To Work or Not to Work? What’s A Young Mom To Do?

In verse 5 of Titus 2, the older woman is told to admonish, which means to teach, train, and encourage. In context it is implied that this was a process of teaching, encouraging, training, and holding the younger women to a standard that was unfamiliar to them and yet important for the success of their marriages and families. The phrase in Titus 2:4 that says that they admonish is the Greek word “sophronizo”, meaning to train someone in self-control, restore to senses, admonish and exhort earnestly.”  ~Grace For This Season/Ginalsmith.com

Should a mom work outside of the home? This is not a new question. Christian women in the church have been asking this question for decades.  I’ve known moms who have worked full-time and part-time outside of the home,  some who have worked from home, some who have been full time stay-at-home-moms until their children went to school, and some who didn’t  (technically) work outside of the home after having children.

My mom (a Christian) was a stay-at-home-mom, worked outside of the home (off and on) after her kids were in school, and she also ran two successful businesses out of our home to help pay the bills. My mother-in-law (also a Christian) was a stay-at-home-mom until both of her kids were in high school, and then she got a full-time job in order to help pay for her children’s college education.

I never dreamed of having a career.  My dreams included going to a Christian college,  marrying  someone called to  full-time carreer ministry, and raising  a  family. I graduated from a Bible college the same year my husband graduated from seminary. It took a few years for us to find the right fit for us, but God eventually placed us where He wanted us to be, and we spent over 20 years serving together. We were blessed with two children and then I developed health problems that made it so I was unable to have anymore children, so our family was complete at  4. While our children were growing up, my dream was my focus: home, husband, children and ministry.  Even though I didn’t technically work outside the home, there were many times our ministry did take me outside of the home.

I didn’t stay home because I felt pressure to or because it was more accepted in “my generation” (it wasn’t!). I stayed home because it’s what I wanted to do and because, from our study of scripture, we were convinced that my first priority was to be there for my family.  We knew that  what God desires to do through the family, and the goals that my husband and I had for our family, would be best accomplished  by me being a stay-at-home-mom.  And since God led us to homeschool our children, working while they were in school was not an option. Even though our finances were  often tight, there were times the numbers didn’t add up, and we weren’t sure how we’d pay our bills, we were confident in how God had led us. As a result,  we have had the privilege of  watching God show up and provide for us  in miraculous ways, and our children had a front row seat!

So–who did it the right way?  Is there a “right” way?  What does the Bible say about this?  What should be the guiding factor as you decide whether or not you should  work outside the home?

After spending much time in prayer, reading of the Word, and researching some articles written by  Bible based, gospel centered teachers, I have been reminded of what our priorities as  moms should be, and that, although living out our calling can look different from one season to the next, our first priority should be our family.  Rather than re-writing an article that has already been written by several Biblically sound teachers, I am including the links to a few articles that are helpful.

“I think that if you are a mature Christian who has committed in your life to glorify God, and if you believe you’ll be held accountable for the souls, minds, and hearts of your children, you have to make the decision to obey Him in being present with your children – giving them the best and the first of your time, your life, and your heart. It’s an issue of obedience to God, not just a philosophical choice. “I must obey God before the voices of the world.” ~ Sally Clarkson

My desire is to encourage any young mom, who  sincerely desires to obey God’s Word in this very important calling of motherhood, to consider the following :

  1. Pray and ask God to show you what HE wants you to  do as a mom. Remember that God doesn’t tell us to do something that isn’t consistent with what His Word already says.
  2. Ask God to show you if you are more influenced by our culture (the American dream) and what it says our standard of living should be, than by His Word.
  3. Study what God’s purpose is for families and Christian homes.
  4. Ask God to show you if you are more influenced by our culture and what it says we should be as women, rather than what God’s Word says we are called to as women (Biblical Womanhood).

Take some time to read the following:

WHY DO I SHARE THIS MESSAGE?

Titus 2: 3-5  

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.”

I think you’d agree that Titus 2  flies in the face of what a lot of people think these days. It was radically countercultural in Paul’s day, and it is no  less so in our day. But those who trust the wisdom of God and who are willing to swim upstream against the culture to embrace this timeless calling will find it a way of great beauty and joy…Paul’s list reminds us of the priority God places on the home. Four of these instructions for women relate directly to the domestic sphere: (1) loving husband (2) loving children  (3) working at home (4) being submissive to husbands…Home, as God designed it, is not a cultural convention or a matter of pragmatic convenience. It is intended to be a parable of the redemptive storyline in  which He is intent on restoring Paradise, establishing His dwelling among men, and making beloved sons of daughters out of prodigals; Christian homes are meant to tell that story. 

The phrase “Keeper at home” in Titus 2 means that of a woman who is devoted to her home, who has a heart for it. She is actively engaged and involved in its life on a high priority basis. Titus 2 reminds us  that home is not an add on, It is part and parcel of our discipleship and our calling as children of God.  The  passage implies that “young women”, that is, women in the child bearing, child rearing, season of life  have a distinct responsibility to prioritize their homes and children. and younger women with children are  to be careful not to neglect their homes. 

When we cultivate homes where others can grow and be nurtured, where they feel welcomed and cared  for, we put the heart and character of God on display.”  ~Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

“We need to keep God’s wishes at the center of our desires. We can strategize and plan, but we need to run our plans through the grid of God’s plan. Having this mind-set is part of what sets us apart from the world. People in the world make plans according to what they feel is best for them, what will bring the most financial gain, or what will bring them notoriety and success. God invites us to make our plans according to what will be in line with His desire for us and what will bring glory to Him, not ourselves.” – Karen Ehmen

 

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