Saturday, 10 December 2016

STAY AT HOME WIFE



“So, what do you do?” The question is posed relentlessly. In other words, "What label have you given yourself to prove to the rest of the world that you are not a drain on society?"
During my single years I had a lot of creative answers to that question: “I am a ballet teacher.” “I work at an old and rare bookstore.” “I am a student.” “I teach piano lessons.” Those years were ripe with opportunities to invest in other lives, to develop skills for the future, and to discover the calling for which God had uniquely designed me. During my five-month engagement, I quipped lightly, “Why, I am a bride!” Most people were amused by that, but I was serious. I saw it as a calling, and a very sweet one, at that.

I was spending every waking hour preparing, not just for my wedding, but for my husband. There was painting to be done and flowers to be planted at my new home where we were planning to hold the reception. There were the invitations to address and the endless decisions about cakes and bouquets and bridesmaids dresses, and although I had been mentally planning my wedding from the time that I was sixteen, I still had a lot to do. But far more important than any of that, I was getting ready to be a wife, and the vocation was so appealing and precious that tears would spring to my eyes at the very thought, and I would sometimes call Philip at the office with a little whispered entreaty: “Can’t we just elope…today? Right now?”

We had been married only six months or so when we attended a wedding of one of my husband’s friends. I found myself sitting at a table with an old acquaintance of his, a young single man. I awaited the inevitable. When the question finally came, I smiled brightly and squeezed my husband’s hand. “I am Philip’s wife,” I said, with all the pride in the world. His eyes widened, but not with the censure I had anticipated. He shook his head in a dumbfounded manner, and said, “Well, then Philip is a lucky man.”

I knew from the very beginning that Philip would love for his wife to be at home—not that he would require it, but that he would revere it, and that knowledge only solidified my unswerving conviction that he was the one God had for me. He had thought about it, and that was what he was looking for. But what man, in his inmost heart, wouldn’t admit that it would be nice to come home at the end of a long day to a good, hot meal; a pretty, clean house; and a woman who has given a little attention to her appearance? I realize that I am generalizing a bit, but if I am, it is on matters that basic biblical principles presuppose. “But let the older women teach the younger women to…love their husbands…to be keepers at home…” (Titus 2:4,5).

According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the word "keeper" means literally a guard, a stayer at home, one who is domestically inclined. We women are gatekeepers—no matter what battles are raging in our culture, we have been entrusted with the culture of our own homes, a culture within which tremendous ministry can take place, both to our families as well as the ones God brings into our lives. And for me, even though He has not blessed us with children yet, that is a full-time job. Once people have regained consciousness after I tell them that I am a stay-at-home wife, they usually say something like, “I wish that I could afford to do that,” or “What on earth do you do all day?”

There is no reply that will satisfy those who have already made up their minds that I am throwing away my life, or at least any potential for significance. But I was once asked by an older woman who was a stay-at-home mother of 11, “What do your days look like?” which is a much more intuitive question. She did not assume for a moment that just because I had no children at home my days were not filled with meaningful tasks.

We ladies need to reassess our motives in what we do. All that we do—from the housewife who is so occupied with her children that her husband goes to work with buttons missing off of his shirt, to the newly-married career woman who feeds her man on frozen dinners and take-out food. We were created by God to be a helper suitable. In other words, we are designed by God to be precisely what that man—that we have vowed before Him to love, honour, cherish and obey—needs. Such an understanding of the glowing realities beneath the surface of life exalts tasks like ironing his pants and packing his lunch and making his home beautiful to a place of honour, as far removed from the idea of subservience as the sacred from the profane.

I think that it is a shame that the old-fashioned custom of a wife being called by her husband’s name has gone by the wayside. What a symbol of pride and possessiveness—I am his! Mrs. Philip Ivester—he has given me his name, in very much the same way as our Lord has given us His. We are Christians—"little Christs"—not just people who believe in Him, but people who belong to Him. We don’t lose our identity in assuming such a handle; we accept it gratefully, joyously, knowing the new life within us for which it stands.

God often changed people’s names in the Old Testament as an outward sign of His ownership of them. They were not less themselves, but more—in all the abundance and freedom of God’s calling. If we are wives, it is a symbol of the fullness of our womanhood to be so named. I have been approached on two separate occasions by widows who thanked me most earnestly for addressing a letter to them using their husband’s name. These women were still proud to be identified with their men—and touched deeply that someone had proclaimed it in such a simple, commonplace way.

I am not a homemaker because I had too little ambition or education to make anything else of myself. No—I am a homemaker because God has given me the infinite honour of being a wife, and I delight in employing every ability that He has equipped me with in this glad career. I love being home. I love being intimately familiar with each creaking floorboard and each pattern that the sun makes upon the walls as it travels across the backyard. I love making bread and tending my garden and caring for a small menagerie of cats and chickens and a dog who thinks he’s human. But most of all, I love the happy look that I see on my husband’s tired face when he comes in at the end of the day. And I cherish the fulfillment that the Lord gives me in all of these things. Indeed, “my borders enclose a pleasant land”. (Psalm 16:6)

I am not saying that no married woman should supplement her husband’s income. I am only urging that she be sure of her calling. Too many women jump to some rather unfortunate conclusions when it comes to the concept of homemaking. They seem to associate it solely with child-raising, forgetting that in his divine order the Lord calls us to be wives before He calls us to be mothers. It is a wonderful thing to encourage women to be at home with their children, and I applaud those who have made sacrifices of their careers in order to invest in eternity. But we should be promoting the vocation of wife just as much, if not more, for the marriage relationship is the foundation of all family life. For the childless woman, home can still be a fulfilling place, as I have learned in waiting on God to bless us with little ones. To be sure, there may be less time for the tending of roses, but I think that the nursing of little rosebuds will be a fair exchange. by Lanier Ivester


I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:2

48 comments:

  1. That message truly is a keeper. Not all women are blessed with the ability to devote themselves to homemaking, but those who are called to do so will find that God will provide the family all they need. Sometimes women (myself included) think that supplementing the family income is part of homemaking - I believe I was able to rationalize, but not confirm that was God's plan. I suggest to others they do so before making changes in their lives.

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    1. So true, Phyllis... thanks for taking tea with me again today!

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  2. I am honered to be a stay at home wife.

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    1. My word, so am I! I love it! Blessings!

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  3. Love, love, love this! I'm honored to be my man's wife! So glad you linked this up with The Alabaster Jar, Glenys!

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    1. I love it too, Jolene! I love being married to Chris... God is good! Life is abundant in blessings! Thanks for sharing a cuppa with me today, Jolene!

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  4. Wonderful post!! Thanks for linking it up!

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    1. It's so well written... I just wanted to pass it along! Blessings!

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  5. AWESOME post!!!! I love the idea of guarding the home. We have just a huge responsibility! And taking a job outside of the home would be a step down for me. Popping over from OYHT. A Little R & R http://jukiczr.blogspot.com

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    1. Keeping the home is an awesome responsibility, but one that I love. Thanks for taking tea with me today, Rosilind!

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  6. I am very proud to be my husbands wife, but personally I don't need to be at home all day to meet all his needs as I wrote in my blog today. To be completely honest I would become very bored if I was at home all day with my children are grown up , I'm one of those women who work because they enjoy what they do, rather than supplementing our income. Im the odd one out here!!!

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    1. That's great, Joluise... but I write specifically for stay at home wives and mothers, encouraging them that they are serving God by staying home... it is not to condemn you or any other Sisters who choose to work. SAHM and SAHW are under terrible pressure to conform to the world's ways... we are made to feel guilty for choosing to work in the home...thanks for sharing tea with me today! Blessings!

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  7. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!!!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing it! It truly inspired me today!
    And thank you for linking up with me!

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    1. She is so good isn't she? I loved it too and am trying to spread it around to others.... really meaty article! I deleted the second comment which was a repeat... Blogger goes weird sometimes doesn't it? :D Blessings and thanks for sharing a cuppa with me!

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  8. What an encouragement!
    Thank you for sharing this.

    Blessings to you

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    1. It is the best I have read on this! So excited to share it with you...

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  9. I'm a stay at home wife too! I only work as a reliever at a child care centre one or two half days a week. It is enough, and I couldn't care for our home or my dear husband if I did more!!! Love this post!

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    1. We definitely get the best end of the stick in my opinion. Staying home with our children is worth all the sacrifices we make financially isn't it? thanks for taking tea with me today! :D

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  10. Proverbs 31 comes to mind! Being a wife is an honorable thing and a true blessing! Running a household is a full time job...but it comes with so many blessings and rewards! Thanks for posting this, Glenys!

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    1. Lanier definitely is a Proverbs 31 wife isn't she? I really loved her article! Blessings!

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  11. I really appreciate the reminder that I am called FIRST to be a wife and then a mother. When you have a newborn and little ones, it's easy to forget your husband. Lanier is so right that being a stay at home wife is a calling and not one to be taken lightly either despite society's disapproval and ridicule.

    Thanks for sharing! Love your blog! Joining you from Raising Homemakers.

    Keri
    http://www.growinginhisglory.com

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    1. Keri, I loved that too! As I no longer have children at home, it has sometimes given me a sense of "what do I do now?" It was edifying to read that we are called to be wives first before mothers.... it lifted my whole attitude to being an empty nesting wife.... thanks for sharing a cuppa with me today! Blessings!

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  12. Very insightful. I liked that line, "I'm Philip's wife."

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    1. That was great, wasn't it? Says it all.....

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  13. This article really gives meaning to Jesus' words: "He (or She) who would be greatest must be the servant of all."
    It is so hard for our competitive, climbing society to understand why a woman would "waste" herself by being a homemaker. But we belong to a Kingdom where the way up is down.

    And where any service - no matter how small - poured out on the Master's feet, is never wasted.

    Glad I stopped over from Beholding Glory! God bless you!

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    1. Yes, Kelli that is so true! the world has no idea about servanthood... thanks for sharing a cuppas with me today! Blessings!

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  14. I've been blessed to be a sahw/m. I have also seen over the years how that opportunity seems to have kept slipping away for younger women. They, their husbands, and other people surrounding their lives expect them to go out into the workforce and "contribute to the marriage/family" -- meaning financially. It's good, your showing the value of the "gatekeeper," because we've all become the losers by losing so many who have been enticed, pushed, or even forced into leaving their posts.

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    1. Sylvia, you are spot on! Thanks so much for sipping tea with me today! Blessings!

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  15. Wow, this is spot-on. What rich truth! Great post.

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  16. Any suggestions for a working mother who is working to pay the bills and the humongous credit card debt that's been created?

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    1. Tami, as I have mentioned before, sometimes circumstances dictate that a mother must work outside the home.... if her husband wants it, then it is a good idea to obey him. I am not into making women who work outside the home feel guilty for doing so.... if that is how it comes across, I am sorry. The computer limits emotion in how one comes across. As I have said before, I write what I believe is God's ideal for His daughters, but we all know that we live in a fallen world where the reality often is no work = no food on the table... Working outside the home is not a salvation issue or a sin.... in all things, we are called as individuals who must walk the path to God according to Him. I have been a work outside the home mother myself, as you can read in former posts... I have no stones to throw at working mothers. However, I do blog about what the Word says and what God says is His ideal for women. Women are so stressed and pressured these days.... Thanks for sharing a cuppa with me today.... I hope we can have a cuppa again! Blessings!

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    2. What a lovely, encouraging post and I love this: "in his divine order the Lord calls us to be wives before He calls us to be mothers." We have to be careful not to forget about our husbands once the children come!

      As for other people's responses, a long time ago I met a gal at a get-together at someone's house. She asked what I did and I said I was a wife and stay at home mom. She said "Oh" and turned her whole body away from me and ignored me from then on.

      I didn't get the impression that she was jealous or angry. From the sound of her voice and her expression, I got the impression that she thought that it would be boring to talk to me, lol!

      I loved what you said about why you're a homemaker. It's the same for me. I CHOSE this "job!" and by God's grace I'm doing it and loving it. Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

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    3. Momstheword, I loved this post so much that I literally linked it to every blog hop I could find... it's such an encouraging post. I didn't write it, Lanier Ivester did... she has a way with words that edify and interest. I love her work. I know how insensitive people can be when you say you don't work outside the home... I have experienced the cold shoulder treatment myself... It's a good job that God values our service to our family and home... we can look forward to His joy in us when He tells us "well done!" The world however, is a totally different matter. Thanks for sharing a lovely cuppa with me today... Blessings!

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  17. Glenys...What a great post to pass on! I'm so glad you shared it at WJIM. :o) Thank you!

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    1. Lanier's a great writer isn't she, Naomi? I just loved this! :D

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  18. Hi, Just letting you know that this post was among the top 3 most visited posts from last week's link up. You will be featured in tomorrow's Beautiful Thursdays Link up...feel free to come visit and grab your featured button! :-)
    http://passionateandcreativehomemaking.blogspot.com/

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  19. AWESOME post, thank you for sharing. I have struggled with my role as a helpmeet/homemaker. I grew up in feminism and believe my role was in the world, not at home. Even though I am called to be home, I still work some outside of the home because of debt we go into MANY years back. I have learned now, but my goal is to teach my children to never go there so that they may live for God's purpose.

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    1. That is a wonderful testimony! You are very wise to teach your children about debt. It is a killer of family life and some marriages! Blessings and thanks for taking tea with me today!

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  20. May I just add a profound AMEN! You have re-energized me! I have always been a stay at home wife, and later, mother. It was my only desire. And I love it! I am providing a warm, soft place for my husby. And there is nothing else I'd rather be doing. It is so encouraging to find that so many others are like-minded. Happy Day!!!

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    1. Blessings, Diane! Let's share a cuppa often! It's like-minded women like you who make my day!

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  21. Was a good article but I see a flip side to it. I was a sahm for 20+ years, now my children are all grown with their own families, I'm not needed anymore (their own words). My hubby is busy all the time and now I'm alone. I wish I had had a career because now I wouldn't be so alone.

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    1. Dear Anonymous, perhaps might be a good time to serve the LORD in some ministry outside the home. Here is the link to a post I wrote about this.

      http://www.achristianhome.org/Glenys/what_can_i_do_after_the_cleanings_done_glenyshicks.htm

      Blessings, Glenys

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    2. Dear Glenys,
      I'm not trying to be negative just honest. Yes I do serve the Lord in a ministry but it doesn't fill the void of family.

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    3. Is fostering or adopting a child a possibility? I know what the feeling of still wanting to be a mother feels like.... I would have loved more children myself.... fortunately for me, I have lots of grandchildren. I do understand what you are saying. Blessings!

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