Author, Speaker, Professional Patient

Should Women Work?

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Most Popular Posts, Previously Published Articles, Read Her Blog | 16 comments

Should Women Work?

God embedded gifts within each of us before the beginning of time to perform specialized tasks here on Earth (Ephesians 2:10). Actually, the calling God places on our hearts can never be withdrawn;, according to Romans 11:29 it’s irrevocable. Kind of like a divine Mission Impossible assignment ordained by the Father.

This revelation is freeing. As a homeschooling mother of four, I often hear strangers say, “I could never homeschool. I’m not sure how you do it.”

Women-WorkI typically respond by saying it’s not for everyone—because it isn’t. There are many people on the opposite side of this camp who are just as passionate about keeping Christian kids in schools to be a light to this world, but my calling will not be your calling.

There is an elusive identity circulating in our Christian communities. Some believe that, in order to achieve holiness, we must act a certain way. But the real truth lies in the mission we embrace according to who we were created to be. Looking at how our neighbor lives is not the answer. Just like one family may have seven kids, while another only has one, neither family is more righteous than the other. The same can be said for the hardworking single mom or unmarried woman who is an entrepreneur.

The sticky question we must ask is what does the Bible say regarding the issue of working?

The biblical mandate for women
There are two main references that we can examine on this topic:

In Titus 2:3-5, Paul exhorts older women to “train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home…”
Additionally, 1 Timothy 5:14 instructs women to be managers of their homes.

Managing a family requires endless work in order for it to operate efficiently. No wonder Paul encouraged older women to teach younger women how to watch over the affairs of their homes. It’s an ongoing, often overwhelming job, but one God has called us to do.

In addition to these prominent references, scripture displays a handful of examples of women who worked outside of the home.

In Romans 16 we learn that Phoebe was a deaconess, Priscilla was a tent maker (Acts 18:3), Lydia sold fabric (Acts 16:14), Deborah pulled double duty as a prophetess and a judge (Judges 4), Samuel’s daughters were bakers, perfumers, and chefs (1 Samuel 8:13), and Exodus 1 talks of women as midwives.

Then there is Jael, “the most blessed among women.” In Judges 5:24 we read that she lured the commander of the Canaanite army to her tent and assassinated him with a tent peg (Judges 4:18-22). Although not technically a paying profession, this last example is a reminder that the Lord fulfills his purposes through women. I love God’s unpredictability in using the meek and mild wife to take part in biblical history.

And we certainly can’t ignore one of the most unthinkable female occupations: prostitution. Rahab, a prostitute, lied to city officials and hid spies for the sake of saving the Israelites. The fascinating fact some may not catch is that Rahab is in the direct lineage of Christ and landed a coveted position in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11).

Should-Women-WorkThe ideal woman
The closest representation of the ideal woman is painted in Proverbs 31. Her husband trusts her, she works with her hands, rises early, stays up late, considers a field and buys it, plants a vineyard, gives to the poor, and her children call her blessed. The woman does it all, fears the Lord, and is greatly praised. Interestingly enough, some commentaries suggest Solomon was referring to his mother—Bathsheba, the adulteress. If this is true, what a gracious reminder that we all have a place in God’s economy regardless of our past.

So how can we begin to follow in her footsteps? I love what Beth Moore says about the subject: “God surpasses our dreams when we reach past our personal plans and agenda to grab the hand of Christ and walk the path he chose for us,” (Breaking Free; Discover the Victory in Total Surrender).

No two stories alike
The Lord loves diversity—that’s why there are no two stories alike in the Bible. I believe he purposefully designed it this way so we would not point to one example and decide, “This is the only way to do life. You must look like (insert biblical character) to be perfect.”

There was only one perfect man. The rest of us are simply on a mission or, as Pastor Jon Courson puts it: “We think we’re schoolteachers, insurance salesmen, or stockbrokers. But we’re not. We’re undercover agents for the kingdom. God has planted us in those positions to be His witnesses.”

Should women work?
The point is simple. God knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11) whether we work outside of the home or not. So maybe the better question women should ask is, “Lord, what have you specifically created me to do?”
It is not about our job. It is not solely about our homemaking abilities. It is about the assignment he designed before the beginning of time. You can make disciples at home or lead a mission in the office. Deborah’s assignment was not Jael’s, just like Michelle Dugger’s is not Beth Moore’s.

Personally, I homeschool because after facing multiple near-death experiences, I started to wonder how many years I had left on this earth to spend with my children. It’s amazing how a new perspective changes what you value most. My paycheck is an awful lot smaller, but I’ve turned in my fancy heels for sweet kisses and a part time writing position that God dropped into my lap. I don’t think that last part was an accident.

That’s the beauty of life. It’s about bringing him glory; it’s about being usable for the kingdom. The bottom line is that all eternity depends on us living a life worthy of the calling we have received (Ephesians 4:1 NIV).

Dabney Hedegard is a freelance writer, speaker, and stay-at-home mother to four. Her memoir: When God Intervenes (Tyndale House Publishers) releases July 1, 2013. Visit her at dabneyland.com.

This article was published in the May 2013 edition of the GoodNewsfl.org

16 Comments

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  1. Nancyaskew1

    Great article Dabney. As always, you have blessed me with your insight. Blessings, sweet friend.

    • Dabney Hedegard (@Dabneyland)

      Nancy,
      This was a toughy to research. I almost backed out of the assignment in fear, and then I realized that God created each person uniquely. Cookie-cutter Christians didn’t seem to fit His desire for our lives. I pray this is an accurate representation of Him.

  2. Justine

    Thank you for obeying and listening to The Lord. You have tremendous influence and God is Glorified. I appreciate you.

  3. Brenda VanLandingham

    God equips us to be productive, using the gifts HE gave us, for the completion of the chapter of life we are in.
    We seldom chose to be a single working parent but, during this chapter in a person’s life they often will cry out to God for mercy thus be coming HIS child, fulfilling HIS purpose for our life. No negative harm is during this time, only an awareness that you are helpless without God. If our life were perfect, we would never seek our creator. My flaws and imperfections cause me to seek love, forgiveness and God.

  4. Dabney Hedegard (@Dabneyland)

    I LOVE THIS! Thank you. 🙂 You’re children must be proud to call you mom. 😉

  5. Kathleen Damp Wright

    You had a tough subject with very strong views on both sides. I am amazed that at 55 I am learning to let go of peer pressure in the Kingdom to be a certain way as a woman. It does, however, help me identify with my middle grade readers….

    • dabneyhedegard

      This was a tough subject and I almost turned down the assignment out of fear. Thankfully, I feel God led guided me along the way. I certainly don’t claim to know everything about God’s design for our lives, but I do feel we need to be open to His specific calling He has for us.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Dabney

  6. Aimee Nelson

    Dabney, thank you for being Bold and Courageous!! Continue to obey God and leave all of the consequences up to Him!!!

  7. Julie Scott

    Dabney, while I love what you say, your title suggests that a woman who stays at home doesn’t work. What a misconception.!A mom who stays at home works VERY hard. (You do mention “managing a family is a lot of work,” but I think you’re not giving SAHMs the credit they deserve. KUDOS to all of you hardworking mommies out there!

    • dabneyhedegard

      Julie,

      You are right. Stay at home moms work VERY hard. I should know. I’m one of them. I homeschool my four children. It’s one tough job. The subject I wanted to address in this article was the one of women working to earn a paycheck. God calls each of us to fulfill different tasks in life. Thank you so much for pointing out that SAHMs work hard. Kudos to all moms, for that matter. We all work by the sweat of our brow until Christ comes again to take us to heaven.

      Blessings to you.

      Dabney

    • dabneyhedegard

      Hello, you’re one of the hardest working moms ever. 13 kids anyone? You and Lyette are part machine. 🙂

      Love you!

  8. Valerie Rutledge

    Dabney, (not Daffy), I found your blog link through another blog that I follow and when I saw this title, I knew it was a God thing! After being a stay-at-home of five for 5 years, due to financial needs, I started a PT job just yesterday. I have struggled with the decision because there is nothing I love more than being “here” for my kids and I’ve been riddled with guilt. Your post has given me some much needed Scripture to reflect on. Thank you for being a willing vessel. Valerie

    • dabneyhedegard

      I know that terrible feeling. When that nagging voice creeps in I have to tell myself that in Christ there is no condemnation! Keep seeking God for guidance and He will continue to make it clear what you and your family need to do. I’m so thankful that he placed different stories in His word for us to follow.

      Blessings to you, Valerie!

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