Friday, July 28, 2006

where to from here?

A post to spark some conversation...

I went out to coffee with a friend, Carol Hay, last night. I was once in Carol's cell group at TACF - back in the day - and it was refreshing to connect with her again. I have bounced myself around the globe since we last saw each other, and she has taken on the North American chapter of a group called Deborah Arise. Very cool, very wise woman with a heart for cool, younger women.

I had been talking to her about my friends getting engaged/married, being of "that age", and Carol asked me a poignant question:

"Are they [the women] in relationships that foster their vision and calling?"

We spoke at length about the desire (emotionally, physically, mentally, socially) to get married ("As old as Eve," she said.) in young women and whether or not they continue with the dreams that they had before they were married. It's a question that isn't very popular to ask because the fear is that women can't do both - they can't be a wife/mother AND follow their calling. It's an unfounded fear, because it very much can be done, but it's a fear nonetheless.

It's not just for the women to ask themselves, but also for the men: Are you pursuing your calling? Are you helping to foster the calling in your spouse? Are you compromising your dreams for someone else's?

Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
- Proverbs 31:31


Anonymous said...

can women be good mothers and fulfill their dreams of careers or what not, i am not sure. i think all women should stay home with their kids bc it is the hardest job in the world to raise kids, especially to do a good job of it. and i can tell you that most mothers screw it up pretty well. i have worked with a lot of kids who parents screwed up nicely, leaving their kids with emotional scars. i believe that parents are too selfish these days and thus have no idea how to properly give all they are to the raising of children. says i.

Ericka said...

I wonder why anonymous didn't leave his name. It's funny that he/she feels so strongly about it but doesn't own up to saying it.

I a little bit disagree with Anon. First off, the notion that for women, marriage is inseparable from a life of homemaking, babymaking and childrearing is outdated. There are hundreds of other possibilities that allow women the opportunity to pursue a career and a family. And I don't just mean daycare. The father could stay home, while the mother could work. One or both parents could stay home part time. Grandparents and extended families could network to care for children. One or both parents could work from home. A nanny or au pair could be employed. Perhaps Anon hasn't thought of these things, but the ideal of the stay at home mom is a simplistic, in-the-box answer the question of parenting and homelife.

What about those families who simply need two incomes to live moderately above the poverty line? What about those families where the wife is better educated or more experienced and can bring home more money than her husband? What if the woman is called to work outside of the home?

I don't think that the ideal of the mother staying home to parent her children is wrong. But I don't think it's the only answer. (This is where feminist theory has perhaps left us bankrupt…it's aim was originally to create choice, instead it only modified the boundary of what is acceptable and what is not.) God gives women passions and callings just as he gives them to men. Perhaps this means postponing children. Perhaps this means living close to a network of extended family (as was traditional for centuries). Perhaps this means staying home...but not necessarily for the whole of your child's under-18 years.

And just generally, in a relationship (sans ring, marriage, and babies) is it possible to live your passions and your calling? Absolutely. Of course, the relationship must be healthy and must allow the two individuals (…crashing rivers, anyone?) to truly BE individuals. Sometimes women have this idea of love/marriage as an all-encompassing, all-fulfilling (read: all-consuming) thing. And honestly, it's not, and it shouldn't be. Andrew isn't and never will be everything because there's a number of other people in my life that fulfill me in different ways: my sister, my mom, my best friends...God. You know. And, for me, there are things I feel God is calling me to do and to be. I'm certain that one day I'll be a mother...and with God's grace I'll be good at it. But I'm also certain that I'll have a career...a life outside of my husband and my children. I think that's the only way that I will feel fulfilled and able to continuously live and give for my family. add to the confusion...generally, I think you follow your calling.

Sarah-Aubrey said...

What about mothers who are called to be the wives of missionaries in third world countries and vouch to put their children in boarding schools, Anonymous?

andrew said...

Boarding schools in two-thirds world countries, eh Hunter? That presents a whole other set of issues, especially in terms of the effectiveness of communicating the gospel.

In some ways, going overseas only to throw your kids into boarding school (because you can afford to) can create distance between the gospel of self-breaking and humility we preach with words and the one we preach with our lives.

The problem of missionary affluence is a big one - how do you minister amongst a people when you are unwilling to humble yourself (like Christ) from affluence to poverty?

What would missions look like if Missionaries did not treat their work in such a fragmented way, and invited their children to be as much a part of the mission work and community as their parents are?

Jonathan said...

I'm slaving away at TACF to put my wife through Uni, so she can accomplish her vision of becoming an influential politican.

Once she's making the green stuff, I can hopefully pursue my dream of becoming a world class DJ and actor.

Kids... the timing we're not agreed on, but it's most likely I'll be a stay at home Dad... provided she'd making the money, as is our plan.