By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
I’m going to be candid and share my heart by saying I have believed so many lies when it comes to discovering my place in the family. It’s honestly a reoccurring struggle. Sigh.
Recently, I told my husband that I felt I was failing as a mom and maybe needed to return to a structured job. The reason behind that quick and rather emotional comment was this deep-down desire to feel like an accomplished woman.
Currently, we have two teens that test our patience and, yes, our confidence. It’s been rough around here.
The last couple of years have been filled with the hustle and bustle of sporting evenings, mixed with endless piles of laundry and household tasks, the messy onslaught of emotions, and grief to boot. All that has been laced with shame and guilt, bringing me to question, “Where do I fit?”
Maybe you have been there (or are there now) where you are earnestly seeking God with a wounded and weary heart, asking Him what He wants from you — as a woman, a wife, or a mother.
Maybe you are lost and seeking to understand the value, role, and place where you fit in your family. Maybe pain has enveloped your heart, and you feel useless or unneeded.
Oh, dear friend, first let me say that I am so sorry you feel this way. However, I do understand these complicated (and rather complex) feelings and can sadly relate to them.
It’s not easy to decipher where you fit sometimes, especially since the common perception of a woman, wife, and mother has slowly shifted and changed over the last fifty (or so) years.
So, all that said, will you join me in exposing some lies that we can easily get wrapped up in and fall into believing? Let’s call them out for what they are and uncover the truth!
The current trends and societal norms will tell us to do what feels right or “follow our heart,” but God’s design for us is so different, yet beautiful and perfect! Let’s see what He has to say about our place in the family and find peace together.
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1. A Woman’s Role Is Less Than That of a Man
Let me start by saying that men and women are seen as equal to our God. One is not more important than the other, as each one plays a vital part in His design for the family unit.
Being made in the image of God, and considered as His most prized possession, our worth, value, existence, and roles are intentionally and purposefully made.
God allows us to hold the honored titles of male or female, son and daughter, husband or wife, father or mother, and brother or sister, so we should embrace these roles, and live with full confidence of who God created us to be.
God also created a man and woman differently as a means to complement one another. This is exemplified in a marriage and the roles played within the family.
Men are accountable to God by lovingly leading their families, providing for their needs, and offering protection. Ephesians 5:25-33 tells husbands to honor their wives as Christ did the Christ.
1 Timothy 5:8 commands men to provide for their own, especially his own immediate family. 1 Peter 3:7 calls on men to protect their wives physically, emotionally, and spiritually, with grace and tenderness.
Women are accountable to God by honoring and respecting their husbands, displaying nobility, and nurturing their families with grace and poise. Ephesians 5:22 tells wives to yield to their husband’s authority, allowing them to lead.
Proverbs 31 lays out the imagery of a wife of noble character. Titus 2:4-5 provides encouraging words to love our husbands and children well by being the keeper of the home and establishing faithful roots.
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2. A Women Must Be Married and Have Children to Fulfill Her Purpose
My great-aunt passed away several years ago, but her bold faith and gentle spirit still have me holding her in high admiration. She never married or had children, yet her life was full, and she blessed and enriched so many with her kindness and generosity.
Unfortunately, our society doesn’t hold the same value for singles, especially in faith-based organizations or the church.
It’s become common for singles to feel somewhat displayed, as many churches do not have ministries built for singles. This statement can also ring true for couples without children, or for single parents.
Friends, we must understand that God does not call all women to get married and bear children. And there is no mention of a scripture that says one needs a spouse or to have children in order to fulfill His mission and purpose.
So, what does God’s Word say to the single or childless woman?
1 Corinthians tells us that being single is a gift, and not every Christian is meant for marriage. Isaiah 54:1 encourages the barren woman by saying to rejoice in Him as He will bless them spiritually and provide many blessings in His time.
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3. A Women’s Place Is in the Home
Where is a woman’s work? This tends to be quite a controversial topic and can easily stir up some friction within many Christian circles. Why is that? I think it’s because it deals with matters of the heart.
This question seems to hit a nerve for so many of us. That is because God designed us to work, and our work as women, comes with a labor of love.
If you ask a mom what she does for work, you will likely get a compilation of answers. But all of them will lead back to how she is striving to make a lasting impact and love her family.
Whether she is going to work outside the home, doing school at night, staying home changing diapers, or balancing a little bit of everything, you can bet it is to better her family.
While we should consider it a distinct honor and privilege to raise our children to love the Lord, (and that should be our number one priority), the Bible does not say our place is solely in the home.
It never forbids women from working outside of the home. Many scriptures may claim for a woman to be domestic, but there are also verses that refer to a woman using her responsibilities to work in a way that supports her family.
If we apply this to today, this could imply that a woman can begin a business or work outside the home all in a means to invest in her family.
Basically, we are to submit to God, seek Him in our work, and then find peace in the place He is calling us to.
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4. A Wife Should Always Obey and Submit to Her Husband
Biblical marriage requires obedience and submission on both sides. A man must obey and submit to Christ first and foremost, in order to lead his family well. This is ultimately our call too, to obey and submit to Christ.
The truth is that we are then called to obey and submit to our husbands out of reverence for our God.
However, this can get tricky if a husband asks his wife to obey or submit to something that goes against God or His Word, if he dishonors her in any way, or abuses his role as a leader of the home. When faced with these difficult situations it is always best to pause, pray, and seek wise counsel.
On the other hand, we are required to submit, serve, respect, and love our husbands, but we are not to worship them and make them an idol.
We must never forget that God is supreme over all, that includes husbands and wives. Our duty is to go before God with our marriage and the choices we make within it.
Colossians 3:18 tells wives to submit to their own husbands, as it is fitting to the Lord. We must keep our marriage clean, holy, and pure before God as Ephesians 5:22-33 states, but that also means holding each other accountable and refusing to take part in something that is considered to be sinful to our God.
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5. You Cannot Be a Leader
Oh, yes you can! While a man is commanded to be the spiritual leader of the home and chart the way for his family, that does not mean that he does it alone. A healthy marriage works together as a united front to raise their family, relying on one another’s strengths.
The truth of the matter is women bring their own God-given qualities and beautiful gifts into a marriage. And a husband who is confident in her abilities will lean on her for support.
In retrospect, he can also direct her with truth, grace, and support, willing to protect and defend her when needed.
Women can lead in so many ways from opening her home and showing hospitality to a bunch of kids at a playgroup, to heading up a Bible study for other women, to mentoring other moms, to facilitating an outreach program.
The possibilities are endless. All you need to do is tap into your strengths and ask God to place you where He needs you!
However, there is much confusion about women and leadership, so let’s take a look at two popular and often misunderstood verses that pertain to this issue and unpack them.
1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34 can easily raise a few eyebrows and have always been a bit controversial. It leads many to believe that women must remain silent, be completely submissive, and never teach.
However, Paul is encouraging both men and women to find their suitable place in the church as God sees fit. Parameters were put in place, especially around women, by a God who loves His daughters and cares deeply for the gifts she can contribute.
Remember that God’s design and order are perfect. He calls men to lead in the church as He does in the home for a reason.
But we must also realize there are still so many places that need women to lead, such as teaching other women and leading those precious little ones. And that is vital to the kingdom of heaven!
Ladies, I will close with this: your role in your family matters. And it immensely matters to our God! What you contribute is valuable, your role is critical, and you have the impact, qualities, and potential to make your home a warm, inviting, and loving space for all who enter.
So, hold your head up high, and walk in the confidence of your precious place in your family, because God is using you to do a great work for Him.
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