Housewife has always been a dirty word for me. There was no better way to make me really angry than to say that a woman’s place was in the home. In fact, I went the opposite direction entirely and joined the feminist front. There I was taught to abjure all things feminine, especially domesticity. We were taught that working in a home was beneath you, in fact there isn’t much lower in the mind of many feminists. Being a woman who stays at home with her children is for lazy women who can’t do anything else. Unfortunately, that mantra was pretty well embedded in my mind.
In my recent studies on Biblical femininity I have read a TON of information about a woman’s place. It is a common held belief that women should go from their father’s home (and protection) directly into their husband’s home (and protection) all the while learning the feminine arts along the way. For some girls that is exactly perfect. But, what about the rest of us?
I am not from a traditional family and I was not raised to be a wife. My family didn’t have a recipe book. I grew up in a house where hamburger helper and canned green beans was a home cooked meal, and fast food was a treat. I was not trained in things like sewing, home managing, and cooking. Being a wife and mom was the furthest thing from my mind.
I wrote recently that I was going to start working on my homemaking skills. But what does that look like? Where do you even start? Jani Ortlund writes, “I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” I want my home to be a safe haven, and there is no reason that has to wait until I am married. I can start right now. However, this is surprisingly hard to do. If modern young women don’t learn these skills at home, where can we learn them? How do you learn to be a homemaker?
I am 23 years old and at a serious disadvantage. I went to college, I am well educated. I can regurgitate important dates from wars across the globe and through time, but I can’t boil an egg. I can write a 50 page paper over the symbolism in medieval artwork but I can’t sew a button on a shirt. I can be the floor supervisor of a restaurant but I don’t know how to plan a menu for the week. I will admit to being afraid of becoming a housewife. Not because I am not smart enough to, but because I haven’t been trained in the necessary skills. Would you apply for a job as a softball coach if you had never played in a game? Of course not! But, there is no reason to panic, the Bible has it covered.
Titus 2:2-5 says that, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
The frequently quoted verses of Titus two used to infuriate me because I had a no understanding of what it meant to work at home for God. I only heard of working from home due to forced submission of females for thousands of years by male dominated society. I became anti-domesticity on every front, mainly because I didn’t understand what it meant to be domestic. The other important part in these verses is that it tells us where to find the help that we need. Older women are to instruct the younger women. The older women in the church are the greatest defense for young women from broken backgrounds. They have been married, they have raised families, they have planned meals. The problem is that we have to allow them to teach us! If I want to learn to cook, I am not going to go to my friends who all know the same level of cooking that I do. Instead I am going to talk to the woman who brings a homemade dish to every Bible study session. Instead of pulling away from the previous generation we should embrace them. We should be taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge that these women have to offer.
So this week at church look around as you enter the building, many women our mothers’ ages and older are in church well before we get there. Take a moment to introduce yourself. These women have a great deal of advice and mentorship to give; they just need to know that you are willing to receive it.