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October 05, 2009


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What about just the first part of the question?
"Many of the college students who attend my church are encouraged to stay after graduation to continue developing relationships that we've formed here over the past four years. I am the only Christian in my family and I am struggling between making a decision to stay here or to go home in hopes of serving my family and building a better relationship with my parents and younger sibling."

In my case, our church is also on the smaller scale. How would we decide even if the decision is not about being with family, but decisions such as graduate school? Especially if you are definitely going to commit to a solid church in the new area?

Holly Mayfield

Hi Carolyn, Just wanted to share my experience of how I personally have seen the two play out together as you speak of, so you could maybe pass it along to the young lady asking the question. I agree she should be commended for asking such questions.

I too became a Christian in my sophomore of college. A pastor was planting a church close to campus. His wife came to the sorority house, where I was living, to tell people about the church and share the gospel. She had her 6 month old daughter in a stroller. Her husband was walking around to the fraternity houses with their 2 year old son doing the same. We got into a conversation and she shared to gospel with me and a few of my sorority sisters and I committed my life to Christ that evening. From there, they continued to invite me into their life. She stayed at home caring for her children but I was often invited over just to do life with them, making dinner, playing with the children, observing her relationship with her husband and ministering the Gospel to her children. She effectively discipled me while caring for her family and by caring for her family. She did not have to choose between the two. Coming from a broken home, it was wonderful for me to see examples of God's faithfulness in this family.

I am now in her position, as a stay-at-home mom of a two year old and a 6 month old. Evangelism and discipleship looks different than when I was in college. I now do the same things she did, inviting people to be part of our home life. I learned so much from observing her that I am now putting into practice in serving my husband and caring for my children.

I praise God for letting me see how the two truly do go together as scripture states.

Thanks, Holly Mayfield


I, too, have a question. In light of the expectation of becoming a wife and mother, should we girls attempt to find majors that would not require us to go to graduate school? I myself would love to get married and have children, so I don't really want to go into a career that would require me to spend more time at school and less time for what really matters. Any advice, Miss Carolyn?


"At my church we are taught that time spent with family is a good and reasonable desire, but not at the expense of neglecting our responsibilities to bring the gospel to the unreached on college campuses in the area, as well as unreached nations abroad. In other words, for women to make family a priority, serving primarily our husband and children while others around us have need of saving, has been termed as an inappropriate way to live in view of the urgency of the gospel message."

I find this odd, you mean to tell me the leaders of your church tell the women who are married to put others before their families? I would think that ministering begins at home first, maybe I misunderstood what you wrote. On a every day basis I come in contact with people who I may share the gospel with and I may not be lead to do it at all. The most important people I feel the need or the burden to share the gospel with are my children.


I'm greatful for your comments to these questions, Carolyn! I question the elders of any church who teach that we "evangelize" to the world at the expense of our children's and families foundation. I was discipled by a mom with young kids. She was there for myself and many others while taking great care of her family. She and her husband are now ministering abroad while her grown children are finishing graduate work with the goal of also going into ministry. Together they have been used by God in great ways and are an excellent example of faithfulness.


I'd love to respond to Lauren's question above about choosing a major based off of the desire to get married.

I went into college with the expectation that I would be married or engaged by the time I graduated, and now 3 1/2 years after graduation, neither has occurred. I was hired in the children's ministry at my church right when I graduated, after obtaining a degree in health and exercise science (which is not being used at all!) I thought I would work for a year and then go to grad school for physical therapy or health promotion. But after a year of working in my church and having a strong desire to get married and have kids, I chose not to go to grad school for the very reason you mentioned, "I don't really want to go into a career that would require me to spend more time at school and less time for what really matters" as well as more spending more money.
What I've come to realize is that your motivation for making decisions needs to based how you can best serve and worship God, not based off of what you want your life to look like. I'm 25 years old, and not married. And I'm at a place where it may be that I don't get married, but if that is how I can best serve God, then I'm excited for this life. I've learned, especially through the past few years, that being a woman is not all about getting married and having children...that is not the end goal in life. If is a wonderful desire to have, and a beautiful life to live if that is God's will for you, but the most important thing you should desire is to serve God. If that means getting married and having children, then God will be faithful to provide. If that means being single, then God has a plan to use you in a way for His glory. If you are pursuing holiness as a woman, and pursuing expressing Biblical femininity, then you will grow to find joy in whatever life God lays before you.
So, to answer your question, I think you should only choose to not go to grad school if you feel God leading you in such a way that you would not be able to best serve Him by not going. Don't make the decision based solely off your desire to get married...you don't know what the future holds, if marriage is in your future or not. It's a difficult concept to recognize, but God wants more for you than to be married. He wants you to live a holy life that gives Him the glory. Pray about what God wants for you, not what you want for you. He will be faithful to lead you in the right direction.

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