***I recently was presented this list of 14 Marks of a Wise Woman and I instantly felt overwhelmed. I want to be all these things! To glorify God by being wise and discerning. To honor God in my attitude, the way I speak, and how I react in difficult situations. In this series, I will be exploring each of these 14 Biblical virtues (please also see proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com, which is the source of this list), in order to find ways to apply these principles to my life in practical ways. I hope you will join me!***
If you’re just joining us, here are the previous virtues:
2. Is a Homemaker
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home,
kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled.
What does this mean?
First of all, before a bunch of working mom’s start firing angry words at me, let’s consider a few of the other translations for this verse, just to clarify:
NIV: to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
KJV: To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
ISV: to be sensible and pure, to manage their households, to be kind, and to submit themselves to their husbands. Otherwise, the word of God may be discredited.
So it doesn’t [necessarily] mean that a wife and mother must not work outside the home. I honestly have seen a lot of written debate about this. We have seen a cultural shift over the past 100 years. Certainly 50 years. So I’m going to stick with ‘faithfully work at home’ – because no matter what your vocation is, as a woman your home is still your responsibility! And it comes in as third most important, right after God and your husband.
How can I faithfully work at home as a Christian?
I do think it’s important to look at this idea of ‘keeper of the home’ and truly evaluate it for your family and seek God’s direction here. When The Hubs and I were discussing marriage (before we were engaged), we talked about our expectations. Both of us wanted me to be able to stay home if we had kids, which we also wanted. I am very fortunate to have caught the eye of a very wise gentleman, who had already been saving for an engagement ring and down payment on a house before he even started looking for a wife. Because he knew he would need it and he DID hope to find a wife. And who also chose a stable and well paying career knowing that he would be providing for a family someday. But I would hope (I can’t say for sure because we’re not in this situation), that if he made less money or even lost his job, we would just live differently. AKA, I don’t think I would be working even if he make a quarter of his current income. I think we would be living in an apartment, only have one car, never eat out, etc etc etc. Because that’s how important we feel it is for me to be home with our kid(s). We want to make sure we are instilled OUR values in our kids (which we strive to keep in line with God’s values), not the worlds or someone else’s view on things.
It’s not always easy. I personally didn’t think I could ever give up my hard earned career. In fact, I have passed on multiple job opportunities and offers (out of the blue) since The Hubs and I decided to have our son. It’s difficult to pass up really amazing opportunities that I know I would enjoy and thrive in. But again, we know that for us, this is what God has called us to. And honestly, that’s why I write this blog… it gives me something to do that’s for me. I’m a work-a-holic. I go CRAZY when I don’t have an impossible to-do list in front of me (and not just dishes, mowing the lawn, and playing peek-a-boo). I need goals and things to work towards, constantly. So I’ve found a way to do that while also being there 100% for my son.
I have a lot of respect for my mother-in-law in this area. When she had The Hubs and his younger sister, she quit her work as a teacher (she has a masters degree in special education) and chose to work retail at night, so that when the kids weren’t at school (or weren’t sleeping), she was there with them. She couldn’t afford not to work, but she make the work center around her more primary role - being a mom (third after 1. child of God and 2. wife). I believe that if put in a similar financial situation, The Hubs and I would do a similar thing.
AGAIN – this is what we have felt God is calling our family to. Please don’t feel that I am projecting this approach on you. My opinion doesn’t matter for you. Only God’s does. And only you can work that out with Him and through His Word.
And can I share an encouraging word to any ladies out there who are considering starting a family with their husbands or in the future when they find their husband and WANT to be at home to raise your children? You might not think you can give up the career you’ve worked so hard for, find your identity in, and get so much fulfillment out of. I didn’t think I could either. But I’m here to say that you can. If your deep desire is to set a firm foundation for your child, rooted in what is important to you and not others, it’s not a sacrifice to give up your career. I mean, yeah, it’s a sacrifice. But not really. The pro’s way outweigh the con’s.
How can I faithfully work at home as a wife?
Something I have gleaned recently from some of the women of my church (I can only pray God will choose to make me as wise as these women), is that it’s important to serve your husband in a way that is important to him. In other words, if he asks for A, but you give him B, it’s not really serving.
Here’s a scenario. I have a problem with wanting the house to be perfect when The Hubs gets home. I want the table ready and dinner simmering on the stove. I want it sparkling clean and nothing else to do so that we can spend time together doing whatever (I’m usually hoping it involves putting my feet up ;)). But that’s MY feelings. For The Hubs, he doesn’t care if it looks like a hurricane stopped by. He wants me to be in a good mood when he gets home and be ready to hear about his day. Yes, I need to keep up with laundry and making meals and all that. But to him, he doesn’t care if I’m so behind that he has to pick up the slack for ME when he gets home. He wants me to be happy to see him and to let go of any frustrations I have from the day. But, of course, this is my biggest struggle. Because in my head I want the house, and everything in it, to be perfect, I’m in a terrible mood most days when he gets home – because I didn’t get anywhere near perfect. There are dishes everywhere. The baby is screaming for who knows what. I’m practically still in my PJ’s. The list goes on.
So although I still fail (A LOT), my goals are to take time prior to when The Hubs gets home to just chill out a little bit. Instead of using those last 20 minutes to try and cram 100 more things in, I’m going to focus on my attitude instead. I’m still not sure what this looks like, but on days when I am just hanging out with our little guy and all the major tasks are done, I’m in a good mood. So maybe it’s accepting that some tasks didn’t get done, and that’s okay. Spend a few minutes just winding down before he gets home so that I can show him that I love him by my good mood and willingness to hear about his day.
Is this NOT your husband? We all have very different relationships, but the idea carries over. And don’t assume you know what your husband wants. Here is a novel idea – ASK him. I know that was new to me. I figured I knew best. And see where that got me? A little communication goes a long way here :)
How can I faithfully work at home as a mother & keeper of the home?
I like how this sections’ title is redundant this week. Well, not redundant… over-emphasized maybe? How appropriate :) I really don’t think we can overemphasize how important it is for us to be fully present in our roles (aka, not vacant or indifferent), no matter where we are. For instance, I struggle with balancing all the tasks I have on my list with just being there with my son, playing with him, giving affection, etc. I’m great at talking to him – since he can’t talk back I yack at him all day long ;) But I like the times that we sit together on the floor with a new toy or roll a ball back and forth to each other. I think he really needs these times. And I want to be sure that I continue to make time for the ‘smelling of roses’ with him. Because I wholeheartedly believe that there is no such thing as “quality time” with your child. Every moment is quality! So then, it’s quantity time that makes a real impact.
So there is that. But what about the house itself? I have struggled with perfectionism in this area. And usually under the guise of ‘I want people to feel welcome when they come over’, not ‘I want people to think I have it together and am not a mess’ (p.s. I’m a total mess). And honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a home that is welcoming. I think that is great! I still am working on achieving it! But if I spend all day (or the 30 minutes before the guests arrive) barking orders at my husband and just being a complete spaz than I’m doing my family a disservice. If I can manage to run around in hyperspeed those last few minutes WHILE maintaining a good attitude, than I think that’s fine. But if I’m being hurtful to the people around me in the process, I think it’s better to have a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. My guests will probably understand. They might have some dishes in their sink too…
So what do you think? Do you work at home or outside the home? Either way, what steps can you take to be more present and more purposeful as a homemaker?