Charisa wrote in a while ago to ask “Do you have any encouragement or practical advice for married women with no children who work full-time?”
She goes on to explain: “I have a strong desire to be home caring for my husband and having children. I want to have time to fold my laundry and vacuum my floors, volunteer, make meals for friends in need, babysit my niece, and spend time with other ladies. But I’m often too exhausted to do so. How do I practice biblical womanhood in a season where my husband has requested me to work?”
There is so much that could be said on this topic. I know that working full-time and caring for a home is intense. I’ve been there. For what they are worth, here are a few of my thoughts…
First of all, your desires to work in your home, care for a family, and serve others are wonderful. God gave you those desires. He is the one who appointed women to manage the home (1 Tim. 5:14, Titus 2:5). So it is good and right that you desire to be a home-worker. However, if your husband needs you to work outside the home for a season, then you can be reassured that by serving your husband, you are fulfilling your call to be his helper.
It is important that you both recognize that this decision to work full-time will come with limitations: you won’t be able to serve your husband in all the ways you desire right now. However, you are no less his helper than the woman who is at home full-time. We must all resist the temptation to compare ourselves with others. We must trust that God’s plan (and timing) for each of us is best—even if it isn’t what we had in mind.
Remember that God’s grace is available to you. He has called you to serve this particular man at this particular time in this particular way. That means he has particular grace available to enable you to complete this task. He has promised to equip you with everything you need for doing His will (Heb. 13:20-21).
Faith in God’s sovereignty and His strengthening grace will enable you to help your husband in humility, dependence, and joy. (In fact, we’re in the midst of a little series on these topics, which will continue tomorrow.)
And on a practical note, here are three strategies that served me:
1. Keep things simple. Look for ways to streamline your home responsibilities (shopping on the weekends, freezing meals, etc.). In humility, recognize that you won’t be able to do it all and accept the limitations that come with your season. This doesn’t mean you’re not being a good wife—you’re just serving your husband in a unique way!
2. Consistently re-evaluate. The home is the priority for us as women, and Steve and I always viewed my working full-time outside the home as less than ideal. Therefore, we periodically re-evaluated our financial situation to determine if I could work part-time or come home. And I would encourage you and your husband to consider when you might be able to be home full-time.
3. Seek counsel. Find other women who have worked (or are working) full-time and ask for practical (and spiritual) suggestions. Make sure your husband is informed about the challenges you face juggling both work and home responsibilities. Encourage your husband to get counsel from your pastor regarding this decision to have you work full-time and the implications for your marriage and home-life.
There is so much more that could be said. Most of all, I pray God will give you grace to say with the Psalmist: “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places” (Psalm 16:6).