Q: I am a 24-year old single lady. I’m self-employed and live at home with my parents.
I grew up in a godly home, was taught the Bible, and was home schooled. My parents have taught me and my sisters the importance of the Proverbs 31. So, I strongly believe in biblical marriage and believe that raising godly children is a very high calling for a wife and mother.
The problem has come up as my parents have only one goal for me—to marry and have children. They believe a girl should stay at home with her parents, under their authority until she marries and is placed under her husband’s authority.
I’ve been content with this, but about a year and a half ago God began to do a work in my heart that it was time to move on. I feel so strongly that God would have me use these years to serve Him in a ministry that would not be possible if I should marry and have children. I’ve prayed much, asking God if He would have me stay single for the sake of the ministry.
My parent’s viewpoint is that if God had called me to ministry He would have shown it to them as well. I know the Bible tells me to honor and respect my parents, but does there come a place in my life where Christ becomes the greater authority?
Asked by: Emily, Illinois
A: Emily, what an interesting story you have to tell. First of all, let me say that you are very fortunate; you have Christian parents who care about you and who want to make sure that they have the very, very best for their daughter.
And no doubt, they are praying that God’s will shall be done in your life. There are many children who can’t say that. But having said that, I really do feel that your parents are wrong in insisting that you marry. You know, after all, God may have something else for you, and if the right man doesn’t come along, what are you to do? To make marriage the dominant desire, on their part, for your life, I feel is really wrong and misleading. Indeed, God may have other things for you.
Now you say that you are 24 years old. Yes, there comes a time in your life when you are held accountable to God and not your parents. Seems to me that Jesus said that on one occasion, for example, when He said you have to love Me more than you love your mother and your father.
There comes a time when a child has to find his own way in his relationship with God. I like to point out that, humanly speaking, we would never have had the Protestant Reformation if Luther had believed that one should always obey his parents, because his parents certainly didn’t want him to enter the monastery in Erfurt, they wanted him to be a lawyer. His father was miffed about that for many years.
Well, I’m glad that Luther did enter that monastery to seek God, and I’m glad that his life did take the path that it did. So, I really do believe that there is such a thing as respectful disobedience. Your parents are worthy of respect, but at the same time you cannot be held in bondage to their desire for you to marry.
Seek God, be kind, be respectful, but also you’re going to have to decide, in God’s presence, what your future is going to be about. I pray that He will give you the grace to work this out so that you can go on with what He has called you to do.
- Proverbs 31