Friday, March 12, 2010

Sheltered? Yes, Please!

Among the most popular objections to stay-at-home daughterhood which abound today, is that daughters who remain at home until marriage are too sheltered. Is this a worthy claim? What is meant by this accusation? What does it truly mean to be sheltered? Should a young woman who is remaining in her father’s home until marriage be sheltered? Answering these questions and more will be the object of this next article in the stay-at-home daughterhood series.

The Accusation

Fathers who are dedicated to leading and protecting their unmarried daughters until the day in which they give them in marriage, are often accused of sheltering their poor daughters. The implication is that they are locking their daughters away at home, preventing them from having the ability to know what goes on in the world about them and disallowing them from impacting that world in any way. The idea is that somehow those daughters are slaves, chained away in the dark recesses of the home, who are unable to step out into the great blue yonder which abounds outside the four walls of their “cage”. The accusers harbor the notion that somehow these daughters are uneducated in current events, unable to socialize with people outside the home, prevented from extending a hand of ministry and help to those outside, and are living a life which is empty, useless, and terribly, terribly sheltered. There are no doubt households which function in this manner under the iron fist of a dictator-father and who mask their family dynamics with the title “stay-at-home daughterhood”. However, this lifestyle, which is indeed completely unbiblical, cannot be accurately termed as a condition of the daughters being “sheltered”. In fact, the accusation stems from an inherent misunderstanding of this basic word.

The Blessing of Shelter

In his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, Mr. Noah Webster describes the word shelter with the following meanings (the first three describing the word when used as a noun, the following ones describing the verb usage):

1. That which covers or defends from injury or annoyance. A house is a shelter from rain and other inclemencies of the weather; the foliage of a tree is a shelter from the rays of the sun.

2. The state of being covered and protected; protection; security

3. He that defends or guards from danger; a protector

4. To cover from violence, injury, annoyance or attack; as a valley sheltered from the north wind by a mountain.

5. To defend; to protect from danger; to secure or render safe; to harbor

6. To betake to cover or a safe place

7. To cover from notice; to disguise for protection

Mr. Webster goes on to describe the word “sheltered” in these words, “Covered from injury or annoyance; defended; protected”. This sounds like a good thing, even a merciful blessing, does it not?

When I think of shelter, what comes to mind is the same scenario as one of those Mr. Webster mentioned. Imagine that you are driving down a strange road, lost in a densely wooded, unfamiliar area, when a thunderstorm suddenly strikes. Torrential downpours, deafening thunder, and scary, electrifying lightening plague you as you strive to continue on your journey. Trying to find a familiar road, you seek ever harder to find your way home. Tired, scared, and terribly hungry, you discover that you will be unable to reach home this night. As fear and uncertainty begin to mount in your heart, a beautiful bed and breakfast suddenly comes into view. You joyfully park your car, and with thanksgiving ringing in the depths of your heart, you bound up the stairs to the inviting front door of the dwelling. Greeted by a warm, cheerful, hospitable face, you are quickly welcomed into the warm abode, ever so comforted by this beautiful shelter. This, dear reader, is the true definition of a shelter. By being sheltered in this home, you are not being blinded to the current events outside the door. You know very well what is taking place outside in the storm-this is the precise reason why you were seeking shelter! You were in a dangerous, destructive world in need of shelter and safety, and when such shelter was offered to you, you eagerly accepted it as a precious gift.

As it pertains to the Biblical practice of stay-at-home daughterhood, being truly sheltered does not mean that you are locked away in your father’s home, uneducated about the ways of the world. Rather, you know all too well the destructive lies and immoral practices of the world, and it is for this reason that you are so thankful for the shelter with which this home affords you. A Biblical stay-at-home daughter is discipled in the ways of Christ by her parents, who strive to teach her the Biblical worldview. Not only this, but they also teach her the lies of the pagan, evil worldviews espoused by many in the world and proceed to equip her with an education which strengthens her with a defense against pervading, unbiblical teachings. Furthermore, she is not “sheltered” in the sense that she is unaware of the vile immorality which takes place in the outside world. Rather, she is protected from those immoral influences and is taught by her parents and by the Holy Spirit, through her reading of the Word, about these various acts of immorality, why they are wrong and dishonoring to the Lord, how they harm those who commit such acts, how to guard against committing them herself, etc. Likewise, a stay-at-home daughter who is operating according to Biblical standards by no means lends a deaf ear and a blind eye to the current events of the day. Far from it! Instead, she understands that as a child of God, it is her duty to be well educated in the events of the day, that she might be able to further the dominion of Christ and fulfill her duty to make disciples. True stay-at-home daughters seek to become highly educated in aspects of history and theology, that they might be able to wage war against the schemes of the Devil, proclaim to others the truth of God and the lies of Satan, sound the alarm of what will happen if the world continues on in its sinfulness and depravity, and much more. In other words, she is nothing like the caricature which those who disdain Biblical daughterhood attempt to paint her as. Instead, she represents her father and his ways well, and joyfully submits to the role God ordained specifically for her, being a truly radiant, intelligent polished corner stone (Ps. 144:112b). When her antagonists attempt to label her as a poor sheltered young woman, she lives out 1 Peter 3:16, which says, “Having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

In Conclusion

The word “sheltered” is today widely misrepresented, completely misunderstood, and terribly misused. Those who disdain stay-at-home daughterhood claim the word in their attempts to paint this doctrine in the most dire of terms. In doing so, however, they unwittingly refute their own arguments. For, while stay-at-home daughters are not sheltered in the way in which many today claim, they are nonetheless blessedly sheltered (in the true sense of the word!), which is one of the very reasons why they are dedicated to remaining at home. As a bed and breakfast shelters a lost and weary soul from the raging thunderstorm outdoors, so does a father’s home shelter unmarried daughters from the rape, abuse, deception, harassment, murder, unbiblical teachings, sly stalkers and much more which abound in the world. That, dear reader, is the true meaning of being sheltered. And praise the Lord for it!


1. Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (reprinted by Foundation for American Christian Education, 1995)


  1. I'm grateful I have lived outside of my father's, er, shelter... that I had the opportunity to live and work all over the world. I always wanted to be on my own.

  2. Amen! Thanks for sharing! You have studied well!

  3. Thank you for your kind words, Jennifer! I appreciate your comment! :)

  4. I am so grateful that you have posted such a well written and thoughtful piece. Keep up the good work and I will definately come back to visit and share this with my daughter. Thank You!

  5. What people mean by "sheltered" would be more accurately described as ignorant of views apart from those held by their family (except in a biased/misrepresented way) because they only socialize with people who believe what they do and do not have the independence to gain life experience and knowledge that can only be gained outside the house.


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