Putting Women in a Box

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.

Who knew?

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

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.

31 Coffee Talks on “Putting Women in a Box”

  1. Bethany says:

    Beautiful. So well put Jasmine! Wow. I love it!

  2. Anna says:

    I agree that being a "homemaker" doesn't mean you are in a box. I think many people see it as a dead-end job.

    If you think about it there are so many boring jobs out there with little interest, fulfillment, or opportunity for change.

    Being at home offers a world of possibilities. You can personalize your "job" to suit you and your family best. And what job could be more fulfilling?

    I personally have loved staying home with my kids, and I'm happy to hear my daughter say she wants to do the same thing.

  3. What a wonderful post.I hate the way people try to box us all in God created indivuals and we are all so different. I stay at home but im a foster carer so I am still a proffessional but the amount of people who say oh you are just a mom. Just a mom, whoops i could rage on this one. What you are doing is amazing, your family are surely blessed to have you as their daughter.

  4. I have given you an award. Please stop by and pick it up: http://www.jennifersikora.com/2010/07/hard-workin…

  5. Kelly Howard says:

    You are just amazing! What an honor it must be to be your parent! I thank God for young women like you, who aren't afraid to let God lead them. You bless my heart every time I read what you write! My eleven year old daughter reads it too and what a wonderful role model you are!

  6. great post and great encouragement for us mentoring girls your age. I'm thankful the Lord's calling is clear….yet there are so many opportunities within that calling. He was so creative in His distribution of gifts but still one calling!!!!

  7. Traci says:

    Hi Jasmine! I am all for homemaking and teaching and training our children at home. Just curious about this whole idea of staying at home until one is married. Never really thought about it till recently. Do you help your family out monetarily? How does one justify living at home when they get to the age of say 25 or 30 or 40? If you are not married by then, will you still live at home? Just curious.

    Thanks for your service to our Lord. You are a blessing! You are very wise and your writing is just breathtaking!

  8. Kristy Kish says:

    Every time I read one of Jasmine's posts, I think that she embodies everything I want to teach my daughter to be. In a society very few godly role models for little girls, Jasmine stands out to me as a young woman who is confident in who she is, unafraid to share her beliefs, committed to the Lord and committed to her family.

    Beautiful post, again!

  9. Jasmine says:

    Hi, Traci!

    Thank you for your kind words!

    I think this post will answer a lot of your questions, but I wanted to address this one:

    How does one justify living at home when they get to the age of say 25 or 30 or 40?

    Being a scant five years away from 25, I'm getting pretty close to that "justification" age. ;-) But I have a question for you: although, culturally, my living at home with my family in those older years would not be the norm, biblically why do you feel I would have to justify living at home with my family indefinitely?

    You see, biblically, the only justification I feel I need to live at home until marriage is 1) that my dad believes it is his responsibility to provide for for me until he hands that responsibility over to my husband, as was normative in biblical times (so, in our home, "giving his daughter" in marriage at the alter is much more than an empty symbol), and 2) I believe it is my responsibility to contribute to my family in such a way that I am an integral part of our "team" without having to pay rent (although I do make my own money).

    I don't know what the future will hold but, as of now, I don't know why I would leave my home. I have everything that I could ask for here -and I'm wanted here; it's the perfect combination. =)

  10. Michelle says:

    "Strong families = strong cultures. And individualistic aspirations tend to weaken a family. So I began to see my dreams in light of those truths…."

    Amen to that! Actually I feel more free at home than I ever did when I was working outside the home. There are many women who have to work outside the home and they need all the support we can give them, but to say that we are less because we are home is insulting and demoralizing.

    Take care Jasmine and Sarah Mae! May you both have a blessed Independence Day!

  11. Debbie says:

    Jasmine – you just blow me away. I'm still pretty new to the "daughters at home" idea – honestly – and so admire your well-mannered speech, your clear thinking, your sweet honesty, and your respectfulness as you write. You – more often than not – make me stop and think – and that's a blessing. Thanks for sharing this – for sharing more of your life – and your heart – and for being a beautiful example of a daughter who loves God.

  12. Traci says:

    Jasmine, I appreciate your response.

    Mainly I asked out of curiosity. I think it is wonderful that your dad welcomes and encourages you to stay at home until marriage. That makes sense. I appreciate that you are willingly and joyfully submitting to this. You honor the Lord. Thank you.

    I guess in my experience, I've seen a lot of "free-loaders"… who stay at home to mooch off parents.

    I DO NOT believe that is the case with you.

    Love in Christ,

    Traci

  13. Jasmine says:

    Hi Traci,

    I guess in my experience, I’ve seen a lot of “free-loaders”… who stay at home to mooch off parents.

    I've definitely seen this to be true as well; I wasn't offended by your question -I know stay-at-home daughterhood is a really unfamiliar concept. I'm glad to answer questions about the practical aspects of it, and, again, appreciate your encouraging words!

    Love,

    Jasmine

  14. wannabegodly says:

    Great post! I'm going to have my stay-at-home daughters read it since I think they'd enjoy having others expressing the same goal/calling we have. Also, I just blogged about a different aspect of homemaking that most stay-at-homers don't have – chasing wayward cattle. We come in all shapes and sizes, don't we?!

  15. Donna says:

    Excellent. I'm reminded of Corrie Ten Boom who remained a daughter at home well into her fifties. Her life has been a witness to millions of believers and non believers alike over decades. A daughter or wife at home has the potential to make a much greater impact for the kingdom of God than she might otherwise have independently of her family.

    Jasmine, I just finished reading your father's book Family Driven Faith. It is such a blessing and a challenge. Your father is so greatly blessed to have you as his research assistant and we in turn are blessed by your efforts. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your faith.

  16. erin says:

    Jasmine,

    I am a 30 yr old homemaker wife & mom who stayed in my parents home until I was married at the age of 24. I did hold various jobs & took college courses & such. But, I lived at home & was an active participant in family life. I had accountability & protection & much blessing. I am grateful to have not had an "independent" time!

    My 35 year old sister still lives with my parents & my parents & she are both glad for it. She has a homeschool ministry that she runs (& the salary doesn't pay bills very well!). They are both happy that she can stay with them and still be an active part of the household, rather than feeling compelled to rent her own apartment.

  17. Shawn says:

    Jasmine your post made me cry!!! It is always refreshing to read your posts (here and everywhere).

  18. Susan says:

    Wow…what a role model for young ladies! I wish I would've taken your path. I want it for my daughter so much. :) She is eleven years old and how I wish I could homeschool her. Being a stay at home mom is the most important job a woman could have.

  19. Why do so many women think to be "at home" means some how "less" of a woman? I loved this article!

  20. Patty says:

    Wow! What an amazing perspective. God is using you right now to be an incredible influence not only on your siblings but on those who witness your life in action as well. Watch out girl! God honors those who honor Him. : )

  21. julia says:

    I just wrote a huge long response and it got deleted. but could it be that your "gift" of having the desire to stay home is just that… a gift from God? YOu have that special gift. and perhaps not everyone is blessed with that gift.

    I think it's great that you are staying home and helping your family. what a great way to honor God. but i find it hard to believe that there are so many working Christian moms out there who are "disrespecting" God b/c they work.

    i realize i'm a minority here on this blog and I'm certainly not here to debate… just discuss! I don't think (I know I don't) that working moms think that SAHM's are a bunch of lazy bums who read books and blogs all day!!! I know that's not the case!!! But it's so discouraging to hear that working moms are "wrong" or "not following the will of God" b/c they work.

    so much more i could say, but just a few thoughts.

    thanks for the great article Sarah and Jasmine. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Sarah Mae says:

      Julia, thanks for hanging around and being willing to discuss all of this…you are not a minority on this issue, yet you remain humble and sweet spirited –
      thank you. This "issue" has caused me to seek His Word even more…pressing into his grace…seeking His face and His heart.

  22. Melissa says:

    Fantastic post! Jasmine, your words truly spoke to my heart. I am a young stay at home mom, and ever since I stopped working I have struggled with my identity. I thought that I was wasting the gifts God gave me by not working. Your post has inspired me to dig deeper and figure out how I can incorporate the dreams and passions He gave me into this sacred calling. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  23. Jasmine says:

    Hi, Julia,

    Well, the point of this post was not that working moms are in sin: Sarah Mae asked me to write about how choosing to serve at home doesn't have to stick women in a box -that's really all I set out to write, and I'm truly sorry if you felt condemned by anything I shared.

    I have gifts that I could have very well used outside the home -my choice not to was the result of conviction. It was definitely a God thing, but I don't think staying home is a supernatural gift so much as it was a choice I made to honor God… and as a result of that choice, I have been very blessed and very able to see that the gifts he made me could be used in more than one context.

    You say you find it hard to believe that women choosing to work outside are dishonoring God. I submit that searching the Scriptures is the only way to have a firm belief in God's will; I submit, further, that neither my story nor Sarah Mae's series should offer confidence or condemnation to others -that ought to come from God's Word alone, and our words are only valuable insofar as they drive you back to His Word. My hope is simply to offer a different perspective, and to inspire others to think through their pressuppositions on this issue.

    Blessings,

    Jasmine

  24. Mrs. Dike says:

    Your writing reinforced, encouraged and blessed me today! I shall pass this on to my six daughters and five sons. God's Peace to you!

    May I encourage you by mentioning that our two married daughters "found" husbands who honor and are devoted to this conviction, as well? God provides!

  25. julia says:

    Jasmine, thanks for your kind response!! :)

  26. Trisha says:

    Wonderful, wonderful and so encouraging to me as a Mom!

  27. [...] Jasmine Bauchum talks about Biblical womanhood as she sees it I see it a bit differently, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one statement she made: “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.” [...]

  28. [...] Putting Women in a Box – Jasmine Baucham writes an excellent guest post that defends stay-at-home daughters while pointing out the great diversity in stay-at-home women. [...]

  29. Being a home maker is not putting a women on a box. For me, it's really a noble profession. Taking care of your own children, husband and home! Mainstay Ministries Thank you for sharing.

  30. Ten Boom says:

    Wow! this is the best blog for me. Thank you so much Jasmine for sharing you wonderful thoughts. I want to read more. You are such a talented individual. I hope that you will not stop sharing your talents to us. I will continue to follow your journey along the way, Congratulations and Regards
    Ten Boom

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