Two years ago, I went through the Five Aspects of Woman study with a small group of women. What a challenging and solidly biblical course!
One of my favorite lessons focused on how God created every woman to be a lifegiver. According to author Barbara Mouser, "One of the traditional ways that women have given life to others is through their homes. Whether single or married, we all influence our loved ones through the environments we create."
To help us better identify our role in the home, Barbara gives the following definitions of homebuilding, and I really like how she describes them.
Housekeeping: daily mundane duties in the house such as making beds, washing dishes, dusting, etc.
Homemaking: habitually creating an atmosphere at home that is conducive to rest, fellowship, love, learning, security
House-building: the long-term lifework of helping a man, creating and nurturing a family, producing wealth, earning a reputation, blessing the local church and community, strengthening the nation, and thus influencing the world (Gen. 24:60; Ruth 4:1-12; Prov. 14:1)
Barbara encourages us to balance all of the above definitions in our homebuilding, and continues to define lifegiving by saying that "All women give life in one way or another. Lifegiving is anything which raises life above mere existence. Physically, we are invigorated with food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Spiritual lifegivers nurture the soul and spirit with words of love and truth and through gifts of heritage, traditions, culture, the arts, and holidays."
What an awesome privilege and responsibility we have--I am thankful God created me to be a lifegiver!
Note: Most of this post was originally published on May 22, 2007. I felt led in my latest retreat to review my notes from this portion of the study, and was blessed to be reminded of my role as a lifegiver, so I wanted to re-post these concepts. In looking through my notebook, I was startled to come across this prayer I wrote when I was a month away from delivering Nathan:
"Father, as I anticipate childbirth and becoming a mom, help me rely on You. I can do none of this without You. Help me accept that there will be pain and struggle, but to find joy in what You will bring us through." To which I now add, Amen!