Prior to reading “So Much More” by the Botkin Sisters, I read “Joyfully at Home” by Jasmine Baucham. It was lent to me by a dear friend, after I left my last job. (They also lent me “Return of the Daughters” published by Vision Forum, before they introduced this book.) I was vulnerable at that time, unsure of what I was to do next. I had made this leap of faith, and felt exhilarated that I had finally done so. But now I felt that I had to prove myself in some way for others. I quickly I learned that you can’t please everyone. This book helped me view my situation from a different perspective.
The goal for the book, as stated in the Introduction, is to “..encourage young women to shift their focus, to turn their hearts towards the home, to be enthusiastic and vibrant, purposeful and driven, meticulous and passionately focused in pursuit of the Lord’s will for their time at home.” And for young women to “grasp the bigger picture: A vision for the home as a hub of ministry and discipleship, as a training ground for life ahead, as a place where they can bless those nearest and dearest to them, and, as a result, turn that blessing outward towards others in their church and community.” Ultimately, “to live joyfully at home.”
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the scripture provided. When I first read the book, I remarked to my friend who lent it to me that I had to have my Bible open right next to me with it. Another reason why I appreciate it is it gives me the ability to check whether or not they are rightly dividing and using the scripture within context. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Jasmine Bauchams writing style is very, very down to earth. She shares personal stories, shows humility, and gives a personal relation to the issue at hand. She cracks jokes and often makes references to classic literature and movies (her forté). You don’t get the “holier than thou” feeling from her.
Like most who associate themselves with Vision Forum, Jasmine Baucham is a reformed baptist, from my understanding. And within the book she typically uses the ESV, as does her father, Voddie Baucham. However, after chewing the meat and spitting out the bones, I appreciated what she had to say regarding the subject of “stay at home daughters”.
The point of “stay at home daughters” is not to keep them within the confines of the home for the purpose of restricting freedom; it is to enable them to work within the home for the glory of God, utilizing most of their time working for the Lord in person, family, or local church ministry; committing charitable acts for others in a way those restricted to the confines of a career are not able to do; extending their education beyond the ideals of what society has deemed to be appropriate; and working within the home, furthering the ministry of the home, and training to be keepers at home, “that the word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:4)
For the sake of avoiding conflict with those who have careers, work, attend college, etc., I will add this disclaimer: Yes, regardless of whether you are in school, work, or have a career, you can have a ministry. In fact, you should have a ministry. A personal ministry to share the gospel with every living creature, regardless of your circumstances. (Matthew 28:16-20) As 1 Corinthians 7:34 states, we, who are unmarried, “careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be both holy in body and in spirit”. Our time should be wholly dedicated to the Lord, no excuse. This season is to be spent towards growing in holiness. (1 Peter 1:13-16)
It is between you and the Lord how you spend your time. I am not here to demean or ridicule those who spend their time differently than me. I have no desire to do so; I have enough time worrying about myself.
Jasmine Baucham gives her personal story, stating that, in her early teens, she was planning for “big things”. She wanted to go to college. She wanted to write, produce, and direct. She wanted to excel, and prove to the world that she could do it. But around the time of her graduation, she had a change of heart. That change of heart was sparked by the book “So Much More” by the Botkin sisters, given to her by her parents.
Jasmine could have done anything, but she realized that “those gifts could be used to further my family’s vision, to further the kingdom of Christ in the very sphere where he’d placed me: my home.” (pg. 14) After she made the decision, and her graduation came and went, she describes her moment of anxiety; the same one I experienced.
“When I first decided to come home, I assumed a lot of things about what the future would hold for me. I assumed that to embrace a homeward calling would mean that I needed to give up every intellectual pursuit in my life and supplant it with a homemaking skill-I assumed that embracing a homeward calling would mean that my conversation could only be glorifying to the Lord if I was talking about one of those aforementioned homemaking skills-I assumed that biblical femininity was a certain list of rules and regulations that would completely change my personality.” (pg. 235-236)
“I’m going to be honest with you: At that point in my life, I was so anxious to shape myself into that ideal woman that I would have had a book burning and filled my shelves with cookbooks if that’s what it took.
“I went to my dad with tears in my eyes, thinking about “To Kill a Mockingbird” and how I would never read it again if it wasn’t feminine enough for me the peruse, and I said, “What do I need to do in order to contribute to this household, Dad? Who do I need to be in order to become the woman God wants me to be?
My dad didn’t give a second thought to it. “I could really use a research assistant.“
“My dad explained that he needed me to use the gifts the Lord had already given me in order to help him. And my mom explained that by walking alongside her, day in and day out, and by hearkening to her word and example, I would be getting hands-on preparation in managing a home-unless I wanted to, I didn’t have to learn the etiquette for high tea in order to be a woman of God.” (pg. 237)
Not every Stay at Home Daughter’s circumstances will be the same. Some daughters will have ample opportunity to work in the family business. Others will not, but will be heavily involved in the family ministry. Some daughters will be very busy socially compared to others who are not. Every person is different. We are all individuals under Christ, a part of the body of Christ. But when it comes to the nitty gritty, to the motives and intent, it should all be the same. (1 Corinthians 10:31; Psalm 73:25-26)
Serve the Lord where you are at. (1 Corinthians 7:17-24) Don’t compare yourself to others, becoming insecure and pitying yourself as a result. (2 Corinthians 10:12) Use the Bible as your mirror. Look to it for your inspiration and what you should do and how you should do it. Seek wise counsel, and honor your parents. (Proverbs 12:15; Exodus 20:12) Keep your eyes heavenward. (Philippians 3:14)
As a side note, I was tickled to see that Miss Baucham and I share pretty much the same feelings for the title of Stay at Home Daughter; “It was then that I started to despise the term that so well defines what we do: stay-at-home daughter. I hated it because it had so become so very monolithic, when, in reality, what we girls are doing is so incredibly diverse.” (pg. 15)
Some of my critiques for the book have to stand with the fact that it does come from a Reformed Baptist, dominion theology background. To be a Calvinist, you’re going to naturally add to the Bible. However, my current judgement is going to be based on Jasmine herself, and not based on what her father (Voddie Baucham) has said or done. Within the book, I did not feel that she was pushing any certain doctrine or dogma. I was able to read it with the stance that I take pretty comfortably. But as I mentioned above, you have to chew the meat, and spit out the bones. It’s what a Christian must always do, regardless of what the material is. The Bible is the only book that you can swallow whole.
I found that Jasmine did very well at explaining Stay at Home Daughterhood, the freedom that comes with it, and the individuality that comes with it. I felt that it did a good job at giving young ladies a different perspective about living at home, following the Lord, and doing so joyfully. I truly did enjoy reading the book, even for the second time, since it reminded me of many things that I had lost sight of, and was quite refreshing. All in all, I really do appreciate this book. I wouldn’t recommend it everyone due to its underlying doctrine, but if someone I knew would benefit from information such as this, then I would definitely consider lending it out.