I've recently been challenged about my beliefs about women staying home vs. working and what the Bible says about it. I am not the authority and don't have all the answers on this issue. It is hotly debated among all religious groups and even secular women's groups have gotten into the debate. Stay-at-home mom vs. working mom--which is better? I've also been accused of being biased on this blog. If it seems I speak more to the full-time homemaker rather than the working woman, it is simply because that is what I am. I can't speak intelligently to issues women face in the workplace because that is not where I am from day to day. It may seem as though I am making a compromise, but I truly think that this is an issue between you and God and your husband. I may have personal preferences, but they are not judgments on anyone but myself and what God has shown me is right for me.
As a child, I enjoyed playing baseball; at least when I wasn't in a high pressure situation. I have a very athletic brother who is patient to a point, but he very much focuses on winning rather than simply being able to make the bat connect with the ball. :-) Recently, I thought of a correlation between baseball rules and my ideology on women and the home. Admittedly, I don't know a lot about the rules and technicalities of baseball, but the basics will do for my analogy. (My apologies to you international readers. I understand this is mostly an American game.)
- Baseball is a game with a goal in mind. Yes, baseball--or in my analogy, life--is a fun game, but the enjoyment of the game is not the main goal (especially for people like my brother!). People who play only to have fun usually don't get to the big leagues or anything. We must realize that we are just on this earth a short while, and we need to keep our eyes on the goal--winning, or in my analogy, Heaven. Make this play count, get as many runs as possible in this inning, but the real measure of the game is the team with the most runs at the end of the last inning.
- Baseball is a team sport. Although you might feel alone up there in the batter's box, you are not the only one playing. You might feel like you're the only one in the outfield trying to stop the other team, but there are others.
- The player does not make all the decisions. Even the team as a whole, though they may have input, cannot map out the game to their liking. As women of God, we have Someone who not only has the next play mapped out, but He knows the outcome of the game. We must follow His plans or we cannot hope to win.
- Home plate is where the action is. So far you may have stayed with me, but this is where you need to "hang on to your
hatbaseball cap" and keep listening. In a baseball game, anyone who makes a point for his team must first bat from the home plate and get back to home plate successfully. Titus 2 directs us to be keepers at home. This simply means that we are the managers or the guards of our homes. All that is truly important in our marriages and parenting begins and ends in that place. It should be the headquarters of all other action in our lives.
- A player does not stay on home plate. Although home plate is where the action is, begins and ends; we do not stay there. As much as I stand up for a woman's privilege to be at home full-time, I do not believe that "keeper at home" means "stayer at home". I've written before that it is important to the keeping of our homes to be there. However, we all have bases to run if we want to get back to the important duties at home. Everyone has different bases. Some of you might be "running" to a job and you may only get a base hit--meaning it takes you longer to get back "home". Some of you might have a ministry as one of your bases. Some of you may make pretty consistent home runs because you don't stay on a base too long (i.e. grocery shopping, homeschool field trip, back home). The point is not how long we are away from home (whether it is paid employment or a shopping trip), but that we get back.
- Home plate is the goal. Yes, we need to get back because home plate is the goal. In our homes, we sit around the dinner table as a family, sharing the events of the day. In our homes, we lay babies down for naps and train our children by our example. In our homes, we cultivate a love relationship with our husbands. In our homes, we create a place of beauty all our own to reflect the beauty of the Heavenly home we are anticipating. Home is where real life happens.
- Our job is to hit the ball. It is tempting to just hold onto our children and keep them safe, but we know nothing is going to be accomplished until we take a swing. They must be "launched" and trusted to the One Who knows all and cares for them.
- Strikes and fouls happen to the best of hitters. We all do our best to train and "launch" our children into the outfield, hoping that they will soar above all the waving baseball mitts of life and "over the fence". However, we make mistakes. We foul the ball into the wrong place and sometimes completely miss. I'm so glad that there's a Catcher to catch them and a chance to try again. Even if it feels like you're "an easy out", keep it up.
- Playing in the outfield is defense, not offense. Although we all have our own unique bases to run which may include working for pay outside the home or a ministry outside the home, it is important that we get back to the home plate regularly. If we don't get enough players home, we will end up in the outfield. This was the part I always dreaded as a child. The other team was up to bat, and I was usually placed in a remote corner of the field where no ball would ever fall. (Although I liked to play, I was not a particularly good player!) A team that hopes to win does not stay in the outfield any longer than they have to. They are eager to get back to batting. If life circumstances are drawing us away from home--not necessarily the physical place but having our hearts there and using it as our headquarters for all other operations of life--we must do all we can to stop the other team and get back to that batter's box. Our homes need us, our husbands need us and our children need us--not just our physical presence but our hearts. The Bible tells us "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". Is your heart at home? If it is, you're ready to play to win!