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Homeward Bound

There has been much discussion over at my personal blog (Spunky Jr) about the "Let's Talk" post here at Beauty from the Heart. One commentor, Wild Child, has posted an interesting article titled "Can Femininity Become An Idol?" which I would like to examine.

The title of Wild Child's post is really what caught my eye. He/she says (emphasis added),

"What happens when these young women, who are so obviously brainwashed by each other, (check some of their blogs, they uphold each others right to ignorance and the use of mops...(fearlessly feminine, spunkyjunior, feminine beauty, and unconformed) really do grow up and become adults? In Christian churches where the single male ratio is 1 man to 5 single women, what in the world are they going to do with themselves if they never marry? They take a stand saying that they will stay at home and serve their fathers. What if their fathers die? What if they have no
means to support themselves?...

Of course I think it's normal and healthy for young women to dream about husbands and families and that includes taking care of a home, but there is also each person's calling that the Lord gives us and my experience is that to live an abundant life we need to be submitted to Christ and find out where He is calling us to serve in the body of Christ. I don't think that adolescent fear of the future should be a cover for young women who are called as Christ's disciples to grow like Him, make more disciples and tell the world who Christ is and what He did for them! I also am afraid they are focusing on being feminine to the point that they are making it an idol in their lives. I truly believe if young Christian women today want to make an impact for Christ in the world tomorrow, they need to be submitted to Christ, educated, focused, disciplined, and ready to serve Christ and heed whatever calling He gives them . Motherhood is not an end to a girl's character. It is just one aspect of a woman's personality. I pray that these young women will wake up and become real adult voices for Christian women around the world."

First of all, Wild Child is correct that femininity can become an idol, as can anything else. Exodus 20:4 says,

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."
This applies to everything in our lives that takes our attention away from Him. However, I do not see a woman's femininity as something contrary to Scripture; I see it as an affirmation of her focus on God by wanting to be the person God has made her to be.

Secondly, I agree that if women today want to make an impact for Christ they need to be "submitted to Christ" and must be "ready to serve Him in whatever calling He gives them"; but there are two sides to this coin. Godly women must be ready to serve God wherever He calls them, and that includes inside as well as outside of the home. If He wills that I become a mother and burp babies and clean the house then by all means, then I should obey. Raising children for God is an honor, and I am more than willing to do it. Many people have brought up the argument that I'm just "wasting my life" and "I don't really want that life" or that "I'm just throwing away my life for children." These arguments are self-centered and untrue. Again, raising children for God is an honor.

I would also like to make it clear that I am not against women receiving a higher education. Yes, I believe that the Bible directly points to women to serve their families at home, yet this does not mean that there is a Biblical mandate women must remain at home all the time or that we cannot serve outside the home. In Proverbs 31 "ideal wife" keeps the home and is also industrious outside of it.

Proverbs 31:13-19,27 says:

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

For this reason, I believe that it is fine for a woman to attend college, and I am planning on attending college myself. However, I do not believe it is always necessary for a woman to attend college in order to fulfill God's calling for her life....

Any thoughts?


by Hannah and Kristin

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"For this reason, I believe that it is fine for a woman to attend college, and I am planning on attending college myself. However, I do not believe it is necessary for a women to attend college in order to fulfill God's calling for her life."

I agree with you 100%, Kristin! Yeah, I think it's good for young women to get a higher education; Proverbs does applaud that. Is it absolutely life-threatening if you DON'T get a college degree. Uh, no...Is it absolutely imperative that you become a stay-at-home mom? Again, no. It's what God has in plan for most women, but not all.

Kristin, I'm hoping to get a college education too, but I am waiting on God to show me what He's going to do with my life. I do want a career at the moment, but if God wants me to get married, than I'll get married! It's in God's hands, not mine!

Great post!

I think the real issue is that the secular culture scorns the traditional role of women. I believe that is why websites like this one are important--to remind young women that God did call them to be mothers. However, that is not to say that all women are called to be married and have babies, but rather that doing so is honorable and a Godly calling.

This site especially emphasizes how young women can be beautiful on the inside. This is a worthy concept for any person, including young men. Being beautiful on the inside, or striving to do so, is not idolizing femininity.

I think Wild Child does have a point when she says, "Motherhood is not an end to a girl's character." She's right. The real fault would be to turn womanhood into a legalist idea that believes that women can be mothers and nothing else. Other callings can be honoring to God!

Thanks for replying to to Wild Child's post in such a calm, humble, and thoughtful manner. I think that the unfortunate aspect of her post was the assumption that those who choose to stay at home and pursue things there instead of pursuing them outside the home, are ignorant and brainwashed and are making idols out of the home. This is quite an assumption on the author's part.
I think this assumption is based on not knowing all one can do at home! I, myself, did got to college for a year before I got married. But I do not feel that college was this incredible learning experience for me. I definitely did learn there, but I have also learned so much in my own studies at home. In fact, my source of income was piano teaching and that was learned entirely at home in my practice and at my lessons with my teacher. quote
"I truly believe if young Christian women today want to make an impact for Christ in the world tomorrow, they need to be submitted to Christ, educated, focused, disciplined, and ready to serve Christ and heed whatever calling He gives them"
Once again, I think that the author is not realizing that one can be submitted to Christ, educated, focused, disciplined and ready to serve Christ and follow Him AND stay at home!!! It is a sign of our culture to think that there is only one way to become "successful" and smart. I believe that those who have choosen to embrace their femininity and those who have choosen to stay at home do so because they believe that it God's will for their lives. Not because they have somehow made an idol of homelife by not going to college or working outside the home. Many of these girls would have loved to do the norm, but felt that God was calling them to something different.
Once again, thank you for bringing balance to what she said. : ) It is so sad to see these young ladies so misunderstood.

Hey, there were a couple of points raised that I wondered if you could expand on a little for me. First of all, Wild Child raised the point that unless the ratio of single men:single woman within the church changes drastially, more of us will end up unmarried (or married to non-christians, a whole other discussion) than married to christian men. I don't see how staying at home can possibly be a viable option for the majority of these woman because with many people having only a small extended family, they may well not actually be all that useful at home, and especially if their family is not Christian they are more likely to give "an appearance of evil" (lazyness) by not studying or earning. Surely there must be women out there whom God is calling to a career and this would not be and could not be at the expense of their femininity?

The other point was that you said "I do not believe it is necessary for a women to attend college in order to fulfill God's calling for her life". Can I just clarify if you mean that you don't believe it's EVER necessary or you don't believe it's ALWAYS necessary? And what about men? My personal feeling would be that there are some men and some women that God would call to college in order to fulfil His plan for their lives and some men and women that God would not call to college to fulfil His plan for their lives.

Having said that, it's always nice to read your blog! God bless

This is what I'm trying to point out....There are many options for Christians and to hold up one kind of "way" or "stereotype" of feminity is bordering or heading quickly into making it an idol. I have written another post expanding my position on this at my blog if anyone's interested....www.nomindhasimagined.blogspot.com

excellent and thought provoking post! I really like this. I promptly linked to you on my blog when I read this! I recently wrote about pretty much the same thing, but you put it into perspective a whole lot better than I did :o)! I've found there are definitely two ditches in the area of femininity! Thanks for the thoughts. It's helpful to me, and very encouraging! God bless you!

Incredibe site! thanks for taking time to publish worthwhile posts! This topic of feminity is definitly an important one, when the world around us is captilizing women's "freedoms" when at the very most by "giving" us these "rights" they are taking away our purpose that we were created for! I agree that a higher education is worthwhile, only according to God's will for that individual! I have a keen interest in nursing, but I would drop it in a heart beat, to serve a husband as a help meet. As far as serving fathers... I think its a beautiful service... I think we can ALL serve our fathers more than we do, whether in the home or not. Most importantly that we remain under His authority till given in marriage. May Wild Child know, we are not in bondage! we are joyful individuals seeking God's will! Motherhood is definitly not the end to a girl's character...it is the blossom of that character!

As Kristin and I discussed this post, I know her intention was not to proclaim motherhood as the only calling worth having, but to defend it as something noble. I think she did this rather well.
Thank you, Kimi, for your comment. You made a good point that many of those who choose to be mothers are not so because they are somehow incompetent to work in the "real world" but because that is where God has called them to be.
Rebekah,
You posed an interesting question from Wild Child's blog that would be impossible for me to answer completely, as different people's situations are different, etc. It may be better for one unmarried woman to serve her family at home while another unmarried woman may be led to get a job. God calls us to different things.
However, as far as the "Christian men/women ratio," I do know for a fact that if God decides that He wants someone to get married, He will provide the husband. If we have prayed about and feel that God is preparing us for marriage someday then we should not worry about how He'll provide--no matter how dismal the statistics may be. :-)
As far as "losing" our femininity when leaving the home goes, I'd really like to quote Carolyn McCulley on this. If you haven't read her blog, I suggest you do as she has some very good insight on all of this. Her blog is http://solofemininity.blogs.com
She wrote that, "We are called to homemaking because the home is one of God's tools to advance the Gospel. When you have a family of your own, you are investing more immediately in the marriage relationship that
showcases the Gospel and in your children, which is rearing the next generation for the glory of God. But if you aren't married, you can still advance Kingdom purposes through hospitality to others and
sharing the gospel in your home. It's not so much STAYING at home as it is cultivating a LOVE for the home, even if you can't be there as much as you would want to. As single women, when we prepare to be as well-rounded as we can in our femininity, we are expressing humility by not presuming on our futures--one way or another."

I'd like to say more but I've gotta run.....
God bless!

One of the goals of my life is to marry a Godly man so that we can be, "heirs of the grace" together, so that I can be his helpmeet in caarying out God's vision for his life, and raising children as, "arrows in the hand of a mighty man."

However, before that I am to serve my father and while under that authority there are many things to do besides cleaning house.
I hope to go to a local college and pursue a degree in Piano Perforemance, and a degree in Christian Education from a Distance-Learning program. I would like to teach/tutor in a Christian school, travel to Europe, go on several short term missions programs, teach piano, tutor, I have so many ideas for after High-school, I know I won't do them all.

I am also willing to another calling besides that of being a wife and mother, however we should not lessen that calling, and many, many, of us will be called to that.

Thank you tremendously for this blog so that like-minded young ladies can read and comment on posts such as these.

God bless you, and give you peace all your days!

this is an incredible post - and how true it is! most people seem to either swing to one extreme or the other - either women need an education and be able to live on their own (be independent) OR to sit back and wait on husbands while twidling your thumbs. i think you have stuck an important chord - balance.

i am a homeschool graduate as of june of last year, but i haven't left home, as is popular among many of my friends. i chose to stay home under my parents, to learn what i can from them, while deciding where to go from here. i'm not saying that's what everyone should do, but merely what i decided.

i am not necessarily looking for a "career" but rather work which can be incorporated into a future family - not something that will take me away but rather pull my future family closer together. i hope to one day work alongside my future spouse, so i can be a support and help to him. i do want to be skilled so it's there if we ever needed it, but not to be a primary source of income unless something happened and it had to be that way (which, i pray never happens).

well, all of that to say excellent post!

One thing that gets to me about critics of the view that women should primarily concern themselves with serving their fathers or husbands, and not with careers, is that they seem hung up on the idea that if you don't have a college degree you won't be able to support yourself. Like several people who have posted here, I don't think there is anything wrong with pursuing college. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Journalism, and I can see many benefits I gained from doing this. However, it is of limited value in gaining the sort of employment I want (part time, not too stressful). If I choose to add a Diploma of Education to it, I could gain more use from it. I am currently working as a Teacher's Aide, which I could have done without a degree. Lots of people work in jobs that do not require degrees, and earn enough money to live on. If a woman believes her primary calling is not to a career outside the home, and so she chooses to put her energy into gaining skills that will be more useful to her, she need not fear that missing out on college will mean she can never support herself. If the worst case scenario critis like to raise ever does happen, she can get a job that does not require college - lots of people with degrees end up doing that anyway!

If we look at the Proverbs woman we find a woman who took care of her home, her relationships, and her passions in ministry and life. She was a diverse woman, intelligent and respected. As an author, a speaker, and blessed to be a mother and wife, there are many ways that you can love your family and pursue your calling both as a person and as a mom. Good discussion! I hope that all women will be life-long learners, no matter what or where God is calling you.

I think that there is nothing wrong with a girl wanting to be a wife and mother, it's a noble calling. However, I do agree that our hopes can become idols in our lives. This particlular struggle is one I have daily.
In the end, I believe that it comes down to a matter of Faith and Trust in God. He holds all of time in His hands and He is good. Yet, when He says "no" I am faced with a decision. Will I reliquish my faith because I can't trust God to do what I think He should be doing or seeing that He is Good and Faithful(even to one who hated Him for years) will I trust that He knows best and sacrifice my hopes for whatever it is that He has called me to.

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