Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oh,Caroline Ingalls

I think I finally realized, a few weeks ago, why being a "stay at home wife" has been SO difficult for me these last 10 months. Its because I've been operating out of a secular worldview. A worldview that has been infiltrated with Feminism. A worldview that says to me, working & a career take first priority and family is second or last priority. I've believed this lie without even knowing it. That's why I've never thought about staying home before, until I got married and Neil wanted me to. I would not say I was some "hyper career" woman that was wanting to be this huge success. I didn't want to be a CEO or break some 'glass ceiling', I just figured I would work because "that's what 'normal' people do." That's what my mom did, so why wouldn't I do that? To me, staying at home was an option for the wealthy, not a choice for the average family.

Besides, what would I "do"? Well, I've spent my whole marriage, all 1o months, asking this question to anyone who would listen. "What do I do with this 'stay at home' stuff?" "How did this happen?" "What does it mean to be a godly woman and wife?" "Does it mean that I have to become Caroline Ingalls' of Little House on the Prairie? I mean, I like Caroline Ingalls, but I don't really want to be her (but I think Neil would look very attractive in the clothes Charles Ingalls wore).

Does being a 'stay at home wife' mean I've got to grow my own garden, grind my own wheat, sew my own clothes, cook organically, scrapbook, or coupon? What if I don't want to do some of those things? Is it not godly to work? Is it only godly to stay home? (please say no!)"
Yes, I really asked about Caroline Ingalls . And No, godliness has nothing to do with working or staying at home, but everything to do with your heart and your priorities. My heart was still operating out of a secular worldview that had been deeply effected by Feminism. I valued working over family, but I wouldn't have ever said that out loud. I didn't know I believed these things until working wasn't an option anymore, at least for now. I thought being a stressed out wife was normal. And I think that is normal, for some people-whether by choice or circumstance. I did not realize that I hadn't been viewing my role as a wife in a Biblical way until the end of March. I attended a women's conference in Chattanooga with one of my bfs, Lacy. I was really going to spend time with Lacy and wasn't looking forward to hearing them talk about "Biblical Womanhood" (if they were just going to talk about 'taking care of the home' the whole time.) But they didn't! I mean, they did talk about Biblical Womanhood and they taught from Genesis and Titus 2 but it was so freeing for me because I realized that God had been answering my question of "what do I do?" the whole time.

God has created Neil as a male. God has created me as a female. God has created our gender roles. He said males are to lead and females are to help men lead and that involves submission. God has also created marriage where these roles of leading and helping are magnified and displayed the most. In Titus 2:3-5, God also says that I am to 'love my husband and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to my husband, so that no one will malign the word of God.' So, what I should be doing is these things- love Neil, pursue growing in self-control and purity, be busy at home, kind, and submit to Neil so that God's word can be advanced.

Being a godly wife isn't about if I work or not, if I sew, grind my own wheat, eat and cook organically, have a garden, scrapbook, or coupon but about obedience to God. God in his word as told me to submit to Neil's leadership and that family is a godly priority. Neil has led me to stay home because he sees it has best for our family. I have close friends who are married and work full time (and aren't always stressed out). Their husbands have led them to work and it helps them keep their families as first priority. I really respect them and other women that are able to both work and keep their families as first priority. Women could 'stay at home' and their families would still not be first priority. Their hobbies or their time could take priority above their family and that isn't pleasing to God.

Feminism has made the argument about whether a woman works or not, God has not made that argument. The Proverbs 31 woman worked with eager hands, she bought a field, sold things in the market, opened her arms and hand to the poor and needy, and watched over her household.
All these things were to the glory of God because her first priority in all of it was her family. Feminism has said that God and the Bible are close minded and keeping women 'boxed' in. But Feminism has really 'boxed' women in to finding their significance and identity in a career. God's word and design for a woman is SO freeing to the believer because it doesn't 'box' you in.

I have friends that coupon, scrapbook, and have gardens. I am learning to sew and I try to cook healthy, not necessarily organic, just healthy. None of these things give my friends or me approval before God, but we do them because they help our families and/or we enjoy them. I don't coupon because it wouldn't really save my family money in this stage of our lives. I don't scrapbook because it stresses me out and I don't have a garden because we currently live in an apartment. I might start a garden when we move to our house, if Neil supports it and it helps our family...

Its about what has first priority in my life. Does loving God by serving my family take first priority or does loving myself by pursuing my own agenda (career, hobby, or selfish gain) take first priority? Loving God and serving my family could one day mean that I have a job outside of my home, but it doesn't look that way right now. I can't work and view my family as my first priority. Right now, I'm a stay at home wife and this is where God has me.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, though I don't usually make declarations like this, my heart is saying loudly as I'm reading: Amen!!!

    Adding 20 activities or hobbies to your week still doesn't mean you're helping serve your family. You can be a full-time stay-at-home wife and STILL serve yourself, selfishly indulge your dreams, and further your agenda, while not truly being a Biblical "helper." (I struggle with that--being self-serving!)

    I love that your brought it back to a woman's heart & worldview. What determines the way you spend your time? What are your motives for the hobbies/skills/etc you choose to do or not do? (Not that I think it's bad to have a hobby that you also love--like me and minibooks!)

    God calls each of us to "advance God's word" through being the helper he made ME to be, which doesn't look the same as another woman.

    Such an encouraging post!! Thanks for sharing! I will be chewing on this a while.

    Love you.