Generation Cedar

I’ve enjoyed your thoughts on the subject of working women, and I appreciate all of you taking the time to think and respond on the subject. The debate is still open, so whenever you feel like it, feel free to share more.

Again, my main intent is to provoke us to push through the culture’s habit of “stupor”, and challenge our minds and hearts to discern the will of God. I was reading the following verses this morning, and it was a great reminder about this very thing:

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light….finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

See then, that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord
.” Ephesians 5:8,10, 15-17

I think in summary, we can certainly recognize extreme cases where it may be necessary for a wife/mother to work outside her home temporarily. It is still my opinion that every other option should be exhausted first. That may mean calling on help from friends, family or church, finding ways to make income from home, etc.

The danger lies in the comfortable acceptance of women forsaking the duty of homemaking to pursue fulfillment, escape, or a higher standard of living. One might note that it is general knowledge that the respect and honor associated with role of homemaking has taken a nose dive since the acceptance of women working outside the home. Not everyone feels this way, but there is a general trend that has devalued her role over the last 70 years or so.

(We have become terrified of saying outloud, “God gave men and women different roles for a well-balanced family. Men are providers and protectors, and women are nurturers and keepers of the home. This thing is good and pleasing in His sight”.)

Based on that observation, we must recognize the danger. When two things are mutually exclusive, they both can’t be right. When we embrace the open mindedness of the world, we open ourselves up to a lot of confusion and wrong thinking. And I think it’s fair to say many of our social atrocities can be blamed, partly, on the droves of women who have forsaken the careful attention of their families.

These observations are why I’m so hesitant to say (even if we can’t Scripturally conclude that working outside the home is sin), “sure, it’s fine for wives and mothers to work…it’s all just a matter of preference”. Saying that releases all women from their biblical duty, and removes our responsibility to keep our homes the way we should.

Just my closing thoughts….more later on practical solutions for women who find themselves needing to earn extra income (like me!)

And in the mean time, you may enjoy reading the ebook I wrote last year called Finding Financial Freedom, with lots of practical budget-cutting tips.

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22 Responses

  1. I have a question about what you have said here…are you suggesting that a woman who finds herself single, either through widowhood, abandonment or whatever, ought to expect others to just carry her along so she can stay home? You seemed to suggest when you say “other options, like family friends and church” that she ought to have that expectation. Now of course any church family would WANT to help naturally, but I am quite sure, not to the extent of providing for her to stay home. Maybe I am thinking wrongly here, but don’t we have some responsibility for ourselves here?

  2. Amy,

    Yes, I am saying that. I think Scripture makes it clear that widows (“true widows”) and, it stands to reason, those in the faith who are abandoned, are to be cared for by family first, and if none are available, then the church.

    “Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day…But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever…If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them (i.e. provide for them financially), and do not let the church be burdened.” 1 Tim. 5:5-

    The indication in the last verse is that IF family does not provide, then the church would naturally be responsible.

    There are other Scriptures as well that admonish “those who have extra” to give to those who are without.

    It’s funny that we even question this principle, as believers. Another indication of our individualized thinking, in a culture where we have been taught “every man for himself”. This is not the teaching of Scripture.

    By the way, I know of churches who practice this principle, and it is beautiful.

    Your question mentions a woman who expects her family to just “carry her along” as if being a homemaker means sitting around doing nothing. It all goes back to the way we view this role…a family or church who has the proper view of the homemaker’s role would GLADLY provide for her to ensure that she could function as she should in her family. It should be a disgrace to them to stand by and force her to abandon her children for lack of provision.

    As far as her responsibility…yes she has some. To be faithful to her family, to use her resources wisely, and to continue in the faith.

    Thanks Amy!

  3. Wow I’ve lived in lets see, 5 different states and have not seen ONE church offer anything like this. What kinda church do you go to?

  4. What a sad commentary on the church of God! I’m aware that most churches do not embrace this responsibility, nor do most families. In a culture where people consider it normal to push their daughters out of the home at the age of 18, who could expect them to lovingly care for them in the case of losing a husband?

    I’ve said it many, many times…this is just one more example of how our wrong thinking in one area leads us down a slippery slope and then desecrates everything in its path.

    There was a day when the concept of families and churches taking care of its women was an honorable practice, and only the “infidels” refused to do it. The protection of all women, was of utmost concern to a society.

    We have the feminist movement to thank for removing women out from under that sweet protection.

    By the way, I attend a Reformed Presbyterian church.

    My, how far we’ve come!

  5. Amen, sister. The reason we have so many lost, dysfunctional, selfish, and, dare I say, even evil, people in the world today is the fact that they’re mothers effectively abandoned them to the child-care machine.

  6. I agree 110%. I have watched through the years as crime has gone up comparitive to children that grew up without a mom at home entering the world.

  7. Seven years ago this coming Dec. 15 I was widowed with 7 children. I was in a wheel chair from the accident that killed my husband, and told I would never walk again (I do, Praise God). My mother came to help, but when I wouldn’t just sit and behave, she abondened me on Christmas day. For the first 2 weeks there was a ton of help. Then it trickled to nothing, and within a month we were forgotten. The church does not step up as scripture calls. I was left hurt, trying to take care of a family with a broken body, and only my children to help. Thank God my children were the wonderful little people they were. We fought our way through our grief, my learning to walk again, and just making it day to day with just our little/big family. Not only was my family forgotten, but when I tried to get involved back in Christian homeschool group I was treated awful. It was if because I was a widow I was now a “single” woman after all their men. I was devestated by my brothers and sisters treatment of me.

    My family is finally in a completely different place. Even though I was told by my Christian family that I would never find a man who would take me and my children on, I did. I am now a mother of 9 and a grandmother of 1. I have a fantastic man who loves us beyond belief, and I have found a family integrated church that I know would step up if something ever happened. God is faithfull, even when we feel abandoned.

    1. Jeanette Anteola, I’ve had the same experience as a widow abandoned by divorce, a single stay-at-home home schooling mom. My first h “didn’t want to be married” or have a family anymore. My second h I met at a Bible study and he taught it. He was addicted to prescription drugs and wouldn’t hold a job and finally threatened the family while under the influence of a mad cocktail of prescriptions.

      Many women feel threatened by single women, especially the married “Christian” women. Secular/non-church-goers have been more support and help to me than the “church”. I am desperately trying to find a way to stay at home and home school my youngest.

      The teenage boys are defiant and verbally abusive, the 20 yo is borderline physically abusive to me and they are a horrible influence on my little one. I wish there was a rescue hand from God. No one in the church cares to find out what the “affliction of the widows and the fatherless” is. I really don’t know how much more my heart will take. It feels like it will stop beating anytime now. I hope I make it til the youngest is grown. It literally feels like a curse. Everywhere I turn I feel oppressed in some way. Even after taking graduate classes after 20 years since being in school, I still have very little confidence that I can handle the stresses of a full time job outside my home and try to maintain a household.

      Would the boys get worse or better? What would become of my youngest? Would he be abused by the older brothers? How do they all get home from school? How do the kids of a working single mom have any extracurricular activities during work hours? If activities are after work hours, when would dinner, laundry, errands, and house cleaning and maintenance get done? I can’t forget about my financial future. Will I be a bag lady with a grocery cart? GOD, have mercy and help the single moms!

      1. Jana,

        It is heart-breaking for me to read this. Because you are right…the church doesn’t meet the needs. And do you know why? They are too busy. Too busy following their own pursuits to notice the hurt around them. I will pray, specifically, that you could find a church with members who really, truly understand their mission in life.

      2. Jana,
        Do you know if there is a Vineyard Church anywhere near you? I belong to the Vineyard in Columbus, OH and they are an amazing church! Non denominational and they definitely “live-out” what I expect the Church to be. While our church is rather large – over 7,000 members with 4 weekly weekend service to accommodate everyone, especially when you consider that there are still hundreds coming every week that aren’t members. Our church has a gazillion different outreach programs – from helping the homeless, help for women/girls that are considering abortion to get them to have the baby & either put it up for adoption or to keep it (and they provide material support in that situation), addiction.recovery groups, widow/widower groups, I could go on and on. It is through the smaller weekly group settings where you can develop closer relationships and locate much needed assistance for things like what you are going through. While our main Pastor has never had a sermon about a woman’s placing being in the home I know that his family (and many others) DO live their lives in a Biblical structure and thus the man is the head & provider while the woman is the stay at home help meet/care giver. They have collection boxes for the poor. They have a yearly Christmas program to assist families that need help. They have counseling & many other support groups for just about ANYthing you can think of. The church makes engaged couples go through a premarital class and be mentored by a married couple, not only during the class but even after you are married to help the first few years go smoothly. Within the last few years we have completed a community center that is providing child care to those that need it, mentoring for children without fathers/mothers, and assistance with bills. They have a ministry that goes out every weekend to help the elderly & families that can’t afford it with help to fix things around their homes. Church members can get help with funeral/expenses associated with the death. Back to school assistance for school supplies/clothing/hair cuts/car care, a single family fair held 2 time a year does all that and more (legal help, help locating resources to help in any situation). With the new community center they have also opened 2 food pantries & 2 medical clinics in the area as well. I have finally found a church that does what the Bible says churches SHOULD be doing. The best part is that even if they don’t have a group or something set up that will help you then they go through members to find the help you needs.

        IF you can find a Vineyard Church I STRONGLY recommend that you do. Every Vineyard branch church I have been to is one that is a come-as-you-are type church where you can dress however you feel most comfortable. We have people coming in their Sunday-best down to homeless with minimal clothing to bikers with their leather jackets & boots. A comfortable relaxed environment that provides special classes for the kids during worship time so you can really get a chance to hear the message while your children get a more age appropriate message. They are so laid back that they even provide coffee for during the service!

        Please try to locate one in your area because I know they will be able to help you in so many ways. It is so sad that so many churches now a days are NOT living out the way the Bible dictated that they should. Sadly, just as screwed up as our secular world anymore. Many churches are too busy being politically correct, fighting internal politics & trying to make money just to pay their bills that they have completely lost sight of what their role in our lives SHOULD be. At one time I was a Youth Minister and due to all the political in-fighting and lack of stewardship to our community I became discouraged. I had to literally fight for everything I did with the youth…from feeding the hungry, to opening up a clothing distribution for the homeless, to taking the kids on mission trips. Everywhere I turned I hit wall after wall until I lost touch with my personal relationship with Jesus. I felt like the blood was being sucked out of my body and I had nothing left to give. I had to resign my position and took a leave of absence from that Church. During this time I found the Vineyard Church and have never looked back.

        God bless you. My family will keep you in our prayers. And Happy Mother’s Day!

  8. PS…I did stay home with my children by the Grace of God. I am still and always will be a Keeper at Home. I LOVE MY JOB!

  9. Jeanette,

    I am overwhelmed at what you’ve written. Partly by the sheer grief you must have felt, partly astonished at your church’s response, and then mostly because of God’s redeeming love and grace over you!

    Am I right in assuming that the first church that did not support you was a main-stream evangelical church? I am so saddened by the lack of biblical discernment so many churches have…our church is like the latter one you mentioned. Completely ready to love and sustain those in need. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. jeanette,

    I am so sad to hear about the way you were treated by your church and praising God to hear how he has brought you through.God is so good!

  11. Thanks for the encouraging words. The church was not all that main stream, but definitely not of the calibre of the one we are attending now. Yes, God is so very good. It wasn’t an easy journey, and I made a lot of mistakes. However, we never did without, and we are feeling much more whole than we have in years.

    I praise God every day for His faithfullness. I am blessed beyond measure.

  12. I had wanted to add earlier that my preacher preached a sermon during which he said that it is not the responsibility of the church to take care of widows who can take care of themselves or those who’s family members “should” take care of them.I guess according to his way of thinking we shouldn’t take care of abandone or neglected children either.You now they probably have family that “should” take care of them as well.

    I have to admit I really don’t know what are church actually does to help widows.We do have a lady who comes to our church who lost her husband a year ago in a car accident she has a teen daughter still at home.She probably isn’t much older than I am.I am know wondering what I could do to help her.I am open to suggestions.

  13. I guess the things I most needed where those that my husband had done. Silly things like changing the oil, taking the car in for a tune-up, heavy yard work. Of course my circumstances where that I was unable to do lots of things for the first 4-5 months. I still have physical limitations. Just having someone call and ask would mean a lot. Even if she is financially able to take care of them, it’s the emotional support and the little things that count. Her daughter doesn’t have a daddy any more. I imagine she needs some wise SAFE man to mentor her where her father would have. When the father is missing, mom has to be headship that really isn’t in her job discription. It’s hard to go from helpmeet to headship out of necessity. In all honesty I believe that her new umbrella of protection (both mom and duaghters) should be the elders of the church. The need for male direction doesn’t disappear when dad isn’t there. Actually, I think it is amplified. Women who are widows by abondonment have a similar need. Children still need male influences. It’s imperitive for both genders for different reasons.

    There are so many needs in a home that doesn’t have a father for whatever reason.

    I just wish the need was met better. Sometimes it is financial, others it’s just the knowledge that others care if your family is going to make it.

    Just reach out Lucy…you never know when your caring may be the thing that helps her have a better day today…even though tomarrow may be overwhelming.


  14. Jeanette, thank you.I take for granted having a husband all to often.May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year.

  15. I believe that it’s the church’s responsibility to care more too. My Granny is widowed and has 6 children. Only 2 of them care for her physical day to day needs. Two other of her children live off her as leeches, but they aren’t believers. The other two just don’t care to take care of anyone but themselves. I suppose she should consider herself lucky that she has the two who care for her.

    I have known many widows who work outside the home. I know if my own mother was widowed she would still work because she always has. We currently live with my Father-in-law who’s wife died over a year ago. I know he
    s not a widow, but he has some needs too, and he doesn’t want to remarry at all. We even cared for my Mother-in-law for the last few years of her life- doing the things in her household she couldn’t’ do and just her day to day things (and taking her to her treatments as well). When we got hospice to come in at the end, they were just amazed that family would care for her needs- and it really shouldn’t be that way at all. How can we show our love for the brethren if we don’t care for “the least of these?”

    James 1:27 says “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

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