Saturday, January 15, 2011

Female Affections

Before meeting Rob I wanted nothing more than fulfill my desire to perform professionally 100% of the time.  I began accruing Equity points toward my union AEA card and setting my affections on that dream.  My daddy said I could do it, and I believed him.  

And, even deeper than that, my heart's desire was always consecrated to the performing arts.  It consumed my every creative play time as a child and every cell in my brain as an adult.  Yet, my circumstances toward this goal were constantly thwarted. Countless conflicts, including other work or family-related issues, disallowed my involvement in many productions and artistic projects that came my way.  What I didn't know was that God was using all these circumstances to steer my affections (my heart) another direction....

Being a woman is so confusing!  We women have been given talents, desires, drives, and are given every opportunity to accomplish the same skills as men.  Even our Christian parents prepped us for success and paid for our college education.  What is it all for?  Am I to have a career inside or outside of my home?  On one hand I could say that all our dreams and passions are from the Lord, therefore, I should pursue them with all my heart and strength.  On the other hand, on the only hand, what does the Bible say?  

Hmm...
  • Proverbs 31 talks about a resourceful woman who is up before dawn and is the last one in bed at night taking care of her family as well successfully investing in her business ventures and skills.   
  • Ephesians 5:21-33 states that the head of the wife is the husband.  She should be submissive to him in all things and respect him.  
  • I Tim. 2:11-15 reminds us that Adam was created first, so economically, God gave him a specific job and Eve was created to help Adam. Paul also states women should not teach men but are given to train our children.
  • Titus 2:3-5 admonishes wives that orderly living in the home will cause the word of God to NOT be maligned to outsiders.
  • I Peter 3:1-6 encourages us that beauty is not only on the outside, but a gentle and quiet spirit is an unfading beauty of great worth in God's sight.
Not to mention all the verses that demonstrate how much Christ valued His female disciples and relied on their gifts and talents.  Christ even pointed out that Mary was doing the better job of valuing spiritual things by sitting and listening to Christ than Martha was by preparing a meal to feed them. 

How do we put all this together?  Two threads that run through all these verses is that as a wife and mother, 1) I am under my husband's headship and, 2) I take care of my family.  These verses certainly don't list our duties at home or assign worth to those duties.  However, these verses speak a wealth about our female affections--that on which we set our hearts.

Growing up female in America, in this culture, even as a lifelong believer, I find my identity in what I do.  I find my sense of self in my gifts, my looks, my accomplishments.  I still let the world set the standard for how I should regard myself.  But the Bible is telling me what God regards and that my affections need to be aligned with His job for me.

If I meld all these verses together, my affections should be toward my husband, valuing his vocation and his position as head of my family, deferring to him as my protector, provider, leader, lover, guard, guide; I should value my home as a sanctuary of love, nurture, growth, training, joy, peace and order; I should value fruit of the spirit, matters of the heart, contentment and character; I should be hospitable and meet the needs of others, using my gifts as I have means and building community; I should be resourceful with my talents and time, edifying, encouraging, beautifying, enjoying and blessing.

These values are not pointing to what I do but to who I am in Christ.  Women believe that since we have gifts, we should use them.  We should, but not to the detriment of our families.   Is what we do with our talents of more worth to us (really and truly) than caring for our families and all the work involved at home?  

God made women with an interesting ability to have affection for that which we do.  So, if we will respect our husbands and love our children, caring for them in our homes and meeting their needs, we will grow in love and affection for them.  Whatever we put our hands to do, we will grow in affection for that.

God knew, since the fall, that women's work would be excruciatingly hard, requiring emotion, brawn and perseverance.  IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINTHEARTED!  This why He, being RICH in mercy, made us to grow in affection for that which we choose to do.  Let us choose to do that which He has called us in His word to do, setting our affections upon our husbands and children, and He will cause our feelings to follow.

As Ecclesiastes  says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to tear down and a time to build..."  All of our gifts and talents have a season.  As I have chosen to place my affections on my family, even when I hated the feeling of "losing my identity," the feelings for my family have finally and truly followed.  I am overwhelmed with love and concern for homemaking.  I am actually overjoyed to care for my family.  I still love and enjoy using all the other gifts and talents God has given me, but I am thrilled God caused my feelings to catch up with the daily work He has for me, and that I can enjoy that which He has given me to do in this busy season of caring for my husband and little ones. 

May we live rightly and prudently, with fear, in each season He has given us.  Soli Deo Gloria.




 

7 comments:

  1. This could not have come to me at a more perfect time! I came up to the computer bitter that the recipe I worked half the day on didn't turn out- I came up to pout alone. God is using you, my dear friend. I have been convicted and encouraged with every post and I especially LOVE this one.
    I love you!

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  2. Love this Christi. Some times these things are hard to learn, as you have experienced, but once we do we are so much more content and happy with the lot that God has given us. I am proud of you Hon!!

    Love you,

    Mom

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  3. That is so beautiful Christi. May I share this link with a couple of friends?
    linda smith

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  4. What is it then we do when you don't have children of your own, step-kids you barely see 2-3 weekends a month and not really given total access to there lives? I don't feel as if I have a clear cut place for me to land! I try and work in the salon 2-3 days a week and help with my 2 youngest nephews 2 days a week. The rest of the time I set aside to do the household stuff but often feel like I'm a bit lost in what it is I want to do and what I'm allowed to do! What are hour thoughts on women like me?

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  5. This is a great question, CL. Your life sounds incredibly dynamic and full! I have reread your thoughts several times to make sure I'm hearing you correctly and to pray for you accordingly. I think this is exactly why I find a woman's life so confusing--because we wear so many hats. But take courage--God has made you for this, seek Him for moment by moment strength and guidance.

    Everything you shared--about caring for your step-children and your nephews and working at the salon as well as caring for your home sounds very rich and full. What a tremendous ministry God has given you in caring for the children and influencing them positively. Balancing work and home is a challenge for all of us! The never-ending headache.

    God has given much freedom to us within a gracious structure. Firstly, He has uniquely made you for relationship with Him and called you out of darkness into His glorious light! He intricately made you in your mother's womb and gave you all the days you've lived and will live (Psm 139) and lavishly loves you! I love the verse, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart," Psalm 37:4. Find your place in Him--in knowing Him and enjoying Him. Secondly, He has made you for your husband. You are his companion and your energies go into your relationship with him, enjoying him and showing him love and respect for his position. The other duties you have are a wonderful use of your gifts, if you indeed feel called to do them.

    There is no formula for HOW to live life, except to follow what God lays out in His word and to place your affections on that which He has given you to do. How you balance it all is up to you and your husband--how God is convicting you. Therein lies the freedom. We are all gifted differently when it comes to home life, there is no perfect way to care for your home. What God is concerned with are matters of the heart and less with the thing itself. (I worry about people with perfect-looking homes!)

    What I think is terrific is that you are not sitting idly, but you are busy with important work that is lasting. Most of what we do doesn't have immediate rewards, but I pray you will find great joy daily in your Lord, husband, and your family. And the other things you want to do!

    Contact me anytime: christigriffith@gmail.com

    In Christ,

    Christi

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  6. Let your light shine, My Friend!

    I said to Jono the other day "I'm the Aaron to your Moses." (Don't read too much into that. I was so simply saying that I'm behind him.)

    xoxo

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  7. Thanks Christi, for the encouragement! I realized I forgot to mention the fact I'm trying to figure out how music ministry fits into my life too! I have felt a call into worship leading but have come back into a denomination that is very restrictive for women in ministry. It's the church I grew up in and all my local family worships there. I am often mis-read and mis-understood by the "newer" people at the church. It's hard to create solid relationships in a larger body, when no one truly gets to know who you are and the true motivations behind your words and deeds.

    I'm not sure if you realize who I am but you knew me at BU. Darci gave me the name CL Who..........saying that I'm sure my core personality hasn't changed since then but, in fact, I've become more of who I am in the confidence of old age. I just wish, sometimes, that I had been more in tune with what the Lord wanted from me in my youth! I know He can and will restore what the moths have destroyed but I can still get in the way of even that! :-)

    I truly appreciate your journey and your willingness to share it with those of us on the journey with you!

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