Today’s post is from Jasmine Baucham….
The other day, a really sweet lady from my church called to tell me that she wanted to give away a huge box of books that she thought I would especially love. They are never opened, second editions of a Britannica Great Books set which include Locke, Hume, Tolstoy, Descartes, Goethe, Smith, Chaucer, Darwin, Bacon, Augustine, Rousseau, and Montesquieu, among so many others. To say I was thrilled would be the understatement of the year.
When I tell people that I am planning on living at home and serving my family until (if the Lord wills) I become a helpmeet and homemaker in my own home someday, they tend to assume that I’m your average Susie Homemaker, a June Cleaver/ rip-off who enjoys dancing around her kitchen in pumps and swing dresses while she cooks gourmet dinners with ingredients from her garden, trying to hurry through dinner so she can get back to her French needlepoint.
I’m not knocking gourmet meals or gardens here, but such a monolithic understanding of the word “homemaker” or the phrase “stay-at-home daughter” have given us women a bad rap –especially women like me, who tend to be much more adept at working as their dad’s research assistants than putting craft tutorials online.
I love that there are artsy, crafty home-lovers out there… and I love that there are wordy, bookish home-lovers out there; in the same way, I love that –should the Lord send me a husband –I fully expect him to need me for my mental powers as he needs me to care for the children. And, yes, although I realize that the term “barefoot and pregnant” is fighting words… I’ll let you throw the first punch while I fantasize about reading Orwell between laundry loads while my burgeoning baby belly blocks the sight of my bare feet from wistful eyes.
Hey, you’ve got your fantasy, and I’ve got mine!
Several weeks ago, I wrote an article for Ladies Against Feminism called A Dream Deferred–the feedback was mixed. For the most part, I had quite a few concerned readers bemoaning the fact that I had given up my desire to become a Ph.D. or a screenwriter all for the sake of serving my family –one email told me that I had “quashed” my dreams! On the other hand, though, folks seemed to understand just what I was trying to say: embracing a homeward calling wasn’t about beating out those “non-housewifey” aspects of my personality –it was about realizing that the Lord gave me the unique gifts, calling, and abilities he gave me, not as an excuse to run off helter-skelter with whatever aspirations I could think of… but to apply them within his design.
He made me a lover of books, ya’ll… and then he put me in a household that was full of them –not only that, but he gave me a dad who is constantly in need of a research assistant! Someday, he might give me a husband who needs one, too! But even if my husband’s a plumber who really has little use for Descartes, the Lord has also given me a passion for teaching… which I can apply to my own children (who will be reading Virgil by the time they’re four… you know, maybe).
Five years ago, I realized that –more than the world needed another Pulitzer Prize winner or Academy Award hopeful… it needed a daughter willing to stay at home and serve her family; because the biggest unit being attacked in our culture isn’t the film world or the academic world (although both are under fire): it’s the family. And the family takes primary importance over those spheres because, like it or not, it is the cornerstone of society. Strong families = strong cultures. And individualistic aspirations tend to weaken a family. So I began to see my dreams in light of those truths….
And I threw out all of my literature books and took up knitting.
Actually, no. While I did learn to love the tasks that I used to put aside for those books of mine (it’s beautiful how that love grows when you’re doing something for the glory of God), I also learned that I could be an individual and a stay-at-home daughter at the same time.
Biblical womanhood doesn’t come in a box –I hear you. But calling women to embrace a homeward calling isn’t boxing them in: it’s pointing to the Word of God as our framework (Titus 2:3-5) and employing our gifts in biblical contexts. Paradigm has become an ugly word –but, truly, God’s Word should be the filter through which we evaluate our dreams, our goals, our aspirations… and our quirks.
I am a stay-at-home daughter. I believe that the Lord has called me to serve Him and my family in this way. I love home-management… and I love George Orwell. And my family needs both aspects of my personality to run this ship, just as I suspect my future household will as well. I have lost nothing in pursuit of a homeward focus –but I have gained accountability, community, discipleship, and blessings beyond measure by living here. More than that, I have gained the satisfaction of following God’s calling on my life.
If you’re afraid of losing your individuality by coming home… don’t be. All you have to lose is the presupposition that states that homemakers fit into a nice little box aside from every other kind of woman that there is. It just isn’t true. And I’m so glad.
Jasmine is the oldest of Voddie and Bridget Baucham’s six children. She is a homeschool graduate who enjoys studying and writing about areas as varied as theology, philosophy, political science, art, film and culture. She is also an aspiring author who currently lives at home where she continues to assist her father in his research, is completing a degree in English literature, writing a book based on her blog, Joyfully at Home, and is blessed to assist her mother with the care of her younger siblings.