Approximately 600 women attend the conferences, which were presented in three locations May 22-23: First Baptist Church, Cold Spring; St. Stephen Baptist Church, Louisville; and Bellevue Baptist Church, Owensboro.
In addition to Freeman, conference leaders included Dottie Williamson, a multihousing ministry consultant for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Williamson encouraged the women to evangelize their communities. Growing up in church, Williamson thought missions only took place in far-off, exotic locations such as Africa or China. It was not until she became a teacher in the mountains of North Carolina that she discovered missions needed to take place at home as well.
Williamson said she was shocked to discover that despite the fact that the mountains were dotted with churches, many of her students were unfamiliar with even the most basic Bible stories. That discovery jolted her into action, becoming a Southern Baptist missionary.
“There are 230 million lost people in America,” said Williamson. “Jesus told you to start in Jerusalem.”
The conference was sponsored by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, the Woman’s Missionary Auxiliary of the General Association of Baptists and the Central District of the General Association of Baptists.