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Interview With Dr. Patricia Ennis

Interviewer: Donna Morley


It is my pleasure today to introduce you to a very dear friend, Patricia Ennis. Pat earned her M.A. at San Diego State University and her Ed.D., from Northern Arizona University. She is a professor and establishing chairperson of the department of Home Economics at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, California, where she has served since 1987. She previously established and chaired the department of Home Economics at Christian Heritage College at the request of Dr. Tim LaHaye. She, along with Dr. Lisa Tatlock (associate professor of home economics at The Master’s College) has written the book, Becoming A Woman Who Pleases God.  

Enjoy the following interview and benefit from the wisdom our dear Lord has bestowed upon Pat.

Donna: Pat, what prompted you and Lisa to write Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God?

Pat: Many women are unable to enroll as students in our program at The Master’s College. So, we have made a portion of the curriculum of the Home Economics Department made available to them. The key elements of the book are based upon home management, gracious living in the home, financial management and biblical hospitality.

Donna: Throughout your book, you use the phrase “Wise Woman.” Can you explain your reason for this?

Pat: We used the phrase “Wise Woman” throughout the book to emphasize that women who practice the principles found in God’s Word are women who have both understood and subsequently applied the truths found in God’s Word. Wise Women desire not only to know but also to implement the mandates of scripture.

Donna: Explain for our readers why you believe Proverbs 31:10-31 is applicable for twenty-first century living.

Pat: In this day and age, many believe that the woman described in this passage is simply a fantasy rather than a real woman whose life twenty-first Christian women are challenged to model. However, the immutability (changelessness) of God would be in question if Proverbs 31:10-31 is not timelessly relevant. If we think that God changed His mind about one passage of Scripture, how can we be sure that He has not changed His mind about others?

Donna: You mention in your book that there are 11 principles suggested in the Proverbs 31 chapter. Please share those with us.

Pat: J.I. Packer, in Knowing God, lists six attributes of God which are helpful to be reminded of before I share the principles suggested in Proverbs 31:10-31 that help the Wise Woman build her home. They are that God’s life does not change; God’s character does not change; God’s truth does not change; God’s ways do not change; and God’s purposes do not change. God’s SON does not change.

Since God does not change, then fellowship with Him, trust in His Word, living by faith, and embracing His principles are the same realities for twenty-first century believers as they were for those of the Old and New Testaments.

Society would have us believe that the description of the Wise Woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 is designed to develop an inferiority complex within us. This is untrue—the Proverbs 31 passage provides a biblical foundation for the creation of principles by which we, as Wise Women in progress, live our lives. While the outward historical context has changed since King Lemuel wrote Proverbs, the character principles have not.

These 11 principles (introduced in Chapter 1 and then woven into each chapter) are:

 1. Virtuous— Proverbs 31:10

 2. Trustworthy— Proverbs 31:11-12

 3. Energetic— Proverbs 31:13-16, 19, 24, 27

 4. Physically fit— Proverbs 31:17

 5. Economical— Proverbs 31:18

 6. Unselfish— Proverbs 31:20

 7. Honorable— Proverbs 31:25

 8. Lovable— Proverbs 31:28-29

 9. Prepared— Proverbs 31:21-22

10. Prudent— Proverbs 31:26

11. God-fearing— Proverbs 31:31

Donna: I appreciate what you share about the “Wise Woman Principles” and how these principles develop a heart of contentment. Please share with the readers what those principles are.

Pat: The two Wise Woman Principles that contribute to contentment are in being truthworthy and and economical. The principle of being trustworthiness is evident that the Wise Woman is satisfied with her marital status, while her application of the principle of being economical is seen in her biblical attitude toward money and material possessions.

Drawn from the Greek word arkeo, contentment primarily signifies sufficiency or satisfaction.

Scripture teaches that godliness with contentment is great gain (Ps. 37:16; 1 Tim. 6:6), God’s promises should lead to contentment (Heb. 13:5), and those who seek contentment from money are never satisfied (Eccles. 5:10).believers are instructed to exhibit contentment in their callings (1 Cor. 7:20), with their wages (Luke 3:14), with their possessions (Heb. 13:5), and with the food and raiment one has (1 Tim. 6:8).

* Wise Women develop a heart of contentment by:


    a.      cultivating a welcoming home environment,


    b.      embracing flexibility and forgiveness,


    c.      and possessing confidence in God’s sovereignty.


* Contentment is achieved by approaching each day with a zest for the opportunities that it holds.


* Daily ask our LORD, “What wonderful things are we going to do today?” Practice Psalm 118:24!

* Just as good physical health is the result of implementing sound health practices, so good spiritual health is the result of applying sound spiritual practices.


* God's Health Plan for the heart of the Wise Woman contains four essential elements:


1. Weight: a need to eliminate unneeded cares (1 Pet. 5: 7-10).


2. Pulse: the rhythm of one’s gratitude (Col. 3:12-17).


3. Blood pressure: reading of anxiety over trust (Ps. 55:22).


4. Diet: regular intake and submission to the life-giving thoughts of the Lord (Jer. 15:16).

Is it necessary for a twenty-first century woman to embrace graciousness? (Chapter 5, p. 145-46).

Gracious is one of God’s attributes (Psalm 145:8) and is defined as being kindly disposed or showing favor and mercy to someone, usually by a person of superior position and power. Endnote

Scriptural instances portray: Potiphar dealing graciously with Joseph (Gen. 39:4), Ruth finding favor in the eyes of Boaz (Ruth 2:10), and King Ahasureus’ gracious treatment to Esther (Esther 2:17; 5:2).

Biblically, our Heavenly Father sets the standard for graciousness toward human beings, as stated in the ancient liturgical formula:


---“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).


---Psalm 86:15 portrays God as “full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”

---Psalm 103:8 declares, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” while


---Psalm 145:8 affirms, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”


Donna: Graciousness is so important in our Christian walk. What are some practical tips you could give us?


Pat:            *       Respond to any invitation no later than the date indicated.


         *       Arrive for the function fashionably on time.


                  *       Warmly handle introductions.


                  *       Select a suitable hostess gift.


                  *       Acknowledge her status as a guest.


                  *       Dress according to the occasion.


                  *       Assume gracious posture


                  *       Practice polite table manners


                  *       Handle silverware with precision

We must remember, when we are invited to someone’s home, we are in a position of honor. Therefore, whether for a meal or for an overnight stay, we must be considerate of the family and fit into their schedule.

Donna: How can we as Christian women develop a World view?

Pat: A Wise Woman will develop a personal World View by cultivating her mind, elevating her thoughts, and grasping the principle of “salt and light.”

Donna: Please expound upon the principle of “salt and light.”

Pat: “Salt and light” radiates from the Wise Woman’s home when she embraces a few other principles. The first is the principle of being unselfish. Unselfishness allows her to cast her vision beyond her own needs to the needs of others (John 4:34-38), as well as reminder her to incorporate the model of the homes of the citizens of the ancient East that left a light burning through the night (Proverbs 31:180. The light burning indicated a haven for the distressed and signified prosperity. While perhaps not leaving a literal light on throughout the night, the Wise Woman’s home is known as a haven for the physically and emotionally distressed.

Another principle is that of being prepared. This motivates the Wise Woman to maintain her priorities in such a way that she possesses the physical and spiritual resources to assist others (Jeremiah 17:1-8), while the principle of being lovable challenges her to concentrate her ministry efforts first on those residing in her home and then on the application of the Titus 2:3-5 principle of those beyond her household. The Wise Woman’s home will always be a “prepared place” (John 14:2-3) for her family and a “city that is set on a hill” (Matthew 5:15b) for those who observe her life.

Donna: I can see from reading Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God, that it’s written for both married and single women.

Pat: Exactly. Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God is intergenerational and appeals to all women—single, married, single mothers, married women without children and women. God’s instructions to women are the same, regardless of their marital status—the application of the instructions simply differ.

Overall, there are significantly more unmarried women than men: 89 single men for every 100 single women. This imbalance suggests that a percentage of Christian women will not marry.

As a Wise Woman applies the principle of trustworthiness (Prov. 31:11) she is able to live in today’s world with or without a husband.

Donna: Explain for us why you are so committed to mentoring?

Pat: My commitment to mentoring comes from my early years as a young professional when there was an absence of older women who were willing to lend a helping hand. Many offered criticism, few offered help. I vowed that if I survived, I would be willing to help others on their spiritual and professional journeys. The young women whom I have mentored serve our Lord throughout the world. I love the times when I answer the phone to find one of them on the other end of the line. Their personal visits are always a blessing and their e-mails, cards, and letters often arrive to encourage and minister to me on challenging days. I am looking forward to our reunion in heaven and count it a privilege to be “the older woman” in their lives!

The mentoring strategy outlined in Titus 2:3-5 provides the method for our Wise Woman to activate the principles of trustworthy, unselfish, prepared, prudent, lovable and God fearing.


Donna: Could you offer some suggestions for how a woman can implement the Titus 2 principle?

Pat: Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God began with eleven principles describing the Wise Woman of Prov. 31:10-31 that shape her character, thus preparing her to assume the Titus 2:3-5 mandate.

The Principles of Mentoring provide a foundation by which our Wise Woman lives out the mandate:

 (1) Mentoring is a direct instruction from our heavenly Father, not a suggestion!


 (2) Sometimes the mentor and mentoree will be very similar; other times they will be very different. Tim LaHaye writes in I Love You, But Why Are We So Different? “In every field I know, from electricity to chemistry, pluses are attracted to negatives. In the human realm, introverts are usually attracted to extroverts. They don’t realize it at the outset, but people are subconsciously attracted by the other

person’s strengths that correspond with their weaknesses.”

 (3) A mentor is someone the younger woman trusts—a person who operates in an environment of love, not power.

 (4) A Titus Two mentor provides the mentoree with the freedom to follow God; she leads by modeling, not coercion.

 (5) There are no mentor/mentoree combinations that are the same.

 (6) Confidentiality is the foundation of a strong mentoring relationship.

 (7) Mentoring involves give and take, sharing and tackling goals together. It is a ministry of presence, empowering women with love and insight that is more caught than taught.

 (8) A mentor asks probing questions that help the mentoree discover the “why” behind the challenges that are being faced.

 (9) Biblical mentoring is about character formation.

(10) The mentoring relationship takes time to develop.

(11) Mentoring from a biblical perspective is helping a sister focus and make choices rather than a counseling session.

Donna: Thank you Pat for sharing with us your wisdom. I know that the Faith and Reason Forum readers are going to benefit from all that you have shared. You are such a blessing!

Pat: Thank you Donna.