Keeping “Godly Homemaking” in Perspective

August 11, 2010 at 6:29 am (A Slice of Life, Attitudes, Homemaking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

Last night Nathaniel and I (along with Elijah) attended a Bible study where a man named Titus from Nigeria shared about what the Lord is doing in his country and the need for literacy so that people can read God’s word for themselves.  It was a wonderful presentation, and a great wake-up call to consider how we can be supporting the suffering body of Christ around the world–through prayer and giving.

During Titus’s presentation, he took a small portion of time to discuss the problem of finding clean water that is an everyday reality for most rural people in Nigeria (and all over Africa).  A picture popped up on the screen of a woman carrying a very large pot on her head–so that her family would have some to drink and some with which to wash clothes.  This of course had an impact on my heart, realizing how incredibly blessed we are to have clean, running water, and how important it is to consider the needs of others, but it also made me think of how foolish we can be sometimes over here in the West, trying to paint an elusive picture of the perfect homemaker…of the “godly” homemaker.

The women in the picture had to walk miles for the water they needed, carrying a large pot and sometimes a little baby the whole way.  This could take HOURS.  Imagine if three or four hours of your day were spent walking and gathering water.  Would you have time to pursue “godly” hobbies like sewing or knitting or baking cookies?  Would you have the time to attend a ladies brunch and Bible study?  Would you have the time to post to your blog (assuming you do not have a smart phone)?  Would you have time to teach your kids Latin?  Make all of your own clothing?  Prepare every meal from scratch?  Would you have the money to buy only organic produce (because, of course, that is the most “godly” thing to do)?

How can a Christian woman in Africa be “godly” when she cannot do all the things that many conservative Christians in the West say a “godly” homemaker should be doing?

These thoughts only added to a lesson my Father has been teaching me lately.  Being a godly wife and mother isn’t about being the best housewife on the street, it’s about being godly in the role God has given me as a wife and mother.  It’s not about the outward stuff, as though the kingdom of God consisted in eating and drinking…or frugal shopping or an 1800’s-like lifestyle or wearing nice clothes.

The kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

I’m afraid we can get all too consumed with outward tasks and outward adornment (modest, of course), and outward actions, that we forget about the fruit of the Spirit.  That we fail to be godly because God is barely in the equation anymore.

Being godly starts with God.  It starts with His work in humble hearts.  Seeking Him is of far greater value than making your own bread or using cloth diapers or growing your own organic vegetable garden.

The point here is not that any of these things is wrong.  The point is that they do not make you godly.  Nor are you ungodly if your house doesn’t look or function just like Susie Homemaker’s.   Godliness is seeking Yahweh, being empowered by the Spirit and motivated by love to obey God and joyfully serve Him in whatever life-situation or role you find yourself in.  It speaks more to attitudes than to actual tasks.

So let’s revisit our Christian wife and mother in Nigeria.  How can she be godly?  She undoubtedly rises early to prepare food for her household.  She praises God for His provision.  She cares for the needs of her husband and children–her heart is grateful to God for them and compassionate towards them.  She walks however long it takes to find water for her family.  And along the way she is perhaps meditating on what little bit of Scripture she has access to this week.  Or maybe she sings praises.  Or maybe she delights in the sunshine or rain that her Father has given her that day.  She lovingly nurses her infant, and shares what she knows about Jesus with other women along her path.

She may be very godly.  And all you would see is a woman walking a long way to get water.  And then working hard when she returned home.  A woman who, at the end of the day, may have nothing more to show for all of her labor than this:  she, her husband, and her children … are still alive.

(Assuming they were not attacked by Muslims that day because of their faith in Jesus–another reality of the Christian life in Nigeria).

She is godly because she is filled with the Holy Spirit of God and manifests the fruit of His work in her heart.  She may not know as much as you and I about theology.  She may not even be able to read the Bible for herself–only clinging to the slivers of light that came through the teaching she heard at the small gathering of believers that she attended earlier that week.  But every word of God that she finds, she devours.  And she trusts in Him to provide and protect, and to keep His promises.

May we consider that our Western, task-driven, formulaic, and sometimes legalistic view of what it means to be a godly woman might just crumple when held up to the light of God’s word.  We are not to compare ourselves with each other or with a cultural ideal.  We are to seek the Living God.  May we be Spirit-filled believers who put the skills and gifts God has given us to good use in the roles that He has placed us in.

More to come on this subject…


  1. Pearls and Diamonds said,

    If anyone is interested, check out Literacy and Evangelism International, the ministry that has helped believers like Titus learn how to teach literacy and use it as an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Here’s their website:


  2. Jessalyn said,

    Wow. Thanks Lauren! This is encouraging and convicting all at the same time. It is VERY easy to get bogged down in our western, priviledged, easy standards of homemaking and not get the first things first… if you know what I mean. I am going to be thinking about this a lot this week. Love you!

  3. Pearls and Diamonds said,

    Thanks so much for the encouragement, Jessalyn! So very kind of you to comment both here and on Facebook…makes me feel special. Love you, too!

  4. Abigail Bartel said,

    Hello Lauren and Abigail! =)
    Thank you so much for this post, Lauren! It was very encouraging and so true! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I enjoy your blog, and check it often. Keep up the good work!
    Have a great day in the Lord!
    Joyfully in Him,

  5. Melody said,

    Good post. Great perspective.

  6. Chloe said,

    Oh, Lauren. Thank you for this sweet, sweet reminder. As I read, tears came to my eyes. How refreshing to have those firmly nailed boxes of legalism broken open!

  7. Sarah M. said,

    Lauren, thank you for sharing these thoughts. I’ve never really commented on here before, but ever since Abigail came to visit me in January, I’ve been frequenting P&D. 🙂 John (my husband — but maybe you could guess…) sent me a link to this one today, because he knew it would be a particular encouragement to me this week — and it really was! I feel like God is always trying to teach me that my value is in what He thinks of my heart, not what others think of the abilities I have in comparison to most wives and mothers. It is so freeing to remember that He only asks from us what He Himself willingly supplies to us! I just wanted you to know how much I appreciated this. 🙂


  8. Becki H. said,

    Hi ladies! Thanks for sharing your heart, Lauren. You shared some of these thoughts when I saw you this summer. It’s SO true and encouraging/convicting all in one. I like what Sarah M. said, “He only asks from us what He Himself willingly supplies to us.” If we’re not content with that, then maybe it’s not a zeal to be godly, but a need to be appreciated and admired.

    Every African brother and sister that we meet in seminary seems to radiate with joy. They are truly thankful for everything, but they know in whom is their Hope and He is their true delight…it sure isn’t anything material. They’ve had to depend on God for all things, without the mirage that they can halfway do it on their own. Maybe we should ask the Lord to show us things in our lives that make us feel “holier” or “godlier” that really only have to do with our own self-admiration. They might start off as a “good” thing, but they also might be stealing intimacy and dependence in God and replacing it with our own set of life standards. Have we turned ourselves into idols or a set of certain man-made standards? I’ve been wrestling with this too, and I can’t wait for the “more to come” that you’ve promised. =) I love you girls!


  9. Mrs. Parunak said,

    Great post! We need to be sure that we are getting our picture of “godly” from the Scriptures and not from “lovely blogs” or anywhere else.

  10. Pearls and Diamonds said,

    Abigail, Melody, and Mrs. Parunak: Thanks for the encouragement!

    Chloe: Isn’t God’s grace just amazing like that?? Especially when you’ve known the bondage of legalism personally? God has set my conscience free in a lot of ways recently and I hope to write more about it soon.

    Sarah M.: Why thank you for commenting! I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you! Abigail keeps telling me that Nathaniel and I need to spend time with you and John…let me know if you ever end up within a couple hundred miles of us! 😉

    Becki H.: Thanks for the comment–I agree, that sentence you quoted from Sarah’s post was right-on. 🙂 And it is such an encouragement to know believers from all over the world, isn’t it? I just love it.

    God bless you, ladies!

  11. Abigail @ Pearls and Diamonds Blog said,

    I don’t normally comment on our own blog…:) But I wanted to today. 😀 Lauren, what a good, simple, clear reminder to us! You know, when we sit and ponder Titus 2, the theme verse for “godly womanhood”–the details are rather missing. Just “love your husband, love your children, be a sensible, pure worker at home.” We’ve been talking a lot lately about the heart attitudes that drive us to lifestyles that glorify God. This is it all over again. It’s love for God that drives us to love for our families that drives us to “whatever you do…do it for the Lord.” Sometimes it’s harder not to have a check-list–grace requires wisdom and responsibility–which can only be found in seeking the Lord. 🙂 Love you (of course).

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  15. Toyin said,

    So true! I can definately relate being Nigerian Myself!

    Awesome blog!

  16. Elisheva said,

    Hi I came across your blog through Jocelyn, and your blog is awesome. I look forward to coming back to visit more often.
    Blessings to you and your household

  17. Julia said,

    Wow! I grew up “poor,” but we have managed to climb to the upper levels of lower class. With six children and one income, our budget is so tight it squeaks. There are many months, no matter how frugal we are, that we run out of money and the Lord faithfully provides. It’s so easy for me to feel sorry for myself. But I do have running water and a flushing toilet and a washer and dryer and a dishwasher and central heat and air and…….. Wow! In fact, I’m wealthy compared to most of the rest of the world. That calls for acknowledgement of blessings and gratitude and proper stewardship.

    And I’m all about doing the right things, externally. It’s been a constant lifelong battle for me to keep the proper perspective. The Lord keeps reminding me, through things like your blog post, that it’s the internal stuff that counts the most – my heart attitude. Things like humility and gratitude and cheerful, willing service to the Lord, my family and others.

    Thanks for the sobering reminder. I think it’s great that an “old lady” (age 50) can learn so much from you two young ladies!

    Julia in Texas

  18. Becky said,

    God is so faithful! The question of what a woman’s true calling from God is in regards to homemaking has been running through my head for several days now. This very afternoon I went to the scriptures to get God’s answer to this question. What a wonderful surprise to discover your post discussing the very same thing! Thank you for your faithfulness to share the liberating truth of God’s Word.

  19. Allie said,

    Wow, thank you for this post. You are so right. I tend to get bogged down in my daily to-do lists and feel like I’ve failed if something like cleaning the windows doesn’t get done – even if the reason is having company, or a sick baby, or some other special circumstance. Thank you for reminding me to rejoice in God’s provision and His awesomeness, and not worry about the fact that I don’t have time or energy to learn to sew our own clothes or money to buy organic food 🙂
    God bless you!

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