Difficult circumstances led me to look at the article I wrote in 2009 for SSM (Vol2, No2).
I had shared the experiences God used to “bring me home” from pursuing a career as a young woman five years ago. It was not a difficult decision, only because of the fact that I knew and believed I was doing what was right in the sight of a loving Father. It was a struggle though, in the sense of making all the changes it required. I praise God for His hand in my life, stirring up my heart the way He did.
Today, I find myself reflecting upon my choice, all that has passed since and how it has impacted my life.
First, let me start with how much has passed since then. We moved to a small property in Vermont to farm as a family. A year and a half later, my older sister married and moved away. My brother built a woodworking shop and has established a wooden bowl business in one of our barns. Late last year, my father retired from a full-time job and now works part-time from home. Shortly after we moved to begin to live out the new-found convictions of family life in the Lord, my mother discovered she had cancer. She chose to forgo traditional treatment and continued to live a “normal” life as long as she could. Looking at her working alongside the rest of us to get the farm going, no one could tell she was ill. She diligently and lovingly put her all into serving the Lord in our new venture.
If I had walked down the path I originally planned for myself, I would be a full-time elementary school teacher instead of working in and from the home. I thank God for the past few years I enjoyed by her side, learning from her and assisting her. When people who knew my mom read Proverbs 31, they tell us they think of her. She lived so purposefully and tirelessly in the home for the benefit of her family and ecclesia (local church body). As she began to be more home-bound and then bedridden, I had to fully take over her responsibilities as a homemaker as well as keep up with my own gardening and animal care. How many times I praised God for preparing me for this role, slowly learning how to manage a house and care for my family. As I think back on all God has taught me since I began being a woman whose life centered around home life, I realize how much I have grown in both spiritual and practical things.
If I had chosen an individualistic and self-centered lifestyle or even let any activity outside the home absorb my time and focus, I would not have been prepared for the difficult tasks that were ahead. In humility, I pray to continue to learn and apply what God teaches me regarding my role as a woman. Whether I get married one day or not, it is my aspiration to be under the guidance and protection of a Godly man the rest of my days. The whole point of my life is to learn to manifest the character of Yahweh. To grow in love, the fruit of the Spirit and in the outworking of my faith by works of service is why I am here on earth. I earnestly desire to become part of the Bride of Christ, made up of the faithful of all ages to serve God eternally with the Lord Jesus. Anything that distracts me from this I try to set aside.
As God unveiled to me the precious doctrine of His purpose with mankind, I realized the role of women is different than men in a beautiful and special way. It is nothing to be ashamed of or something to escape, but a principle to accept willingly and embrace. It makes women no less special in God’s sight. Spiritually, we are equal (Galatians 3:28). In the outworking of our daily lives, our purposes are different. Since Adam and Eve, the roles of men and women were distinguished.
Man, under Christ, is called to be the leader (I Corinthians 11:3) and woman the responder (Col. 3:18). Man to provide the living (Genesis 3:19), woman to do things with that living (Proverbs 31). Man to initiate, woman to encourage. The world mocks these roles, despises them and tries to “correct” them. There are no blessings from God when we turn His principles upside down. Of course, He does not guarantee a smooth path for those who go against society’s standards, but He will supply our every need to do His will.
God does try the hearts of those He loves. The trials for me since coming home have been many. He has tested me and continues to shape me into the image of His Son. Witnessing my mother’s pain, suffering and discomfort was the most difficult time of my life thus far. God taught me much through my mother’s example. As she suffered, she did not complain, instead she did everything she could for others. She still cared about others needs above her own! It was amazing to witness such faith and love. Also, as I watched my father tenderly take care of my mother, it caused me to respect him all the more.
We grew closer as a small family unit as we went through our shared trials.
God increased our faith in the promise of resurrection and life eternal.
If I had been anywhere else, I would have missed these opportunities for growth and love. The world at large tells us both subtly and blatantly that we need to be ourselves.
We need to “find” ourselves.
We need to do what we are passionate about (as far as career choices). God in His infinite wisdom tells us that women need to be under male authority (father or husband). We need to learn Christ’s meekness. We are commanded to live righteously and soberly as a light in this dark world.
God gave us Christ as our example of how to live — he humbled himself as a servant to those around him. To set aside worldly ambitions and forsake all selfish avenues of life is the only way to develop the characteristics of God’s love.
Praise to God for providing us women with the best environment for refining our character, at home with our family.