What To Do When the Church Can’t Handle You

Oct 30, 2019 | Article | 23 comments

A popular evangelical author recently posted a rather lengthy thread explaining how heartbreaking it is for her to leave her husband and kids behind for work. Her chosen work takes her away from home regularly for painful stretches of time, and her heart is “torn” in two over how often she isn’t home. She is a woman who simply cannot be home as much as she desires, despite the internal ‘voice’ that tells her to go home. She said her situation (where she has to travel in order to get her message out or “be silent”) is largely because the church—a 2,000 year old institution led by God—just doesn’t know what to do with a woman of her skill set. 

Her rather intense claims came with far too many retweets and likes than we should be comfortable with, so I would like to offer a few thoughts:

1. There is never a time when God wills that you abandon your duty to your family so that more people can hear you teach. If what you are teaching is simply the Gospel, mothers, never fear! Local churches are tasked with this job. It is not your burden. It is decidedly not the job of a wife and mother from 800 miles away to feed the local sheep.

2. It is erroneous to claim that the church doesn’t know “what to do” with women that can teach. Scripture is very plain about what we should be doing with our gifts. Nowhere will you find a call for women to leave their children behind to encourage someone else’s wives or children elsewhere. YOUR family is your first duty. And women are instructed by the Apostle Paul to teach! Check it out:

Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Of course, I am not arguing that it is a sin to travel or *gasp* leave the home. That’s not the issue at hand. I add this necessary caveat for the feminists that read the previous Scripture reference and are still with us. (Brava!) Mothers can take vacations and travel for work and yes I probably DO have to state this because this is where we find ourselves in evangelicalism. The author of this Twitter thread actually believes that she has to CHOOSE between regularly leaving her children for large chunks of time and being utterly silent. Categories. Not our strong suit! 

  1. It’s embarrassing how embarrassed evangelicalism is of motherhood—and it’s hilarious how funny we can be when we want to excuse ourselves from our duties and cover it all with very pious sounding talk. You know. God called me to this heartbreaking difficulty. The church doesn’t know what to do with my skills so I soldier on, far from home! 

Really, though? Is that what is happening? Are these our heroes? Women that proudly eschew ordinary faithfulness for speaking engagements because the church just doesn’t understand them and they have to fulfill their ‘calling’ somehow? Mothers who think God calls them to encourage someone else’s children before their own? That’s who we have training the next generation of women? 

You are being played. You are exchanging the very real glory that the Lord offers to women for a lie. There is no love you can justly share with other women if the price tag is the hearts of your own children. Even unbelievers know that. 

 

 

 

A popular evangelical author recently posted a rather lengthy thread explaining how heartbreaking it is for her to leave her husband and kids behind for work. Her chosen work takes her away from home regularly for painful stretches of time, and her heart is “torn” in two over how often she isn’t home. She is a woman who simply cannot be home as much as she desires, despite the internal ‘voice’ that tells her to go home. She said her situation (where she has to travel in order to get her message out or “be silent”) is largely because the church—a 2,000 year old institution led by God—just doesn’t know what to do with a woman of her skill set. 

Her rather intense claims came with far too many retweets and likes than we should be comfortable with, so I would like to offer a few thoughts:

1. There is never a time when God wills that you abandon your duty to your family so that more people can hear you teach. If what you are teaching is simply the Gospel, mothers, never fear! Local churches are tasked with this job. It is not your burden. It is decidedly not the job of a wife and mother from 800 miles away to feed the local sheep.

2. It is erroneous to claim that the church doesn’t know “what to do” with women that can teach. Scripture is very plain about what we should be doing with our gifts. Nowhere will you find a call for women to leave their children behind to encourage someone else’s wives or children elsewhere. YOUR family is your first duty. And women are instructed by the Apostle Paul to teach! Check it out:

Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Of course, I am not arguing that it is a sin to travel or *gasp* leave the home. That’s not the issue at hand. I add this necessary caveat for the feminists that read the previous Scripture reference and are still with us. (Brava!) Mothers can take vacations and travel for work and yes I probably DO have to state this because this is where we find ourselves in evangelicalism. The author of this Twitter thread actually believes that she has to CHOOSE between regularly leaving her children for large chunks of time and being utterly silent. Categories. Not our strong suit! 

  1. It’s embarrassing how embarrassed evangelicalism is of motherhood—and it’s hilarious how funny we can be when we want to excuse ourselves from our duties and cover it all with very pious sounding talk. You know. God called me to this heartbreaking difficulty. The church doesn’t know what to do with my skills so I soldier on, far from home! 

Really, though? Is that what is happening? Are these our heroes? Women that proudly eschew ordinary faithfulness for speaking engagements because the church just doesn’t understand them and they have to fulfill their ‘calling’ somehow? Mothers who think God calls them to encourage someone else’s children before their own? That’s who we have training the next generation of women? 

You are being played. You are exchanging the very real glory that the Lord offers to women for a lie. There is no love you can justly share with other women if the price tag is the hearts of your own children. Even unbelievers know that. 

 

 

 

SUMMER JAEGER
Summer Jaeger is the wife to one excellent man and a homeschooling mother of four. When she is not blogging or podcasting, she is perfecting the art of the slow-cooked meal and wishing she was taking long-ish walks on the beach.
@SummrWrites Facebook sheologiansblog@gmail.com

23 Comments

  1. Leslie Devlin

    If there is one overshadowing regret I have as a mother of now grown children, it’s this; I was given a certain span of time to raise my three daughters and train them up. I was in a church that promised Jesus was on His way back within the next couple of years and so didn’t stress the daily and important teaching of our children. No excuses, it was MY job to know, but oh how I wish I had a do over. There is nothing more important than this! So now, I pray and trust that He will bring my girls to salvation, but I can’t help but live in deep sorrow over my own failing.

    Reply
  2. Kim Speed

    Well said

    Reply
  3. Tim Bushong

    Excellent article, Summer – right to the point. One other aspect of this scenario: The longer this woman ignores that “internal ‘voice’ that tells her to go home,” the more immune she will become to that voice’s warnings. I can’t help but think that that is at least partially the Spirit’s convicting grief.

    Reply
  4. Marina VanderWindt

    Amen! Oh my goodness.

    Reply
  5. Carla

    And yet those who serve faithfully in the little things find that the church (and God) know what to do with their skills.

    Reply
  6. Kate

    THANK YOU!!! I have no idea the tweet that you are referring to but I have seen this being promoted more and more. I have even seen a woman leave her like two week old for days for a conference and then rebuke everyone for asking where her baby was. It saddened me that no one close to her in her life challenged her on that. It’s an insane time for sure.

    Reply
  7. Tara Floyd

    I worked for years (mostly at the schools my sons attended) but I wanted to be home, especially in the last two years they were in school. We were certain we needed my income. However, I ended up falling down the stairs & fracturing several vertebrae in my back in 2011.

    Guess where I am now? Happily home, serving my family.

    To this day I thank God for that expedited way down. I learned that we could get through life without my income & to trust Him in every situation.

    Reply
  8. Steph

    Absolutely. My husband and I abandoned a lifestyle of comfort when I left my full time job to raise our children and manage our home. My skill set had me serving in a very nice administrative position at a large private Christian school. I had many other offers, but I left it behind the day our first child was born. It was hard, no doubt. Exchanging professional business attire for burp rags and diapers had it moments, but this conviction…a very biblical one…far outweighed the worldly things. I have been criticized, called names, and even slandered for my stance to be a wife, mother, and their schoolteacher . The saddest part is when it comes from within the church. And yes, I have had to be creative to pinch pennies and earn money through part time work which sacrifices my free time. We all understand women who by circumstance have to work full time jobs, but also have seen those women make family/home time a biblical priority. Biblical motherhood can happen despite the circumstances.
    Twenty-five years later, and many other opportunities to take up the professional life again, I can see how my skill set was gifted to me by my Lord to raise these children in His admonition; to be their mom, their teacher, and a good wife. They have benefited while I, by the world’s standards, “sacrificed” my university education and the wealth that would come from those full time jobs. Yet, I have been most blessed in this duty. Through this submission, I have leaned on Christ and through Him have an inheritance that is more than anything this world has to offer.
    Real encouragement for women? Go to the Scripture and do the hard things! Take up your cross. Faithfully follow. Trust in the Lord. The end result is far better.
    I love Hebrews. Chapter 11 is the great listing of Faithful witnesses who endured so that they would rise to something BETTER. Those who were stoned, sawn in two, killed by the sword, yet we have seen the fulfillment of the promise; God has provided the BETTER.
    “12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
    Soli Deo Gloria

    Reply
    • Heather Wallock

      Thank you for sharing this.

      Reply
    • Layla

      Thank you for this. We were also a part of a church where I was a new mom staying home, nursing my new baby. I was the only one and I never noticed that I was the only SAHM until I started receiving the ugliest comments from other young moms and sometimes their husbands who were employed full time, I assumed rooted in their insecurities of their choices. Because I was then tempted to question our family choice. Thank God for sheologians to encourage me! I don’t think I would have made it without Joy and Summer keeping me in check. (Love y’all) I didn’t want to bother my husband about it, I thought it was in my head, but once my husband witnessed it first hand himself several accounts, he talked to the pastor and we left. I never though just existing as a young sahm would be so radical in a conservative SBC church.

      Reply
    • Gina

      Well said!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

      Reply
  9. Deborah Jenkins

    After my first BM led video Bible study, I thought to myself no, not going to waste my time again. Later on I was talked in to enrolling in another study by friends. During the study I would look around and see all these enthralled fellow believers while I was becoming more angry at her BS.

    Her million plus “followers” is , I believe, a paper tiger. Women go to her studies, follow her on social media, as a social event and a reason for fellow believers to be together.

    However, she has made a FORTUNE on this stuff and due to her financial success, she thinks she’s all that and a box of candy (so to speak). I don’t think any church leadership supporting her will help “their cause” in any way. Her only importance relates to the damage she wreaks. Just a personal opinion.

    Reply
    • Angela Hogan

      Just so it’s clear (you didn’t say anything wrong necessarily), this post isn’t about Beth Moore. 😊

      Reply
      • Natalie Boudreau

        Who is it about ?

        Reply
  10. Leelee

    It’s blessing to have a job outside home, hobbies regardless of having children or not. The main thing is not to harm primary responsibilities of motherhood and not to judge other moms and wifes for their possibility to work outside home.

    Reply
  11. Ramon P. Noens

    Spot on Summer!
    While your article is a great response to the silly assertion being made, sadly I think it is emblematic of the times we live in that you would even have to write such a response in the first place.
    This is a very basic concept Christians should operate from whether male or female, especially those that claim to posses a teaching gift in particular. Paul focus’ on this as well when discussing the requirements for Elders in the same section of scripture, I.E, men that don’t manage their own households well should not be leading others. (1 Tim 3:4-5, Titus 1:6). The same would be applicable for women in their respective roles.

    Reply
  12. Jessica

    I work part time because my husband says I need to. And I had to chose between submitting to my husband or obey by staying home. After prayer, I decided submitting to my husband was a higher obedience than staying home. God has blessed me in my work and given me a flexible job schedule. But I still feel guilty and I still feel the need to tell everyone my husband days I have to work

    Reply
    • Leelee

      Jessica, it’s strange to me why do you feel guilty, it’s legalistic a bit. If your husband understands your family needs, he is right here. It’s not forbiden to have a job for a woman…

      Reply
    • Jasmine

      Praying the Lord will bless you!

      Reply
    • Mason Dixon

      Personally, I would submit to God first on this. This is a very difficult position to be put in and I do not envy you at all for this, I am sorry you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and I genuinely hope your husband comes around.

      Reply
  13. Mason Dixon

    Excellent article!!

    Reply
  14. Sandylu

    while the preachers wives bang pots &pans & tinkling tongues cant discern WHO served the chicken& noodles at the LAST funeral- my friend & i love & visit others who
    have been thrust out of THEIR kitchen…
    rather b doorkeepers!

    Reply
  15. Lara

    I absolutely agree that motherhood is a high calling, and that mothers need to be with their children to truly pass on what bring a disciple of Christ means. I wish, however, that this article had less of a “us vs. them “ tone. Forgive me if I’m misjudging! But it seems to create a divide between those who are doing it “right” and those who are mislead and deceived. A sahm could just as easily miss the opportunity before her as the women derided in the article. She could be on her phone all day long. She could be selling YL oils or skin care and be absorbed in building her business. She could be serving her local church to the detriment of her family. She could be listening to podcasts all day long. 😉 I want women to care deeply about their families and the passing on of the gospel – but is there a way to encourage them to this without tearing others down?

    Reply

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