Jasmine Baucham shared this article in the recent VBM newsletter.
"So, how old are you?" the young lady asked.
She, along with her family and two others, had come to our home for dinner the same week I was wrapping up the last edits for my book.
"I'm twenty," I replied, smiling. I'd been told I looked fifteen all night, and was prepared for the runaround. What I wasn't prepared for was her next comment:
"Twenty? Are you serious? I thought twenty year olds would be out doing something with their lives, going to college, and getting a career, not living at home with their parents."
It's a common sentiment, but it took my thirteen-year-old houseguest to put it bluntly. I just smiled and shrugged. "I am doing something with my life," I maintained, "and I am in college online. I'll be graduating within the next year, I start tutoring English students next week, I enjoy being part of my family unit, and I just finished my first book."
She looked so shocked that the other young lady standing with us grinned. "I guess she told you."
We shared a laugh, and the conversation eased to other things.
I no longer mind telling people that I still live at home. It is something that used to bother me -I hated the strained silences that followed when I revealed that I wasn't going off to a brick and mortar university, and that I was planning on living at home with my family until I was married!? I dreaded the inevitable questions that followed: Why aren't you going to college? What if you don't get married for ten years? Don't you want to have some freedom? What if you never get married at all? What's so good about living at home?
Nowadays, though, I've learned that a disarming smile does the trick as I respond in turn: I'm not going to off college because this is a critical time in my life, and I think it is so much more precious to spend that time being discipled and protected in my parents' household than anywhere else. Whether I get married in ten years or ten months, I plan to suck every ounce of joy and industry out of all of the time I have at home. I don't want to be free from the responsibilities and ties of my home, nor do I desire independence -I enjoy fostering an identity within the family unit. If I should never marry, I do pray that the Lord would continue to direct me down avenues of industry and service. And the most wonderful thing about living at home is that it's Christian character bootcamp: Phillipians 2:1-11 comes to life in the family unit (especially with all of the little people we have running around!)
I could say that I'm training to be a wife. Certainly, I have a bevy of household experience in my back pocket, and certainly, I would love to be married someday... but my desire to be near my family goes a bit deeper than that: at the root of my decision to stay at home was a desire to serve the Lord full-heartedly in the sphere where he had deemed fit to place me. It was a desire not to alter what I took as an ideal situation: why would I -a Christian young woman blessed with a home full to the brim of love for Christ -choose to remove myself from a situation where I could receive protection, discipleship, support, and accountability? Because the thirteen-year-old girls of the West would look at me and say: "I thought you would be doing something better with your life?"
Staying at home has taught me to have a thicker skin than that: I chose to do what I knew was best -I chose to follow where the Lord was leading me -I chose to have those uncomfortable questions thrown at me at every turn -and I chose to seek to answer them.
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