The most beautiful part of life in Christ is the daily, hour by hour growth that occurs when we are consciously committed to walking with the Lord. The topic I want address is actually already here in the form of a previous post. You can go read my post “For the Daughters of Eve” written in 2016 here:
It is password protected because it was only meant for women I trusted with an issue that was painful to discuss. The sting is gone so I’m free to share with any of you that’s interested (password Sisterhood).
When I wrote the previous post, I was dealing with a lingering sense of inadequacy.
It started when I graduated law school and was unable to find a job for six grueling months so necessity led me to open my own practice. It deepened when I was engaged to my husband and some of my pastors told me in no uncertain terms that a woman without an income was a liability to her man. It grew wings after my first born when my husband expressed that my time as a stay at home mom was not only hindering us financially but also showed a lack of care concerning his attempts to provide for our family. Each of these episodes shook me in different ways and I endured a tedious process to heal from their unintended consequences. The last time I tackled this feeling of inadequacy was a few months after our second son was born. All around me women I knew were working and providing for their families or themselves. These same women whose opinions I valued and whose lives bore godly fruit were also telling me that any wife or mother who was successful at home but without her own business, enterprise or income was incomplete. Their words added salt to an open wound. It seemed no matter how much I grew in my character or how much I contributed as a wife and mother in my home, if my income did not reach a certain amount, I was failing. I took the sentiment personally and honestly it broke me.
Today, my story has changed. When God delivered me from the fear of failure, He gave me a boldness and assurance that I did not have before. That is where I want to draw from to encourage you, my readers.
A woman who agrees with her husband to stay at home to raise her family and forego a paycheck as part of her reasonable service should not be penalized with our disdain simply because it is a choice other women would never make. She’s doing what God has asked of her in her own home even if God does not require the exact same choice from me or you.
Most women I know would never openly condemn a stay at home mother for not working but still they say things like “I didn’t get all this education to stay home and raise some kids” (actual comment directed my way). Comments like these did much to damage my perception of my worth before I found my assurance in Christ. After my second son was born, my income was non-existence. I had missed months of work and declined taking on new clients as I grappled with the sickness of pregnancy. As a business owner, my maternity leave was at my discretion but woefully unpaid. So I did in fact acquire all of my education to “stay home and raise some kids,” at least for the first six months of each of their lives. As believers we pay much lip service to the dignity of mothers and wives, but in my own experience, we are often demeaned by the very body of believers with whom we belong. We are excused while pregnant or immediately after giving birth because of course we need some time for our bodies to heal and to bond with our newborns.
”When are you going back to work?”
Because raising children is not enough “work” by itself and nobody is going to pay you to raise your own children. And of course, you can’t possibly expect your husband to be the only one who earns an income. You can’t afford it.
Only millionaires are entitled to raise their own children as they see fit. The rest of us need to keep our nose to the grindstones and pay others to care for our children while we do the more important task of keeping food, shelter and clothing readily available.
I am being facetious.
A wife and mother who earns an income by working either within or outside her home, for herself or for another is doing a dignified service. She is supporting her husband’s responsibility to provide for his family. Her help is indispensable to her family. Most households could not survive without dual income so a wife’s paycheck is a physical representation of what her support means within her family.
Likewise, a woman who stays at home and does the dignified work of raising her family in the fear and knowledge of the Lord is doing a work that cannot be quantified. Her role in her family cannot be overemphasized. Without the unwavering support of a wife who sacrifices to be the primary caregiver of their children, many husbands could never earn the income they use to provide for their families. Without a wife who can oversee parent-teacher conferences, doctors appointments, family meals and household budgets, most men with children would not have the time to earn the income their families require.
But you are more than the income you earn or the measurable help you can provide at home. You are literally made in the image of God for His divine purposes. To quote a social meme “there’s no way you were put on this earth to just pay bills and die!” There’s immeasurably more to you than your roles at home, no matter how invaluable you are in those roles.
The reason those past quantification of my worth based on my income hurt so deeply was because I had lost my personal sense of purpose. I knew God would not have created me if He did not have a specific purpose in mind for my life. But in the years lost in self-doubt, I also lost my sense of passion, and thus my sense of direction. I was not the wife who couldn’t properly help her husband because her income was limited. And I was not the mother who could not provide the needs of her children if they ever depended on her. I am my husband’s strongest ally; his favor from God in human form because I am uniquely equipped to help him bring his God-given vision to pass. I am my children’s protector and first example of a godly woman. I am their window into the heart of God towards them as I love them with God-given grace.
I am more than my income. I am more than my roles at home. I am more than my title and I am more than the work of my hand. I am God’s beloved. And I choose to rest in that knowledge.
I invite you to do the same. You are more!