Seasons of Change

For the past couple of weeks, many of our science lessons have consisted of studying some caterpillars I ordered using a gift from my parents of a Kaplan educational gift certificate.  I spent a good deal of time scrolling through the hundreds of options on the Kaplan site to determine what would be the best use of the gift, reading reviews to ensure I wouldn’t end up with something that would be a disappointment.  We finally settled on a butterfly kit, and I eagerly ordered it and then used the coupon it came with to send away for our caterpillars.  We received 6 caterpillars instead of the usual 3-5, which was a nice bonus. Almost every day Eila and I would spend time making observations regarding growth, appearance, and the like.  I quickly began to realize that I was more excited about watching these caterpillars prepare for their transformation than anyone.

I had never watched the process before, so I learned a few new things.  I did not know, for example, that before the caterpillars begin to develop their chrysalis, that they spend a good deal of time hanging perfectly still upside down, in a J- like formation.  The pamphlet that came with the kit states that this is an intense and vulnerable period of rest and preparation immediately before the chrysalides form and the transformation begins.

This struck a chord with me.  I guess this caught my attention because I have been in a season of paradigm shift and change for the past 6 months or so.  Homeschooling is  a huge paradigm shift in our culture- despite the fact that it is becoming more common and accepted, it definitely goes against the grain and the norm in our culture.  It’s a faith journey in so many ways, as I have to rely on Christ in ways that are new and unexpected in educating my children and in regard to my own need for patience and ability to be flexible.  We did preschool last year, but knowing that we chose to dive into kindergarten this year (due to Eila’s readiness) has made it all more real.  I love the freedom of homeschooling, the opportunities to be so actively involved in my children’s education, and the time we have truly developing a love for learning, but the responsibility is downright scary some days!

Another crazy paradigm shift for me is that of homebirth.  As I sit here 22 weeks pregnant with our third child, knowing we are past the halfway point and that our goal is a safe and uneventful homebirth, I alternate between excitement and that feeling of “what-on-earth-are-we-thinking”?  I don’t know if I would have considered it if Asher’s birth hadn’t been such a great experience overall.  I have a few friends who have had homebirths, and I have strong feelings on the rising rate of hospital interventions and the risk they can pose when not needed, so as Will and I began to talk about trying for a third, we were in agreement that we would plan for a homebirth.

Once we conceived and began seeing my midwife, the reality of this decision kicked in on a more elevated level and while I am still wholeheartedly wanting a homebirth, I will not lie and say that I don’t get fearful or overwhelmed at times.  This is when I remind myself of the following:  that God is just as present in my bedroom as He is in a hospital room.  Sovereign is sovereign.  My midwife does not do daring births and at the first indication of anything wrong is quick to send the mom to the hospital.  We prayed about it and feel it is the right thing for us for this birth.  And since, in God’s grace, I was able to deliver Asher naturally and without anyone around for most of the birth, I’m trusting that we can do it again.

So what does homeschool and homebirth have to do with a caterpillar preparing to become a butterfly?  Maybe not what would seem obvious.  For me, it is not really about the end result of transformation right now.  It’s about the process.  The caterpillar to butterfly analogy is frequently used in our culture to describe something more ordinary becoming extraordinary.  In Christian circles, it is often an illustration that accompanies the idea of a person becoming a new creation when they become a follower of Christ (“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation has come.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17).  And this is absolutely appropriate and thrilling to think that we are made new!

Yet as I mentioned, it is the process of being made new that has recently caught my attention.  As I watched the caterpillars hang there in a J shape, vulnerable and preparing for the changes to come, one of my favorite words came to mind.  Abide.  The concept of abiding is to wait, to endure, to bear patiently.  To abide in Christ is to do these things in Him and by His power.  John 15:4 states, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” As I read this verse and think about both homeschooling and homebirthing, it occurs to me that unless I rest in Christ and endure the difficulties every new thing is guaranteed to bring at some point, I will not be able to accomplish what I hope.  I won’t bear fruit.  In resting, in enduring, in bearing patiently as I hang vulnerably swaying in the wind of challenge while I wait, He is preparing me for what is ahead.  The process cannot be underestimated, we shouldn’t rush through it in our eagerness to be made new, to become more beautiful, to accomplish a certain goal.  And it may not seem like we are doing much, that we are moving towards our goal; we may feel that life is dull and monotonous as we wait.  But feelings don’t equal truth, and the majority of such times we discover that it was these quiet or lackluster periods in life that preceded some of the most beautiful moments we have been blessed with.

It really is a privilege to rest in Christ as He prepares me for things ahead.  That doesn’t mean it’s always wonderful and that I revel in the process, but I am trying to remember to trust, even (especially!) as I hang there still or slightly swaying, in the One who planned my transformation.


On my mind and heart…

Sometimes I have too many serious issues and thoughts bumping around in my head, and while I want to write a blog post to clear my head and get the thoughts on “paper”, part of me dreads the process.  I’m not exactly sure why- perhaps it is because it is much easier to take time to write on DIY projects, funny things my kids are doing, or random life events.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing about all of those things and plan to do so soon.  But I feel the need to get this out first so I can move on to the other (fun!) things.

I find myself getting increasingly frustrated when my brothers or sisters in Christ accept and/or promote the watered-down ways of the world.  First, a disclaimer- I am not trying to indicate that I never do this.  It is hard to be a Christian and avoid it, honestly.  It truly takes continuous effort and dying to self, and that is exhausting.  Thankfully, Jesus is there to help guide us through the process and shoulder the burden with us.  That said, it’s becoming a larger and larger issue and I’m both agitated and saddened by it.

Take abortion (surprise, back to this issue again).  I believe wholeheartedly that abortion is not only the taking of innocent life, but that it is a destroyer of women’s lives as well. And men’s.  I also believe that Planned Parenthood is one of the most sinister organizations that there is.  You look at the beliefs of the founder, Margaret Sanger- then go research some of her successors.  The ideology of Planned Parenthood is, at its core, horrifying.   Yes, I know the argument that “Planned Parenthood provides services to women that they can’t access easily elsewhere” in addition to the oft-used “but look at all the good they have done!”  Very few things get me going like the latter argument.  But you know, I’m not so surprised to hear it from nonbelievers and this post is not aimed at those who do not profess Christ.

Christians, on the other hand, should know better.  Since when does any “good” done by Planned Parenthood justify the murder of 332,278 babies in 2009 alone. It does 333 abortion referrals for every 1 adoption referral.  Also, according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America 2006-2007 Annual Report, abortion accounts for at least a third of Planned Parenthood’s total income from clinic services.  It took home $85 million in profit and had an operating budget of over $1 billion for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, according to one of its more recent annual reports.  If people would truly take time to read the information out there, even (especially!) in PP’s own reports, I think they would begin to see what this organization truly is.  Talk to women who have not been given full information before aborting their baby and who are daily dealing with the physical and/or emotional repercussions- talk to fathers who weren’t given a “choice” in whether their child lived or died.  Stop being lukewarm on an issue that demands a strong voice!

People like to argue that the good Planned Parenthood does outweighs the bad.  What, then, is the moral difference in justifying Hitler’s role in murdering the over 6 million people he did, because, well, he did great things for the German economy and advocated strongly for worker’s rights?  The Nazis provided the world with incredible strides in engineering and the field of medicine, accomplishments that undoubtedly saved lives.  Does that justify the evil they did?  Sounds harsh, even ridiculous to compare the two doesn’t it?  But why?  It’s the same principle.

The good an organization or individual does cannot outweigh the evil of taking human life.

Over 49,551,703 babies have been aborted since abortion was legalized in 1973.  Over 49, 551, 703.  Take some time to read about the various methods of abortion- read the accounts of how babies have responded with pain in the womb as they tried to avoid the suction device.  Then tell me again that Planned Parenthood is a honorable organization.

So…that is why I am shocked when my brothers and sisters in Christ support Planned Parenthood, even in part.  Please understand me- my heart breaks for women that feel so desperate that they kill their child.  Yes, I often feel anger too, but my real anger is for those that take advantage of these women and do it under the guise of advocacy and “choice”.  It is an organization that is no friend to children, certainly, but it is no friend to women either.

As Christians, we are called to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14); to reflect the true Light of the world, Christ.  Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  How can we be the light of the world, when, as followers of Christ, we defend organizations (or individuals) that are so clearly opposed to the will of God?  I’m not saying I haven’t done this, and I may even do it now unknowingly, but it is my responsibility to be as informed as possible- and to me, Planned Parenthood is a clear-cut issue.   I’m not saying this against any one person, it’s simply an observation that has been building and building to the point where I felt the need to process it further.

If you’re still with me, I hope you understand the passion that drove this post.  Even more, I hope you’ll share it.

Faith, Family

“Git R’ Done” Part 1

I’ve held to my promise to post this week- I got my book review post done but haven’t yet posted about Eila’s third birthday.  And while I suppose I could do that now, I don’t have the pictures uploaded yet, and it just doesn’t seem right to write a post about her birthday without pictures.  Oh, and I’m still in denial that she’s three.

So, I’ll make my sister-in-law happy (hi, Erica!) and write Eila’s birth story.  Because, you see, I care about you and will NOT include pictures in this post.  Except for maybe one at the end of my sweet girl all shiny, bundled up, and beautifully new.

I was due with Eila on February 4, 2008.  She didn’t care and decided to come when she felt like it, starting her exit the morning of the 11th.  Stubborn from the get-go!  By the 11th, Will and I were very ready to meet our little girl but really didn’t want to be induced if we could help it, which my doctors were plotting to do if she hadn’t arrived by the 12th.  Needless to say, when I felt the beginning of what seemed to be regular contractions around 4:30am the 11th, we were very excited.  Like the birth rookies we were, we waited to make sure that the contractions were indeed regular before planning to head to the hospital.  In the meantime, I took a bath, called my parents, got our things together, and headed towards the hospital. Knowing what I know now, I mentally kick myself for rushing to the hospital rather than laboring at home for awhile.  PLEASE, if you can, labor at home as long as possible.  SO MUCH BETTER.

Anyway, we got to the hospital around 7:30am, after stopping for biscuits for breakfast.  Yeah, clearly these were NOT major contractions at this point.  We arrived and told them how far apart the contractions were, and went into triage so they could check the contractions out for themselves by hooking me up to the contraction-measuring-machine.  After this, the nurses told us we could go back home if we wanted and wait for them to get closer together.  “Mean nurses”, I thought.  “I want to stay and have my baby.  How dare you say I can go back home?”  When the on-call doctor spoke up and said instead to admit me, I thought “See?  He knows what he’s doing!”  Ha! Again, stupid.  Stupid, stupid me.

Will and I checked into the hospital room with all the excitement of honeymooners’ checking into their hotel suite after the wedding.  Except I was very large, in mild to moderate pain, and wearing a super unattractive hospital gown.  We begin THE WALK.  You know, walking around the labor and delivery floor to help contractions move along.  And boy did they start moving.

And aside from not rushing to the hospital in the first place, this is where I wish I could go back and change things. This is where I let fear in.  I thought I knew what to expect:  I read the books, I took the classes, I talked to some mommy friends.  But nothing can quite prepare you for the uniqueness of the birth process, and that process does include pain.  My labor was still “progressing slowly” (according to the doctor) and so naturally, pitocin was offered as the best intervention at this point.  Pitocin.  As in “liquid hell”.  For those of you who may not know, the job of pitocin is to progress labor, which means the contractions pick up.  But because it is synthetic oxytocin, the contractions typically came harder and with more intensity than if they were occurring naturally.  And when those contractions began to come with more force, I got scared.  I tensed up, which physically, is the worst thing you can do because it intensifies the pain.  What’s worse though, is that spiritually speaking, I took my eyes off God and focused on my fear.  The Bible says, in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”  And one of my favorite passages can be found in Isaiah 43: 1-3, “But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”.

I didn’t, however, let the truth of those verses wash over me the way the fear did, and after hearing the word “pitocin”, I agreed quickly at that point to an epidural, which I had not planned to do.  It took awhile to get the anesthesiologist in to do the epidural, and I began to get my security from a numbing agent delivered via monster needle rather than from the Lord.  That security was short-lived, however, because the epidural didn’t fully take and left me with a hot spot in my left hip which felt similar to having a portion of your body on fire.  Well, it’s what I would imagine having your body on fire would feel like.

My mother and Will are both with me in the room, and because I had an epidural I was no longer free to move around but instead had to pretty much park it in the hospital bed (seeing as how you have to be hooked up to a monitor and all after the anesthetic is injected).  Oh, and the catheter was great fun too (sorry, but this is real life people).  Well, as often is the case, the epidural slowed down the labor.  We were hitting the brake (epidural) and the gas (Pitocin) at the same time with this madness.

At this point, we were heading into early evening, and I was trying to rest as much as possible in the hospital bed.  My mom was sitting in the room praying and reading her Bible, and Will was trying to distract himself from seeing me in pain.  I remember vividly his shoes.  Why?  Because they squeaked.  And every time he would walk around the room I heard those darn shoes squeaking and it drove me crazy.  I think I may have been a little sensitive.  At least the hot spot had eased off some.

As I should probably ease off this post and share the rest of the story soon.  It’s getting a wee bit long.  Kind of like my labor with my sweet girl.

Culture, Faith

Eat Pray Love?

About four or five months ago now, I read the book Eat Pray Love.  I had heard many things about it, and when I encountered it at our local library, I thought I would read it and decide for myself.

Fast forward to the present, and the movie has hit the big screen.  Eat Pray Love is being hyped everywhere from promotions at World Market, to a sweepstakes in which you can win a trip to Italy through Kohl’s department store, to women taking  “self-discovery” trips a la Miss Gilbert.

And I find it all painfully empty.

Eat Pray Love is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert’s travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia in search of “everything”.  It is very well-written…beautifully so, actually, is very entertaining, and the descriptions of her travels and the people she encountered left me wanting to travel as well.  So for those reasons, I get the appeal of this book. But after I finished reading it (and often in the middle of it), I felt overwhelming sadness for Miss Gilbert.  And as I begin to go into why, I feel the need to state up front that this post is not intended to be a condemnation of her in the slightest- I have great respect for her as a writer and love for her as a person.  She appears to have a kind heart, a sharp intellect, and a desire to help others.  I admire all of those attributes.

***Spoilers ahead***

One of my biggest issues with this book is found from the very beginning.  Miss Gilbert divorces her husband because she is no longer in love with him, doesn’t want children, and thinks there must be more to life.  While this decision is lauded by many readers as brave and exciting, it is, in essence, indulgent.  To be fair, I don’t know all the ins and outs of her marriage, and to her credit, Miss Gilbert does not subject her readers to all the terrible things about her ex-husband.  I do know, however, that marriage isn’t intended to be something tossed aside for such reasons as those given in the book.  However, since it is God’s word that teaches us that marriage is meant to last until the couple is parted by death, and is a covenant between the man, woman, and God, I wouldn’t expect her to necessarily view marriage the way I do, as she is not a Christian.

I did find her view of Christians ironic (and sometimes offensive).  There are multiple instances where she shares how important it is to be open-minded in matters of spirituality, and this is of course evident as she explores and develops her own spiritual beliefs.  Miss Gilbert is in strong disagreement that there is only one path to God, subtly scoffing at the Christian belief that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).  She is obviously very welcome to disagree with this viewpoint, but what bothered me was her contempt for those that hold this viewpoint.  For someone emphasizing having an open-mind, her response to the Christian view was quite intolerant.

But the topics of divorce and scorn towards Christians for our “narrow views” were not what bothered me about this book.

It was the lack of peace.  My take on Eat Pray Love was not so much that Miss Gilbert was on a search for “everything”, but rather, that she was searching for peace.  In the first half of the book, it is made clear by Miss Gilbert herself that she doesn’t feel peace.  As I finished the last page however, after reading of her adventures with gelato, Italian food, and more gelato in Italy, an ashram in India, and a medicine man in Indonesia, it became clear to me that she still hadn’t found peace.  The most heartbreaking of all portions of the book for me was the portion in India, where she speaks most of her spiritual experiences in the ashram while in deep meditative trances.  What she described felt purely demonic to me and seemed to leave her feeling even more disturbed than she did before, but whether I am right or wrong on that, she acknowledges herself that she didn’t feel peace during many of those times.

I wish Miss Gilbert had discovered Christ on her journey.  John 14:27 states, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Perhaps anyone reading this that is not a Christian will shake their head at my audacity to state that I know the source of true peace, and that that source is Jesus.  If only they, and Miss Gilbert herself, could recognize that the Christian’s assurance that there is only one way is made out of not only truth, but love.  If only they understood that when you possess the most wonderful gift in the world, it would be the utmost selfishness to refuse to share it with others.  I have peace in Christ, and it is the most precious of gifts.  I long more and more for others to have this gift as well.

I know she is now married to the man she meets at the end of Eat Pray Love (they only got married so that he could move to the U.S. with her- she has just recently begun to revise her views on marriage, which is the topic of her more recent book, Committed), and I would imagine Elizabeth Gilbert would state that she is happy now.  But I can’t help but wonder if there is still a small hole, deep down inside of her, that hasn’t been filled despite her creative and even exciting efforts to fill it.

I am frustrated over the number of women that hold this book as an ideal to achieve and have left behind family, careers, etc. to achieve it.  I have no problem with being adventurous and spontaneous, and traveling is something I wish I had done more of before having children.  Yet the desire for so many to find fulfillment through this process is concerning.  Overall, this book left me feeling both despondent and grateful.  Despondent due to the emptiness that Elizabeth Gilbert and others that she encountered on her journey for “everything” seemed to feel, and grateful that my journey led to Christ, who now travels the rest of the way with me.

Faith, Family


This past weekend, Will and I loaded up the kids, a bunch of Mercer Mayer Little Critter books, a Veggietales cd, and some toys to entertain Asher, and praying for safety and the preservation of our sanity, we headed down to the little town of Kershaw, SC.  A good majority of family from my dad’s side lives in that area, including my grandfather and many great-aunts and great-uncles.  We were going down specifically to see my grandfather.

Ever since my grandmother passed away this past April, my dad and his three brothers have taken turns going down to spend weekends with my grandpa.  This past weekend was my parents’ turn to travel down, so Will and I decided it would be a good time to also head down so that we could spend time with my grandpa without trying to juggle looking after the kids, cooking, and other things all at the same time.  We had also learned in the week prior that my gradpa’s cancer had spread further throughout his body, and I don’t want to miss opportunities to see him.

The three hour or so ride down wasn’t too bad- Eila remained pretty occupied and Asher was able to take his morning nap during a portion of the ride.  It felt great to arrive and get everyone out of the car.  I had been praying on the way down that God would help me know what to say and how to manage seeing my grandpa in pain and looking so unlike the strong, active man I have always known.  As I walked inside his home, I looked into the living room where I knew he would be, sitting in his chair, wearing his pajamas.  He smiled and I could see the mix of happiness and pain in his eyes.  The cancer that is wreaking havoc on his body is showing itself now on his neck, where he has a bulge about five inches long and a couple inches deep.  He remains on oxygen and is very weak, using a cane to walk.  He naps for long periods each day and misses his wife with all of him.

And yet, his spirit is strong within him.  Or rather, His spirit is strong within him.  The light in his eyes, the hope that continues to shine forth, radiates from his faith in the Lord, and from that faith only.  As we sat and talked about his love for my grandmother and all the tests he had to endure, in addition to the radiation treatments that would be coming fast and hard in the next few weeks, I couldn’t help but ask my grandfather if he wanted to go through the cancer treatments.  My great-aunt Rita, my grandfather’s sister, had also asked him that question.  He replied, “I’m halfway between Verdie (my grandma’s name is Verda) and my boys…I’m going to stick around longer for my boys.”

The love he has for my father and my uncles outweighs his pain and desire to see my grandma again.

After eating dinner with my grandpa, my great-aunt, and my parents, Will and I put the kids in their pajamas and prepared to head for home (we knew we wouldn’t pull into our driveway until close to 10pm).   Eating dinner at the table with us had taken all of my grandpa’s energy, so he was lying down in bed by the time we had everything gathered to go.  I went down the hallway with the kids to say goodbye to him.  As I held Asher and bent over to give my grandpa a hug, I fought back tears as I felt like he was saying goodbye.  I told him we would see him again soon.  And we will, whether here on earth or after he has joined his wife and his Savior in heaven and it is our time to leave this earth to be with them as well.

It wasn’t too long after we had gotten back on I-95 that we decided we’d better stop and feed Asher one more time before we hit home.  We stopped at the same church parking lot we had stopped at on the way down and Will and Eila got out of the car while I fed Asher.  As I looked at them through the window, I observed my sweet husband running with my daughter in the grass and swinging her in his arms.  And I burst out laughing.  Because I saw this:

One of the saddest moments I had experienced that day was having that conversation with my grandfather before we left, as he laid on his bed in his navy blue pajamas, looking so small.  But how like our God to allow me my happiest moment looking at my little girl, also in pajamas, hers covered in pastel-colored whales, as she played and rejoiced in her father’s love.  One life near its end, the other at its beginning.

At least, on this side of heaven.


And to sum it up…

I started hearing about the “one word” movement ( around the start of the year.  Fitting, since it is meant to serve as a substitute for a New Year’s resolution.  I have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions and, truth be told, I tend to avoid movements such as this one.  Yet there is something appealing in choosing a single word to describe my hope for 2010.

When I was up in the middle of the night nursing Asher a week or so ago, I was using the time to talk with God.  Our talk turned into me pouring out fears and frustrations I had and was experiencing.  God brought to mind the fact that He is the vine and I am a branch– the actual verse is John 15:5, which says:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

I knew He was speaking to me through this verse, and particulalry through the word “abide”.  Of course, “abide” can have a few different connotations and according to my friend Merriam-Webster (ha, does anyone else see the irony that I had to double-check my spelling of Merriam?) abide means 1) to wait for, 2) to endure without yielding/to bear patiently, and 3) to accept without objection.  I knew what abide meant overall, but looking at these specific definitions helped me to understand it even more thoroughly, particularly in light of John 15:5 and the troubles I had been sharing with the Lord.  We are often commanded to “wait” (Psalm 27:14) on the Lord; according to definition 1, “wait” is synonymous with “abide” (note: I am not taking into account Hebrew or Greek translations here, so forgive me if I am off on this).  Definition 2 indicates that to abide is to endure without giving up, to bear patiently (I add italics here as a personal reminder).  However, I was most intrigued by definition 3– to accept without objection.  This is a hard one for me.  But certainly appropriate given that my Father knows what is best and His will, not mine, be done.  I find it reassuring that Matthew 7:11 reminds us that He loves to give us good gifts, as it reminds me that He does delight in giving us gifts if they are in our best interest and in accordance with His will.

Anyway, looking at the word “abide” in a more multi-dimensional way is fitting since the God I serve is certainly more multi-dimensional than anyone imaginable.  And since He commands us to abide in Him, it’s important to understand the meaning of such a commandment.  Going back to the night where I was nursing Asher and feeling pretty discouraged, I found such comfort in abiding in Him.  I suppose that is because I picture waiting patiently and not giving up while being held firmly in the arms of my Abba Father.  There is such safety and warmth in that image.  I find myself regularly repeating the word “abide” when I find myself feeling lonely, sad, scared, or even angry.  And I feel comforted.

All that to say, my one word for this year is “abide”.  It draws my focus on resting in the Lord in all things.  Let me be clear in case I sound too “preachy”, I am NOT so good at abiding.  It will take some definite work.  But to be able to do that is my goal and my prayer.  And my privilege.

Culture, Faith, Family

Proverbs 31 versus American 2010 Part 2 (aka “What’s Titus Got To Do With It?”)

After my last post on the Proverbs 31 woman, I have continued to search Scripture for more verses relating to a woman’s role, stay-at-home mom, working out-of-the-home mom, whatever the case may be (of course, the verses also apply fully to all women, single, married, without children, etc.).  My focus though, of course, is trying to figure out who God would have me be in light of all the recent changes in my life, so forgive me when I primarily write about my thoughts from a stay-at-home mom perspective.

That said, I took my thoughts from studying the Proverbs 31 woman and also began exploring Titus 2, focusing on verses 3-5.

3Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

As I try to figure out how to balance being a wife and mother with (simply?) being a woman, I find some helpful information, ironically, in a letter written by one man (Paul) to another (Titus).  Granted, Titus was entrusted with reading this to his fellow believers, but still… Anyway, these 3 verses focus on not only how older women should conduct themselves, but also on what they are to teach younger women.  Included in this training is loving their husbands and children, being self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and the S-word…submission.  Now that last word is often considered on par with the other S-word by our society as a whole, including many Christians.  Not many of us like to submit to anyone; we want to do things the way we want, when we want.  Myself included- just ask my husband.

Before I get too off-topic, I just want to point out that submission does not equal doormat, but it does acknowledge that ultimately, our husbands have the final say.  Look at it this way…submission is INCREDIBLY HARD, but in Ephesians, husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ loves the church.  They have the much more difficult job, I think!

Back to Titus.  What stands out to me currently is the “working at home” part- I’m in the process of trying to discern what this means exactly.  I think it means that whether you stay-at-home or not, your priority should be having the house in order, and that yes, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you are still working, you’ve just relocated.

It also speaks to idleness, as did Proverbs 31.  The mere idea of working immediately cancels out idleness.  That doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks to relax, but it certainly blows the whole cliche of “sitting-at-home-in-pajamas-watching-soap-operas-and-eating-bon-bons” out of the water.  (*Note: I do not engage in either.  I do, however, like to catch up on shows via Hulu occasionally while nursing Asher (since I am limited with other activities at this time anyway) and I may partake of some popcorn or, my personal favorite, Blue Bunny Peanut Butter Panic ice cream every once in awhile, but this is not a regular occurrence.  Especially as I am trying to lose the baby weight.)

Also of note is the title the English Standard Version (or as my husband calls it, “the cool kids translation”) uses for this section of Titus–“Teach Sound Doctrine”.  I find it incredibly awesome that the virtues younger women are to be taught are considered sound doctrine.  Add to that the reason we are to be taught these virtues…”that the Word of God may not be reviled”, and I am struck by what a high calling it is to be a young woman.  We are to engage in being kind, pure, and working at home in order to present the Word of God in such a way that it is not abused (another word for reviled).  This, in turn, is a powerful witness to others.

This certainly gives me some comfort as I look to find meaning in the life I have chosen inside my front door.