So... I have been thinking a lot about my role as woman, wife, daughter, sister, and future mom (Lord willing). Work is a beautiful gift of the Lord... before the fall, God established that man was to work the field... "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15)... so, work is good. Because of the fall, work is hard... and from my experience as of late, it is hard to come by. I have been pursuing teaching positions for the past year or so. I recently interviewed at Creech for the fifth grade position. I got great feedback from the principal but I did not get the position (some one filled it in-house), but that does not take away the pain of rejection. The rejection I have had in looking for a job has lead me to seek peace alone in Christ, to look for God's will in my life, to look to Him for guidance and direction. I believe He has answered my prayer in giving me a heart to understand my role as female... wife, daughter, sister, and future mother.
After study and reading the Word, I believe that my role as woman begins in the home. I am to be homeward focused... this idea is very contrary to our culture and society. Sometimes, I feel such peace in fulfilling this God-given gift of being homemaker (for not all women can choose to stay home and work part-time) and the other half of the time, I feel like I should be working full-time, using the degree that I worked so hard to achieve... feeling like I need to fit in. But is that what I am called to do as a follower of Christ? Fit in society and culture... or does God call us to be in the world but not of it? To love the world like Christ but not live like the rest of the world? (I want to say this is what I believe for myself... as a woman, if you choose to work, I am not judging you or saying that you are wrong for wanting to work... this is where I am personally.)
So... here are things that have brought me to the conclusion that I should first and foremost have a homeward focus...
1. Proverbs 14:1- The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
2. Of course the example of the Proverbs 31 woman- a few examples, "She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens"... "She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy"... "She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet"... "She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue"... "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her"...
3. 2 Timothy- Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
So those are just a few examples... now when I mean a homeward focus, I do not mean that women should stay in the house and only focus on the chores... what I AM saying though is that it is God's gift to women to prepare her home to love others including her husband, her children, her family, her friends, her poor and needy neighbors, etc. I believe my role as a homemaker is to TEACH: women younger than myself, women who are preparing for a stage of life that I have already experienced and learned from, my children (even though they are not yet here). I believe my role of homemaker is to be HOSPITABLE: to open my home and be prepared for guests... to welcome them in and share the love of Christ by being genuine and authentic and living life WITH them. I believe my role as homemaker is to STEWARD: in Proverbs 31 it talks of the woman being wise with her resources to best benefit her family and the kingdom... it is my role in the house to be a wise steward of our resources whether that means coupon-ing, buying things on sale or at the end of the season, preparing meals in advance, etc. I believe my role as homemaker is to LOVE: to walk alongside people who are hurting or celebrating and share life with them.
My husband has blessed me this year by allowing me to work only part-time. In the meantime, I have gotten to live in rich community with some precious friends. I have gotten to partake in the gift of living life with people... it is a priceless gift that is invaluable.
Some women have jobs and I believe that you can still be focused on the home... but I pray that you think and be intentional about being a homemaker. What does it mean to steward your resources well? To love other people well? To welcome people in your home and serve them and let them live life with you? To love your children well even if you don't have any yet?
I am not sure what this means for me when it comes to a job. I have sought out jobs and one has not come up. If a teaching job doesn't happen, I know that my time will be spent loving people, preparing to love people, and choosing to intentionally live life with people... for this is my biblical role as homemaker.
So... for summer reading, I am preparing. I am preparing to love the children in my life now and my future children. I am going to read Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper... I want to celebrate all days in the year intentionally always pointing to God and rejoicing in Him by being grateful for what He has done for us. I believe that holidays and everyday will look differently after I read this book. The other two books I want to read are geared at raising children. One is called Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware. The goal of the book is to teach parents and those who know children how to share the greatness of God with children in a way that they will understand. We are encouraged in Deut. 6 to diligently teach our children to love the Lord and obey his commands... that His words shall be everywhere throughout the day... as you sit, rise, walk, and as you lie down. And the final book is called Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp... it is the sequel to Shepherding A Child's Heart (which I would highly recommend). Another book about how to raise up your children in a God-fearing, God-loving home.
I don't have children and don't know when I will but it is never too early to start preparing myself to be a great mother and wife. And... right now, I can practice sharing the gospel with children who are in my life that I love... I want them to know the Lord too!
At the end of my life, I will be pleased if I, like the Proverbs 31 woman, have my children rise and call me blessed and my husband also... not for my glory but for the Lord who deserves all the praise!