He Said-She Said: The Career or Child-Rearing Choice
- Wednesday, March 05, 2008
So what is an “appropriate way to ask someone (about working or staying at home) before getting involved”? Try asking a string of questions about her siblings:
- Do you have brothers or sisters?
- What do they do for work?
- Do they have children?
- Do you have the opportunity to spend time with your nieces or nephews?
- Do they attend public or private school? Are they home-schooled?
- How do you feel about working and raising children?
To decide that a working professional would not be a woman who would want to curtail her career in order to raise a family is making a decision that is based upon appearance.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment" (John 7:24).
There have been many situations in my life that have turned out to be very different from what I had originally perceived them to be. To make a conclusion about a person by observation alone may keep you from spending time with the very someone God has chosen for you.
SHE SAID: There’s so much to say in response to this most excellent question. So it’s a good thing I’m feeling a little verbose today.
Your female friend is right. Many single female working professionals (SFWP) would give it all up in a heartbeat to be wives and mothers. But since she hasn’t entered this realm yet, a single woman throws herself into the one thing she does have: a career. The Lord has placed her in this SFWP season of her life, and she is (hopefully) doing her work as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
Christian speakers and authors frequently point to Ruth as a role model for single women, perhaps more so in regard to dating or courtship. But I think we can also learn from her example as a SFWP. In between the death of her first husband Mahlon (Ruth 1) and her subsequent marriage to Boaz (Ruth 4), Ruth made the most of this single season and did what she needed to do to provide for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi.
In Ruth 2, we read how Boaz took his time observing her and then inquired about her. He was gathering information and didn’t let her SFWP status deter him. Meanwhile back in the fields, Ruth was minding her own business and gathering some grain.
I’m sure Boaz noticed what a diligent worker Ruth was, but the Bible didn’t say that this stood in his way (nor did the fact that she came from Moab where idolatry ruled, nor the fact that she had been married before, etc.). I believe that Boaz was prepared by God shaping his heart to be ready for Ruth. He was given eyes to see her in the way God wanted him to see her. Plus, Boaz did his part and got the information he needed before moving forward to an exclusive relationship.
Another great, biblical example of a female working professional is Lydia. We meet up with this successful businesswoman in Acts 16, as Paul and his companions (Silas, Timothy, Luke) were on a second missionary journey .
Lydia lived in Philippi in eastern Macedonia. Now, we don’t know for sure if Lydia was single; she could have been a widow. But we do know that she was prominent and successful in her career, that she had a household, that her heart was open and that she had the gift of hospitality.
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