I chose not to pursue a career so I could homeschool my kids. I don’t believe women should never work, or that children should never be schooled in conventional ways. But the decision to homeschool has been right for my family.
If you’re in a position similar to mine, you may have sensed the message that because you are not a career woman, you’re not very important. Even in the church, we can get the impression that real ministry is outside the home, and raising our kids doesn’t amount to significant “Kingdom work.” Add to that the sometimes low view of single parents and you can find yourself feeling pretty invisible.
I used to think this contempt for mothering was a modern phenomenon brought on by feminism. Then I found a sermon by John Calvin, written in the 1500’s. He exhorted women “to take pains about housewifery, to make clean her children when they be arrayed, to kill fleas, and other such like.” (Don’t you love the killing fleas bit?!) He continues, “although this be a thing despised… such that many will not vouchsafe to look upon it, yet are they sacrifices which GOD accepteth & receiveth, as if they were things of great price and honourable.”* Apparently, even 500 years ago staying home and raising kids was “a thing despised.”
The wonderful truth is that God sees and applauds every little sacrifice we make. What the world deems worthless is precious to God. Every mess we clean up, every lesson plan we prepare, every trip to the park, every luxury denied us for the care of our children – God sees and values them all. Moreover, “Whoever gives a cup of water to the least of these My brethren,” says Jesus in Matthew 10:42, “shall certainly not lose his reward.” I believe many of heaven’s highest honors will go to people we’ve never heard of, people who simply chose to forsake their ambitions and love those God had placed in their lives.
And you never know what God might do with your decision to love. One promising itinerant preacher cut back his traveling schedule so he could invest in his son’s growth. His career never recovered from that decision. I’m sure he didn’t regret it, though – his son was Dr. Dobson!
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – 1 Corinthians 15:58
*As recorded in A Sermon of Master John Caluine, vpon the first Epistle of Paul, to Timothie, published for the benefite and edifying of the Churche of God (London: G. Bishop and T. Woodcoke, 1579), excerpted from Calvin’s sermon on 1 Timothy 2:13-15.