Monday, October 6, 2014

Still Fighting for My Girl's Dreams

16 candles will be pulled out of the box tomorrow. I consider how quickly time has passed since we pulled out a single candle. Back then she was too young to wish, so I made them for her. Even now as she wishes, I silently lift my prayers to the Lord. I listen to her dreams and I think, Go for it!

Although her plans have changed somewhat since I wrote this post in May 2013, these words still rings true...

At 14, I dreamed of a big career in a big city 700 miles to the north.  I didn't understand the bemused smile my mother usually wore as I spouted off my grand plans. I had my life mapped out, but I didn't need that map. Although I anticipated having a 10-hour drive to my parents' home, it takes a mere 10 minutes.

Which is why I, too, wear a bemused expression when my daughter reels off  her great plans for her big life in a city 500 miles to the south. I tell her something my mother wasn't able to tell me, The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9) Still, I'm glad my girl has big dreams. Who am I to say that they have not been given to her by God? Her preferred career would give her an opportunity to minister to people in need. It may be that He has a place for her in this particular field for just that purpose.

It seems the blogosphere has recently been inundated with posts about Biblical womanhood and complementarianism. (For the record, I am a complementarian.) I don't want to add to the clamor and I'm not responding to any post I've read. I do want to encourage other mothers to fight for their girl's dreams, no matter what they are.

Some girls dream of impacting the world for Christ through their homes; they have a God-given desire to marry, have children, and work faithfully, full-time at home. This is a noble calling of the Lord and if it is the call our daughter feels, we should not hesitate to offer our support and encouragement in that direction. We should teach her the art of homemaking, procure or provide lessons in different domestic skills, and instruct her in the values and benefits of being a stay-at-home wife and mother.

Other girls dream of living out the Gospel in the workplace. This, too, can be a noble calling from the Lord. Our society benefits when Christian women serve others through their careers. Our support and encouragement is no less important if this is our daughter's inclination. In addition to educating her about her responsibilities as a wife and mother, we can look for opportunities to learn about the benefits - and the pitfalls - of a specific career. We can help her be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible.

In short, we should exhort her to work heartily, as for the Lord (Colossians 3:23) in her chosen vocation. Even if she chooses a path that is not our own.

We should also be honest about our own calling. My daughter has seen the positives and negatives that accompany having a career outside of the home. She also realizes that our home and family mean more to me than my job. I have taught her that a woman has an incredible opportunity to minister to and bless her family by providing home-cooked meals and keeping a clean home. As much as I have tried to model that for her, she has seen how difficult it is to provide these things when employed outside of the home. She knows that stay-at-home mothers face challenges as well. Whatever choice she makes will require sacrifice. Neither situation is perfect, because we live in a fallen world. It is imperative that she realize that.

Finally, we should accept the fact that we don't know what God has planned for our daughter's future. He may call her into the mission field in Africa or in the local hospital. Perhaps she will remain single. Perhaps she will have a husband but no children.  I don't know if God has given my daughter this particular ambition because He's going to allow her to find the cure for cancer or to prepare her to homeschool the one who will. I only know that I will rejoice in whatever blessing the Lord bestows upon her, whether it is a big career or a big family. If she seeks to do everything to the glory of the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31), how could I ask for more?