Chapter 29 ~ Choosing a Life Work

by Shelley Noonan

dress up

As little girls,  we start trying on different identities very early while playing dress up. Maybe we pretend to be a nurse, a teacher, a Mama, a doctor,  or even a  garden fairy.  But, do we choose our life’s work or does our life’s work choose us?  

Let me explain why I ask.

After two years of marriage and two children, I came to the momentous conclusion that the noble profession of nursing was not “family friendly.” My mother counseled me to get some more education and join the professional ranks as a teacher. The benefits, as far as I could see, were great! No nights, weekends, holidays, or on-call hours. After careful research, and prayer, I presented my well-laid plan to my husband one night after supper. I would attend the local college for three more years and get my teaching degree. By the time our kids were in school, I would be finished. The children could be with me…sort of…at the daycare provided by the college. A significant amount of credits I had already earned would be used toward this degree.

Simple! Perfect! Wrong!

My husband gave me a very clear and concise answer. “NO.” He wanted me to be with our children as much as possible and to continue to work nights and weekends, holidays and be on call. I was utterly devastated.

Later that evening, unable to sleep, I crept out of our bed to have a conference with God about “him”. “Lord!”I cried out, “this was the perfect plan. Why did You let him say no? Why is Bob being so stubborn? I love teaching my children so I know I would be a great teacher! Why are you doing this to me? ”

A still, small voice answered me, saying to my spirit,

“What you want and what I want are two different things.”

That quiet statement of truth caught my attention. Later, I found this was a paraphrase of Isaiah 55:6-9. This answer I know was God speaking to me and that He had a  much better plan for my life.

Five years later, the Lord revealed the fulfillment of this  whispered promise.  Way back then, He had placed in my heart a longing to teach children, my children. Through various circumstances it became very clear to both my husband and me that I was to have the privilege of teaching our children at home.

Can you imagine? How could I have known that God created in me the heart to teach my own little ones?   My hope became a reality in a way I would never have imagined. Something so much better.

Ladies, allow your daughter to dream, find ways to help her make her goals  come true in regard to her life’s work. I pray this chapter in The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood will guide you and your daughter to dream the dreams He has for you!

Praising God that He is the One who chooses the work of my hands,




1.Examine your family’s view on education. Write down the ways your views have changed since you were a young girl.

2. Life can be an excellent academy! Share with your daughter about some of the classes life has enrolled you in. Retell some of the lessons and teachers you have had and how they have helped you be who you are today.

3. With your husband, explore ways you could guide and encourage your daughter in areas of higher education. This may entail planning ahead for going to college or continuing the process of growth through the opportunities the Lord gives when she is done with her formal studies

Memory Verse:  Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ponder and Post:

1. Culture is something that needs to be continually developed. Charlotte Mason referred to the act of reading good books and continuing to develop in various areas as “Mother Culture.” What are the areas of culture you, mom, could develop?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa Culver April 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Over five months ago we took in a single mom (orphaned several years ago) and her toddler–into our home to live with us. So many of the attitudes/principles outlined here in these books are FAR more vividly pressing to me as I train my own daughters for the roles of wife, mother, and homemaker. As I reflect on my parenting–in light of this season of ministry–I am able to see how much I was hitting the mark when I honestly felt like I was falling so, so, so short.

I am dating my girls once each week (I have two daughters). We are now going to start the Beautiful Girlhood books (just got ’em from a friend as a gift). I am excited to see what this season of discipleship looks like for us all.

Thank you for your sweet, sweet ministry. May His peace and endurance see you on for His name and His glory.


Shelley April 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

HI Melissa,
Thank you for your words of encouragement! Keep pressing into the high calling of mothering your daughters.


Jan April 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I agree with Danielle that it is hard when we look at the culture and compare ourselves. As we were enjoying our time together this morning, I talked with my daughters about how my degree isn’t “wasted” but is used in different ways than I had planned 20 years ago. My views about education have changed so much in the past years; now I realize that some things are more important than being book smart. Knowing this, I still struggle in my own home with the balance between work that builds character and prepares for the future of managing a home, and spending time on academics. Testimonies from friends with grown daughters have encouraged me that the training the daughters received at home has been used to bless others and further His kingdom in ways that they couldn’t have imagined. My favorite quote from the reading and companion guide was, “She wants to make a success, not only in her work, but in her life, so that as much good as possible will be the result of her having lived.”


Daneille April 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Great testimony Shelley! This is possibly the one chapter that I know can be dealt with deeper regarding our culture and the World view that has been embedded into all of us. Though I know God has led my life at home for years now, being blessed to still do my ‘other’ career (the ministry) on the side. There seems to be something boiling w/in, when my heart’s eyes start looking around and seeing ‘career-woman’ performing their ‘life plans’; I get to feeling like I have NOT achieved.
BUT…God takes those eyes of mine and points to my children…wow!
Now, teaching these values to my daughters: God help me do this His Ways. PTL for the resources He has supplied in the Beautiful Girlhood Companion and this blog.
Appreciate you!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: