Especially for the Unmarried
A few years ago, I embarked on a new phase in my life. In the summer of 1999, I completed my formal academics, and that autumn was an adjustment for me. When people inquired what grade I was in, I replied with a phrase that seemed strange to my ears: “I am graduated.” Graduated? What exactly does that mean?
To any young woman who desires a joyous life of serving the Lord, family, friends, and, Lord willing, building a new family for the glory of Christ, it means something entirely different from the worldly ambition of a selfish life of pursuing a career for a “better, happier
life that won’t tie us down.”
People often ask me what I am doing now that I am finished with my formal academics. I happily reply, “Training to be the best wife, mother and homemaker I can be.” And what better way to be trained and prepared than to continue practicing those household skills that my mother has so carefully taught me—right here at home?
As I prepare to be a future homemaker, there is a verse in the Bible that I have been aspiring to: “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” ~ Proverbs 31:27.
There are at least two things that I have gleaned from this verse:
- Learn now how to love doing those everyday tasks that go along with maintaining a home of my own someday: cooking, baking, doing dishes, cleaning the home, being organized, and yes, even finding joy in cleaning the toilet—we are to do all things as unto the Lord without murmuring or complaining, right?
- If we learn to love even the most ordinary things now, how much more enjoyment will we take in the simplest joys in life?
The world today has taught us to believe that our greatest fulfillment is in a career outside the home. I cannot find one example of a lovely, God-fearing woman in the Bible who went off to college or a job to fulfill her longings and desires. No, they were all centered in Christ, their husbands, and the things of their homes—just like the Proverbs 31 woman.
That is what we were put on this earth for. The Lord created the woman to be man’s helpmate—not vice versa. We, as women, have such a great role in life. With our hands and our tongues we have the opportunity to either build up a godly family and future generations, or tear them down. What we do now to prepare to train and teach our children (with our husband’s oversight) will affect not only our children, but generations to come (Proverbs 14:1, 19:14, 21:9, 21:19).
In being keepers-at-home, we have set out to do the Lord’s will, and even though the world may not reward or cheer on our hard efforts, we shall receive our reward in Heaven. It matters not if we never hear a word of praise for those things we do in the home, though it is nice to hear. What matters is our heart attitude. Are we doing all things for the glory of God and God alone? Or, are we seeking glory elsewhere? “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” ~ Col. 3:23–24.
Learning contentment in being at home now, doing tasks of the home now, raising and caring for your family now, you will find greater joy in doing those tasks in your own home when your knight-in-shining-armor finally arrives to sweep you away to be his bride, his helpmate, his companion, the mother of his children, and to create for him a quiet haven in which he may find peace from the toils of the world after a long, hard day at work. He will want nothing more than to drink in your sweetness and be ever thankful to God for a woman like you.
The Lord loves a cheerful heart that works joyfully in performing the role that He has called women to be—keepers-at-home (Proverbs 15:13; Titus 2:3–5). Let us sow seeds of delight and contentment in caring for the things of the household, etc. The Lord has given us a wonderful and rewarding calling (Proverbs 37:4; 2 Cor. 9:6–7).
Petite Boudeuse by William Bouguereau
Now you may be asking, “What do I do during the season between the time I complete my academics and the time when I become a wife and mother?”
There are plenty of ways to keep your hands busy. Here are a few things that come to mind:
First, start in your family’s home. Are there things that you could be doing to lighten your mother’s load? If you aren’t sure, ask.
Once the household needs are taken care of, dedicate some of your time to deepening your relationship with Christ and your understanding of the Word, and to increasing your knowledge of being a keeper-at-home. Read books by other keepers-at-home. (Proverbs 4:7; 16:16)
Then there are many things to do with the hands. Some may include learning a new skill and/or handiwork; making meals for a sick neighbor; visiting a lonely widow; giving a tea party for a friend; sewing; crocheting; knitting; weaving; spinning wool; making soap, candles and baskets; gardening; caring for animals; rubber-stamping; calligraphy; photography; photo scrapbooks; researching your family’s genealogy; gathering and trying recipes for your future home; making and collecting things for your hopechest; helping a neighbor to can fruit or vegetables; giving piano, art, or sewing lessons, or teaching other skills you have learned to another eager young lady; etc.
One thing that we should desire most in our maiden years is that they be productive and useful ones.
In the midst of keeping your hands busy, it is good to remember to remain flexible with your time. I used to become discouraged when I couldn’t get all the things on my to-do list for the day completed because of things that would come up. After a while, I began to realize that the people who needed me were far more important than my little piece of paper with writing on it. Thereafter, when I went to make my to-do list in the morning, I reminded myself that they are only tentative plans, and that I should be ready to help with whatever someone needed me to do. I became at peace with the accomplishments I did get done in the day and didn’t dwell on those I didn’t get done. I try to remain available for whatever may come up.
Further Education or a Job Outside the Home?
“Who can be rightly educated for any future situation if it is concealed till all its obligations and responsibilities burst suddenly up them?…in the training of young women the whole of womanhood in its full relations, obligations, and responsibilities must be laid before them.” ~ From Female Piety by John Angell James
What about furthering our education at college or getting a job outside the home? I have chosen not to attend college (and my parents echo this decision). May I share with you some things I have observed concerning this topic?
Because we live in a fallen world, there are many temptations and things to distract us from our vision of being keepers at home. How are we best able to preserve our contentment of having a glorious life at home, if we are not in it for months at a time or away from it more waking hours than we are in it? What kind of things are luring our hearts away from our high calling or shaking our ground of contentment?
Pursuing a life outside of the home, day in and day out, at college or a job, has a way of wooing and stealing our hearts away from our God-given role of being keepers at home and from our families—especially in seeing the blessing our father’s covering brings. I personally don't believe it is a sin to go away to college or to have a job (unless your father doesn’t wish you to do so), but it is not wise or prudent.
One doesn’t have to look far to see how damaging this life can be. Life centered continually outside the home can subtly and not-so-subtly cause us to be independent and self-centered and make us think that the time at college or at a job is the greener pasture—a “care-free” life where there aren’t any responsibilities other than ourselves to think about.
Will we have learned to be happily content in doing the everyday things in life—caring for the sick, changing diapers, washing dishes, doing another load of never-ending laundry, reading the same book to a child for the 100th time—for the glory of the Lord and rejoicing in serving Him? Would the lifestyle away from home encourage and build a heart attitude of serving others, working together as a family, making memories to last a life-time? Or are you missing Johnny’s first step, Rachel reading her first book, watching Rebecca mature into a lovely young woman, family vacations or day trips, etc. because you had to study or go to work? Is that life as free as we thought—free from “care,” free to do things with our family, free to minister to others, free to travel? Is it encouraging a life of serving others or ourselves, equipping us with tools for a life as keepers-at-home, giving us contentment under our father’s authority and covering?
One never stops learning. From the time we are born to the day we pass on to the next life, we are always learning. Knowledge is something that the body craves and thirsts after.
What are some alternatives to further our education? One way might be correspondence courses. There are many Christian colleges that offer this kind of study method. On the whole, there is flexibility in the time we can study, we are safer from culturing an independent spirit, we are learning how to manage our time, to be others-centered rather than self-centered, finding contentment in home life, and, most importantly, we are remaining under our father’s protective covering.
If you do not desire more formal academics but wish to keep your prior studies fresh in your mind, you might consider teaching your siblings part of their academic work. This benefits you (by learning valuable teaching skills that you can use with your future children), your siblings, and your mother (by relieving part of her household duties).
Life can get very busy after completing formal academics! Because reading is often the last thing that I am able to get to in the day, I have set a personal goal to read at least one book a month.
There are many ways to retain and build your knowledge from home. Be creative and have fun learning.
What about a job? There are many things that can be done at home to earn some spending money, as well as learning skills in a trade, marketing, selling, etc. Some things that can be done from home could include basketry, rubber-stamped stationary, quilting, calligraphy (on wedding invitation envelopes), restoring and refinishing furniture, raising animals and selling their young, sewing clothing, doing alterations, gardening and selling the produce or flowers, and so on…. I have a friend who takes homemade baked goods to farmer’s market every Saturday, another friend who sells Bosch mixers, another who buys and sells cows, another who has a bread business, and yet another who gives sewing, calligraphy, and piano lessons. There are endless possibilities! Find out what you enjoy doing most, and try your hand at a home business.
One fun part of a home business is that you can get your brothers and sisters involved, if they are interested. It could become a family effort. What a way to build memories!
There are many ways to prepare for the future and to stay busy in the home. Let us embrace and put to good use the gifts or talents the Lord has given us.
What we do now will affect the way the younger girls, who look to us as godly examples, envision their lives of contented maidenhood. When we look through their eyes, what do we see? Do we send the message that we would want to give them—a life of patience, quietness, giving, and determination to be prepared for the great high calling of being keepers at home?
Ladies, we have a great and wondrous task ahead of us. Let us begin to enjoy it now.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” ~ Philippians 3:13–14.
Amber Moeller is 22 years old and lives with her family in Atkinson, IL. Amber serves the Lord from and in her home; is the author of More Than a Hopechest and is the hostess of Being Virtuous Women—a website ministry for young ladies, wives, and mothers, to encourage them in their roles as keepers at home. This article is copyrighted 2003 by Amber Moeller/Being Virtuous Women and is reprinted here with permission.
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