Finding Purpose
Three years ago, our family made the decision for me to leave the workplace to stay home. The beginning was very tough. I struggled with boredom, lack of direction and lack of purpose. I truly believed my children to be more important than all I gave up, and struggled with a sense of guilt when I realized that I really wanted to return to work. I began feeling like I was only serving everyone around me and had no real sense of my own worth. I told myself it was just a matter of time and it would take care of itself as I got used to the transition.

I viewed this decision as an act of obedience to God to benefit our family. I set my children as a priority above myself and reminded myself that they were worth the sacrifice when I struggled. That is not such a bad line of thinking, but it wasn't working for me, and it really is not scriptural.

God created Adam in the garden for work. He tended the garden, took dominion of the animals and subdued his environment. Eve was created from his side to be a help-meet for him. In other words, Eve was also created for useful labor. The dominion mandate is given before the command to be fruitful and multiply. Since God created woman for this purpose, woman can only feel truly complete fulfilling this purpose.

I think too often those women who make the decision to leave the workplace fill their time with entertainment and child-rearing duties. Soaps, luncheons, study groups, play dates and a plethora of activities fill each day. Unfortunately, these are only pastimes and do just that: pass the time. They do no minister to the soul, giving purpose to each day. Take a look at the Proverbs 31 woman. Her day was not focused on entertainment, nor her children, nor yet fellowship with other believers. Her day was filled with useful labor, and through her godly example, her entire family grew spiritually.

I've never considered the price of a vineyard, nor sold my fine weaving down at the market, but I have found purpose in useful work. I have taught myself to crochet, knit, sew and can. I have made things for the children and for presents. I have tried to find ways to save money while maintaining a nutritious diet for our family. We have virtually eliminated convenience foods from the menu and I have been making our own fresh bread and recently began making pasta as well. I have taken time to work on my writing since it has always been a dream of mine to some day author a book someone would actually want to purchase. As of yet, none of this has actually resulted in an increase in our family's income, although some of it has definitely saved us some money. I'm working on that part next.

I think the feminist movement has denied a good deal of what it is to be a woman by denying the innate desire to be home, raising children. But I also think the church has done the same by denying her desire to work. In reality, the desire to labor productively and to rear children are two halves to the same person. I think this plays out differently for each person, but I truly believe the key for battling some of the depression and anxiety that frequently accompanies the decision to stay home with children is found in recognizing God's plan. We are created by Him, for Him and to Him. Our children are the heritage of the Lord, and we certainly have a great responsibility teaching and leading them, but when they become the focus of our day, we step outside what we were created for. It is not good for us and it really is not good for our children, either. Useful, constructive labor (not just hobbies) will help give purpose to each day. And when a woman is successful in ordering her days according to this God-given purpose, "Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." (Proverbs 31:28)

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