Here is a lovely virtue that women are designed for. It isn’t in found in a list of virtues like some of the others we have discussed, but women are charged to be domestic, to be capable homemakers.
Domestic means simply, home-loving; enjoying household affairs; a devotion to home and family life.
Domesticity encompasses everything that has to do with managing a home.Women need to be trained to be domestic, just like they might be trained for any other job. Though women are designed for this, it does not follow that we know everything instinctively. It is a calling, not a hobby. The older women are to teach the younger women to be homemakers (Titus 2:4). That word maker is an important one. God is our Maker and He has given us the great privilege of making things in imitation of Him, whether it is a poem or a home. Women are given a glorious responsibility in homemaking.
Homekeeping refers to the nuts and bolts of managing a home, and homemaking has more to do with the intangibles; but both are necessary to build God-fearing, trinitarian homes.
Women are called to manage their homes (1 Tim. 5:14) ; this pleases God and keeps the adversary from speaking reproachfully. Women who make homes keep God’s word from being blasphemed (Titus 2:4). The way I understand this is that a home that is well managed is a positive glory; a home in shambles is a poor testimony. But this is not to lay a guilt trip on women; rather, it should inspire us to view our seemingly mundane tasks as a truly worthy calling that God uses to transform the world. We often think of homekeeping as drudgery. But God says it silences our enemies. That is something potent. God always does things backwards from what we think. This requires wisdom.
“The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands” (Prov. 14:1).
“Through wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Prov. 24:3-4).
Wisdom and knowledge are not things you can order from Pottery Barn. Consider wisdom when you decorate, make purchases, iron shirts, organize the closet, stock the pantry, clean the fridge, plan the menu, plant the petunias, hang the guest towels. Women are given dominion over a vast amount of territory in their homes. Our homes are to be an oasis to our families, a center of operations to refuel and send out our husbands, a refuge for our children, a delight to our own souls. But sadly,Â many women squander their opportunites and abandon their homes for something they think might be more fulfilling. But whenever we run away from what God has given us to do in order to pursue something we think we may like better, we give the enemy opportunity to speak reproachfully and we miss God’s blessing on our lives.
The woman described in Proverbs 31 (vs. 27) “watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Many things can distract us from our duties. It could be a “ministry” somewhere outside the home. It could be getting together with the girls for coffee. It could be working out at the gym. None of these things is bad in itself, but each can be a cover for idleness.
The woman in Proverbs 31 is meant to be an inspiration for us. She is virtuous. If you read through the description, you’ll see she has a very broad job description: She seeks, works willingly, does good, brings food, rises, provides, considers, plants, girds, strengthens, perceives, stretches, extends, reaches out, is not afraid, makes, sells, supplies, rejoices, opens, watches, and fears the Lord. She is prepared. She is wise. She knows what her household needs.
G.K. Chesterton in one of the essays in Brave New Family, says that a homemaker can be good at many things, while a “professional” may be an expert in one thing. Women, he says, have so much more scope at home than they do in a “career” outside the home where they must focus on only one skill.
The unmarried woman has the opportunity to be domestic whether she is living at home with her parents or has her own home. She most likely has to work outside the home to provide for herself (unless she is independently wealthy), but she can still make her home her central calling. Women are to be home-centered, even if they are not in it all the time.
Mothers need to be preparing their daughters to be excited about homemaking. Many things are required of a homemaker and many skills are needed. Our culture does not give the homemaker the honor she deserves. But God does.