Finding The Balance

personal discoveries

(You might like to read:
Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home?,
Part Two: Biblical Reasons For Being At Home,
Part Three: What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?)

scalesThe other aspect that I want to address is that of swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction and being totally focused on preparing for marriage that you lose touch with reality.  As I mentioned before, I totally believe that young ladies should spend time learning how to love their husbands and children and be keepers at home.  But I have heard people complain about girls who can only talk about their hope chests and what they want in a husband!  Some young ladies are so focused on marriage that they are not content with living their lives in the here and now.  This is not being a successful daughter at home!  As important as it is to prepare for marriage and motherhood, we must also be honest with ourselves and admit that some people are not created for that role.  Granted, these people are few and far between, but we have to be willing to lay down our hopes and dreams and goals, and be content that our heavenly Father knows what is best.

For some people, that means marriage at eighteen and a dozen children over a period of twenty years.  For others, that means not finding a spouse until upper twenties or even thirties or forties, and maybe not being able to have children at all.  And for a few people, that means never marrying at all.  If we are not completely surrendered to our heavenly Father’s will and plan, we will find it impossible to be content in our circumstances.

Several years ago, I was frightened by the idea that I might never get married!  I saw these wonderful young ladies who were unmarried and in their upper twenties, and I worried about how I would respond if that was YHWH’s will for me.  Then somehow my heart was changed, to the point that I can honestly say … as much as I would like to be married and have a family, I believe I could be joyful and content if that was not the Father’s plan for me.  And I want to encourage all young ladies to seek that place of contentment if you have not already found it.  I know that may be a scary thought, but we must realize that we serve a God who desires the very best for us and if we can whole-heartedly submit to His plan, we will find peace and joy and contentment.

So while I believe each young lady should practice and learn how to be a wife and mother, I also want to remind you not to view marriage as a cure-all or think that you’re really not living life to its fullest until you are married. We should be focused on serving and glorifying the heavenly Father each day of our lives … which brings me to the last aspect I would like to address.

woman-praying-with-bible-w350x2321 Corinthians 7:34 says “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.”  I think that sometimes we focus so much on the physical aspects of preparing for marriage and motherhood, that we forget about the spiritual aspects.  Learning how to change diapers, prepare meals and balance a checkbook are all good things to know, but the most important thing we can be doing with our unmarried years, is caring about the things of the Lord.  In looking back at the Titus 2 passage, we see that the young women were to learn to be discreet, chaste and good, in addition to loving their husbands and children and being homemakers.  But it seems that we often focus on the husbands, children and homemaking part, and forget about the characteristics that we are supposed to be learning and accomplishing!

An unmarried daughter has so many opportunities, whether that be ministry, or cottage industries, or learning new skills, or hobbies – there are so many things we can do with our time!  But I believe it is imperative that we focus on the opportunities to strengthen and develop our spiritual lives and learn to be holy both in body and spirit.  Again, this may look different for different people.  Some young ladies may devote their time and energies to memorizing large quantities of Scripture, while others may find their calling in intercessory prayer.  Still others may have opportunities to be the hands and feet of our Savior, ministering to those in need.  Each of us must seek the heavenly Father to know how He would have us serve Him.  In order for us to be successful as daughters at home, our focus must be in the right place … our number one goal must be to care about the things that are important to our Creator.  If we can accomplish that, then everything else will fall into place!

There are so many things that I have learned through this journey of Godly womanhood and I know that I have a lot more to learn, but I hope that what I have shared will be a blessing and encouragement to some of you.  In closing, I want to emphasize that when dedicate our lives to serving the heavenly Father and following His plans and purposes, we will experience His blessings in a wonderful way.

All throughout Scripture there is a recurring theme … when His people follow Him and obey Him, He pours out showers of blessings.  When they do not surrender their lives to Him, there are negative consequences.  YHWH makes a promise in His Word that He will honor those that honor Him.  That is such a beautiful promise and it is wonderful to know that we can trust Him to do just that.  Sure, honoring Him in our choices and decisions may not always be the easiest thing to do, but we know that in the difficult moments we can turn to our Savior who was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  And we also know, as it says in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

I have many favorite Bible verses, but there is one that is a constant inspiration and sums the way that I desire to live my life, and I would like to leave you with it.  Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

(You might like to read Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home? and Part Two: Biblical Reasons For Being At Home)

Many daughters feel the criticism from skeptics who wonder, “what do you do with yourself all day?”  Some people view stay-at-home daughters as prisoners and slaves to abusive, authoritative parents, while others view them as lazy, irresponsible and a financial drain on their families.  While I am sure there may be some girls out there that would fit either of these descriptions, my personal experience and those that I have observed in other families, has been much different!

There are several things that I have learned, and am still learning, that I believe are vital aspects of a unmarried daughter’s role and I would like to share some thoughts about these aspects in the hope that it will be helpful to someone else.

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

The first aspect is the incorrect perception of what it means to be a successful daughter at home.  I think we, as unmarried daughters, often feel the need to perform and prove ourselves … to show people that we can be just as successful at home as outside of it.  In talking with other young women, I believe there is a common misnomer among daughters at home that we have to be “doing something”.  There is a mindset out there that if you aren’t working in your father’s business, or running your own home business, or taking college courses at home, or blogging, or teaching a girl’s Bible study class, or helping young mothers, etc etc, the list could go on and on … if you only spend your days at home cooking, cleaning, running errands for your parents and taking care of younger siblings … then you’re not really being successful at home.

Personally, I have been blessed with many different opportunities and projects, including the magazine and running several home businesses.  These things keep me extremely busy.  And although I am grateful for these opportunities and I know the heavenly Father has given them to me, it is often difficult to find the proper balance between handling the responsibilities and devoting my time and energy to serving my family.  When we start focusing on other responsibilities and placing more importance on them rather than our families, we have lost the key to being successful daughters at home.  Sure, we may live in our father’s house and be under his authority, but if our projects get in the way of serving our families and learning the character traits described in Titus 2, we need to reevaluate our priorities.

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

I think one of the most amazing things about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she was not only an incredible entrepreneur and she ministered to the poor and needy, but she took care of her household as well.  That is pretty incredible!  I know from personal experience that it is difficult to keep family first when you have business and ministry opportunities.

There are times when I am trying to prepare a meal for the family and someone calls, wanting to buy one of our puppies.  Half an hour later I am still listening to them reminisce about the dog they had for fifteen years, or answering questions that have already been discussed on our website!  There are other times when I have magazine emails to respond to, or hours of work on design and layout, and my little sister wants to play a game or go walk in the woods.  Business phone calls and magazine emails are important, but my family is more important.  This is something I have to constantly remind myself of.

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

So my desire is to encourage young ladies … know that you do not have to perform and prove yourself in the eyes of the world!  While I am a proponent for running businesses from home and being involved in home-based ministries, I also know that the most important thing an unmarried daughter can focus on is serving her family.  If your whole day is centered around taking care of your family and you find joy and contentment in doing that, you are successful!

In a way, it’s similar to how people view stay-at-home moms.  Everyone commends women who can be successful wives and mothers and run a business or ministry.  But what about the mothers who spend their days changing diapers, wiping spills and rocking babies?  Their “ministry” is not as public, but it is still as worthy and commendable.  In the same way, if you are a young lady who doesn’t have opportunities for public ministry or entrepreneurial endeavors and feel like you are “only” serving your family, don’t be discouraged.  Your family is your mission field and your influence in their lives is just as important as anywhere else!

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

(stay tuned for the last post in the series – Part Four: Finding The Balance)

Biblical Reasons For Being At Home

personal discoveries

(You might like to read Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home?)

In looking for Biblical instruction about the unmarried daughter’s role, something that really got my attention were verses like Colossians 3:20, which says “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord,” and verse 18 of the same chapter which says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”

Obviously there is a principle here that a daughter who is a child is supposed to be in obedience and submission to her parents and a wife is supposed to be in obedience and submission to her husband.  So then does it make sense that a young lady who is no longer a child and not yet married, should be independent and submitted to no one?  According to Scripture, the answer is no.  In Numbers 30 we find that a father has spiritual authority over his unmarried daughter and can protect her from making a foolish vow or commitment, just as a husband has authority to protect his wife from doing the same.

We find several references to an unmarried daughter being in her father’s house in that same chapter, and in Leviticus 22, we also read that if a woman was divorced or widowed, she was to return to her father’s house as she was in her youth.  While these passages would seem to be a clear indication that an unmarried daughter remained in her father’s house, I think it is also important to look at the Scriptural examples that we have.  Here are some of the unmarried daughters that I discovered:

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  • Genesis 19; we find Lot’s daughters were in his house.
  •  Genesis 24; we find Rebekah serving her family and in so doing, she ended up serving the man who was to introduce her to her husband.
  • Genesis 29; we find Rachel caring for her father’s flocks.
  • Exodus 2; Zipporah and her sisters were also caring for their father’s flocks.
  • Judges 11; we find Jepthah’s daughter in his house.

I also found that the only Biblical examples we have of unmarried women living on their own, was Rahab in Jericho and the two harlots that brought the baby to King Solomon.  In saying that, I have to add the disclaimer that I am not accusing a woman who lives on her own of being a harlot!  Far from it!  But I do find it interesting that the only Scriptural examples of unmarried women who were not in their father’s homes were those of ungodly women.

But I think the most convincing passage is Titus 2:3-5, which says, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Everyone is familiar with these verses, they are probably quoted more often than any other verses relating to a woman’s Biblical role.  I always understood them to mean that the older women are to teach the young wives how to love their husbands and children and keep their homes, etc.  But a brief study of that passage will reveal that the word for “young women” simply means “young, youthful, or recently born” … it does not indicate wifehood at all.

Our family came to realize that these things the young women were to learn, are things that must be practiced.  They are not accomplished overnight.  How can we expect a woman to train herself for a career, to practice being independent and self-sufficient … and then suddenly she is married and must submit to her husband and be a keeper of her home?  Personally, I feel that this verse is referring to the unmarried young women.  They are the ones that should be learning to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good and obedient to their husbands … so that once they reach that stage of life, they will have the necessary training and practice for a smooth transition into the role of wife, mother and homemaker.

The exciting thing is – these are things that can be learned at home!  You won’t accomplish these traits by paying thousands of dollars of tuition for four years on a college campus.  And you can’t practice being a homemaker while working a regular, eight hour a day job.  But most young women are provided with the ideal circumstances for learning and practicing these aspects of Godly womanhood … and that is their homes and families.  What better way to learn to love and obey your future husband, than to treat your father in this way?  What better way is there to prepare to love your children, than to practice this with your own siblings?  What better place is there to learn how to take care of a home?  And think about all the things that you can learn and study, whether it be character traits, special skills, etc!

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This is why I am convinced that my place as an unmarried daughter is in my parents’ home, under their authority, serving my family.  It is the perfect training ground to prepare me for my own home and family one day.  Some people may think that I have a very narrow vision for the future, and in some ways, I do.  I believe that a woman should be a keeper at home, whether married or unmarried.  It is common to hear people say that you can be anything you want to be.  Just believe in yourself, dream big, and you can do whatever you want to do.  But this is not a Scriptural mindset.  Titus 2:5 says that the young women are to learn these things so that the word of God is not blasphemed.  I do not believe that it is pleasing to the heavenly Father when women do not fulfill the role for which He created them.  When we do not fulfill the roles for which we were created, we cannot expect positive results.

In saying all that, I must add that while I feel very strongly about what I believe to be right, I also know that there are many exceptions to the rule.  We live in an imperfect world and are surrounded by imperfect people and imperfect situations.  I know there are some girls who do not have fathers to provide for them, and there are other girls whose fathers want them to work or go to college.  I believe that each family and individual must decide how to walk out the convictions the heavenly Father has given them and it is not our place to judge whether they are doing it correctly or not.  This path is going to look different for each family, which brings me to the next topic I want to address … what does a daughter at home do?

(stay tuned for Part Three: What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?)

Why Would I Want To Leave Home?

Why Would I Want To Leave Home?

When my siblings and I were quite young, and even before we were born, my parents started studying the Scriptures for instruction on how to raise a family.  They made some decisions that went against what the world calls normal.  In some ways, we lived a very sheltered lifestyle, and by saying that I mean that my parents were very careful about the influences in our lives.  We met all sorts of people with all manner of theology, ideologies, worldviews, etc.  In fact, we were recently discussing some of the most unusual and odd characters that we had come in contact with over the years, and we had to laugh about the fact that some people think we are too sheltered or have not been exposed to people who are not just like us!

One of these decisions was that my mother would not work a regular job, but would be a keeper at home.  My mother has been “at home” since before I was born and as a young girl, I also decided to be a wife and mother and keeper at home one day.  It seemed so simple – it was what women were created to do!  My father always told people that my mother worked much harder than he did, even though she only worked at home!  He honored her (and still does!) for her devotion to her family’s welfare and as I grew up, I was convinced that being a homemaker was the best and most important thing a woman could possibly do.

When I was eight years old, we moved into a community of plain people.  These are what most of us would refer to as Amish or Mennonite, but our neighbors did not use those titles because they had left their Amish and Mennonite churches.  We were able to get some property there and my father built our home off grid.  We lived there for six years and it was a wonderful experience.

Why Would I Want To Leave Home?

Being in that community helped to form and shape the values that I grew up with.  We were surrounded by families … mainly large families.  The fathers worked, sometimes in the fields, sometimes in their shops, or on construction crews. The mothers took care of their homes and families.  It seemed a normal way of life and it made sense!  The children, for the most part, lived with their families until they were married.

We moved away from there when I was fourteen but as I entered my upper teens and neared the end of my homeschooling days, I never dreamed of leaving home and going out on my own.  It seemed like such a crazy idea!  In fact, I remember the night before I turned sixteen we were visiting with some friends.  The father of the family, who is a strong supporter of daughters staying at home with their families, heard that I was turning sixteen, and he said, “You have to move out now! Get your own apartment! Get a job! Be independent!”

And we all laughed because … it was laughable!  Maybe it was the influence of the people in the plain community, but I just could not understand how parents could send their sixteen year old … or eighteen year old … or twenty-one year old daughters off to face the world on their own, instead of letting them stay at home and be part of the family.  At that point in time, I really had not given much consideration to what I would do after graduating – I guess I assumed that I would continue on as a part of the family, and perhaps just have more time for some extra projects or studies.

Why Would I Want To Leave Home?

It was also right about then that I was going through a time period that I really wanted to be married.  That was kind of laughable too, seeing that I was barely sixteen!  But nevertheless, I was struggling with contentment.  I remember reading an Above Rubies magazine that was full of suggestions for ways that women could bless their husbands and children, and as much as I enjoyed reading all of the thoughts and ideas, I was really discouraged because none of them applied to me.  So I thought to myself how I wished there was a resource that could encourage unmarried young ladies – those who really wanted to be married and have their own families, but who were trying to wait patiently and be content in the meantime.

Why Would I Want To Leave Home?It was out of that desire, that the idea for Shining Stars Magazine was born and about one year later, we published our first issue.  During that year, I had begun to realize that my perceptions of what unmarried daughterhood was supposed to look like were very different than most people in our world.  I realized that once a girl graduated, she was expected to enroll in college, to move into her own place … even if she lived at home, she was supposed to get a job and start making some income.  I found that girls who just wanted to be wives and mommies and keepers at home were looked down on and condemned.  I learned that women were expected to prepare for a career, even if they did want to be homemakers, because they might have to provide for themselves one day.  If you didn’t get a college degree now before you got married, then what would happen if your husband died or was seriously injured or ran off with someone else?  How would you provide for yourself?

I found that the biggest struggle most young ladies were facing was not that of pining away for their Prince Charming, but rather trying to figure out what to do during this in-between time, after school and before marriage.  And I realized that I didn’t really know why I believed it was right to stay at home and serve my family, other than it just seemed like the best thing to do!  So I had to study and learn and be able to defend my actions with Scripture.  There were several resources that were very helpful to me, but what I want to share next are some of the things that I learned from the Bible about a young woman’s role and how these things convinced me of my duty and responsibility as a daughter of King.

(stay tuned for Part Two: Biblical Reasons For Being At Home)