I said in my last SAHM installment that I would tell about college next, but I realized there is not much to say that is significant. In college I thought that it would be so much fun to be a wife and mom--full time. That's just what I thought. I wasn't thinking through everything very well because I also thought that it would be fun to somehow (this is an impossible thought!!) to stay in school forever, get my PhD and teach at the college level. Turns out I wasn't cut out for that:) But I loved the education part of college; I truly did, and I am not sure why it never crossed my mind that I might struggle with staying at home one day. Honestly, I think in the back of my mind actually making it to marriage and motherhood seemed such a foreign concept, that I always let myself only dwell on what was feasible without a man being interested in me. And if I did think about marriage and children, it was all this perfect little fantasy world that I created. See this post for more details on that.
Anyway...it wasn't until I found myself six months into marriage, loving my job as a teacher to my crazy students, and unexpectedly pregnant, that I was forced to really examine the issue. For me it was never a question as to whether or not I would stay at home, but I did need to have a good grasp on the biblical reasons why I thought I should stay at home because my flesh was not wanting to give up the fulfillment of a job and a paycheck. And, honestly, because of my sinful flesh, I have to go back to these verses over and over and over everyday in order to find joy in motherhood. I love Ada. She is the most precious thing to me. I find such delight in being her mom and watching her play and loving on her, but, and this is a big but, I get very lonely and isolated and I often don't feel very important. And then I look at these verses. And there really isn't anything more important than raising children.
Before I discuss these verses please know that I am certainly no theologian and I am not even a very experienced mom. I am mom to one 13 month old. I have SO MUCH MORE to learn!!!!!!!!! But, I can at least pass these verses on, so that if someone is wanting to search the scriptures for what God has to say about parenting, well here is a start. Everything else that I say is just my opinion that I have come to after studying these and praying. Please know that the only truth I know is the word of God. How I have interpreted these scriptures is not truth. It is simply my interpretation.
Psalm 51:5-6 says, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
David writes this after Nathan confronts him about his relationship with Bathsheba. To me, it is just one verse that points out the truth, that the tiny, precious baby that you first meet in the hospital, is born in iniquity and in sin. That baby is sinful by nature. Before he or she can even speak or act, he or she is sinful. And God desires truth and wisdom in the heart of that child.
Then Proverbs 22:15 says Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
However the rod is interpreted, one thing is clear here, a child must be disciplined in order for folly to be driven out of his or her heart. Discipline is a tool that God uses to establish truth and wisdom in the heart of a child.
Deut. 6:4-9 says Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
My version, I have to be teaching my children to love the Lord with all of their heart soul and might ALL OF THE TIME. When we sit and rise and lie down and walk and ALL OF THE TIME. And then teach it some more. I have a 13 month old--13 months. And already, she loves Ada with all of her heart, soul, and might. She wants what is best for Ada. What is most comfortable and fun for Ada. And she wants it right when the desire hits. Someone has to drive that folly out of her heart. I believe that I (along with Scott, of course) am the tool that God will use to drive that folly away. To replace that love for Ada with a love for God. I want to teach it so much that Ada gets tired of hearing it, and then I want to teach it some more. And at 13 months, we wake up, and she starts testing the boundaries--most days it is a constant testing of boundaries, and it is mostly maddening, to be honest. But I must be diligent and consistent, and that is what we do all day. I believe training begins at day one. She is born in iniquity!!! And I must teach her ALWAYS.
Finally, Titus 2:3-5 says, 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.
Okay, so as a woman, and a mother, what are my biblical responsibilities. Well first and foremost, I must pray for wisdom and discernment and guidance that I might drive that folly out of little Ada's heart. That I might teach her in such a way that she understands her need, her desperate need, to love God with all of her heart and soul and might. I am to work at home. I mean, it's right there, folks. I have to be a worker at home. Now, what this looks like--I don't know. If a person can make those two things a priority and still work outside of the home, so be it. I cannot. Honestly, I am not so good at teaching Ada and working at home even without an outside job. And I am praying diligently that the Lord would show me how to manage this new tutoring job. I firmly believe that it cannot take precedent over my primary role as mother and wife.
I know that it is often said that a person can't afford to stay at home, and I know that might be true. This is what Scott and I had to ask ourselves when we felt that we could honestly say we couldn't afford it. What can we not afford? Is what we can't afford an absolute necessity? And again, I have to ask myself, what will bring the most glory to God? That is the ultimate question. I want Scott's life to glorify God, my life to glorify God, and Ada's life to glorify God. Practically, what does that look like. In what way is God leading us to live in order for that to happen. At times when I was teaching, I--Laura Beth--felt very glorified, and it was fun. I liked praise. Don't we all? And, of course, there was much about my teaching job that glorified God as well. We are always to work as if working for the Lord. For me, looking at all aspects of our situation, was I to work outside of the home, I would most likely not be working as if working for the Lord. Again, this is just my story. And ya'll, God has provided. He has abundantly provided. Our budget is so stinking tight, and the majority of the time we aren't sure how it's all going to get paid for--BUT IT DOES. God provides in abundance. And now, when things are even tighter, he has provided work that allows me to continue to stay at home. It is one day at at time. He promises daily bread for this day. God shows up to meet my physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. He shows up every time.
And, I am so far from arriving. I am not good with submission, I am not good at housekeeping, I am not good at teaching and training, and I am not good at much. My sinful nature shows up over and over throughout the day. Scott laughs at the word kind in the verse from Titus. I am most often not kind. All I can do is pray that God does his thing--reconciles me to Christ--changes me--shapes me--makes me a new creation in Him. And I am desperate for him to do the training of Ada for me. I am just a vessel. That is all. Apart from him, Ada and I are helpless, absolutely helpless.
More verses worth checking out: Deut. 4:9-10, Deut. 6:6-9, Deut. 11:18-19, Prov. 13:24, 19:18, 22:6, 22:15, 22:13-14, 29:15, 29:17, 14:1, 31:27, 6:20, Eph. 6:1-4, Col. 3:21, Titus 2:3-5, Psalms 51:5, 1 Sam. 3:13