I was recently discussing with some dear friends the subject of stay-at-home-daughters and time.  We talked about all the things we hope to learn and skills we want to have before entering marriage.  Beyond the basic skills of cleaning the home, caring for children, sewing, cooking wholesome meals and decorating cakes, there is a vast world of other useful skills that stay-at-home-daughters have time to learn.

As young women not yet married, we have the responsibility to become as well-rounded and useful as we can be.  Right now you probably don’t have the full care of running the home—this is an excellent opportunity to prepare yourself for the rest of your life.  The more helpful skills we acquire, the more useful, the more of a blessing we will be to our future husbands and families.

Think of these skills as an Invisible Hope Chest.

Your husband could have any kind of job: mechanic, business owner, economics professor, etc.—are you studied in many areas to be able to help him in whatever his calling may be?  Your family may someday have special diet issues—would you know enough about nutrition to accommodate those needs?  Could you start a homestead or home business from scratch and live self-sufficiently?  Do you plan to home-educate your children?  Are you collecting excellent books for them to read?  How do you plan to raise them to become God-fearing and useful men and women?

There is a host of other things to learn as well.  Systematic theology (there’s enough there to keep you constantly in awe for the rest of your life!), finances and banking, how to keep everything in the home running smoothly together, history, English, a foreign language, herbal medicine, science, home birth, and even some carpentry skills will be found quite useful.  And how are your communication skills?

An addendum (March 2012): I heartily endorse physical hope chests, and believe that they can be valuable assets. What they contain should be useful and beautiful; if anything, practical. But collecting physical items is easy when compared to building character, cultivating useful skills, and working on our relationships with the Lord and our families. These should always take higher priority.

How are you filling your invisible hope chest?  Perhaps you haven’t started on it yet, but what would you like to fill it with?