Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"It doesn't say we CAN'T have a job..."

This post is somewhat like my last post, in that I'm addressing another thing that women put on our lists today which is not a command from God.  


A few weeks ago, in my Bible study group, we were discussing the chapter called "Lies About Priorities" in Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.  We had much discussion about that third lie regarding the value of having a career versus being "just" a wife and mother.  Obviously, the truth is that there is more value in God's heart toward women fulfilling our roles at home as wives and mothers.  That truth is really indisputable.

At the end of that night, one young lady spoke up. She was actually there for the first time, had not read any of the book yet, and sat silent through all of our conversation.  She had not been through the foundational chapters where we discussed aligning our hearts with the Lord's and asking Him to "give us the desires of our hearts" (Psalm 37:4).  This verse does not mean He will give us what we want, but He will give us the want for what He wants.

We had wrestled through those principles as a group already, and she had not been there to lay down that foundation with us.  We had already talked about Mary's willingness not just to carry the Child of God, but her willingness to be stoned to death or, at minimum, shunned by all, for carrying a child out of wedlock. 


"And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; 
let it be to me according to your word.'"  Luke 1:38


We had also talked  about how Jesus Himself said (I paraphrase), "I do NOT want to do this!!  Please, don't make me do this!!  But...not what I want, Father...I'll do what YOU want me to do."


"My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. 
Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." Matthew 26:39 NLT


This young lady told us all that, for the first time since moving to Alabama from "up north", she was having culture shock.  Her shock was not due to any southern accents she was hearing, but because we were talking about valuing home and family above pursuing a career.  We knew that this book would be different to many, and this lie alone was a complete shock to her.

Her comment, though, rattled me in a huge way.

Her response was, "Well, it doesn't say we CAN'T have a job." 

Yow.

If we look at it the way she was looking at it, let the truth be told that she was right.  The Word does not say that women "shall not" work jobs.

I could see the faces of the women in our group turning ghostly white. At first, some of the ladies began to defend the truth that we had all just studied and taken to heart.  They were trying to make the point that we weren't talking about what we have the "right" to do, but what God has actually called us to do, which revolves around home and family.  

But really, how does one defend against that "heartitude" on a Biblical matter?  You simply cannot.

Unfortunately, this gal did not return to our group.  She may not have even picked up the book to read for herself.  All I can really do is pray that she does read it and learn the truths that we were learning.
 

Since that night, I have felt burdened for my group, and for women everywhere, who have likely heard (or even said) the same statement.  Even Nancy Leigh DeMoss says in the chapter, "This is not to suggest that it is necessarily wrong for a wife and mother to have a job outside her home--unless that job in any way competes with or diminishes her effectiveness in fulfilling her primary calling at home."

I do not disagree completely, but that is a loophole.  Much like telling our teens to abstain from sex, but giving them the loophole that God doesn't say they "can't" snuggle under the covers in the nude together.  That's true, just like the earlier statement about women working outside of their homes.


"...be keepers at home..."  Titus 2:5


We have been members of our church for eight years now, and in those eight years, I've heard my pastor give a message encouraging purity at least once a year.  In that message, he tells a story from when he was a youth minister.  He shares about youth group boys calling him on the phone saying something like, "Pastor, I'm with my girl now...I'm struggling...how far exactly is 'too far'???"  My pastor says that his reply was always, "You've already crossed it!"

For eight years, I rolled my eyes at that story, because he wasn't there with these teens.  He didn't know what they had done or not done at that point.  It seemed silly to tell them they had crossed a line without knowing how far they'd gone.

But after hearing the young woman's statement, I finally understood my pastor meant by his reply to the teens!  She was, in essence, "How far away from home can I get and still be a 'homemaker'?"  And I'd have to tell her that she was already too far away!

Not because it is necessarily sin to go get that job, like Ms. DeMoss wrote, but because she was looking for a loophole in God's Word for her to still be able to do what she wanted.  That is crossing a line in itself--because it is the "heartitude" of non-surrender, of holding onto our wants, and not laying down of self.  And our heart is what the Lord sees.  


This burden was so great to me that I had to tell my group that we could not continue our study if we were applying the truths from this book on either end of a spectrum.  On one end, someone can apply truth in a legalistic manner (like I used to do), just doing it because "the Bible says" and never knowing the Lord.

On the other end is no rules at all, but really close to that end is the loophole part of the spectrum.  This is where someone reads God's desire for him or her (such as the example of God's desire for purity), and sets man-made boundaries instead of pursuing purity with ALL of our "heart, soul, strength, and mind" (Luke 10:27).

The same goes for a woman pursuing the calling of God!  Why would anyone WANT to find a loophole? 
Instead of running from the "line", we are teetering on the edge, asking how far we can get outside of God's perfect will for us, without it actually being "sin".


So, yes, it's true that God has not said women "can't" have a job.  But He hasn't commanded you to have one, either, ladies.  And I have never been more exhausted than when I was running after more than He has given me to do.  We want to run the race He has set before us.  We want to run that race to win.  That means, we stay in our lane as we make our way to the finish line.


Let's be about our Father's business for women.  

Let's do only what only we can do. 

Let's align our heart, our soul, our strength, and our minds with Him.

Let's stop looking for loopholes out of doing His will.



My prayer today:
 
Lord, You are our God, and we love you!  We praise You!  Father, we confess that we have too often put our wants above Your wants for us.  We know that You desire for us to align our hearts with Yours.  Thank You for telling us in Your Word exactly what Your will is for us as women following after Christ.  Thank you that we do not have to follow the pattern of this world!  Thank you that You are busy completing the work You have begun in us!  I pray for every woman around the world who is struggling regarding this issue.  I pray first for her husband, that he take on the responsibility of leading and providing for his family.  I pray also that she be willing to set aside all desires that do not line up with Your heart for us.  Help us to run far away from the line, from the loophole, and to seek after Your will in every area of our lives!  In Jesus' name I pray!  Amen!


 
As much as I dislike having to include fine print with this post, I feel I must.  There are certainly women reading this whose husband has insisted that she leave her post as "keeper at home" and work outside of her home.  Please know that you are doing the right thing if he is insisting on it.  I know your heart is for home, and you are to submit to him "as unto the Lord".  I did not write this to shame anyone, but especially not the woman who truly wants to be at home because she sees the truth in God's Word and wants what He wants for her.  


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18 comments:

  1. I LOVED that book & I love this post, because it's so true! Thank you for your words today!

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  2. Love your posts, especially this one. So full of truth yet seasoned with grace. I'm sure you will get a lot of flack from "trolls" for speaking an upopular truth, but just know that for every naysayer there are many more of us out there who agree with and appreciate your stand. :) Blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Bridget! Yes, I've already received a few emails and comments of disgreement. I hope to point women to His Word! But I know that many will resist truth. Thank you for reading and for your comment! --Melissa

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  3. Amen, Amen, Amen again and don't worry one bit if she was turned off- that's her problem! I'm up north and there is a big push here for career women. It's SO sad. So NOT the best plan for a smooth running family and for all the fight we women have done to be able to work outside the home- all the mom's I know that do wish they could stay home. Oh, how we NEED to get back to the simplicity of gender roles in this country!

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    1. Hi Ren! Thank you for reading and for your comment! I agree....life was so much less confusing when we were male and female! I wish I could just hug every woman who wants to be home and is not allowed to do so. The simple life sounds grand! --Melissa

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  4. I understand what you are saying; however, God values each of us equally. Being a stay at home mom does not make me better than my sisters in the Lord who have been led down a different path. If I think it does, that seems extremely prideful. God values us seeking his will and doing it. His will for me and my family is not and cannot be cookie-cutter. Each of us are unique and have different talents that we are to use for the Kingdom. Some women forgo using those talents for fear they are not being "Biblical." And they will have to give an account for that. And what about our sisters who are not married? Are they less valued by the heart of God because they are not married and do not have children? This saddens me and I believes puts undo pressure on women to find acceptance from the Lord and the church.

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    1. Amen! I could not have said it better myself. Formerly, I worked full time outside the home, now I'm a SAHWM. At NO TIME was I a lesser daughter of the Most High.

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    2. Very well said. After reading this post, I could only think of those women who must work in order to provide financially for their families or themselves. Single women. Barren women. Single mothers. I feel called to be a stay at home mom once I have children, but I realize that is not every woman's calling. My mother had to work and she still taught us kids how to be Christ followers. She still cleaned our home and put dinner on the table every night. God had a purpose for her as a mother in the home and as a business woman at her job.

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    3. I, too, was led to think of women who have no other choice but to work outside of the home. It has been my experience that many women who work outside of the home rather be home, but for various reasons cannot.

      I think the issue with the young woman that didn't return was she felt judged and didn't understand the heart issue of the study.

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    4. It is not in my nature to post comments that are not "agreeable"...so please don't take my comment as argumentative. **Thought...the Prov 31 woman made goods and sold it to the merchants. I have always seen that as a SAHWorkingMom. I'm not here to debate...just an observation I wanted to share. I am a SAH-WAHM and homeschooler and a very diligent keeper of my home and love it all. Working outside of the home or inside the home does not mean you are not keeping your home. My greatest blessings have been staying at home with my children and being a full-time mother and wife...God has also called me to a "job" and I believe very strongly that I am in the center of His will for my life in using my gifts for Him. I believe this is a heart issue between a married couple and God regarding this sensitive issue.

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  5. I've always known where I stand on this topic. I know where the Lord has stirred my heart, and I am so very content in His will for my life. But NEVER have I heard someone explain it in this simple yet awe, inspiring and loving way! Simply beautiful. <3

    www.GracedSimplicity.com

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  6. I have been a stay at home mom for years and love being home but I also have friends who have been made to feel that they are less than Christians because they need to work outside the home- single parent, disabled spouse, financial concerns, etc. I think saying a woman can't work outside the home leads to to a lot of unnecessary guilt and labeling and drives people away from the church, not from God. I think we need to leave room for God to work and what He is calling each family to do. Grace is always needed. These women who are working outside the home are still keeping the home and raising godly children. They are pouring their lives into their homes and children while submitting to their husbands and God. There is a difference from women wanting to be outside the home working and those who need to.

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    1. My most enjoyable and happy time wad when I was able to be home with my children and take care of them and my husband and our home. But even then I still felt the desire to work outside the home. And now it is a must that I work outside the home to care for my children. If I may be honest it is quite disheartening and discouraging to always hear that I am not following Gods will by working outside the home. But what if goods will is for me to be the nurse that cats for you or your loved ones while sick in the hospital? Or the mother at the cash register where you are purchasing your groceries. To be honest I agree with what that gal stated. So are you stating that women must choose to either have a family or a career but not both? I have si much more to say but I'll stop there.

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  7. I love this post. I agree, and I commend you for writing it. It's hard to speak truth and not have others get offended and upset and take things the way they weren't intended. Outside of a husband insisting on a wife working outside the home, we should all be keepers at home. If we trust God completely, and obey His commands, He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

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    1. Beautifully put, April! Thank you!

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    2. I disagree, April. We are not all "called" into motherhood. We are not all "called" into wife-hood. And, we are definitely not all "called to stay home.

      It is an extremely limiting view on God to say we should all be keepers at home. I love being home, but I had your view several years ago and realize that my limited view was unjustified and hurt women who had to work outside the home.

      I do not think a woman who has small children should work outside the home if there is no need to. I do believe if she was called to wife and mother and is able to stay home and keep home - fantastic.

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  8. It truly is about the "heartitude." What a great word! I sometimes encourage my children to "get all up inside obedience," rather than stand on the edge of it. I think we have to be careful, though, about creating prohibitions where God has not. Some things are commanded and prohibited for all of us. And then, I believe, there is room on some issues for us to be fully within God's will, though our life may look differently from another obedient sister. I think that is what Romans 14 talks about? I wonder whether this young lady was looking for a loophole, or trying to understand what God expects of her, especially if she has spent her life preparing for a career only to learn (very recently, apparently) that God has a higher priority for her. Who knows?
    I'm glad you added the disclaimer, though it's clear that you have no desire to shame anyone, only to encourage your sisters to seek the Lord wholeheartedly. Thank you for being a blessing!

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  9. I am a mom that wanted desperately to stay at home and my husband did not make enough money to provide for us. It was hard on our marriage! I worked part time for 3 years and had two kids. Then when my third was born we moved in with my mother-in-law in order for me to stay home. We still live with my mother-in-law. My husband has returned to school to hopefully get the schooling he needs for a better job. But we can not make it financially on his income. We are not spenders and live minimally. But the economy is hard right now. When I was pregnant I worked at job that was a union job. My husband was laid off before our son was born. It was not his fault. We had to make ends meet. We did not have a choice. I believe God can provide, but that does not mean every family that has a working mom is not living in faith. There are extreme circumstances that can affect families.
    Jen

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Love hearing from you.