Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Daughterhood Today

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. -Ephesians 6:2-3
My whole post hinges on this scripture, so read it carefully!  :-)

I've been reading Bailey's Blog recently, and have decided to weigh in on the recent drama regarding the relationship of a daughter to her family, stay-at-home daughters, growing up, and personal responsibility before the Lord.  This has been for me a rather delicate and relevant topic for me, as my own journey through daughterhood has been fraught with unexpected and unusual events.  Do I agree with Bailey?  Absolutely, but I think we can expand even more by hearing others' responses to the topic too.

I must make it plain that I am not a feminist.  Neither do I adhere to such strict patriarchal ideals as those that subject women to the whims of any man.  Either end of the spectrum is wholly ungodly.  Yet, as a daughter of the King and a daughter of my earthly father, there are some important roles that I must respect and ensure my understanding of--and this is for my wellbeing as well as for everyone else's!  My father and my mother are my earthly authority as long as I am ummarried, this is true, but it does change.  When I am at home, living in my parents house, using their car, I check with them before I go out.  Does it fit with their schedule?  Is the car available?  Did they have something else planned?  Is there any other reason why they might ask me to remain home?  Yet if I am away from home for an extended period, as I have been before and will be again, do I need to ask them before running to town for milk?  No.  Sometimes there are other authorities in place, such as at a school, and sometimes there might not be, such as if I was living 'on my own'.  No two situations are equal.

God designed parents to be in authority over their children.  God designed husbands to be in authority over their wives (Eph 5:22-24).  God designed the man and the woman to perfectly compliment one another (Mark 10:8).  But how does this hold up for young women not yet married?  Certainly young men are growing up to be confident providers, and can provide for themselves.  But what of the women?  Are they to grow up to be meek and vulnerable, unable to sustain themselves, knitting under their father's roof until he dies, leaving daughter and mother with no help but maybe an older brother who suddenly has not only his own wife and family, but a mother and 2 younger sisters to support?

I've been labelled "The Scenario Girl" rightly, I suppose, but the first half of the scenario seems all-too-often to occur, and the second half just as easily could.  Perhaps it's extreme, I admit, but that doesn't make it less valid.  Unfortunately we don't live in a simpler society where there is a  proper social/family network, where the woman's role as helpmeet is viewed as imperitive to existance, and where degrees are not viewed as keys to ultimate success in life.  If that were the case, I'd learn to knit better.  I'd stop trying to figure out life.  I'd bake cookies, pray, and wait for Prince Charming. 

Perhaps it's just as well we don't! 
For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11
This is where I must, personally, rest.  I don't have my life all planned out.  I wish I did.  Then again, I'm glad I don't.  For a couple years I was very cocky because I did have it all planned out, but then my plans failed, crumbled, and I was left stripped down to my birthday suit, sobbing in the hands of Jesus.  He's let me make plans since, and when I've let Him show me, they've turned out alright.  When I did it all myself, life got rather confusing.  It's a hard lesson!

So where does that leave me as a stay-at-home daughter or not?  I, like Bailey, don't use labels, but right now I'm at home.  Next year I won't be!  My father is a wonderful, godly man, but he's human too.  As I've grown up, the relationship has changed from little girl and authoritarian Daddy (in the best of ways), to young woman and guiding father.  We talk.  We pray.  Finally, I make a decision based on the leading both of the Lord, and of my earthly father--and mother-- as they wait on God's direction.  Sometimes it's more me, and I inform my parents, and then we discuss it.  They don't veto things anymore, I'm too big for spankings, but I know that for my own mental, physical, and spiritual health, I must honour my father and mother.  If I marry, I marry, and then the honour changes once again.  It's never static, but God is.  Praise be, something (SomeONE) isn't subject to time!

And that's what it boils down to, isn't it?  Time and its relevance.  God and His sovereignty.  We, as His children, must listen and obey, listen and obey, listen and obey.

Sometimes that just means waiting.

In Him,



Sarah said...

This was very interesting to read, Sheila. But are you implying that ALL young women are (or should be) destined to marry? "But how does this hold up for young women not yet married" ?

Sheila said...

Oh no, I'm not implying that at all. I simply meant 'yet' as in, not at all, perhaps never, perhaps later. Marriage is not to be the goal, serving Christ is. If marriage comes, fine, if not, fine too. :)

Sarah said...

Aha. Exactly! :)

Bailey said...

Oh, Sheila! This was beautiful. I love your heart, and I'm so glad you shared the link with me.

And I laughed at your line, "If that were the case, I'd learn to knit better." :o)

I'm going to link this in at the end of my post - you write excellently, and other girls need to hear and be encouraged.


Madison said...

Hello, Sheila! This is such a beautiful, candid picture of your heart for Christ's plan. Daughterhood isn't easy to figure out, but I think you nailed it. Thanks for sharing :o)


Sheila said...

Thanks Bailey! And for the record... I crochet, but my knitting sucks! ;-)

Thank you Madison. :)