When I have time, I like to read the posts on Crystal’s blog, Biblical Womanhood. We differ greatly in our personal convictions about Christian living, but I respect where she’s coming from. I enjoy being challenged to think. I’ve never commented on her blog because usually by the time I read it, ten other people have said already exactly what I would say. However, I feel a need let my opinion be known even if no one listens.
Today I read about women attending college (with follow-up posts here and here).
I know that college isn’t for everyone, but I am so glad it was the route I chose. College was a growing time for me, where I kind of “floundered” in safe environment while I really truly learned who I was. When I was living with my family, it was easy to ride my parents’ coattails as far as my faith went. Once I was away from my family, I was forced to decide for myself whether I really believed in and trusted God, and how much was I willing to sacrifice to follow Him.
As far as education, I’ve always been academic and enjoyed learning. I am thankful for the gift of academic knowledge that God gave me, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to further my education. I have pursued a subject that I knew little about before starting college, but have since fallen in love. I hate to think of what my life would be like if I had stopped after high school.
For one, I would have found myself working any minimum wage job until I met my husband. Perhaps I would have been lucky with an opporunity to rise above that, but I can’t assume that. I believe it’s unfair to ask my parents to support me until marriage when I am perfectly capable of working and supporting myself. As missionaries, they rely on the donations of other individuals and churches. I don’t believe it would be a good use of those gifts just so I can bide my time until God brought the right man into my life.
I also have to wonder if I was just waiting to be married, then would I have married just to be married and “do” something with my life?
One could argue that I could have volunteered at Wycliffe and therefore put my share of my parents’ income to good use. However, my parents have struggled with being able to raise enough support to live. Therefore, by leaving, that took some financial burden off them.
For the academic education alone, college has prepared me well. I am now able to support myself completely, and even help support other missionaries.
Now many would argue that women should live at home with their fathers until marriage. I have listed some reasons above why financially it was better for me to live on my own. I also think this has been an incredible growing time, where God has constantly had to remind me that He is all I need. For the first time in my life, I’ve had to think for myself, make decisions, and be responsible. I am grateful for this because I am now more self-confident in the way I interact with others, about my thoughts/ideas, and even about my faith in God. I don’t think I would have learned this any other way. Even if I married now and never needed to work again, I would still find these lessons valuable. I am also better equipped to be a partner to my husband (Proverbs 15:22). You don’t realize until you’re on your own how much there is to know about running a home and being responsible for things like a car. There are so many details to keep track of, and if both the husband and the wife are used to keeping track of these details, they will only benefit. These are all things I would probably never have experienced if I had not gone to college.
Of course, some will say that one doesn’t need to live on her own in order to learn all these things, and I definitely agree. However, I don’t think one should null out the many ways a woman benefits through the experience of living alone.
College is more than just an education: it is an experience. This is especially true for those who attend Christian colleges. College for me was just as much about interpersonal relationships as education. I learned how to be a good friend, and a good roommate. Being with people who were upward thinkers, and rich in knowledge, enhanced my quality of life. Our conversations were deep and meaningful. I met people from all different walks of life, from all different places, from all different backgrounds. I had many opportunities open to me, from ministry to speakers from all different points of view. Of course, this is not saying that I would not have had opportunities had I not gone to college; I just feel that I would have missed out on a great deal if I had stayed at home.
Some say that Christian colleges are no different than secular colleges. For many “Christian” colleges, that’s very true. Before choosing a school, one has to be very careful to know what the true atmosphere was like. I was always impressed by how spiritually alive and dedicated the Taylor student body was. Of course, you had the few who made you wonder why they even wanted to go to a Christian school. Yet, for the most part, the students were alive. They had passion for Christ and for His ministry. For the most part, they didn’t drink or party, and “practiced what they preached”. It is an excellent enviroment for those seeking a Christian atmosphere with a solid education. It is an environment more liberal than some would feel comfortable; for example, most women wore pants and very few lived at home (very difficult considering the area Taylor was located). Some people saw movies and watched TV shows that offended me, and some girls wore clothes that made me cringe. However, in total, it was a very Christian community.
All that being said, I believe that whether a woman should attend college or not is not an issue where one can make a blanket “rule”. Will I expect my daughter to go to college? Yes, unless she has proven to me that she has good reasons not to. If she is unsure what she wants to do, I probably would encourage her to attend community college to get a basic education. If she desires to be married at an early age, I probably would encourage her to wait until she has attended at least some college first. Of course, I would pray about any situation first, and I would hope my daughter is praying about it as well.
I don’t feel that we as Christians should assume that God can only work through one kind of situation. He brings each of us to different places in life and uses those for His glory. There are some black and white issues I believe the Bible is clear on, but as for the “grey” areas in Christian life, I believe it is more up to personal conviction rather than a set right/wrong. For example, I don’t believe a person should practice homosexuality to minister to homosexuals. But if a woman feels that God is leading her to get a degree or live by herself, then I don’t feel it is my place to question that. God is more powerful than we can imagine, and He can take care of His own. :-)