Making Home: Pastor Dorothy

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(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. )

Making Home

Today we are happy to share an interview with Dorothy, Daja’s mom.  She is a wife of 41 years, mother of three, grandmother of 19, a blogger, speaker, pastor, shower of hospitality, and shoe enthusiast.  We know you will be inspired and challenged!

Meet Pastor Dorothy

The Provision Room:  There are lots of terms thrown around today stay-at-home-mom, stay-at-home-wife, housewife, homemakers, keepers-at-home, etc.  Is there a title you prefer?  And why?

Dorothy: I did use to care; I don’t really anymore.     Actually, I think it’s because I like them all and can identify with each of them.  I don’t even mind “housewife” as it has such a vintage feel.  I used to feel strongly about KAH (keeper-at-home) because I was so trying to teach what that really meant (guard, guardian, gate-keeper).  “Homemaker” is such a lovely term.  Making a home.  What a grand job!  But, in answering this question, I think I just realized that I really don’t care for the SAHM and SAHW designations.

The Provision Room: You raised three children and how have grandchildren.  In our society, it is generally acceptable for a woman to stay home and do the housewife thing as long as she has small children.  But, at a certain point it’s assumed that she’ll go out and earn her keep.  Respond to that assumption and tell us how you view the role of a homemaker who doesn’t have small ones to tend to.

Dorothy: This is why I don’t like the labels “stay-at-home-mom” and “stay-at-home-wife”.  They indicate that it is only acceptable to stay at home if you have children, preferably small. It is stretching it quite a bit to accept the stay-at-home-wife.  As in, what in the world would one do all day at home if there are no children to look after?  But, if we consider ourselves HOMEmakers, then there is always something to do!

Believe me, I may not contribute to the gross national product, but I do earn my keep!  LOL!  I often think my load was lighter when my children were home.  There were more of us to get things done!  However, continuing to be a homemaker frees me to truly make my home a retreat from the world, but it also frees me up for whatever my husband and my Lord want me to do each day.  My husband is a bishop/pastor and I do a whole heap of administrating from home.  I love working for/with my husband.  Not only do we share the vision of our lives together, but he’s a very kind employer.    Why would I desire to leave his service and attach myself to another for eight hours a day?

 Dorothy and Gabe

I think it is important to think of our purpose as women as more than just another laborer.  Being at home frees me up to be a highly effective influencer in the world around me.  I remember a story about 9/11.  A friend woke up that morning with the urge to put on a big pot of chili.  She questioned the Lord, wondering who was going to eat it.  But she obeyed.  As tragedy struck and children came pouring home early from school, there was no one in the neighborhood to meet them except her.  All the mothers were off to work.  My friend was able to gather them to her home, feed, and comfort them.  I think she did the noblest job of all the women on that block that day.

If we all leave our homes, we abdicate our influence in return for a sum of money.  A sum of money that won’t be there tomorrow.  But our influence will and we will continue to see the effects of that influence.

The Provision Room: OK, so we have chills and feel so challenged by that story!  Wow.  Looking back on your homemaking career, is there anything you wish you would have done differently?

Dorothy: As Maya Angelou told us, we did then what we knew how to do.  When we know better, we do better.  So, yes, there would probably be many things I would do differently, but I have no regrets in the homemaking arena.

The Provision Room: As your daughter, that’s mighty good to know.  LOL!  OK, now, looking forward, what do you hope to do or accomplish in your homemaking career?

Dorothy: There are so many facets of that.  My homemaking career, that is.  Right now, I am specifically looking forward to the day when I am completely organized!  The big question is whether I will live long enough.  LOL.  I am also working on a large project now that will enable me to be a helpmeet to my husband in a completely different area.

I think that brings up another topic.  Each of us is married to a unique man.  So being a helpmeet, “a helper suitable to him”, will look differently for each of us.  We will all need some of the same skills, but also a whole lot of different ones.  Don’t be afraid to step out of the box.  Dorothy and family on her ordination day.

The Provision Room: You stepped out of your box, your comfort-zone so to speak, when you answered the call to ordination and the title of Pastor.  Can you let us in on that decision a bit and how that works with your homemaking?

Dorothy: That’s an interesting question, with perhaps a boring answer.  Over the years, I have been asked several times if I wanted licensing or ordination papers.  A few of those times by my husband.  I always said no.  But, last fall, I felt a tugging in my spirit about the matter.  I wasn’t sure what would be in store for me, but felt that ordination papers would be a boost in the future.  (Actually, up until just recently, I did not have concrete views about women “in ministry”.  That, in itself, was a spiritual growth walk.)  I tentatively asked my husband what he thought about ordination, and he took off with it!  A little faster than I anticipated!  He contacted the church he is ordained with and they sent out the papers immediately!  They figured that 40 years of ministry was enough life experience to warrant them.  J  (I also attended Bible College and am a graduate of the International School of Ministry, but I’m not sure that made that big of a difference.)  I was officially ordained in January with the full support of my husband, family, and church.  My church family calls me Pastor and I’m okay with it now.  (Just to be clear, my husband does not believe that women should pastor alone.  I’m not in complete agreement, though I do not aspire to that at all.)

How does it work with my homemaking?  As I said, I am being a helper suitable to MY husband.  It works into OUR vision for OUR home and family.  We have always worked together and this is just a slight curve in the road.  I am excited about what God has in store for us as we make this turn together.

The Provision Room: Who are your role models/examples when it comes to being a homemaker?

Dorothy: Three of my best role models are my daughters.  Seriously.  As my husband often says, “I don’t want my children to follow in my footsteps; I want them to stand on my shoulders.”  I do believe I trained my children well.  They are now standing way taller than me.

Dorothy's daughters

Sarah-Kate, Serena and Daja

The Provision Room: I need to sit down.  Wow.  Thank you.  Can you give our readers a piece of advice when it comes to building their lives around their home and family?

Dorothy: I think I just dished out a bunch throughout this whole interview.  I really do believe that what we believe is truly important will come out through all aspects of our lives.  The problem, as I see it, is that if asked, we will recite what is socially acceptable to be the important things.  We will say that our home and family are the significant things, but we actually live as though they were on the bottom rung of the ladder.  I believe we need to make conscious choices daily as to what the truly vital things are.  When we get those in authentic alignment, life will take on genuine joy.

Four Generations of Homemakers

Four Generations of Homemakers

  1. Addie Campbell - August 3, 2014

    Looking back, with the knowledge I have now I would have stayed home, verses return to the Work Force, when my son turned six. Being a wife, mother, helpmate, and homemaker holds a much higher calling than ‘working mom’. I would strongly advise every young woman, wife, and mother to be a true homemaker if you possibly can.

    * I believe that if more wives would stay at home more marriages would stay together
    * More children would live by example
    * Her home would be much less stressful and a true ‘haven of rest’

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