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Monday, April 20, 2009

The 21st Century Woman

We are a generation of women yet again redefined. We are trying to learn a delicate balance of home, family, work and health.
Though every generation is different- how much more was our mothers’ and now ours. In large part, for many years women were workers at home, learning at their mother's knee how to cook and clean and care for a family. Often staying near, their children received the blessing of their grandmothers’ love and advice to their mothers.
But not so for our moms, or at least for most of them – the world was a different place, both giving them many long overdue liberties and unforeseen burdens. Our mothers were the first generation of women to be looked down upon by many if their only occupation was as ‘stay-at-home-mom.’ Women, after all, could now have it all! A career, a family, a spotless home, a hot meal, a higher degree, beautiful bodies and on and on… And, they actually believed they could do it all and none would suffer. Culture and commerce adapted to fill the gaps with processed food and microwave dinners, afterschool programs and hours of TV programming, night school and certifications, face lifts and tummy tucks. Should we wonder why our generation saw so many of our families broken by divorce?
Our poor mothers! What an unbearable force of expected perfection they carried.
It did not take centuries for women to realize something must give – something does give. And so we find ourselves, a generation of women willing and needing to weigh our priorities, make choices and embrace our imperfection. Knowing we cannot do it all perfectly but desiring to do things well.
We do not look foolishly with nostalgia into the past yearning for the days of yesteryear. We have made gains from our mothers’ struggles. We have pursued education and careers and grown through those experiences and successes.

So what do we desire to do?
To recognize our imperfection
To choose what is better
To make things lovely
To give grace to ourselves and others as we learn how to be women
And to put on joy- learning to let go of that which is of little worth and cling tightly to that which really matters.
We are Christian women who want to love the Lord and constantly and deliberately realign our hearts and priorities to His.
And more functionally – we will enjoy the things that make us smile, beautifying our lives and ourselves in ways that are simple, wise and lovely.

LEARNING BALANCE

Work and Home:
To do our jobs well, whether professional or at home, but never sacrificing our husbands or children (whom we alone have this role to) for jobs that could be done by someone else.

Cooking:
Maybe not a nightly gourmet meal or grandma's homemade biscuits, but also not boxed and frozen microwave meals. Eating for the health of our families and also for the joy of flavors and experimentation. Simple but not dull.

Cleanliness and Order:
Caring for our homes to make them a place that is refreshing and comfortable, simple and decluttered, safe and maintained, but not sterile or oppressive or creating fear that hinders fun and life.

Making things Lovely:
We need not covet or spend foolishly to have all our eyes desire. But we can be resourceful to make our homes, ourselves, our lives: LOVELY. And THIS will be a central theme in this blog, whether faking a window treatment, re-finishing a garage sale find, creating charming events, setting a pretty table. It need not be perfect, but why not make it special? And feel at liberty to enjoy it.

Money:
Realigning our view of money and work, that it would be a means to an end, and not the end itself. That we would be thankful for what has been entrusted to us and wise in how we use it. Learning to multiply it through good decisions without fear of occasionally splurging for things that are truly special.

Health:
Caring for our bodies which are a blessing but not obsessing about outward appearance. Being mindful of our insides and out, our souls and our stomachs.

Family:
We are young and learning every day in this area more than any other. But we want to be women who bless our husbands, that we would be trusted and cherished by them. To be blessings and guides to our children, equipping them to be confident adults with a healthy view of what is important and showering them in love and joy.

We desire to be like the woman of Proverbs 31 who does many things and has many responsibilities but has not become embittered, overwhelmed or frustrated. She instead is filled with joy and laughs at the days to come.

Proverbs 31: 25-28
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

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