What is a Prairie Muffin? I borrowed the term from R.C. Sproul, Jr. who jokingly and lovingly called his wife a Prairie Muffin (note: R.C. Sproul, Jr. has nothing to do with the writing of this manifesto). This was in response to those who make snide and derogatory remarks about those of us who choose a quiet life, diligently pursuing our biblical role as women and protecting the innocence of our children. Some women have been caricatured as denim jumper-wearing, Little House on the Prairie-worshiping, baby machines who never trim their hair or wear makeup. Like the Americans who bore the name Yankee Doodle as a badge of honor rather than be cowed by the enemy who used it in a derogatory way, the name Prairie Muffin is meant to convey the message that we are sticking to our convictions despite the silly labels people try to stick on us.
Why a manifesto? The term "manifesto" may carry revolutionary connotations which seem oxymoronic in conjunction with the term "Prairie Muffin." In light of the culture war in which we find ourselves, however, living out our biblical convictions is revolutionary. According to Mr. Webster in 1828, a manifesto is "a public declaration, usually of a prince or sovereign, showing his intentions, or proclaiming his opinions and motives; as a manifesto declaring the purpose of a prince to begin war, and explaining his motives." Thus, this manifesto is to encourage Prairie Muffins to keep fighting the good fight in their important roles as "home despots," aka wives and mothers.
Note: It was decided in a hotly-contested election, that the husbands of Prairie Muffins would henceforth be known as "Prairie Dawgs." An official Prairie Dawg greeting was also proposed. Single women aspiring to be Prairie Muffins will be known as "Muffin Mixes" and young children of Prairie Muffins are "Mini Muffins."
Whereas we Prairie Muffins believe that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, knowing that we are not our own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, we affirm many (if not all) of the statements in this manifesto, declaring our joy in serving Christ in the role He has given us and delighting in our distinctives.
1) Prairie Muffins are committed to obeying God's law in every area of life, as they are aware of its application to their lives and circumstances.
2) Prairie Muffins are helpmeets to their husbands, seeking creative and practical ways to further their husbands' callings and aid them in their dominion responsibilities.
3) Prairie Muffins are aware that God is in control of their ability to conceive and bear children, and they are content to allow Him to bless them as He chooses in this area.
4) Prairie Muffins seek to conform themselves to the image of God by not chafing at the trials and afflictions which He brings to them, but thankfully submitting to His loving providence as He makes them fit for heaven.
5) Prairie Muffins improve their intellect and knowledge as they have opportunity, first by seeking wisdom from God's word, then by reading good books and other materials which help them to make informed opinions about a wide variety of subjects.
6) Prairie Muffins dress modestly and in a feminine manner.
7) Prairie Muffins protect the innocence of their children, until such a time their children are mature enough to be exposed to potentially-harmful cultural influences.
8) Prairie Muffins are creative, learning new skills and working with their hands to provide items of beauty as well as utility for their families.
9) Prairie Muffins do not reflect badly on their husbands by neglecting their appearance; they work with the clay God has given, molding it into an attractive package for the pleasure of their husbands.
10) Prairie Muffins are patient and forbearing, not responding rashly to slights, perceived or real.
11) Prairie Muffins own aprons and they know how to use them.
12) Prairie Muffins prefer others above themselves, seeking to serve God by serving others, especially members of their own household.
13) Prairie Muffins practice hospitality, graciously, even when their home is not as perfect as they would like.
14) Prairie Muffins have a sense of humor, even in the midst of trials.
15) Prairie Muffins do not become paralyzed by fears and worries; rather, they see God's loving hand in all their circumstances.
16) Prairie Muffins are accomplished at organizing and delegating.
17) Prairie Muffins place their husbands' needs and desires above other obligations, arranging their schedules and responsibilities so that they do not neglect the one who provides for and protects them and their children.
18) Prairie Muffins are fiercely submissive to God and to their husbands.
19) Prairie Muffins appreciate godly role models, such as Anne Bradstreet, Elizabeth Prentiss and Elisabeth Elliot. They do not idolize Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie) or Louisa May Alcott (Little Women); while they may enjoy aspects of home life presented in their books, PMs understand that the latent humanism and feminism in these stories and in the lives of these women is not worthy of emulation.
20) Prairie Muffins make significant economic contributions to their households in many ways. They are careful with the hard-earned money that their husbands bring home, wisely weighing expenditures to ensure that they stretch the dollars as far as they can go, without being parsimonious. They also may help their husbands in their husbands' callings or bring money into their households through homecentered business under their husbands' authority, as long as that activity does not detract from their very important homekeeping duties.
21) Prairie Muffins recognize that all good gifts come from the Father of Lights (James 1:17) and they also realize their privileged position as "home despot," thus they are grateful to God and their husbands for enabling them to engage in the wonderful role of homekeeper.
22) Prairie Muffins try to maintain a peaceful environment for their families by keeping their voices quiet and their tones gentle as much as possible.
23) While Prairie Muffins seek to have a multitude of wise counselors, they are careful not to elevate mere men and women to a position where they are tempted to idolize those whom they admire. They also are aware that all have weaknesses, and they accept this reality without discarding the good teaching of those godly people who may occasionally stumble in their weakness or with whom we sometimes must disagree.
24) It is not possible to fit Prairie Muffins into a box. They come in many shapes, sizes and flavors, they have a variety of talents and interests. All their pursuits, however, are weighed to see if they are pleasing to God and done in obedience to His will as revealed in His word.
25) Prairie Muffins are tough on themselves, but forgiving of the faults and differences of others, without sacrificing their commitment to truth and righteousness. This is sometimes a difficult balance, but one which Prairie Muffins strive to keep.
26) While they often may feel like they have split personalities because of the many hats they must wear, Prairie Muffins do have their feet firmly planted in two worlds: the now and the not yet. In the now, they must deal with the realities and disappointments of everyday life, praying for daily wisdom and walking by faith, not by sight, as God providentially directs their steps. In the not yet, they strive for the biblical ideals by which they determine the direction of their lives, understanding that they may fall short of these ideals as they struggle with their flesh and their circumstances, but trusting that God will honor their humble obedience with a more mature faith and the blessings that come from both the struggle and the obedience, in this life and in the next.
27) The letter "P" at the beginning of their names should be the only similarity between Prairie Mufffins and Pharisees. Never should the Prairie Muffin haughtily pray, "Thank God I am not like that...(fill in the blank)." Rather, she should always say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." This is not to say that obedience to God's law is not important, however. Prairie Muffins gratefully accept the yoke that Christ places on them, and they seek to have the mind of Christ with the godly perspective which sees the burdens of our Lord as truly light; He is the One who gives us strength to carry those burdens, and He is even the One who carries them.
28) Prairie Muffins mind their own business. While that business may include encouraging other women "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored," it most emphatically excludes encouraging other women to run ahead of or resist the authority of their husbands or elders in pursuit of any PM distinctive.
29) Prairie Muffins are open to correction from proper authorities. They are responsible to submit to their own husbands, to their elders, and ultimately to God. If rebuked by these authorites a PM should receive such correction gracefully and gratefully. If rebuked by others, she should take the concern to her proper authorities.
30) "Home, Sweet Home" is more than just a sentimental saying for the Prairie Muffin. Her home is the center of the Prairie Muffin's activities. Of course, she needs to occasionally go away from home to engage in various activities related to her calling, but her focus is on making home a haven for her husband and children and using it to glorify God in whatever ministry to others He may call her. She is content in her home and does not see it as a prison from which she constantly must escape. She wisely rules over her domain by keeping busy in her full-time calling as homekeeper. Chocolate bon-bons may be a rare indulgence, but Prairie Muffins don't have the time or inclination to waste their lives on soap operas or other inane and inappropriate entertainment.
31) While Prairie Muffins try to be women who make plans and stick with them, so that they use their time wisely and reach the goals they and their Prairie Dawgs have determined for their families, they also know they must be flexible and be prepared to meet whatever circumstances fall into their laps, sometimes at a moment's notice, responding with grace and calm.
32) Though we abhor the idea of women being involved in the military and fighting battles which men are commanded to fight, Prairie Muffins recognize that there is a real battle in which they are on the front lines: the battle of the seed of the woman against the seed of the serpent. In this most-important conflict, we gratefully serve King Jesus in the capacity He has given us, waving our wooden spoons and rallying our children to stand alongside us in the battle, training them to be mighty warriors in the defense and furthering of God's kingdom.
33) Prairie Muffins are not clingy, they are clinging. There are many things in this world that it is tempting to grasp, even good things such as our homes, our marriages and our children. Our hands need to be firmly planted in the Savior's hand, not clinging to those things which are good gifts from Him, but clinging to His will for our lives. When those good things are sometimes taken away, we must accept what is better, knowing that our loving Father wants what is best for us.
34) A Prairie Muffin is generously affectionate with her children (and husband!), lavishing hugs and kisses on each one as a reminder of how precious they are to her.
35) This society worships rugged individualists, and lone ranger Christians are often the rule rather than the exception. While we know that it is becoming more difficult to find family-friendly and biblically-based churches, Prairie Muffins reject the notion that commitment to a local church is optional. We affirm the importance of the church in our families' lives, and we willingly submit to its leaders. It is our desire to raise children who are life-long worshipers in the pew and future leaders of strong churches.
36) Prairie Muffins are happy to be girls—they rejoice in the distinctives which God sovereignly bestowed on them which make them feminine. They are also happy that their husbands are masculine, and they do not diminish that masculinity by harping on habits which emanate from the fact that boys will be boys, even when they grow up. In addition, Prairie Muffins are careful not to use their feminine, hormotional weaknesses to excuse sinful attitudes and actions, but learn to depend more and more on God's grace and strength in the midst of any monthly trials.
37) Prairie Muffins may go against the flow, but they also know how to roll with the flow. Living moment by moment, day by day, season by season, they don't depend on present circumstances to dictate their direction in life. Circumstances change constantly, so Prairie Muffins hang tightly onto the Father's hand while they ride out the waves of life that ebb and flow past their doors.
38) The chief end of the Prairie Muffin is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Because she is not her own, but belongs to her faithful Savior Jesus Christ, she understands her responsibility to please Him in all she does, looking to His holy, inerrant Word for guidance in everything pertaining to life and godliness. As a Berean, she measures all she reads and hears against that plumbline, and she purposes to gratefully obey God's law, in His strength, because Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). We understand that nothing we do will merit our salvation—that is only given through the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us—but serving our Lord is part of our sanctification. The Bible has some very specific things to say to women regarding their God-given role, and Prairie Muffins take those divinely-ordained distinctions very seriously.
39) Aware that they are being watched, rather than becoming paranoid—or annoyed—Prairie Muffins are employed* in setting a good example for those who have their eyes on them. We in no way wish to endorse adopting masks to hide the real "you," but we firmly believe that what is on the inside will show through, so we suggest remembering that there is no hiding the real you from those who know you best, i.e., your family. By God's grace we will continue to work on cleaning up our act, being that good example, knowing that "more attention our children pay to what we do than what we say."
40) The women who will have the greatest impact on the world, those who will have the greatest influence on history, are those "well-behaved" women who faithfully serve God in their daily lives, seeking His approval rather than the world's admiration. Prairie Muffins know that while engaging in the kingdom-building work in their homes of loving, training and disciplining their children, the world may not express its approval, but it will be turned upside down.
41) Self-fulfillment is not a motivation for the Prairie Muffin. As time flies by, she senses the urgency for living a "real" life, really living life for eternity. Our goal should be to please ourselves less and please God more: our pleasure should be pleasing God.
42) We are reminded in Proverbs 10:19, "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." Prairie Muffins must refrain from being mouthy, including online. It is not our place to always set everyone straight or tell everything we know. In fact, Proverbs also warns us not to answer a fool according to his folly (Proverbs 26:4), so pray for wisdom before unleashing your opinions like any fool with a keyboard. This entreaty to restraint particularly applies to battles of which you have no part. She who has ears to hear, read carefully the admonitions of the great Puritan preacher, Matthew Poole, on the issue of detraction, an admonition that is never more timely though written hundreds of years ago. Then go back to Proverbs, starting with chapter one, because if you want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, then that's the place to begin.
43) There are many good things that Prairie Muffins love: their husbands, their children, their churches. But most of all, Prairie Muffins love their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and though those other treasures are precious, they hold them lightly, trusting in God's providence regarding even those most prized possessions, knowing that to hold them too tightly would be replacing them with God in their affections, and that would be idolatry.
44) As we pour out our lives in service to God and our families, we do not measure success by the visible return on that investment, as if we are accountants keeping record on a balance sheet. In the economy of God's kingdom, our sacrifices are of great value, even though we may not see all the benefits now, or even in this life. We mustn't regret any effort given in service to our Savior, and we ought to follow the example of Paul who rejoiced to be "poured out as a drink offering" (II Timothy 4:6), knowing that in pouring himself out on the sacrifice and service of the faith of others, he did not labor in vain (Phillipians 2:16-17).
45) All things exist for the glory of God, even those small things which the world ignores or despises. Prairie Muffins, however, know they should not despise the "day of small things," and they gladly serve their God in tasks great and small, not for the glory they can gain for themselves, but for the joy of bringing glory to Him who has given them everything. Whether cooking yet another meal, folding yet another basket of laundry, or quelling yet another childish tiff, God is pleased with our faithful and cheerful service, and He promises to reward us with greater responsibility and joy (Matthew 25:21).
46) A Prairie Muffin knows that excuses are unbecoming and low. She is able to take responsibility for her actions, and she doesn't cover up her sin when she stumbles. She wholeheartedly embraces the entirety of God's Word and lives in obedience to it all to the best of her ability, with His help, grateful that "His mercies are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23). She may be an ordinary woman whose faith is sometimes halting, but she serves an extraordinary God whose faithfulness is great and who will enable her to do great things in His service.
47) Rather than acting like victims when trials come—and they will—Prairie Muffins act like victors in the midst of suffering, knowing that God sovereignly ordains their circumstances for their benefit and His glory. So no whining, excuses, or finger pointing, but be comforted and strengthened by God, knowing that you will one day have opportunity to help others with the comfort wherewith you were comforted.
48) Looking at the greener garden on the other side of the fence is very tempting. Prairie Muffins know, however, that what the world considers mundane—the serving they do in their homes among their families—is no less important than ministries or occupations which might seem to be more noble, but are outside their sphere of sovereignty. Instead, they look with new eyes at the important work in front of them, and they gladly dig in and show their children, their husbands, and the watching world, that getting their hands dirty in their own back yards is a glorious thing, especially when the redeeming work of making beauty out of that jungle finally bears fruit.
49) Though there are those who would portray the life of a Prairie Muffin as dreary drudgery, not meant for those elite women who are truly "gifted," we know that there is a wealth of riches to be found when we embrace this home-centered calling. There are many aspects of life at home which are mundane, repetitious, and sometimes unpleasant. The same is true of any job, even those which receive a weekly paycheck. But the privileges and important responsibilities of work anchored in home responsibilities soon outshine the difficulties which are really opportunities given by God for our benefit and sanctification. We are blessed to be at home where so much productivity takes place.
50) Prairie Muffins have been forgiven much, so they must forgive others. Our burden of sin was left at the cross, but it's a good idea to frequently go back to the cross and look at what we have left there to remember the great love by which our Savior purchased our pardon. That keeps our grievances in perspective and makes it easier to be patient with the offenses of others.
© Adorning Grace 2010