Monday, May 12, 2008

Keeper of the Home

This is our discussion in the Created To Be His Help Meet group this week. You'll soon see why I was hesitant to post. This is a touchy subject and often times it is such an emotional one because so many women, even if they want to, do not have a choice. Whether be it from their husbands lack of support, or the financial situation he has led them into. Often hurt shows up in the form of defensiveness. So please, let us all keep our tongues and manners. Seems it is easy to be tolerant of others views as long as those views match up with our own. I love you guys, I warn you, that if you are mean to me, I'll cry. But since I can't resist putting my tongue to the frozen pole with the triple dog you go....

Chapter 20-Keeper of the Home

Titus 2:5

5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Well this was a short and to the point chapter. However my post this week, is not so short, in fact, I think my notes are actually longer than the chapter. I want to preface this by saying I have prayed over this article and spent quite a bit of time in the scripture regarding this subject. What I’m sharing is what I have found. Please know that I’m not judging anyone, as that is not my heart.

I did not like the whole scare tactic story shared about why we should never leave our children with anyone. I don’t live close to family and there are times I just have to ask for help with the kids. You cannot effectively take a 14-month crawling baby with you to a dentist appointment and expect success.

Personally, I do feel that families should make an effort to do all they can for the mom to be able to be home with the children. Now let me follow that up by saying, I do not feel it is automatically a sin for the woman to work.

I can’t help but wonder what our society would be today if the feminists movement would not have influenced the family as greatly as it did, encouraging women to pursue careers rather than raising their families. My mom stayed home. Even in high school I loved coming home to her rather than an empty house. I am just amazed when the daycare sees more of someone’s child than the parent.

So how can I say it is not a sin for the woman to work? The man is also expected to be keeper of the home and the root word in Habakkuk is the same word used in Titus.

Habakkuk 2:5: 5Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

The opening words are best read in the Amplified Bible which reads ‘Moreover, wine [is] treacherous; the proud man [the Chaldean invader] is restless and cannot stay at home...’
(if you haven’t studied Habakkuk…this is a great little Book on Faith)

The word wine is used here because wine was associated with Babylon. Not to get drunk, but to acquire it. It was a symbol of greed (one of those 7 deadly sins). Wine was acquired as spoils of the war, after a defeat of the enemy. So how could they carry out all the wine? Either use a lot of man or animal strength, power and time. But how could they do that if they needed to move on to safety? The Chaldean advance was brought on from a lack of contentment with what they had, they desired to move out of their home of Chaldea onto other lands so that they could gain more wealth through wars.

So even a man driven by greed, if that is what makes him restless and unable to spend time being a keeper of his own home is committing sin. This is the same guideline a husband and wife must use in weighing their reasons and choices for each of them working. Is the desire for more, the motivating factor to be away from the home more than necessary? Is the husband working crazy hours so that he can provide “The American Dream” lifestyle? Are we Christians following like cattle to the slaughter right along side our non-believing coworkers, falling into the same worldly strain of debt, divorce, and working wives? Is the wife taken away from her God ordained duties of being a keeper of the home to add additional lifestyle or for additional self-fulfillment? Is the wife reentering the workforce after raising her children or is she, as Titus instructs the older women, teaching the younger women?

So when is it not a sin for a woman to work? If it is necessary. But what constituents necessary? A single parent most always does. In the old Testament the entire family worked together on their business. A widow. Although the church is suppose to support them. (I Tim 5:9-10) And if the church is not supporting them I believe the church will someday have to answer for that. What if your husband is not making enough money? What is enough money? I do agree with Mrs. Pearl that most families can cut back. We have our own business and we are still in start up mode. For the past 3 years we have driven used vehicles, our house is old, the paint I used has been rejects from Lowe’s, our clothes have been gifted or salvation army and our grocery budget…well $50 a week is a good week. I have been able to bring in some extra money by cleaning Dr’s office’s occasionally, but I like to go in at 5am and be home before anyone is even awake, or late at night when dad is home and they are in bed. If I go when the kids are awake, I have taken them or just one at a time with me, it may be cleaning, but it is still one on one time to them.

There have been plenty of times that my frustrations did make the grass look greener to add an additional income. However, with Daycare, gas, lunches, school expenses, dress clothes…was it really worth letting someone else raise my kids to bring home another $100 a week? I honestly don’t know how we have made it the last couple of years, other than that God has blessed us. Is it because we choose to honor His command that the wife be a keeper of the home? I can’t say. God has brought us threw some pretty incredible situations and I have seen His hand of caring more evident than ever before.

I have heard women say, “I’d be miserable if I stayed home”. Well, it is hard. God did not make us all the same. But he did give us all the same guidelines as to our role. He gave the words of the Bible and knew we would live in this time, in this financial pressure, in this world of credit cards and debt. Yet He did not put any special clauses or exceptions to cover this time. I personally believe that the harder it gets to be a one income family the more relevant that verse becomes. Why would He have included it when the women of that time stayed home? Is it a possibility that the verse is more a faith issue to follow him rather than an income issue? Isn’t it God who is ultimately in control of bringing your income now? Doesn’t the light shine brighter in the dark? Does not He receive all the Glory when it is obviously a God thing? When we follow without the answers so that He can provide in ways that we never could so we can sing His praises?

So, what if your husband expects you to work? If we truly believe God’s word, we can rest on Jer 29:11 and know that God can solve that situation if He so chooses and whatever the outcome, God has the best plan for our future. The Christian women in the workforce need our prayers and support rather than our condemnation. They need our prayers to allow God to use them where they are. Prayers for their finances if that is what is keeping them from being home. Prayers for a change of heart from their husbands. Don't the working moms sometimes feel a judgment within the church itself? Yet most times we don’t know the whole story or their reasons for being in the workplace. How can we as a church show unity to the world when we are judging those who we sit next to on Sunday morning?

What if your husband isn’t making ends meet? Is he striving to better his education or his work situation? Is he being a good steward of the money is he making? Or does he expect the wife to pick up the difference? He will have to answer for himself on this someday. I Tim 5:8 “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” So God tells us wives (not just mothers) to be keepers at home and men to provide for the family.

Let us not forget the Titus 2 does not end at verse 5, but continues on to give the young men instruction. It is a rare thing to find an older man that is bold enough to step up and mentor another man. I pray that with the political correctness in the church we do not lose our salt in fear of offending a brother in Christ. Wouldn’t it be a blessing to see men come along side the men with working wives to instruct them and work with them to help get their wives be home? Wouldn’t it be a blessing to see men come along side the young men in the church to truly train and get up close and personal and real about these issues?

Prov 27:8 - “Like a bird that strays from its nest, is a man who strays from his home.”

We will all have to answer for what it was we sacrificed for the choices we made in our lives. Have we sacrificed time with our children so that we can afford a new vehicle? Have we sacrificed the tiring and frustrating responsibility of not having to discipline and train, by letting someone do that for us? I know there are days that I personally feel as if I don’t care if I’m doing the right thing anymore. I want that big yellow bus to come and pick up my kids, I want to get dressed up rather than have peanut butter and snot on my shirt. I want to get to go into work and be greeted by adults that are usually happy to see me and won’t complain that I brought snickerdoodles instead of chocolate chip cookies to share. I want to spend time talking with other ladies about life rather than reading “Jump Frog Jump” one more time. I want to do something challenging rather just building a tower of blocks. There are plenty of days that I get worn out and wish for the grass on the other side of the fence. After all, on my list of dreams for my life…being a home school parents wasn’t one of them. Teaching was last on my career goals. I really wasn’t sure that I even wanted kids. I’m still not sure some days…like the days when Brian catches the floor on fire, or the kids are all bickering nonstop, or when they won’t take instruction from me. (this is another common misconception…I often here the comment “I could never homeschool,” “we just clash or my kids won’t learn from me.” As if I don’t ever have this problem. lol.) But what is the motive behind me desiring the grass on the other side? Who benefits the most? ME! ME! ME!

Each of us will be convicted on different areas at different times. And these are all questions that I have had to contemplate myself.

I’ve heard the comment, “well people just can’t make it on a one income family anymore.” Is it really that people can’t make it or is it that families don’t want to make it on one income lifestyle anymore?

It is very hard to say, “no we aren’t going to Disney World, this summer, we’re camping out”. “No we aren’t going to the movie, we’re waiting for the library to carry it.” “No, I like that big dent in the hood of my van.” lol. not really. It is time consuming to use coupons and watch ads. But they are all choices. (The more I’m typing the more I am afraid of the darts that will be coming back my way. I promise I have prayed over this several times.)

Ladies, the body of Christ needs us. There is nothing shameful about being fulfilled being a homemaker. Just because we do not have an actual paycheck does not diminish the importance of this God given role.

I am thankful that my husband supports me staying home and that I have never had to fight this battle. It takes the pressure of the income earning off my shoulders and it closes that back door to go back to work when the going gets tough here at home.

Here is the core issue: What is the why and the motivation behind our decisions to work or stay home? What is the why and motivation behind every decision? The what and why is what can make something pure and right, or impure and sinful.

Sin is sin, whether it is in our hearts, spoken, or lived out in from of a world watching us for perfection and waiting for our failure. These are all questions and points that will have to be answered individually with prayer and quiet time before God. No one but you and Him know the true motives of your heart.

Part II
You know I had never heard this word before this book and if I did I don’t remember it. This is a serious word. I would encourage you all to study this word this week. I’ll come back to post more on this later, as I’m in the middle of studying this word and why for this verse.

Part III
And just as Mrs. Pearl pointed out, just being at home doesn’t mean we are watching over our young.

Prov 29:15- “….but a child left to itself disgraces his mother.”

Are our kids getting left to themselves so that we can be chatting on the phone? Playing on the computer? Reading? Cleaning? Are we leaving home often to chase after distractions of our own while neglecting our most important duty of guarding our young and keeping our home?
God gives an escape for every temptation. Notice today if you are eating the bread of idleness. Is that when you get irritated at the children because you are being interrupted? Who was it that whispered in your ear, “you deserve this break?” The nature of the flesh is fulfillment of self. And I understand that desire. As a homeschool mom, I rarely have time to myself. God wants us to take time to care for ourselves and rest also, but we still have a job to do. If our husbands were making personal phone calls while at the office, would it be any surprise if he got reprimanded? If your husband sat playing video games on the office computer neglecting a project, could he lose his job? Putting the whole family in danger? If you are eating the bread of idleness, pray and ask God for help. View your little ones interrupting as your escape from the sin. As if it were God Himself, gently leading you back to work. (Ugh, I really didn’t want to type that…I’m needing a little less carbs in the way of the bread of idleness in my own life.) Can the phone calls or computer work be done early in the morning? During naps? After bed time?

Part IV
So let’s go back to look at the Proverbs 31 women. She is either loved and an example or a reminder of our how far some of us have yet to go. I found this great summary on a blog:

As ruler of the home, the wife was entrusted with all of the management and stewardship of the family estate. Note that the things the Proverbs 31 woman does (besides providing for the immediate needs of her own husband and children through meal-planning, creating clothing, etc.) all add to the wealth and productivity of the family estate. This woman buys a field and plants a vineyard (verse 16), augmenting the family holdings and investing long-term (it takes many years before a vineyard becomes productive and profitable). And how can she purchase a field? Because she has saved money from her own home-based industry, spinning wool and flax (verses 13, 18 & 19) and creating garments she can then sell to the merchants (verse 24). She is no idle consumer! When she purchases something, it is because she has worked hard so that she can save and buy the highest quality items (imported food, verse 14; fine linen, verse 22) for her family and further invest in the family land. In addition, she ‘extends her hands to the poor’ (verse 20), providing for the needs of the less fortunate around her. (And it should be noted that her charity isn’t given grudgingly or under compulsion but freely and personally out of her own hands.) Her management of the entire household (including servants who work under her) is so capable and thorough (verse 27) that her husband has absolutely no need to micro-manage or worry about the state of things at home (verse 11). Because she oversees a hard-working, productive household, she is not merely spending her husband’s hard-earned money, she is doubling it and tripling it and supplementing it with her own! She shares a vision with her husband for the long-term health and well-being of her family and for the inheritance of her children.

She is 1st and foremost her husband’s help meet.

When we are busy with the service to God, which for us ladies begins in our home, it is a good busy. Col 3:23

Once again, I’m sorry this is so long. Please take this all to the Lord and keep what you personally feel He is convicting you on. Even if your choice is to work, that does not mean that I feel I’m better, holier or any of that nonsense. You all know by now, I have more faults and areas needing improvement than I have time to list. I am merely the sharing the word. I love you ladies. Have a great week!


Lord, my life is your life. My time is your time. Use it as you will.


Elizabeth said...

I only had time to read half of what you wrote, I'll come back and read the rest later.

I take my hat off to you and believe you have hit some real nails on the head, when it comes to the mothers in the workplace.

I do daycare in my home so that I can be a stay at home mama for my children, yet bring in necessary funds to keep our bills paid. Being a stay at home mama is very important to me, but unfortunately our finances are as such that we are reliant on my meager income as well.

I have a few family members that spent yrs waiting to have children because the timing was just not right and the bills/jobs were just not ready for a child and now are having difficulties conceiving. Now the same person who waited, and is sorrowing because she isn't pregnant just took a 2nd job so they can have more vacations and monetary things.. It may be an excuse to cover up her sadness and keep her busy so she doesn't have to think about it.

Anyhow, I do believe that we can get immersed in our own selfishness (myself included) rather than doing what is best. It can be a real struggle to have pure motivation!

Shan said...

OH MY Suzanne, you're fingers were on fire with the Holy Spirit when you typed this I can definitely tell!
This was wonderful and painfully true at the same time. OUCH! Well, I'm just now reading it but your words most assuredly speak to me as this is something I have been dealing with most recently in my own life. I have it soooo easy right now with two kids in school and one gigantic internet connection that in combination causes me all kinds of lackings in my life. I feel the Lord telling me(even through you!) things I DO NOT want to hear but need to. He has been so faithful in moving us here and providing for us so that I can stay home. I seem to have forgotten my end of the blessing and sometimes fail to tend my responsibilities of Glorifying the Lord. Thanks for striving for excellence in your walk and inspiring others along the way.

Ha-This post didn't seem that long when I was reading. But when I scrolled back up to the top it took a comedically long time to get there. ;)

Fruitful Vine said...

I think I came to your blog from Candy's at Keeping the Home I'm not sure but I just wanted to tell you that God used you today to speak to me. We had no electricity until 4pm so my time on the computer today did not happen until now but my sink was still full of dishes. Well when I read this part of your post:
"View your little ones interrupting as your escape from the sin. As if it were God Himself, gently leading you back to work. ... Can the phone calls or computer work be done early in the morning? During naps? After bed time?" I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit to get to those dishes. Thanks for allowing yourself to be used by God by writing this.


Related Posts with Thumbnails