Wednesday, October 28, 2009
She stayed at home. She helped cook, clean, and care for her siblings. She served her family in every way. She ministered to her neighbors and to members of her church. She worked from home, but everything took second place to her home duties. Her parents were a part of all she did, and she daily placed her life under her father's authority.
That is the picture I used to have of what every stay-at-home daughter was supposed to look like. But I had a dilemma. My family did not have a church, we had very few neighbors in our rural neighborhood, and we had no home based family business. I struggled to serve my family joyfully each day, and was doing better all the time (I think), but since I was about ready to graduate from high school and would soon have more time on my hands then I would know how to fill, I began to worry. How was I ever going to fill my days once I had finished school?
I fought the idea of getting a job for a long time, because stay-at-home daughters just did not do that. But without a job I could not afford a vehicle of my own and without a vehicle my out-reach would be very limited. And if I did not find a way to help others, I would never be able to profitably fill my days and still remain the perfect stay-at-home daughter.
After much prayer and heart searching I applied at several businesses in the nearest small town and soon had a job. I went to work five days a week, yet my heart was not in it. I felt guilty for not staying at home and helping my mom around the house. I felt bad, that I did not get to spend much time with my siblings, and I felt bad because I did not even have time to reach out to others. All my time was spent working.
Over time I have come to believe whole-heartedly that being a stay-at-home daughter does not mean that you cannot have a job outside the home. For some girls there is no other choice. Some fathers are not willing for their grown daughters to remain at home and not have at least a small income that can cover her basic needs, such as clothing, and there are girls like me who have no ideas for starting their own home based business, and do not have a family business to work for, but need a job none-the-less.
I plan to go to college in the next year. I would love to be able to get my degree at home, but after researching my chosen degree have decided that the best course is for me to leave home for a few years and pursue my degree. Thankfully I will not be alone, but will be, God willing, going with my brother for a short two years. After I have finished my degree I hope to move back home and start my own business. Since I plan to pursue higher education I needed a way to pay for my classes. That has made it necessary for me to work four to five days a week. I have been carefully laying aside my wages so that I will be able to make my way through college debt free (which is a must). So, while I am gone from home a lot, and do not fit the "normal" picture of what a stay-at-home daughter is supposed to be, I am still living at home, and I still spend as much time as I can with my family, and seek my parents advice (though probably not as often as I should). I am still working on the part about helping around the house and balancing my work, but the way I see it, I am still very much a stay-at-home daughter. It just so happens that the picture my life paints is different from those others have painted, and I cannot see it as bad, or wrong, just different. There is nothing wrong with different is there?
Some days I still struggle because I do not measure up to the picture of the perfect stay-at-home daughter that many people push forward. But I have come to realize, that being a stay-at-home daughter is about the heart. If your heart remains at home, and if you strive to serve your family in every way possible, whether you remain at home or take a job elsewhere, you can still be a stay-at-home daughter.
For those who have a way to stay at home, be industrious, and supplement the family income, they surely have been blessed. But for those who have need to work outside the home, surely they are no less blessed just because they must paint a different picture then others are used to seeing on what a stay-at-home daughter is. Surly their unique picture will be no less beautiful for the difference in style. Artists each have their own styles and techniques, but that does not mean their works cannot be equally beautiful. So it is with stay-at-home daughters. Just because we cannot all go about life in the same manner does not mean that one way is better then the other. Or that one way is more right then the other. This means that a girl who must work outside of her home should not feel guilty for not measuring up to the ideal many people have drawn.
As I said before, I believe that the safest place and the best place for a young woman is in her fathers house until the day that she should marry, but you can stay at home and be under your father's authority, and still work outside the home. Maybe, it would be better if all daughters could work for their fathers and never have to get a job outside the home, that I do not know. All I know, is that for me and others, this is not possible, and that taking a job outside the home makes me no less worthy to claim the title stay-at-home daughter, as long as my heart remains true to the home. I do not believe that careers are good or healthy for women for reasons stated in Part 1, but women can work outside of their homes and not be career minded, but instead be home minded.
I work outside the home, but my heart remains at home. I am working now while I am single developing skills so that when, and if, I should marry, I can work from home and supplement my husband's income as the Proverbs 31 woman did, without shirking my home duties. I do not wish for a career. I want to be a home keeper, but having a skill that can be useful in serving others, is not a bad thing, as long as it does not get in the way of my homely duties.
One way is not better then the other. No one way is somehow more right then the other. This is a case that must be prayed about, and approached with a certain amount of caution. If you know that taking a job outside the home is going to make you less content to stay at home, then maybe you need to look harder to find ways to keep yourself at home. If you know that no matter what you do, or where you go, your heart will always remain at home, then if it seems wise, or is necessary, it may be right for you to take a job outside of the home.
If you are a married woman, and a mother, well that is another story. But that, my friends, is a topic for another day...
Monday, October 26, 2009
"Beep, beep, beep." I rolled over and inwardly moaned. I was so cozy I did not want to get up yet. I lay still with my eyes closed and listened as my sister got up and dressed and left the room to go start breakfast. I dozed for a little longer before forcing my eyes open. I decide to read a little fiction, always a sure way to wake me up, before reading my Bible, because I wanted to be alert for my time with God.
Today I did not have to go to work, and after feeling extra tired from the last few days, I allowed myself the pleasure of sleeping in a little. Normally I am up by seven and within minutes am settled at the dinning room table reading my Bible in the quite before all my siblings are up and moving. Since I got up later this morning (7:45) and everyone else was already getting up, I sat snuggly covered in my bed and opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 15, my chapter for today. Some days I read more, but this morning one chapter was enough to ponder on and I quickly found my golden nugget for the day. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
"How often I give up, or am at least tempted to give up, because all I do seems to be in vain. I think that because no person sees, why should I bother. I forget God sees all and His thoughts about what I do are the only ones that truly matter."
After I finished writing (the above) my thoughts in my Bible study/prayer journal, I skimmed through a new book that I picked up at a thrift store the other day so that I could decide if I wanted to read it after I finished my currant "good read" by Charles (Chuck) Swindoll. I haven't decided yet. I think I might try Lee Strobel's The Case For Christ instead. I have sorely neglected cultivating my non-fiction muscles, and have found that reading fiction (unless it is the classics) takes a lot less brain power, and that my brain is a little soft, thus my plan to read at least a little non-fiction everyday if I can.
After I finished my morning time up with a short prayer time, I jumped out of bed quickly and shivered a bit as I hurriedly got dressed. Then it was breakfast time. Warm Corny Banana Oat Muffins. Yum, there is nothing better on a cool fall morning! Thank you sister for cooking such a wonderful breakfast.
After breakfast I worked on downloading some music onto my computer and getting it all organized. After that I check my e-mail and caught up with some of my favorite blogs, and spent too much time on the Internet before taking a break for lunch.
Lunch consisted of a peanut butter sandwich. Even after all the years I still enjoy a good old peanut butter sandwich, with or with out the jelly. It is more of a treat now then an every day thing, since I usually take a lunch meat sandwich to work, because it tastes better when made ahead. Yeah, I am strange, but if there is one way I do not like P.B. it is after it has been sitting in a sandwich for hours. Yuck!
I was freezing, so I put on some shoes and went for a walk outside in the sunshine. I took a kid sized basketball along for company, and practiced my coordination skills. I tossed the ball from hand to hand and tried my best to catch it without looking. For me, who does not play sports, even the simplest exercises are challenging, especially when I am trying to walk at the same time.
The rest of the afternoon was spent reading, chatting with my cousin on Yahoo, posting a new post on my blog, writing letters, and running around outside with my younger siblings. Why, they even had me climbing trees with them. That is something I haven't done in quite some time.
I shivered my way through a shower and help a little with supper. We had hamburgers, one of my favorites. After supper I goofed around on my computer some, and then started writing all about my day, listening with half of my ear to a local high school football game on the radio. I had typed half a page when I was interrupted. My mom and sisters wanted to watch more of Sense and Sensibility (the BBC version). We have decided that they could have done better. They changed the story some, and if there is anything we don't like it is when someone takes a good story and changes it!
We finished up or episode. Everyone was laughing about how Fanny had a screaming fit when Anne Steele told her of Lucy's engagement to Edward. It really was very comical. My sisters and I teased each other as we waited for out turns in the "little girls room."
Finally snuggled in bed I whispered a few words to my sister about I don't remember what and was out like a light.
A rather boring day to write about really, for I did not do much at all but be lazy! I enjoyed it very much though. It was a nice break from work, and though I did not get as much done as I probably should have, I do not feel guilty. Everyone needs lazy days now and again, days where they can just throw everything to the wind and rest and have fun with their family. If I had it to do over again, I would probably spend less time and the computer and more time with my family, but that is neither here nor there.
And that wraps up a day in my life.
Until next time,
Monday, October 19, 2009
Grey clouds are scudding north as fast as they can. The sun is trying to dispel some of the gloominess, but though its efforts are valiant, they do not quite succeed.
A southerly breeze is wafting through the window, cool and crisp. I am sitting here writing with half my mind on you all, and half on watching two of my younger siblings as they practice making baskets out in front of the house.
I wonder what you are all doing at this very minute. It is strange to think that one can have friends in so many places doing so many different things. It is hard to imagine that where you all are the weather may be totally different from what it is here and that the clock may be ticking a different time. It is so hard for me to think beyond what I see and hear.
Life is like that. We all live our lives in a world that is all our own. A world that is self-centered more times than not, a world that is small despite the fact that we have the technology to connect with anyone at almost any time almost anywhere in the world. We each see with limited eye sight. We can only see and feel that which concerns us or those we love most. We cannot grieve over the losses that occur every day in the lives of so many, in fact I don't think that God meant us to do that. But no one can argue the fact that everyone, no matter their age, no matter their culture, no matter what it is that makes up their lives, everyone is short sited.
The only way that our vision can be expanded is for us to see through the eyes of our Master. Seeing things through His eyes is like putting on reading glasses.
Everything is magnified so that we can see things more clearly. Seeing through the Master's eyes is like wearing bifocals. You can see clearly the things at hand, and see clearly the things in the distance. Looking through the Master's eyes makes everything clearer, and helps us to see out of our little boxes that we call "the world."
We are only a speck of dust in the eyes of God. We think we know so much, that we are really getting to know Him and His Word more every day, and maybe we are, but in reality everything we know doesn't amount to even one grain of sand's worth of all the knowledge there is to know. We all have times when we become proud because we have read our Bible so much, or because we have memorized more scripture then so-and-so, or because we don't do "bad" things. But, that pride is misplaced. We have not even one thing that we can be really proud of. If truth be known, our whole lives are one big mess. We have messed up in everything we have ever tired and we are, well, quite frankly, losers. Our so called goodness is so dirty that it really isn't good at all.
That is why God's love and grace are so amazing. I cannot fully comprehend what it must have been like for God, the Father, to watch as His Son suffered and died on the cross. I cannot imagine how hard it was to turn His face away from the One who was a part of all He had ever done. Who truly was bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh.
I don't guess I will ever fully understand it, but even though I am unable to grasp what an awesome sacrifice God gave for us, I still know that it is the most awesome thing ever!
As we go through our day-to-day routines, let's try to remember all Christ suffered for our sake. Let's not take for granted the life we have been given. Let's not live half-heatedly for God and run with the other half of our hearts towards worldly things, no matter how tempting. Let us strive with our every breath to lean on God, knowing that we are nothing without Him, and press onwards toward the goal.
How are you running today? Are you running the race with all you have got? Are you pushing ahead of the crowd and pulling out in front? Yeah, I know, at times it becomes lonely running out front, but you are never alone. God is with you.
Are you running even when you muscles get sore and you are starting to hurt? You know what? Pain is a good thing. It helps your running muscles get stronger; it helps you to build up endurance.
This race is a long one, it began the day you were born and its course keeps you on a winding up-hill, and down-hill run until the day you die. Are you in this thing whole-heatedly? Are you in for the long run? Are you willing to run until you fall and then let Him help you up so you can keep pressing ahead? Or are you going to drop out and take the much easier walking trails?
What is the prize worth to you? Is is worth your very life, your very blood? If it isn't, I encourage you to do some soul searching. Look at the map closely. Are you willing to give up the reward for an easier walk now, or are you ready to give it your all and run the hardest race ever? What is your goal?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
We discussed how women who have lived alone for more then a few years often tend to become very independent and opinionated. We decided that this is natural because they must learn to care for themselves. Not only do they have to care for their home, but they are also responsible for their car maintenance, home repairs, and making sure the bills get payed. In short, they carry a load alone that God meant to be shared. Is it any surprise that these women often struggle with submission when they finally get married? They have had to carry all the burdens alone and to be self-sufficient, now they have to break those habits and learn to release their control.
Releasing control is not easy for anyone. If you doubt this then please honestly answer this question. Do you ever struggle to let God have control of all you do and who you are? Releasing your control is like breaking a bad habit or an addiction. It takes lots of effort and is a continued battle.
That is my first reason for believing that God meant women to be under the authority of men. Whether their husband, or their father. The second reason is because 1 Corinthians 11:3 says: "The head of women is man." In other words, women are to be under man's headship=lordship=authority.
The best way for a daughter to stay under her father's authority is for her to stay at home where her father can offer her wisdom, counsel, and protection.
To be continued...