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?
- 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.
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.