Monday, May 23, 2005

Choosing Home: Unfastening the Latch

This post is a part of the collective house-warming party for Choosing Home, a beautiful site that represents the combined efforts of Molly and Jenna (whom you may recognize from our myriad CTBHHM reviews). The ladies have issued a general invitation to all bloggers interested in writing something touching on the topic of choosing to stay at home.

I suspect that my post will be unlike all the others. I've wanted to be a full-time home manager (heh) since shortly after I married--and I knew even before that that I wanted to stay at home and raise my child(ren), should I be so blessed. Time and again I was drawn to the Proverbs 31 Woman, who is such a wonderful steward of her resources, managing her home beautifully and efficiently, and the Titus 2 directive, which (I believe) reveals the beautiful plan the Lord has for women:

Prov 31:13-18
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.

Titus 2:3-5
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

In the first months of my marriage to Ryan, I pored over books like Mary Pride's The Way Home and Martha Peace's The Excellent Wife. I researched homeschooling, pregnancy and birth, and anything touching on domestic arts with a voracious appetite. In those precious months I established my personal understanding of and desire for homemaking.

There was just one problem...we were in major debt. We still are. Our debt is a result of my grad school loans, two bouts of unemployment (thanks, dot-com bust), and a hefty dose of "we're twenty-five and don't know how to budget" foolishness. Ryan and I made an agreement that I would work until we had a child or got out of debt...and four years later, here we are.

Looking at the whole of Scripture, I believe it's in the best interest of the home (especially the home with children--but really, any home) for the wife to be primarily, well, in the home, basing her ventures from there and ensuring, day by say, that the household runs smoothly and well.

It's been an encouragement to me to see God use me in my places of employment (and there have been many in those four years!). I've been a teacher, an editor, a church secretary, and a personal assistant, and in each place it's been clear to me why the Lord has placed me in my particular situation. It's not a surprise or a mystery to Him. We can't make Titus 2 and Prov 31 an edict: "Thou Shalt Be at Home No Matter What." But that doesn't mean it's not the Scriptural ideal, and one we should desire and seek to attain.

I eagerly await the next chapter in my own life. Whether or not the Lord opens my womb or lays it on our hearts to adopt a child, I long to stop being a secretary for other men and be a full-time helper for Ryan. I see my own home in a constant state of near-disarray (okay, major disarray); I am always flying by the seat of my pants, hanging on by my fingernails. And I just don't believe it's quite supposed to be this way.

I don't judge women who aren't at home--I look at my own situation and understand that circumstances sometimes prevent us from doing what we see as the ideal in God's Word. But where are our hearts, and when we have freedom to choose, what do we choose? Are we willing to listen to the Lord, and value what He does?
It is beautiful when Christian women, regardless of their domestic situation, recognize and reach for God's best in their lives. Regardless of my past and all my mistakes, He can make good come out of it, and He will--using my current circumstances to His glory in the process!