The Modern-Day Frontier Woman

Attention: All women who are part of a misunderstood generation, listen up. Times have changed and a new generation exists. Today’s single-ready-to-mingle-career-oriented-self-sufficient-likes-to-email female embarks on a new frontier. Ready to explore uncharted territory our mothers know nothing of?

Let me begin with my common, but-by-no-means-universal story. Raised in a loving, middle-class, suburban home, after attending high school, college naturally came next. My parents granted me the freedom to choose where I wanted to go and pick anything I wanted to do, simply encouraging me to do my best. I ventured off to conquer the collegiate world of communications and international studies. On a 1–10 scale, my dating life in high school rested on a 0, so I really expected to meet my man in college. Bright-eyed and teased-pony-tailed, I chose what some would deem the “Christian-college path.”  I joined a local Bible church, got involved with an inner-city youth ministry, attended class, chose to participate in prank wars and road trips over studying, and had fun (but not too much of course)!

As college wrapped up, numerous close girlfriends found themselves involved in serious relationships that led to round one of engagements. Nothing to cry about at this point. It seemed obvious that Mr. Right, the next item to check off the list, would come after college, because I headed off to the big city and graduate school. Now, OK, don’t get me wrong. I loved school and went to achieve my B.A. over an MRS. Maybe not the type of career my family thought I could achieve, but a working life nonetheless. About two years after college, round two of engagements occurred.

I knew what this meant. More wedding showers with women asking: “Darlin’, are you seeing anyone? Oh, well you’re still young.”

Never mind the fact that I went to graduate school, happily lived outside the home, and established a life of my own regardless of the desire to marry and follow the social norm. My relationship with Bridget Jones blossomed at this point. And how sad that I took comfort in this world’s version of single-career life rather than the church’s.

Presently, I find myself 25 years old, educated, socialized, traveled and single. Would a woman of 1925 have this on her resume and not hear about it from all the influential ones in her life? Well, neither would this 2010 Dallas Theological Seminary, likes-to-shop-at-Anthropologie single lady. This new frontier baffled me then and it baffles me today. Just like our mothers’ excitement escalates because we can attain career-women status out from under males' control. Yet, if we remain unmarried and fail to perform previous generational norms, a dis-ease surrounds us. I find myself confused and on an uncharted path.

As we pioneer women head down this uncharted path, there lie obstacles of varying degrees. Get your maps out, girls; these need to be noted.

Expectations. Call a spade a spade and admit expectations rest on today’s young women. No matter what socioeconomic status, religion, race or country, women’s roles play such a crucial part that no society will let them forget it. In generations past, the norm looked like this: a young girl helped around the home, grew in stature and in skills, married and then taught the same to her children. Praise the Lord, a revolution took place.

The expectations of a woman changed from working only in a home as a wife and mother to holding a career and supporting herself. Well, which one seems right? Society changes its mind more than a teenage girl changes her nail color.

In the midst of confusion, Scripture proclaims God’s expectation of us. Deuteronomy 6:5 states, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We are daughters of the most high God first and foremost. If we place anything above His glory and praise, idolatry undermines our foundational expectation. Colossians 3:17 says “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” To put it in this context, “Whatever you young women do, career or marriage or both, do for the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks!” Shun the expectation of society and let us pursue the Lord’s expectation of us.

Amy Byrd attends Dallas Theological Seminary and is a modern-day frontier woman herself. This article is the first of two.

21 Comments

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noname commented…

Hey Erica,
Yer on to something here...let that dream of marrying a pastor die:-) I'm a pastor...and if your idea of the good life is constant critique of your husband and your family...along with a husband who is strung out, stressed, busy taking care of others who could care less about you and your kids...it's a bad dream .Instead, try to enjoy this wonderful time you have as a single...go for everything you can.

...and God may give you a pastor...but my hope for you is that he just gives you a man who loves God and loves you...maybe its time to pitch your blueprints and trust God to redraw them...and they just might be a little more exciting than marrying pastor boy.:-)

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Kjdittmer commented…

THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS! I'm from the midwest, and I feel like everyone I used to know from my high school is either married or unmarried but with kids. I went to school in Dallas/Fort Worth, and feel that I was the only one there not looking for a husband or future boyfriend I could make up into a husband. I'm trying to follow God's path, which doesn't seem to place me near any single young men. Sometimes I just feel like I'm missing something in life that God wants me to experience, but then I remember that I am here for His glory alone, and if He wanted me to experience this He would have put it in front of me already. So I'm trying to wait, praying patiently and holding on to His promise of His love being sufficient in all things, even if there is no future mate. Thanks again!

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JustDroppingBy commented…

I don't think the author of the article was trying to say that family life and being a wife and mother are unimportant; only that she, like many young women, just haven't found The One yet so what do you do in the mean time if he hasn't shown up and you're getting older? I think that's her point, and maybe the article wasn't so much to teach the target audience of 'young, single, christian, working' girls how to be such, but just to say "Hey! If this sounds like you, well, you're not alone. Doesn't make you any less of a lover of Christ to not be married and be content with what God has given you." I'm young, in college, single and still learning to be content in being single even though I'm still quite young to really worry about it. I know that God's ultimate goal for us isn't to get us married or to make us feminists/egalitarians, it's for us to be reconciled to Him and hand our lives over to him whether that means getting (and staying) married and growing closer to God with that new challenge, or being single and content with just growing closer to God in that way. This life is too short to worry about details like that, people die everyday and it could be you tomorrow so gotta figure out those priorities and figure out if God is at the top of the list; if He is, everything else you need will follow after :)

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Me commented…

I love this article! I'm a 19 year old college girl, never dated. But not because I've taken a vow, I've just never met a guy who I felt called to develop a relationship with...yet! Dating is cute and all, but if I'd been dating in middle school and high school I would't have developed myself as a writer, painter, avid reader and, most importantly, I wouldn't have worked hard at playing the guitar like Slash. I think God has big things on the horizon for me, and, for me personally, having a boyfriend right now could slow me down from going where I'm called. I don't really see myself settled down in the next five years.

I'm not against relationships. Deep relationships and marriage under God's direction are beautiful experiences. When the time is right, I'll meet the right guy and become the wife and mother that I want to be (as well as journalist, novelist, and guitarist ;)

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Katelynn M Camp commented…

This was a well-written article, I thought; the author's voice comes out very strongly and I loved the puns and hyphenations. The free style of the article reflects the freedom we have as women of a new generation; however, I do believe that we need to stop, as a generation of Christian women, pointing the finger at "expectations." We are projecting thoughts into people's heads often times when we say things like "the overarching expectation of the church is for all women to get married." Maybe people just don't know what to ask us about, and asking about our dating life seems the most popular option.
I also think that there is value in marriage and there is value in singleness. I think that women who don't follow Jesus want to satisfy themselves, and therefore will try to do everything on their own; whereas Christian women need to be different from this. We need to trust Christ as single women, know His love is the one thing all humans need; and realize that we can't live a life pleasing to Him without Him. Okay, okay, I'm getting preachy here. So, in conclusion, I am single and would like to get married someday, but am learning to be content like Paul.

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