Tuesday, February 14, 2012

passionate, joyful homemaking: what about ___ situation?

if you have been reading my recent series, you have already read about God's creation of a mother's role, a discussion of whether christian mothers should pursue careers, and an exploration of why some mothers pursue careers at the cost of their biblical responsibility to keep the home.  furthermore, we have seen how the pleasure/duty paradox of christianity applies to being a stay at home mom.

this series may be leaving you with some questions.  

can i have a job and be a homeward focused mother?
to be clear, there are not cut and dry rules in the bible about a mother working outside of the home.  the main reason for this is that it used to be that there was less distinction between working inside and outside of the home.  many people were subsistence farmers, or had some sort of trade business that they ran from their house, so there was little divide between employment and household.
one way to get an idea of what God desires for biblical mothers is to read proverbs 31.  there are 12 verses in this passage that specifically describe her activities.  all of these verses describe her as doing something focused on serving her home and family (such as providing food, weaving cloth, etc.).  two of these verses mention her doing something to earn a profit, and these seem to be just an extension of what she is already doing for her family (such as making clothes), and certainly don’t seem to be exclusive of her children (she is not shipping them off to daycare!).
so, it seems it is possible for a mom to manage her household while earning an income from an outside source.  this does not negate the biblical mandate for men to provide for their families (1 timothy 5:8), and it is clear that her income is merely supplemental.
because of the nature of employment these days, namely that it IS exclusive of family and children, and does force women to shift their focus away from their home (often for many hours), as well as the fact that men should be the providers and not women, i believe that working outside the home should be the exception to the rule. this gives the most flexibility for being homeward focused in times of unexpected temporary or long-term need, such as when a child is sick, or if an elderly parent needs to be brought into the home for extra care.

the problem with exceptions to the rule is that everyone thinks that they are the exception.  if you truly value the role that a mother provides in discipling her children on a moment by moment basis and being feed up to help and serve her husband, it is unlikely that you will be asking about exceptions to the rule, except for in extenuating circumstances.
since most employment could potentially be a big distraction from managing your household and loving your children and husband, the big question- what is your motivation for working outside the home?  it is likely that the motivation could be a desire for more money or career success.
what if i have extra time in my day to fill?
some women feel that they have too much extra time on their hands once all their children are in school (or are starting to move out), which may cause them to work to fill their time.  this is a situation where work might not take away from your homeward responsibilities.  

however, there are many other ways you could potentially use your extra time wisely in ways that are flexible and continue to allow you to be there for your family and home responsibilities. i will offer some specific suggestions in case you are in this situation.  

  • take in a foster child (heck, adopt one)! there are a half million children in the foster care system in the US, the majority of whom are in unloving and even abusive foster homes, an unseen epidemic that many people prefer to ignore.  taking in a foster child gives you an opportunity to be obedient to romans 12:13 and james 1:27, while having the opportunity to show jesus’ love to someone in need.  in the process, i guarantee that you will also experience major sanctification!

  • volunteer somewhere! find an organization that fits your passion and give of your time.  this is a great way to build up your community and show jesus’ love to your neighbors, and as a volunteer you have lots of flexibility with how much time you devote to this activity.

  • do ministry with your church! if you are involved at your church, i’m sure you can see a million places where the church needs extra help. but if you really cant figure out where you could help out, call your pastor.  any pastor would love to get a call: “i have too much time on my hands.  how can i bless the church with my talents?  i am willing to do even the most menial job”.  or just look around... who is a younger woman that you could build into?  read titus 2 for inspiration and get moving!
what if i could earn more than him? 
“husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” ephesians 5:25 
paul says that husbands are supposed to emulate jesus in their role.  this means that they are to lovingly sacrifice of themselves, leading their wives and children well while taking responsibility for the family. as we saw in genesis, the man’s burden is to work, even though it is laborious for him.  to switch roles is to go against God’s design for marriage, and it will lead to problems in some form or another.
less importantly but still of note, statistics show that women (even ones who are feminist leaning) are happiest when their husbands earn at least 2/3rds of the household income (source).  as i mentioned before, the bible should be our main decision input, but a statistic like this backs up what God already put into place as the ideal.

to put it a little more straight to the point:

what if i can work from home?  
working from home is certainly the best option if you must work.  but make sure your motives for working are right, and that it does not take away from your household management responsibilities and the discipleship of your children.
what if i don’t feel gifted in keeping the home?

maybe you burn something every time you step in the kitchen, or you shrink something every time you attempt to do laundry.  maybe you feel very inadequate at managing the household, and feel much more gifted at a career.
first of all, i would encourage you to focus on your strengths.  what are you good at?  maybe its something you feel is small or insignificant, but it still blesses your family.  maybe you are good at making bath time fun for your kids.  maybe you are good about remembering to pack your husband's lunch.  if you need to, ask your family about what areas you are best in at in your homemaking, and work on excelling still more in these areas. 
secondly, develop your weaknesses.  most likely you went to school for four or more years to train for your career.  you will likely also need training to become an effective household manager.
this may be easier than you think.  seek out other women who are strong in the area(s) you want to grow in.  ask them lots of questions and spend time with them.  see if you can do things with them (like cooking, sewing or gardening) to help you learn and grow in these specific skills.
the good news is, you will probably only improve from where you are at now, and maybe one day you will be the one to train another inexperienced homemaker.
and until then, there is always carry-out food and dry cleaners to help you out with your household responsibilities! :) 

ok, this has nothing to do with this blog topic... but too cute not to share!

what about you?  do you have any lingering thoughts or questions from this series so far?

go on to the next part...


  1. I have reviewed a number of your blog entries. It is judgmental, self-righteous people like you who give Christianity a bad name. You start with the pre-conceived notion that all women should be just like you – stay-at-home-mothers – then proceed to cobble together pieces of scripture, take them out of context or otherwise misinterpret them to prove your point.

    Your writings demonstrate that you are completely ignorant of the struggles that American families face. Fathers are laid off from their jobs every day. Even those who are employed often lack the education and opportunities to find jobs that will support their families on one income. Spouses pass away. Divorce happens. Perhaps, you believe that only those who are as fortunate as you – those with an upper-class, college educated background -- are worthy of being called God’s children. The reality is that many families struggle to support their children. I do not see how you can accuse working mothers who struggle to put food on the table of sinning. Your posts are extremely insensitive, and downright unkind, in that they fail to recognize this reality.

    Your assumptions about dual-income families are also completely false. My husband and I are both lawyers who work outside the home, and we have several young children. Our careers do not create the stress on our marriage and family that you perceive. Because we have two incomes, we are fortunate enough to be able to pay others to clean our home, mow our lawn, and complete other tasks that might take away time with our children. I use my lunch break at work to make my grocery list, prepare meal plans, and purchase clothing for my children. When we arrive at home, our time with our children is uninterrupted with other household chores. While working sometimes causes stress, we are also free from other stresses. For example, finances are not a source of stress for us.

    That being said, we do live frugally, and donate many thousands of dollars a year to the church. (Side note: have you ever participated in a mission project funded by donations? If so, perhaps you should return any money that came from a dual-income family, along with an apology note). I also donate several hundred hours a year to providing free legal services to foster children who otherwise would not be able to navigate the courts on their own. I do this at night, well after my family has gone to bed, because it is important to me. As much as you might think it, I am not a terrible, self-centered monster whose home, life, and marriage are falling apart.

  2. (continued from previous post)

    By the way, my decision to work is not about money. In fact, I left an extremely lucrative position after I had my first child, and now work in public service so I can better serve the community and have more time with my children. If it’s not about money, then what is it about, you ask? My decision to be a working mom concerns a personal decision that I made with my husband about how we can best use our time, talent, and treasure to serve the Lord. I could tell you those considerations are. But, because you probably won’t agree with them anyway, I won’t waste my time.

    While you may have a personal conviction that you should stay at home with your children, there is nothing in scripture that requires this, and you should not judge others who do not have the same convictions as you. Indeed, your “black-and-white” approach does not take into account that God’s children all have unique gifts that can be used in many ways to glorify Him. Staying at home with your children is certainly one way to glorify God. But it certainly is not the only way.

    I think that the most disheartening thing about your posts is that they are incredibly discouraging. Young mothers, more than anything, need encouragement. I think that motherhood is one of the most amazing and difficult times. It is also a time filled with sleepless nights, difficult decisions, and self-doubt. I believe this is true regardless of whether the mother works outside of the home or not. Your condemning, shallow, and thoughtless words are not helpful.

    Perhaps you should spend your time building other Christian mothers up, instead of drafting self-righteous and rude blog entries. In that vein, despite your misguided approach, it appears that you are a wonderful mother, who wants the best for your child. Congratulations on your beautiful family – I am sure you are doing what is right for them, even if it is not the right thing for other Christian families.

    1. to set the record straight, i do not come from an upper-class, college educated background. my dad was a blue collar worker and my family lived very simply. i worked (sometimes 2-3 jobs) starting from the time i was 12 years old to help my family out. after i graduated high school, i worked hard and paid my own way through college, and became the first person in my family to get a degree. and right now, my husband and i are also far from upper-class. we choose to live very simply in order to live off of one income.

      if you have scripture to back up your points, please include it. you accuse me of cobbling together scripture but you have offered not even one. experiences do not convince me like scripture does. i am not aware of any verses that encourage a mother to spend the best hours of her day pouring her energy to things other than family and home life.

      my aim is not to discourage any mother, but to encourage all mothers toward biblical femininity. i believe that there is a created difference between males and females, and that we thrive best when we walk in the way that God created us.

      good things can be the enemy of the best things. there are many good things that mothers can put their energy towards, but these things may not be the best things. i want to encourage all mothers towards these best things, as scripture lays out.

  3. I think you have missed my point. The point is, there is no scripture that says that women must be stay at home mothers. You are the one trying to prove this point, so it is your burden to provide supporting scripture. Not only do you fail to do that, but you also completely botch the passages that you claim support your premise.

    Let’s start with Titus. Paul wrote this letter to Titus to teach him how to deal with false prophets. There is no evidence from the text or historical interpretation that Paul intended to give Titus a primer on stay-at-home-motherhood. Rather, the purpose of the letter is to teach the Cretan people to “devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.” Titus 3:14. In keeping with this purpose, Paul instructs the faithful to live upright lives, so that their actions will not malign the word of God.

    Yes, the passage does say that women should “be busy at home” or “keep the home.” It does not go further to instruct women that they may not engage in any activities outside the home. This passage is prescriptive, and not restrictive in nature. Let’s explore the difference. A “restrictive” command is “do not murder.” Period. No room for interpretation there. It is a direct command not to do something.

    A prescriptive statement, however, gives a general instruction, but does not specifically state how one is to accomplish the directive. There are many ways that a woman can keep her home. Of course, one of those ways is to stay at home with her children. Another way is to work outside the home and delegate tasks to others so that the home remains “kept.” Either way, a woman is obeying this directive, albeit in different ways. More importantly, both working moms and stay at home moms can permissibly obey the overall message of Titus, which is to live productive lives so that non-believers have no grounds for criticizing them.

    Notably, as you are probably aware, this passage from Titus historically was used to justify slavery. I sincerely hope that your “traditional values” do not encompass slavery. But to be true to your interpretation, you would necessarily have to support slavery as well.

  4. (continued)

    Your interpretation of Genesis is equally wrong. With respect to women, the passage just says that they will experience pain in childbearing. The passage is void of any mention of women and their ability to work outside the home. It sure is right about the pain in childbearing, though. I’ve had several children and, yes, it hurt. Quite a lot.

    Perhaps most off-base is your reading of Proverbs 31. You claim that this woman does not work outside the home, and any “work” that she does is only incidental to her purported role as a stay at home mother. Let’s take a look at what the text really says:

    31:13: She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Unless she is growing wool and flax inside her home (doubtful), this lady is out in the fields working.

    31:14: She is like merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. The ideal woman procures food for her family.

    31:15: She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. This woman works hard and gets up early to make sure her family and household is fed.

    31:16: She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. Hmmm…do you think she was brokering this real estate transaction on her cell phone and planting a vineyard while bouncing around a few toddlers on her knee? I don’t think so – she would have to leave the home to view the available properties and select one. And then she plants vines on it to get a great ROI (that’s “return on investment” in case you are not financially savvy). This lady is the Vice President and CEO of her own real estate holding company.

    31:17: She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. The Proverbs 31 woman is a strong, hard-worker.

    31:18: She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. Holy crap – this lady finds time to read the WSJ and trade on the stock market? Yep. She does it all, and her financial know-how fetches a handsome profit. Unfortunately for the Proverbs 31 woman, the WSJ did not have online delivery, and E-Trade was not available 24 hours. So she probably had to leave the confines of her house to do this trading.

    31:19: In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She can even sew. Of course, as you one day may learn, any mother with several toddlers at home likely could not sew clothing while also paying exclusive attention to her children.

    31:20: She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. She’s not one of those mean rich ladies; she shares her blessings with others.

    31:21-22: When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. This lady is pretty stylish, and makes sure her family is well-clothed, too.

    31:24: She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. In addition to purchasing real estate and trading, she also runs a textiles business. Obviously, she had to leave the home to sell her wares at the market. Also, see my comment on 31:19. Ever tried to make linen garments while watching 3 toddlers? If not, try it some time. And good luck.

    31:27: She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Overall, the Proverbs 31 woman is not lazy and she makes sure her household is well run.

  5. (continued)

    The upshot of this passage is that the Proverbs 31 woman is a total rockstar. She is a mom, a profitable business owner, and a philanthropist. And she does it all at the same time. That’s not to say that a stay at home mom cannot also be great. My point is only that Proverbs 31 mentions nothing about stay at home mothers, and actually portrays a woman who works very hard both outside and inside the home.

    I also feel compelled to address one of your more recent, but equally ludicrous claims: that women cannot earn more than their husbands. The Bible does not, in any way shape or form, address whether it is permissible for a woman to earn more than a man. A man can provide for his family, while his wife is earning more. Although you say that you do not take stock in experience, you often use your experience to illustrate, so I will do the same. My husband is an extremely accomplished lawyer. His income alone could support our family easily. He works hard, and is a fantastic husband and father. I do, however, earn more than him, despite that I work substantially fewer hours. That doesn’t mean that he is a deadbeat that does not provide for his family. It simply means that my field of practice happens to pay more highly than his. It’s not as if I am going to knock on my supervisor’s door and say “Hey boss, I have a problem. See, my husband is making more than me right now. Instead of using that extra money to help the poor, I would like you to reduce my salary by 30%, lest I commit a grave sin. Can you do that for me?” Obviously, that would be ridiculous.

    Now, I turn the focus away from your self-serving and downright wrong interpretation of scripture, and instead address what the Bible actually says.

    It says to encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Your blog is discouraging and unkind.

    It says we should not judge one another. Matthew 7:3. Your posts are judgmental in the extreme.

    It says that God’s children have different gifts, and each should use their own gifts to His glory. Romans 12:6-8. Your argument that woman are limited to being stay at home mothers is completely contrary to God’s word.

    I could go on about all the ways in which your self-righteous words and attutide do not emulate God’s word. But, I have better things to do, such as spend time with my children and family.

    I truly hope your heart changes. I also hope that mothers, both working and stay at home alike, can read my writings and find encouragement in them. Indeed, that is my purpose in writing – to encourage all moms that they can glorify God in many ways.

    From my perspective, this debate is now closed. Indeed, with respect to false prophets as yourself, the Bible does say “[w]arn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” Titus 3:9-10.

  6. "Anonymous"

    I am very much saddened by your response to my wife. I believe she deserves an apology to you for several reasons, which I will outline below. Whether or not that apology is received is up to you, but please hear me out here, because I will be making some valid points that you should seriously take before the Lord.

    First, you attacked my wife's character when you should have criticized her actions (if anything at all). Immediately, you called her "judgmental," "self-righteous," and you said she gives Christianity a bad name. You even assume that she's from the upper class? What led you to that conclusion? Quite the opposite is true. You go on throughout your comments to straddle the line between her posts being rude, self-righteous, etc., to my wife being that way... and you even call her a "false prophet" (??? really?).

    If you want to call her posts rude and insensitive, feel free to do so. The problem lies in attributing those things to her character. As a lawyer, you should know that you simply do not have enough evidence to JUDGE (there's a word you used) her character that way. In all my years of knowing her, I cannot think of a single person who would label her in the ways that you did. And if you knew her personally, I strongly doubt that your words to her and about her would have been as harsh.

    Do you have some form of insight to her character that those of us who know her lack? I highly doubt it. In commenting, you should have separated the content of her posts from her character. But you failed to do so and caused a lot of hurt in the process.

    My second issue with your comments is the fact that you made some pretty extreme exaggerations with points my wife made. For the sake of time, I will give the most clear example.

    You say, "I also feel compelled to address one of your more recent, but equally ludicrous claims: that women cannot earn more than their husbands." You misread what she says in that part... no other way to put it. She doesn't say that it is a sin for a woman to make more than her husband or that it is wrong for a woman to make more. She's simply answering the objection "what if I could make more than he does?" Obviously, she would never suggest that you ask for a pay cut.

    Third, the Proverbs 31 woman. Your description of that woman was actually pretty insightful. Thank you for that. The issue is that you're not arguing against Sarah when you describe this woman. You're arguing against a straw man that you very easily burned down. The simple truth is that I would have no issue if my wife did any of the things mentioned there. She doesn't need to have a 9-5 job to buy land, sell linens, etc. It appears to me that you think my wife is advocating that all women stay within the confines of her own home and yard, except when she buys groceries. That's not the case at all. She can do all of the things mentioned in Proverbs 31 and still be a stay-at-home mom with a homeward focus.

    Mainly for the first two reasons I listed above, I believe that after some prayerful consideration you should respond with a heartfelt apology.

  7. I have two other concerns to address as well. When I read Sarah's blog entries, I couldn't find much rudeness or unkindness. The reason is simple. Voice inflection. When we read something, we all project different voices and different forms of voice inflection into our minds. It is far different from having a face to face discussion as I'm sure you know. When I read my wife's posts, the voice that was projected into my mind was the sweet, calm, and tender voice of the woman I fell in love with. When that projection entered my mind, I couldn't find any form of insensitivity. I'm guessing the voice that was projected to your mind was much different than mine. Unfortunately, I'm also guessing that as you're reading this, you're picturing a pretty harsh guy writing these words. I wish there was something I could do about that, but I cannot control your mind. With all of that being said, I'm willing to bet that the voice projected to my mind was much more accurate than yours. As a result, you gave a response that perhaps in your mind was equally as rude, but in all actuality ended up being far worse than anything my wife wrote.

    Lastly, I need to point out the glaring irony in a few things you said. You accuse my wife of taking verses out of context and cobbling things together to prove her point. Do you realize that you greatly abused the word of God in your comments? That was probably the most agonizing thing about everything you said.

    I just shortened this comment by deleting my commentary on your use of each particular verse, but I would like to comment your use of Titus 3:9-10. If you want to hear what I have to say about your other misuses of the word of God, I will gladly send you an e-mail. But your use of Titus 3:9-10 is possibly the second most egregious misuse of scripture I have ever read, seen, or heard.

    First of all, have you ever considered that truth is divisive in nature? Biblical truth in particular tends to go against the grain of society and it will cause divisions. If you're a protestant and not a catholic then you're a living result of this fact due to the truths that Martin Luther presented at the beginning of the reformation.

    Secondly, those two verses have to do with heresy. Read any commentary on Titus 3:9-10, and you will find that to be the case. I'm sure that you wouldn't label my wife a heretic despite all of the other words you chose for her. If so, then you might have some things on your own that you'll need to work out.

    I know that you said the debate is now closed, but if you choose to respond to my comment or anything else that is posted on this thread, I will suggest to have your comment deleted unless your next response is one of much needed prayerful repentance. Maybe you disagree with some things I said, but perhaps other points resonated with you. If so, your apologies in only those areas would be appreciated. Otherwise, your hopes of encouraging other working women will have been invalidated by the delivery of your comments. I can assure you of that. Thank you for this consideration.

    Alexandre Costa

  8. Take heart Sarah. I appreciate you sharing your views and scripture. Today I was talking to Mike about a friend who has one child. She decided to work part time at home. Her sitter is across the street, so she can literally walk across the street and hand the child off. I asked her how it was going her response was AWFUL. She said that she can't get her work done for work, she can't get the laundry done, and she can barely start supper. She said they are trying to figure out if they should go to 1 income(this would not be a spiritual decision for them btw). The only hard part would be giving up her degree as her field is ever changing. When I was sharing with Mike about the struggle she was going through with the thought of giving up her career, he responded it requires sacrifice. He said the choice to lay down your life and rights for your children requires sacrifice and is hard.
    I am so thankful that I am able to stay home with our children. I have always said it would be better to live in a one bedroom apt with me at home than to live with regret.
    Thank you for your post. I was encouraged and challenged in my thinking.
    BTW It wouldn't let me post under my wordpress acct again. Not sure why...

  9. To Sarah and Alex:

    Thank you for your responses to my comments. Please accept my heartfelt apology for any hurt that I caused. I was going to respond in the morning, but could not sleep to think that I hurt a fellow mother and Christian.

    I do stand by my belief that women can honor God in the workplace, as well as when they work as stay at home mothers. And I did purposefully intend to attack your use of scripture to the extent you claim it provides otherwise. I also think that your words are judgmental in that they convey that working mothers are sinful, and that they care only about money. I think that your words are self-righteous in that they attempt to impose God's will for your life on others, as the only right option. Further, I do not think it is kind to make blanket assumptions about the sinful nature of working mothers, when you do not know their situation, and are also unaware of the prayer and consideration that went into their decision to work outside of the home.

    I certainly, however, did not intend to attack your character. I agree with Alex's comment that it is not right to attack anyone's character. I am also sorry for my use of Titus 3. Although I do not think that your wife's interpretation of scripture is correct, I do understand that verse can properly be interpreted to refer to those who maliciously attempt to malign the Gospel. Although I do think that some of her words are false and misleading, I did not mean to criticize her in that manner. Because I am absolutely certain you know your wife better than me, I will accept your word that she did not have poor intentions.

    I am also sorry that I assumed something about your background. I also worked several jobs to get through undergraduate and law school, and know that is hard. I would not have appreciated it if someone had said those things about me. Indeed, as I stated above, it hurt me that you assumed certain things about me as a working mother that I feel are not true, so I am sorry I did the same.

    Again, although I stand by my principal point that working mothers can also honor God, I apologize if I did not convey that point with love. I was angry and hurt when I read Sarah's comments about working mothers, and I apologize if my words were formed in anger, or came across as very strong. Further, in line with your point about tone, please remember that I am a lawyer, and that my words probably came across as more argumentative and strong than I intended. I am also not a rude or hurtful person, and I am sorry if my words made me sound that way.

    I do want to make one point clear: I did not intend to convey at all that Sarah does not embody the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman in the work that she does in the home. Again, I do not know Sarah, but since you are her husband I trust that you know her (very!) well and you are correct that she is the type of hard-working, caring, and industrious woman that Proverbs describes. I believe that staying at home it is a honorable calling, and I think it is shameful that society looks down upon stay at home mothers, or thinks that the job that they do is demeaning. My point, again, is that I do not think it is fair or Biblical to say that a working mother cannot also embody the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman, or otherwise serve God. Instead, I believe that women can honor God in many different ways, which can include working both inside and outside the home.

  10. (continued)

    If I could summarize in a few sentences, I think my main problem is that Sarah tries to impose her views of motherhood on other mothers, when scripture does not clearly state that mothers should "keep their home" in a specific way. I am supportive if Sarah's way of carrying out God's plan for her life is to be a stay at home mother. I am, however, hurt to the extent she claims that mothers who do not stay at home are sinful, when scripture does not so provide. I do truly think that such comments are judgmental, self-righteous, and divisive. (Footnote: I agree that truth can be divisive, but I do not agree with you that just because something is divisive, it is also truthful).

    Thank you for your time and consideration of my comments.

  11. Thank you for your generous response. I think I can understand where you are coming from, especially because of how much the subject of these blogs relate to you and your situation.

    I know this is a horrible comparison, but if somebody wrote a blog about the sinfulness of dancing, I probably would use the same words you used to describe the contents of that entry. Self-righteous, judgmental, etc. Why do I make that comparison? Because dancing is something I love to do, and at least in my younger days I felt like there were times I even danced to the glory of God. For somebody to then write or speak against that action would be offensive to me.

    I think that Sarah would say that Christian women working out of the home are not in sin, but that there can be sinful motives, and many times there are sinful motives in doing so. (Of course, there can be sinful motives for pretty much anything we do). Neither of us are in the position to say that you're sinning because of the fact that you work as a lawyer. The publication of these blog entries was the result of seeing these sinful motives come out in conversations with Christian friends who will be having children in the coming years. I'm sorry that you were hurt in the process.

    We see a biblical backing behind the things that Sarah wrote. I do not feel compelled to ask her to remove anything, but I know that she will try to clarify and further explain some things. Until then, I have a confident hope that we can live at a peaceful disagreement with one another, knowing and hoping that Jesus Christ will never away from being the main focus of our lives and having an equally strengthened hope that we will rejoice together in Heaven. God bless you in all of your endeavors to glorify Him. Psalm 37:4.

    Alexandre Costa

  12. Thank you very much for trying to understand where I am coming from as a working mother. I agree that we can disagree about some of these items, as I do not think it is productive to engage in any further debate.

    Let me further say that I am thankful for Sarah and her blog. Although I do not agree with some of her points, I think that it is helpful for Christians to engage in debate so that we can sharpen our own convictions, and even learn from one another. Sarah's blog has caused me to think critically about how, even as a working mother, I can continually re-evaluate my focus and make sure I am doing things for the right reason and for the benefit of my family.

    I also think that Sarah's blog is very encouraging for those mothers who may feel called to stay at home but do not think it is financially possible. I agree with everything she says about how money does not have to be a barrier, and that money can sometimes be a sinful motive for decisions that mothers make. There are so many things a stay at home mother can do to save money, and Sarah obviously is amazing at doing this, and I am thankful that she is willing to share those ideas with other mothers.

    God bless you and your family as well.

    In Christ,

    Anonymous Working Mom

  13. Sarah,

    I just want to thank you for your posts. I just recently discovered your blog and I am so moved by what you have to write about being a wife and a mother. I find it very encouraging (although a scary leap of faith) and feel empowered by your writings to pursue what God has called me to be.

    Your posts are very counter-cultural and therefore naturally offend almost everyone, but then again that's what scripture does (hence, martyrs). I think that often times when a person is faced with Scripture that is convicting, and they feel the weight of the Holy Spirit calling them to something other than the path they are on, it is natural to resist. The problem is that frequently that resistance manifests as anger, and it is directed at the messenger (you in this case) rather than the author of the message (God). If someone is angry that as women we are called to be homeward focused they should lash out on God and ask him why he made us that way- not take it out on you. He has a better chance of changing hearts and minds anyways.

    I just wanted to encourage you to keep writing and inspiring women as you have. Your messages threaten the majority of peoples way of life, and therefore put people in the defensive. I, for example, work and love my job (and think I'm pretty good at it). I was just recently married and am struggling over how to transition to this new phase in my life. Although my husband and I don't have it all figured out yet, we are trusting God that this is what he wants for us.

    God bless you, and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  14. Dear Sarah,

    I just wanted to write real quick, and tell you that appreciate your blog a lot, as it encourages me to be the best spiritual woman I can be. I read it whenever I can, and I always come away feeling encouraged. I feel that you truly are in good communication with the Lord, and that therefore you are going to end up offending people with what you say sooner or later. I mean, they're not your words anyway. They're God's. And to those have an intimate relationship with Him, they are as sweet as honey. To those that don't, well, they will probably be more like piercing arrows. But whatever happens, don't let that stop you from writing what the Lord reveals to you. Know that you will be blessed for it in the end, no matter how many people hate on you for it!

    I also just wanted to point out that I don't think that you intended to hurt or offend anyone at all. I think that what you were trying to point out is that Biblically and Statistically, Men are happier and feel more respected and therefore loved, if we as women respect their God-given role to provide for their families. And as an extra added bonus, we're more satisfied as well! I just wanted to add in there that I have seen many cases (yes, even in christian households) where the working wife forced that on her husband, to his chagrin. I believe that respect is a huge issue to men, and husbands in particular, and that they feel most loved when they are respected. When reading this last blog, I felt that come out a little bit, and thought it was good, and just wanted to emphasize it a little bit. I did not feel at all as though you were trying to say that working women were sinning. I simply felt as though you were encouraging women to evaluate where they stand on this issue, and go before God to find out if this is what He wants for you, particularly and especially if staying home with the kids is an option for you. It's not an option for many women and I think you realize that. That being said, if you are a christian woman, who has chosen to live with God and His scripture as your authority, and you have the ability to choose to work or stay at home, and these words offend you, it would be worth it to take that before the Lord and ask Him why they offend you so much. Chances are, the Lord is probably trying to tell you something! ;-)