“A woman’s place is in the home. She should go there right after work.” That is the mantra under which many modern women were raised, and under which many still live. This way of thinking is prevalent even in the church.
Yes, Scripture calls, even commands, the Christian woman to work. But, it is the home that is to be her primary sphere of influence, ministry, creativity, and hospitality. It is in the home that our talents and God-given gifts can be best and most fully utilized to bless our families, friends, and the culture at large.
There are a number of reasons or situations in which a wife and mother might find herself working outside of her home (whether temporarily, or indefinitely). This does not release her from the biblical calling to be a homemaker. While at work, she should do her job with integrity. But, the primary focus of her time and energy still must be within the realm of her home.
But, lest we begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, stay-at-home wives and moms are not off the hook. Just because we do not work outside the home does not always mean that we are working at home. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of laziness, or idleness at home – neglecting the very thing we have been called, and (by God’s grace, and our husband’s hard work) freed to do – in favor of the television, the newest best-selling novel, a hobby, or simple over-commitment to activities outside the house. Just because a stay-at-home mom stays (too) busy, does necessarily mean that she is a worker at home.
Proverbs 31:10-31 gives us a vivid picture of a creative, industrious, diligent, hard working woman who is valuable to, and trusted by her husband. She is praised for her work (by both her husband and her children). Far from being an unattainable illusion or an outdated stereotype, she is exactly the type of woman that we should strive to emulate!
Scripture is very clear when it calls women to be “keepers at home.”
Older women are called to be an example to the younger women, and “…so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” ~Titus 2:4-5
1 Timothy 5:14 further illuminates this command to work at home, when Paul says, “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.”
I am scared and saddened to think about the opportunities that our adversary (Satan) will have to revile (some translations read “blaspheme”) and slander the church because we have added to the confusion and compromise surrounding the priority of the home.
We often hear the words of Titus 2 quoted in the context of women’s ministry within the local church. And, while it should be applied there, that is only part of the equation.
I can think of no better theater for this older/younger woman dynamic to play out than in the real-life, day to day setting of the Christian home, and more specifically in the relationship between a mother and daughter.
Any mother will tell you that the years go by so fast. We need to be intentional about using the time we have to train our daughter to be feminine, gracious, pure, self-controlled, modest (in speech, behavior, and dress), and to love her family and home, and to be a skilled worker there.
Because, if we don’t, who will?
As their children grow up and leave home, more and more “older women” are joining the workforce, making them less available to share their wisdom and experience with the younger generation.
I know that some feel that raising a 5-year-old to be intent upon being a housewife when she grows up is somehow limiting her options, squelching her talent or creativity, or otherwise fostering unrealistic expectations of life.
What if she never gets married? What if her husband passes away, or leaves? What if she just wants to work?
I do not know exactly what God has in store for her life, or how He will choose to use her in the future. But, I do know that I can trust Him to answer each of those questions in His Word: 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 1 Timothy 5:3-16, and Titus 2:3-5.
As mothers (and perhaps mothers-to-be), we must look beyond the here and now. We must think biblically and multi-generationally about the implications of our choices.
Ladies, we are training the next generation’s “older women”!
And, if we start now, when our daughters are young, to cultivate a heart and love for their families, and to instill a biblical passion and vision for the priority of the home…
Just imagine how many “older women” there will be for, not just our daughters, but for our granddaughters to learn from!
By Veronica, A Quiet Heart