As an infertile, married woman who works outside the home, I’ve struggled off and on over the past few years with feeling like a second-class citizen of the church. It’s not that the church intentionally belittles me and my position; far from it. But in the rush to uplift the crowd of stay-at-home moms with small children, sometimes those in other seasons of life get unintentionally trampled. In the effort to counteract cultural criticism of stay-at-home moms, the church at large uses superlative language to praise stay-at-home moms that inadvertently leaves those Christian women who aren’t in that season, for whatever reason, feeling like they don’t measure up, don’t matter as much. I know that moms staying home with young children do hard work and need encouragement. I know that the church has a responsibility to minister to that significant population within their bodies. But single women, barren women, elderly women, working women – they all need encouragement, too. So I was very refreshed, a little over a week ago, to read the words of a stay-at-home mother of six on this very topic. She of Amy’s Humble Musings has written an insightful post on the issue of a woman’s highest calling (it’s a response to the selection of Sarah Palin as vice president on the Republican ticket, but it’s not a political post). I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
I am a wife and mother. It is what God has called me to do. However, this is not true for all women. All women should NOT aspire to be a wife and mother. Instead, all women should aspire to present their bodies a living sacrifice to the Lord. God is glorified in us when we are satisfied with His will for our lives. This is why some marry, some stay single, some have children, and some are barren. Glorify God in your present circumstance, the one you are in right now, not in a future marriage that may or may not happen.
Any other gospel that makes the widow, the abandoned, the orphan, the poor, the single, or the barren unable to attain high favor (or a high calling with God, if you will) because of their circumstance is really no good news at all. The Lord is honored by our love and obedience to His Word, not in our ambition to serve in the “highest calling” as a wife and mother one day [emphasis added].