Friday, June 3, 2016

The Blessings of Covenant Living

This thought provoking post was written by Kelly Reins in response to the comments on  Seeking a Career Just in Case.

Just reading through the various concerns about schooling, work, illness, etc. I'm so glad to see ladies thinking seriously about these things. Often it's a common notion that we're isolated in our difficulties. Everyone is facing the same thing. Blogs like this and websites like Beautiful Womanhood (LAF) have been such a help over the years addressing these situations. I'm grateful for the many women who have gone before us proving there are answers that lead to decisions which are proving to bear good fruit. I love being counted among women who though at times are troubled, concerned, and challenged, still seek to find answers and make peaceable, careful, thoughtful decisions. I'd like to throw out some ideas.

First, we live in a socialistic culture which is progressively moving toward threatening our freedoms. It offers many seemingly convenient solutions but the fruit is not what we want and detrimental to human flourishing. Men are working harder than ever to earn less and less. Because of the manipulated economy, running our households on one income is quite difficult. I've written an article on the idea of adding a second job and how the numbers play out. In short, you actually don't come out ahead because our tax system isn't set up for that. The advantage comes when we move from the working world of employment to the entrepreneurial world. Job incomes are capped by the control of government on a free market. Our tax system benefits the small business owner, not the employee. Many stay-at-home singles, wives, mothers are making huge strides running home-based businesses that not only offer tremendous tax benefits (which can also reduce taxable employment income) but uncapped (wherever there is a minimum wage there is a maximum wage) offer the opportunity to make unlimited income (relevant to a free market's climate). Simply put, if you have a job, all you can do is trade your time and skill for a set market price per hour or if salaried per set salary. What you make is outside of your control. If you own and operate a business it's a different paradigm all together. This may be hard to understand at first but you can multiply your efforts, (even 'employ' your children by setting aside a fund, saving and righting off the equivalent of college tuition) in a number of ways and many times over. That is where the money is and as I said, where the incredible tax benefits are.

If I may, I'd like to raise some concern about relinquishing a child's education to the government. A socialist education means children are walking away with a socialist perspective. The school system was designed to produce employees for corporations. Simply put, if we look at the ambitions of our country's leaders right now, why allow them to build the future they're after? One we don't like now and won't like as it gets progressively worse as our freedoms are stripped from us, why let them build the future for this country using our children? We still have the freedom to educate our own children, to decide what is best for our children, to give them a chance to advance beyond the stagnant, limited, and frustrating education millions are getting through government education. I'd like to add that we pay taxes to educate other people's children in a way that is destroying their individual potential, confusing them about what is reality, and leaving them at the whim of the current progressive notion. Many a homeschooling mom has proven it possible to give her own children a quality education coupled with real world experience at a the same time, rather than twelve years of theory and inexperience.

Bringing back the family economy and blending it with Christian education means we have real possibilities for our futures, for our children's futures, for the futures of our communities as our families grow and influence society. The raising families and the running households needs a different framework in which to operate than the ones we're used to.

It is no small thing to afford the possibility of human flourishing in the world we live in now. I believe it is our only option. If we are giving our families a life that is no longer subject to the negligent compartmentalized ideals of feminism, we have a real chance of making a big difference. We've been too long convinced that by staying home we're sidelined and have given up on the best things, that we've removed ourselves from a place of influence and effectiveness by coming home The opposite is true. 

The return of the family economy means women are using their talents, and abilities beyond basic house-keeping and doing it in an economically savvy way. It's the closest thing to having it all ironically. The CEO has to outsource everything her household requires, including the parenting needs of her children if she's truly dedicated to the corporation. 

As far as honoring parents who want daughters to leave home, get an education and fund it themselves, I think it can be argued that if headship is delegated to the daughter she is free to make her own decisions. Abdication is never partial. If you give up the responsibility, you give up authority. Too many times families live in manipulative limbo and it is unhealthy. Daughters are asked to take the responsibility while parents still call the shots. If we reinvigorate our sense of responsibility and commitment it will benefit us on many fronts, marriage fidelity being one. If we really trust God, then we'll believe His whole Word.

Abdication is something He speaks clearly about. Think of it in these terms, your boss fires you and you get a new job. But he still calls you up and tells you what to do with binding authority. It's obviously not lawful in this case, the same holds true for the family. That being said, I believe a daughter can keep good loving relations with unbelieving parents and still obey God in prepping herself for marriage through service in a home, etc. There are churches who have allowed daughters to submit to the elders and serve in homes in the church. They have overseen courtships and as a united church body given the single women away in marriage just as a family would. There are options.

If relationships are good, a daughter may consider bringing up the idea to her unbelieving parents of a home business. Economically, it's better for her if she is at home. If she contributes to the family income she may, by her faithfulness and dutifulness win them over. Living elsewhere means her money is going elsewhere and she'll be covering more expenses. She might as well stay home if the relationships are okay and invest there; she has a greater chance of influencing their unbelief.

In a normal Christian family economy she would be doing the same thing anyway. This is not to say that all she does is pay her part of the bills, though that might be the thing to do for a time, her example of financial responsibility might intrigue them and if she does well in home business, even unbelieving parents may potentially come around and help her build a fund for her future.

If relationships are troublesome, if her faith is at all in jeopardy because of the antagonism of parents and they've abdicated they're responsibility, I would suggest finding a Christian family to live with so she can shore up her faith. If in any way she is at fault for the fall out, she needs to repent. Often repentance begets repentance, but the responsibility to repent lies upon parents as well. A stiff-necked unbeliever is not an unusual thing. If that is your reality seek help.

We'll always be facing difficulties as long as sin is a reality. Ironically, since sin has so often been redefined as complications, personality, honest mistakes, etc. we find we're increasingly left without options, well, without options except those of progressivism. And so, no one knows how to argue that sharing bathrooms is sinful. The major outcry is, "What can we do?" And there we have it.

The big question weighing on all of us is "Can we do something about it?" It being the problem we find ourselves perhaps backed in a corner by. I think we should try hard to restore order to our families and first and foremost that will mean examining our families in light of scripture. Borrowing from the creative, even rightly counselled ideas and examples of others isn't the same. God must come first and in so much that He uses others to encourage, educate, even lead us, we acknowledge His providential hand in using them and obey Him. He is kind in that we still have good preaching, we still have our Bibles, we still have many freedoms. We must live by them if they are to live on.

Hollywood would have us believe that life is a cakewalk and all troubling matters are restored in thirty minutes. We all know that restoring order to our society, first in our families may mean living with unbelievers, being long suffering as we deal with sin, fighting some out of place social worker, or upholding the law in defense of our homes in the face of emotional turmoil. This is important to acknowledge. Biblical womanhood requires real grace dependent faith and real grace dependent strength. We have the advantage over feminists. We've a God who has promised to bless the righteous. And we know they know not God. They build in pride. We build in humility. We learn the spiritual graces of faith, hope,and love and are governed by them. They build deeper rooted empowering sins, as if they were virtue. We know the results are ultimately up to Him and allow Him to carry the greater burden.

Last thoughts on perfect families. Often we're picking up pieces left from brokenness and in our earnest desire to create order we accept what is considered perfect in our social spheres. We need to examine why we believe what we believe. We fail ultimately if we measure ourselves by ourselves. Too often I've seen homes where the perfect family is the idol to be had at all costs and faith in God, the first fruits of salvation, are lost as a consequence. This kind of thinking leads to isolationism.

If there is sin in the home that needs to be dealt with, that is God's priority. If you're in a situation where the perfect family isn't an option because of a lack of repentance, don't guilt yourself into being greater than God and transforming what He has left broken. There are consequences to sin. The sooner we acknowledge sin and consequences, the sooner we will see what is good and right and order our futures accordingly. Unbelievers turn a blind eye to sin; we can not.

That's all I have for now. Again, thanks for the mention. It's nice to come across so many wonderful ladies who are thinking about these things. I hope you're all encouraged to know there are lots of options available to us rather than what is served up by the status quo. If we live free, we example freedom, we protect freedoms in the process of exercising freedoms, and leave a legacy of freedom. Ultimately, our expectation is of the Lord. These might seem like heavy things to contemplate and to carry out. Too big especially against the tide of feminism. But we serve a supernatural God. He knows about all of it. We need to continue to walk with Him, keeping in step with Him. If we're taking baby steps in faith that is a delight to Him much more than the grand leaps (off cliffs I might add) that feminism is taking. We can expect the blessings of covenant living. In a success driven culture, our priority focus needs to be first and foremost faithfulness.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58