Monday, June 28, 2010

Women - To work or not to work?

Recently, the Atlantic published an article called "The End of Men." Probably a feminist's dream. As a former hard-core, bring-home-the-bacon Tiger Lady, culturally it should make me happy to know that I can exist and have it all - without a man.

That's not a news flash. I've been married for 8 years, I've thought that quite a number of times.

(No disrespect to my husband, he knows. When we saw "Date Night," and Tina Fey's character's describes her idea of a dream date being one with just herself - Dave looked at me and asked "Is that what you wish for too?" I smiled and said "Yes Dear." Many moms out there know how I feel - I am sure of it!)

I am a hybrid stay-at-home Mom now. I've been out of the corporate world, for over 2 years now. God presented an opportunity for me to continue working, through a new career as a writer. Granted, 90% of the time, I am a stay at home Mom and I'm good with that. It's why I left work - to minister to my family. I love it and I would not change it, but God had, not other, but additional plans for me.

Do I believe in Biblical models? Yes. Do I believe there is one Biblical model that points exactly to the fact that all women should be at home? If you can show it to me, I would appreciate it.

When I read the Bible, I see God working through the specific details of someone's life. I do not see Him ever say "Well, you don't fit the model so I'm not going to bless you."

Did the Apostles Paul & Peter present his opinions as to a Biblical model with the wife at home? Yes. They are valid and still quite relevant.

However, mostly the debate about a Biblical model for families stems from the Church - for better or worse. It is a cultural - perhaps even American/European - idea that the perfect Godly family has a provider as a father, and a help-meet keeping the home fires burning. Both are required to raise their children and both are required to be stewards of all the resources provided to them.

And since this is my blog - I get to post an opinion.

I've lived in both worlds and for me - it is far easier to be the Godly wife I am called to be when my focus is 100% on my family. Do I have other things to give? Sure and God has graciously provided me a way to explore them.

When I was a working mother, the corporate, fleshly world was too tempting to got wacky in too many ways. I am more respectful and honoring to my husband now, then I was back then. I have a much easier time treating him as the head of our house when he is the only provider. I had moments of brilliance at this when I was working but it took a long time and a lot of struggle on my part to be that way while I was working.

Do I think my path needs to be the same for all women? Not hardly.

For me, what I really believe Paul & Peter were more concerned about was not how a family looks from the outside but where their hearts are pointed. If a woman is following The Lord, working to glorify and honor Him, her husband and her family in all she does- and has a job outside the home - there is nothing wrong with that. I know plenty of stay at home Moms who do not approach their lives that way. Again - it is a heart position.

The real question should not be what your family looks like compared to others but what does your family value. Not who goes to work and who stays at home, but what are your priorities?

It is a privilege and blessing that I am staying home. One I can only attribute to the grace of God. But I believe He has that same grace for my two dear friends who work and are facing this question. I believe He has a plan for them and if that involves continuing to work or not - I have to leave it up to Him to work all that out.

Lastly, I point to the Proverbs 31 woman, who was not only a ruby in her husband's crown, called blessed by her children, the ultimate steward and minister to all she came in contact with - she was also an excellent business woman. She ran multiple businesses, including investments, merchandise and real-estate.

She is our archetype as Godly women. So when we are faced (by our friends, churches or anyone else) with the question of what is the Biblical model for families - let us go to God and ask His opinion first. He is a God of details so He, no doubt, will work those out in the best way for us.

And we will never go wrong in His Hands and on His path.

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