Challenge #1: Marriage, Children and Parenting
There is nothing new about a woman’s balancing act. But we, today’s Christian woman, face demands, temptations and challenges our great grandmothers never could have imagined. In generations past, societal roles were predefined for women with little flexibility to amend them. But today”s Christian lady has the freedom to “write her own ticket” in many areas of life, love and ministry. As with most liberties, along with it comes much responsibility.
Profile #1: Work at Home Moms (WAHM)
A rising debate has taken society by storm and it is not limited to Christian circles. Many women in today’s culture are asking “What is my role – lover, homemaker, provider or all of the above?” Similarly, Christian women struggle with the same, but with separate layer of critical analysis. Their query is “What is God’s ideal for me and my family?”
In a WebMD article, Dr. Cara Gardenswartz, a clinical psychologist in independent practice in Beverly Hills, California says “It used to be more popular and widely accepted for moms to work,” says Cara, “There’s been a backlash, because right now, there’s actually more status to not be a working mom.”
Indeed, the option of working at home for salary has eased some stress for Christian moms grappling with this issue but it has not alleviated the pressure altogether. One primary pro is the flexibility to care for children while earning income, but it creates another challenge — that of balance and burnout.
Twenty four hour workdays are par for the course for the work-at- home mom. For instance, she may complete ten professional tasks only to have a hundred domestic tasks still waiting. Secondly, after a long work day (albeit in your pajamas), a mom still must care for a husband, help with the kids with homework and manage the many other demands any other mom faces all without a regular change of scenery. Very challenging indeed.
Profile # 2: The Traditional Working Mom – Moms Working Outside the Home
On the other hand, consider the moms that leave the home to go to a formal workplace. In addition to the traditional”mommy” grind, this mom must also contend with office politics, social work circles and more.
After the eight hours at the office, she picks up the children, prepares dinner, feeds them dinner, helps with homework and all this before she changes from her work clothes. Throw into the equation that she is single woman and you can multiply her struggles by two.
Along with her singleness, this mom may have financial burdens, the yearning for a social life and the conundrum of not fitting into the church social structure. The challenges of single moms are unique and distinct in themselves. For one, fitting into a church social group is difficult. Consider this: single moms have additional responsibilities that the traditional single woman (without kids) does not. Dropping everything and heading off to a ski weekend with the singles ministry is not always an option; in fact, it rarely is. At the same time, she can’t really relate and comfortably socialize with the couples in the marriage ministry.
Profile # 3: Today’s Single Christian Woman – Keeping hope alive
The unmarried woman, with no children, may be petrified by the problems she observes in the lives of the married and single mothers in her social circle. Rightfully so, the soaring divorce rate (among Christian marriages and including clergy) may make her ‘gun shy’ about marrying at all.
For this very reason, many women opt to have children without the potential disappointment of marriage. However, such a life choice is not God’s plan and creates a myriad of troubles and consequences that can delay or threaten future success. On the other hand, if she does not marry, then she must contend with loneliness, the risk of fornication and a host of other issues. We cannot ignore the challenge of this 2010 demographic in our Christian community.
Divorces are much easier to obtain that they were fifty years ago. Not only is it simple to get one, (you can do your own for $19.99), but it is more socially acceptable in the Christian community that it was twenty years ago.
After my divorce in my twenties, I wore a self-imposed banner of shame for letting God [and my church family] down. My shame soon morphed into condemnation. I was not set free from that until my [then] pastor, George Westlake II, preached a sermon about the woman of Samaria and how God used her to lead an entire village to Christ. It was then, at age twenty three, that I concluded that my life and usefulness to God wasn’t over.
God does not want us to live in condemnation, but He does call us to live self-less lives. Few would disagree that at the root of many divorces is selfishness. Some one or both “ones” are not willing to trust God with a personality flaw, financial situation or conflict.
Note that abuse should never be tolerated, but many marriages end over very foolish pride issues. I know marriage is hard work, but divorce is a cultural norm for today’s Christian woman and more discussion must be generated about this temptation.
Again, the purpose of this post is not to inflict condemnation, but to raise an awareness of the struggles of today’s Christian woman in 2010. In the end, God tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be changed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). In the end, it is Him who defines us by study of His word, prayer and Godly counsel. It bears repeating, He defines our roles in our homes– not the world’s systems.
Amen or whatever-r-r-r?
Source: ” Hard Choice For Moms: Stay at Home or Work?”