My wife just retired. At least that's what we jokingly tell each other. As of last week Kaitlyn (my wife) quit her job in order to become a full-time Mom. We live in a day and age where stay at home moms are becoming rare. Part of this is because materialism so often rules the home. Kaitlyn staying home to be a Mom is not a smart financial move on our part, that's for sure! So why is she staying home?
We made this decision because of some deep Biblical convictions we hold on manhood, womanhood, and parenting. I'm going to share our reasons with you, but I want you to take caution to my words. I am not commanding that everyone needs to imitate us. Not every Mom is able to stay at home (ex. single moms). However, many Christians fail to examine the Scriptures carefully enough to see how they speak concerning home and family. Christians must lay themselves bare before the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal sin and places where we need correction. In our decisions, that is what Kaitlyn and I have done our best to do by the grace of God.
Since this is a blog post and not a book, there will be no way that I will be able to provide compelling Biblical arguments for each of these reasons in just a short blog post. However for more reading I would recommend this website and this book if you want more of the Scriptural arguments.
The Husband is the Provider
We see in the Scriptures that one of the main responsibilities of the husband is to be the provider. God has given this responsibility to the husband, not the wife. We see this most clearly in Genesis 3:17-19, the curse Man is under due to sin. "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" (v.19). It is the husbands job to make sure there is food on the table, the bills are paid, and his families' needs are met.
In my experience, many Christian husbands fail at this. They pass on their curse to their wives and force them to work in order to maintain their current lifestyle. I can't tell you how many Christian moms I've talked to who wish they could stay home and raise the children but their husbands will not let them. Men, this is a failure on our part to be the providers of our family. This means that when finances gets tight, it is the husband who picks up extra hours or a second job. The husband must provide for the needs (not necessarily the wants) of his family.
For Kaitlyn and I, putting this Biblical principle into practice in our life was pretty obvious, though not easy. This means that I am responsible for the finances of my family. I will make sure their is money for food and it is my role in the family to make sure there is. I'm not going to lie to you, this decision will be costly for us. Our budget will be very tight (after all I live on a Youth Pastor's salary!). No more movies together or eating out at restaurants, but the basic needs for our family will be met by me. Biblically we believe, the Husband is the provider.
The Wife is to be Homeward in Orientation
We see in the Scriptures that the wife is to be homeward in orientation. We see this in the Scriptures in Genesis 3:16 and in passages like Proverbs 31. Homeward in Orientation does not forbid a woman to work outside the home (we see this in Proverbs 31). However, it does mean that the priority for a wife and mother should be running the home. Outside work should not distract her from her primary tasks as wife and mother. The Bible teaches that the most valuable thing a wife and mother can do is to give her life in bringing up the next generation in the Lord. Although the wife's role is equal in worth to the husbands, it is different.
One of the reasons I decided to marry Kaitlyn is because she desired to be homeward in orientation. Over and over again she would tell me that her divine calling in life was to be a wife and mother. I praise God for her that she is so willing to give up a career to give all her energy to me and my children. It truly is her joy to be obedient in the Scriptures in this area and I praise God for her and hold her out as an example for other Christian women to imitate. I'm currently trying to convince her to write a guest blog post describing her own perspective on this issue! Hopefully that will be coming very soon. Stay tuned! (You can subscribe to make sure you don't miss an update)
The Goal of Parenting is Discipleship
"Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth" (Psalm 127:3-4). This Psalm has been instrumental in my personal understanding of parenting. You see children are a reward and a blessing, not a curse and a burden. To have children is the most precious gift and having a quiver full is a good thing! You see, the goal of parenting is discipleship. Parents raise up their children in the Scriptures, teaching and modeling the Gospel, and then send them out to change the world. By doing this parents are just like a warrior plunging godly, Christ-centered arrows into the darkness of the culture. We discovered and believe that the most important thing Kaitlyn and I can do with our lives is disciple the next generation. No other labor will exceed us or out last us like the labor of parenting. Discipling our children is one of the greatest and lasting legacies we can achieve.
After examine these Scriptural truths, Kaitlyn and I could not help but joyfully "retire" her from the work force so that she could spend her life on the most eternally significant of tasks: the discipleship of the next generation. We could not be more excited about this decision and we will trust the Lord every step of the way! Although we don't expect every Christian home to imitate us, but we pray that more Christians will make their family decisions in light of God's Word.