Showing posts with label Women's Studies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women's Studies. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Steadfastness at Home

One of the signs of a true commitment to something is being steadfast and confident, unmovable. There are some things which may challenge a homemaker or undermine her confidence:

Criticism.  If you are not doing evil in the sight of God, and if you are determined to do the will of God, there is no reason to let criticism stop you. If you are peer-dependent, criticism can have an effect on your mind, creating self-doubt. Spending too much time trying to convince others that the path you have chosen to follow is the good way, can be unhealthy, if it robs you of the time and concentration you need for keeping house. Debating and arguing can cause nervousness, lack of focus, and sleeplessness in some people. If you have written something on a blog or on paper that states your purpose and your personal creed, it is easier to let someone read it and think about it, rather than allow them to engage in too much controversy with you.

But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
2nd Timothy 2:23-26


In every era of time, there have been people who want to destroy anything that is good and lovely. If they saw happiness sitting on a fence, they would knock it down. If they saw virtue walking in a garden, they would corrupt it. If they saw innocence playing with the sunbeams, they would try to blot out the sunny spot. Some people are so unruly,  ill-mannered and poorly taught, that they feel it is their mission to criticise any progress, any creation, and any good idea.

Those who follow Christ are not supposed to argue, but they are supposed to teach. To teach, you must show, and tell. If you have older children who are critics of your role in life, they need to work right along with you and make life easier for you. When someone begins to argue, hand them a broom, or a basket of laundry.  Children will learn quickly not to argue with their mother if they are put to work as soon as they begin to criticise.

 "Mark those who cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned ," the apostle Paul wrote to the church of Christ in Rome, "and avoid them."  Romans 16:17   Some women have found it to be more effective to show a good example of a homemaker being busy at home, than to defend herself to those who only wish to accuse or quarrel. Avoid situations that bring on stress or reduce your ability to concentrate on your home.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
First Corinthians 15:58

Pressure from others to find a job outside the home. Use any pressure, suggestions, hints and demands to "go to work" or "get a job" as signals to do something positive and beautiful in your home, for your family. One lady I know responds to such pushing by baking a pie. "If you keep talking like that, I'm just going to have to bake another pie!" she jokes. It keeps her from getting into a serious conflict, and lightens the mood of those who are insisting that she bring in some money.  She makes the home a better place.

Use pressure also as a time to list things that need to be done at home: Is the house clean, and orderly?  Can you easily locate things you need?  Are you completely satisfied with your housekeeping, or are you always wishing you could get "caught up."  If so, there is no time to "go to work" outside the home. Note:  a woman has already gone to work, if she is a homemaker full time. When someone attempts to quarrel about the matter, just mind  your own business and do something on your list, or catch up on some sewing or some other unfinished project.

Any pressure you feel from others, or any uneasiness they give you, can be used as a motivation to make some progress in your home. If someone makes a rude remark because you are wearing a dress, just sew some more and wear them more often. If someone makes a critical remark about  what you find to do all day,  treat yourself to something  that gives you rest and recreation, or something you have been wanting to do. Try not to spend much time feeling wounded or depressed. Reward yourself in some way by improving your home or doing something interesting.

When there is pressure from others, dig your heels in even harder and stick to your commitment
 to the home.

Taking Tea
by David Emile Joseph de Noter

 It is important to note that a woman at home already has a job, she does work, and she does help the family income, by doing many things herself that would otherwise have to be purchased or paid for at twice the price or more. A woman at home is a second income to her family. As she cares for the family posessions and cleans them and guards the wear and tear on things, she helps prevent more money going out to replace things. When a house is neglected, things can deteriorate, which costs money.  A homemaker is a guard of the home and and guide of the family, ever watchful for waste and inefficiency and constantly on the lookout for wise bargains.

If pressure is coming from the husband, the wife can use it as an opportunity to be a good help-meet to him by gently reminding him of her commitment to Christ, which comes first in her life, and of his duty to be the provider and to protect her from outside demands, so that she can be a good wife and homemaker.  If he is responsible for putting pressure on her to go outside the home to work, his own life and health will suffer, for under stress, a woman will not be able to truly serve him and give him the kind of home life he really needs. 

A homemaker needs to calmly explain that there is women's work and there is men's work. A 70 year old man that I know, who is a widower, says that while his wife was alive, they never got their two roles mixed up. "She was the wife, and I was the husband. She was the homemaker and I was the bread-winner, and we never got the two of them confused.  She did not tell me what to do in my work, and I did not tell her how to run the house." When a homemaker is being pressured to take on extra work outside the home, for money, she can simply explain that she is tending to the women's work, and that it is his job to tend to the man's work of providing for and protecting the family.

Radiant Path
by Greg Singley

 If he is pressuring her to "get a job" (note: she already has a job), or "go to work' (note: she has enough work to do at home) or "make money" (note, she already adds to the family finances by the little things she does to guard her husband's income and mulitiply it and make a dollar stretch), then he is surely injuring his own self. If he puts pressure on her to "work" (note: housekeeping, homemaking, raising children, showing hospitality, and looking after her husband IS work), then he loses the best part of her that would serve him and make his life more bearable at home. 

 To pressure a woman to leave the work already assigned to her by God (Titus 2:, Ist Timothy 5:14), is to assume superiority over God's word. To insist that  a woman go to work is to insist that she have more than one job. Homemaking is a many-faceted job, as it is, for it involves such things as being a purchasing agent, family banker, social director, manager of household duties, laundress, cook, nurse, dressmaker (if she sews and makes her own clothes), interior decorator, gardener and yard maintenance person, office worker (paying bills, correspondence) gift-giver, and more.

Evening Sun
by Mary Dipnall

 A homemaker will often look after the family car, taking it into the local shop for regular maintenance, washing it and cleaning it out. A homemaker will answer the phone, answer the door, answer the mail, and answer the email.  Some women are involved in sending Bible correspondence courses from World Bible school, to remote places on the earth. Others take time out to do needed things for the local church of which they are members.  When dedicated homemakers leave the home to enter the work place, the home suffers a great light and a great loss.

Learn to give good, sensible responses to those who would pressure you to leave the position of homemaker that you love: "Just let me finish up a few things, first," responded one woman I met. "Then I will get a job somewhere else."  She posted her list on a bulletin board and began to work through all the tasks she set before her.  There is always a long list, for when the routine work of meals, dishes and laundry are done, she has to go through old clothes and de-clutter her house, ridding it of things they no longer need, or keeping track of the family pictures and memory books.    "A man's work is from sun to sun," the saying goes, "but a woman's work is never done."  She should never have an extra burden of work heaped on her if she has a husband. A man should be the provider, a woman the homemaker.

If a husband is worried about money, he should try to cut back on expenses and not jeopardize his wife's ability to stay home. Many men get temporary, part-time jobs, when extra money is needed. As far back as many of us can remember, men worked, and women guided the house, even back when wages were very low and expenses were much higher than they are today. Many of us grew up on homes with fathers who proudly supported their families, and mothers who managed on whatever provision the men were able to supply.

Washing Line
by Helen Allingham

 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
1st Thessalonians 4:11-12

Changes in circumstances: It is always reassuring and somehow stabilizing to know someone who never changes her commitment to the home, even when there are upheavals in the family, changes in the income, re-location of the family home, or change of husband's job. These steadfast women keep doing what they always have been doing, and "abound" (increase) in their capable care of the house and the family. When they have to move from place to place, due to their husband's job, they set up housekeeping as quickly as possible, putting things in place as they were before in their previous home, and making people feel at ease even in a strange place.  She does not panic if there is a change in the family income or in circumstances, but stays steady on her course to be a happy homemaker.
Ministry : Sometimes when the husband wants to enter a church ministry, women fall under the pressure to work temporarily, to support them while they become ministers or missionaries. There does not seem to be an exception clause in the commands concerning women who become members of our Lord's body. Some women reason that since it is for the cause of Christ--for "ministry", then it is okay with God if they work outside the home and become providers while their husbands pursue ministry.  However, the women in the church were told to live differently than women outside the church, and as such, were to work quietly at home. While worldly women would be rushing to compete in the working world, the Christian women would be paying attention to the house, knowing that to neglect their husbands, neglect their children, and neglect housekeeping casts a negative light on the Word of God.  (Titus 2:5) 

A husband returning to school for specialized training in his particular field (or a new career) is also something that should be planned for: he should first make arrangements to give his wife and children financial security, and find some way of supporting them so that the wife can stay home. Even though it is temporary, it does not excuse them from rearranging God's plan for a man to be a provider and a woman to keep house.

Before a man goes into ministry, he needs to make provision for his family so that his wife does not have to work outside the home to support his ministry. The husband needs to find some source of support, so that his wife can get on with the business of being a good example as a wife, mother and homemaker, and influence other women to do the same.


In the Garden
by Helen Allingham

No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Housework that is never done. Homemakers should take daily messes and daily work into their stride, and treat it as normal, or they can become discouraged. Some women even reason that since they are not good housekeepers, they should go to work outside the home. While that can be expected of women who do not know the Word of God, it is not an excusable ignorance in Christian women, who need to be an example to younger women and an influence on the world outside of the Lord's church.  It is really sad to know that there are people who are "looking for a church" but when they find one that teaches the true gospel, they find also the women going out to work just like the women of the world. 
It is not necessary to flounder around wondering what to do to get your home in order and your work finished each day, because there is a host of help available.  Study about different aspects of homemaking and learn to be an expert in some areas, so that you may enjoy it more.  There are several free, on-line homemaking and housekeeping courses you can take, which will help you learn a routine for  managing your home, and there are numerous books you can purchase on the subject of home making. 

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Ist Thessalonians 5:21

Kitchens Should Be Used
(photo of my house)

 Women are to guide the home, that the Word of God be not blasphemed or discredited. (Titus 2:5)  In order to "prove all things"  we must live them as though we believed in them, not just try them out until they become difficult or inconvenient.  Becoming workers at home is more than staying home. It takes a great deal of thought and planning. It means doing it with the whole heart.

I have attended ladies church lectures where the speaker suggested that it did not matter if a woman actually looked after her own home, as long as she saw that it got done. She could dictate from afar, such as the telephone, while employed somewhere else, and get someone else to do it.  Any woman could direct the home from a place of employment, but it would lack her presence and her personal touch.   We need to get our Ladies Day speakers to address the issue of the home, homemaking, caring for a husband training up children, and teaching wisdom from the home. Our homes are where we, as a nation are hurting. We need to focus on making home the center of family stability, of hospitality and evangelism, and of creativity.  It has been years  since I've heard an older woman teach these things in a Ladies Day Lecture. Women need to be encouraged to have a clean,neat house and to teach children to be well-mannered.  This takes much, much time, and cannot be done if the woman is not dedicated to her home.

Life as a homemaker is not all work. Homemaking is more than cleaning or putting things in order. It is estabishing customs and creating a culture, using your own talents and creativity, through leisure time. It is embedding your personality and presence in the home by your special likes and preferences. Sometimes being a homemaker is simply sitting still in your living room, just observing the atmosphere and being the lady of the house.

Those outside of Christ do take note of how Christians live, and look for hypocrisy wherever they can find it. If women claim to be Christians but do not follow His Word, it can be a bad influence. A good example is part of winning others to the way of life that is in Christ. We are supposed to care what kind of reputation we are giving Christ, the church and the home. If you believe in something, you can do nothing short of living it.
There is a good opportunity for ministry in the home. The family is the greatest mission field, and God has wisely set the woman in a place of influence and teaching for her children and for others in her sphere. Children need their mothers to nurture them and teach them the Bible and to help them relate it to their daily life.  It is here that a woman learns the most and gains the most experience in ministry, for homemaking itself is a ministry of love, done ultimately for the Lord.
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Spring Blossom
by Jon McNaughton

Steadfastness means unchangeableness. A woman who is dedicated to her home and family cannot be persuaded by all the winds of change in the culture around her. There always have been "wars and rumors of wars" and always have been threats of "collapsing economy", and there will always be changes in employment, moving to different locales, and changes in the lives of the family members. Through all this, a woman can stay the on the same course, to guide the home and maintain it. When someone says, "Now that you have no children at home, what are you going to do?" you know that your work at home will always be there and can respond that you'll be doing more of the same, with some special interests thrown in. You can confidently say that your work at home is not finished. There is no reason that modern women cannot live in the same confidence as the followers of Christ have done in other centuries. In many ways, we are richer today, and staying home is not the hardship it was for some people. We have an easier and more comfortable task than previous generations.

Note: I am not sure if this includes the comments, which are often full of gems worth printing also.


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