'Obey and God Will Provide'
Words to live by for mother of nine
Writer, AFA Journal
AFA Journal, June 2001 Edition
As they lined up at the front of the church, the older kids carrying toddlers in their arms, my first thought was, what an incredibly organized (and brave) person she must be to team with her husband in loading their nine kids into the van and driving through pouring rain from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to this meeting.
Kathy Stevens, a vibrant, dark-haired young woman with an infectious laugh, had come to Tupelo, Mississippi, to speak to a group of ladies on behalf of Concerned Women for America (CWA). Kathy is the Mississippi State Director of CWA, an organization begun by Beverly LaHaye in 1979 to provide a voice for American women dedicated, through prayer and action, to upholding values sacred to the family. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CWA is the largest public policy women’s group in America with more than 500,000 members.
There are 4,000 members in Mississippi, and Kathy says her key goals for her state’s CWA are to encourage women to make a difference, and to see prayer groups in every county – even every church – in Mississippi.
As she talked, it became apparent that Kathy is no ordinary woman. I think she would say she’s like most any other wife and mother, but there is one apparent difference. Kathy obviously lives by her own declarations, “know that if you get called by God, you have to obey – period.” And “when you do, He will equip and provide for any work He calls you to.”
Kathy’s own life is an amazing testimony to these two truths. Not only is she a wife, a mother of nine (with one more on the way) and a dynamic activist with CWA, but she also home-schools her children, works as her husband’s secretary in his insurance business, teaches a speech and debate class, is developing a women’s ministry called “Our Needs, His Answers,” and is active in her church. Kathy glows with a radiance that comes from surrending her life anew to Christ each day while obeying and trusting Him with every challenge, task and blessing.
To encourage busy women who long to be activists for the Lord but think it’s impossible because of their children and other time-eating responsibilities, Kathy offers some excellent helps.
When asked how she juggles the responsibilities of a wife and mother, yet still has time to be both her husband’s business helper and a busy, political activist, she answers with the declarations mentioned above (You must obey, and God will provide), as well as voicing the critical need to train children to be independent and work as a team in all things – home maintenance, work, church, ministry, politics and play.
Her husband, Allen, is also a big help; he built his office at the back of their 20 acres to be available to help with the kids. When Kathy travels for speaking engagements, the entire family usually goes along. “We are all in this together,” she says.
The Stevenses have great systems in place that allow everyone to share the load relative to chores and daily living: “We plan meals and shop monthly or bi-monthly, which is a great time-saver,” Kathy remarks.
The kids range in age from 14 to one (with a set of three-year old twins thrown in for good measure), and they all help with the chores. “The two oldest kids wash the laundry – two or three loads a day – and all four big kids fold after school,” Kathy explains. “The six bigger kids do all the housework daily. It took a lot of work and time to train them, but it was well worth it. They receive an allowance for their work. Each child makes his/her own bed. The older kids all have a little one they help with everything – beds, getting dressed, teeth, etc.”
Kathy home-schools the children, rotating their classes from a schoolroom in the back of Allen’s office. There, a baby bed allows Kathy to care for the one-year-old while she teaches. A baby sitter works half of each day, helping primarily with the twins. Because the five oldest kids play an instrument, an organized schedule is vital for coming and going as well as for every area of life.
The primary helps Kathy offers women who struggle to “keep all the balls in the air” are: 1) Have fun with your family. Don’t make so many demands on yourself and others that life isn’t fun for anyone; 2) share the load – don’t be a martyr; 3) do the next thing – make your list and just do the next thing. God knows what He wants from you today – be faithful; and 4) Take time to prioritize the day’s activities – put God first and prioritize from there. He’ll direct your day if you let Him.
To avoid burnout, Kathy encourages women to allow themselves some time that is theirs alone. She spends “her” time visiting friends and family or exercising with a friend. Or, she takes a walk with just one of the children. She also takes them one at a time out for lunch or to shop. She and Allen try to eat out a couple of times a month, as well as spend a long weekend together at least once a year.
The Scripture verses Kathy claims for her life are Philippians 4:13, 19: I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me; and, My God will supply all of my need through His riches in Christ Jesus. She adds, “I don’t see how an unbeliever can survive the stresses of life without the Lord. I know I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t want to try.”