Generation Cedar

Aren’t we spiritually schizophrenic, just like the psalmist, David? One minute we’re shaking our fist at God, the next, we’re repenting and praising Him for his sovereignty and provision.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

David so often echoes the cry of my heart. If you will look at the chapter just before this well-known 23rd Psalm, David is pleading, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

As we step into this exciting series about living on one income, we will often need to hold close to our hearts, the truth that the Lord is indeed sufficient.

As I was sleeping/thinking (I do the two simultaneously) last night, I felt like I should share with you, briefly our story. Humbling as it is, I think it might prove encouraging.

When we felt the conviction for me to come home from my teaching career, my husband made $23,000 a year. We had two children and one on the way. Shortly after I quit my job, pro-ration caused him to be laid off. Perfect timing, huh? So, he was forced, prematurely, into starting his own landscaping business. It proved quite profitable in the summer, but lagged greatly in the winter. Struggling to keep up, he worked tirelessly to solicit business, hoping the next job would get us through the drought.

Long story short, in two years we found ourselves over $32,000 in credit card debt! We had used them to live, thinking we’d pay off the balance after the “next big job”, which never came. (I talk about the amazing nature of compound interest later in the post; if you don’t believe it, get yourself a credit card!)

Needless to say, creditors plagued our lives, with the added pressure of people wondering A. why I didn’t go back to work, and B. why on earth we were still receiving the children God gave us!

Life was hard. I cried–a lot. I wondered what we had done, and why God was not honoring my decision to come home.

“Another important element of our thinking involves understanding the value of a dollar, and even a penny. Most people never grasp the simplest of concepts about money: a little saved here and there adds up to a lot. I can’t tell you how important this concept has proven to be over the years. “

Fast forward…today we still live very frugally. But we have paid off almost all our credit card debt (only about $700 to go!  We’ve been paying on them for 5 years. During that time we have also paid for braces, a used truck, and out-of-pocket for one of our babies’ prenatal and delivery costs.) Creditors do not call us anymore. Our bills are manageable even though our family continues to grow.

You can read details of all the ways we handled debt and paid off our credit cards with a small income in my book, “Finding Financial Freedom.”

A family can survive on one income. Not as easily as before, due to dual incomes raising the cost of living and the ridiculous taxation policies, but it can still be done.

And we are going to discuss in this series, the many facets of making that possible.

It all begins with the way we think about money.

Our finances and all our assets belong to God. We are simply stewards of what He gives us. One of my many jobs of being a keeper at home, is to study resourcefulness, as a profession, and make it an integral part of my work to use my husband’s income as wisely as possible. I think a lot of women who work outside the home view a SAHM as someone who “does basically nothing.” How untrue. This area is just one of many that requires diligence, work and wisdom.  And it can be fun!

For some women, this may involve a serious look at how you yourself spend money. It may involve getting over your “deprived syndrome”, and learning to be content with less. If you have always felt you deserved to buy the latest brands at the hippest department stores, you may need to deal with issues of pride and materialism. Needs and wants are very different. And while there are creative ways to enjoy material things, splurging is not usually an option for the virtuous woman.

Another important element of our thinking involves understanding the value of a dollar, and even a penny. Most people never grasp the simplest of concepts about money: a little saved here and there adds up to a lot. I can’t tell you how important this concept has proven to be over the years.  Using a tad less shampoo, laundry detergent, water, electricity–every consumable product, really adds up.  Begin to think about the importance of saving a penny here and a penny there. It compounds in an extraordinary way.

In part 2, we’ll take a closer look at cutting expenses and finding some simple ways to save on necessary purchases!

Part 2-Cutting Expenses

Part 3-Cutting the Grocery Budget

Part 4-Paying Off Debt

Part 5-Earning Money From Home

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51 Responses

  1. Kelly, way to go! Great series – as someone who is preparing to be a stay-at-home wife, I’m getting tired of hearing ‘there’s no way you can do this’. Encouragement is exactly what I need.

    Having grown up in a one-income family (I was raised by a single mother, no help from my father at all), of course I know it *can* be done if you have to – and therefore, if you really want to, it can be done as well!

    However, I do believe making it on one income is more difficult today than two generations ago. Thanks to feminism for pushing women out into the work force and cheapening work value…

    Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Kelly, your story is such a beautiful testament to God’s grace and compassion. Even when it doesn’t make sense on paper, it can still be done. I’ve been home for 17 years and there are times where I still don’t know where the $$$ is coming from but I trust we will be provided for. We have a roof over our head, food on our table and healthy happy children. I don’t “need” anything else! Blessings, Kim

  3. Word Warrior, I just wanted to add that there is a serious danger here in our love for money and material things. I know that the Bible says that in the end times, Christians will be severely persecuted. One specific about this is that we will not be allowed to buy or to sell without the “mark” of the “beast”, or in other words, without submitting to the antichrist’s system. We all must realize the sacrifices that will be needed at these times—our health and our children’s will be severely threatened, BUT we must not give in to the devil!!!! I think this is a similar situation to the working wife/mom of today. A little sacrificing today is for the greater glory for His kingdom, and for a greater testimony to the God we do love. Let us also remember all of what Christ went without while He was here.


  4. I’m so excited about seeing the frugal recipes! Thats one area where I know money has the tendency to “leak”. 🙂

  5. I’m glad you are doing this Kelly!

    One of my favorite sayings is “Necessity is the mother of all invention”. My husband and I believe strongly in me being at home, and thank the Lord he is also working from home. It has come with many sacrifices, but I’d rather make material sacrifices than sacrifice my children or my commitment to my husband.

    Recent changes in our lives have caused us to REALLY THINK! What can we do to create income, and eliminate expenditures to keep us together at home. It has caused us to figure out what skills we have and capitalize on it. For example…TODAY I have finished my online quilting class. I am so excited. People can take this online class for a fraction of what they would pay to go take the class at a shop. It’s a win-win situation!

    We are living on less than half of what we made 2 years ago. God makes it work! It’s NOT easy, but that is OK, neither would be sacrificing my children’s childhood to day care centers and Government schools.

  6. Oh, congratulations on turning your life around! I have a debt problem, too. Money that was supposed to come in didn’t…health problems followed…etc. etc. You know the drill. And boy, do I get you about the interest on those CCs! I’m sorry, but it’s very like legalized loan-sharking. I’m not frivolous, and never was. But you have to pay medical bills (thank God for insurance, but even that doesn’t cover it all) and you have to eat!
    I still get a little depressed because of my financial situation, but the light is brighter and brightter at the end of the tunnel. I no longer feel like I’m depriving myself. Once you realize there are different ways to do things (using coupons for your grocery, for example), it’s actually a little fun.
    Maybe, in the long run, this is God’s way of showing us what isn’t working in our lives…and guiding us to something much better!
    Oh, btw…I’m 51 and mom to 4 great kids, a daughter and 3 sons. All but one boy are adults. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with them, and only went out in the working world in recent years. If only I’d known then what I know now about saving money and being frugal, LOL! So I know that your encouraging words will be very, very helpful to some new, young moms out there!

  7. Looking forward to the posts! My husband and I were just discussing turning off the shower water while showering to combat the increased water needs for our grass and our pool. Our water bill can easily get to $100 a month in the summer if we are not careful! (We live in Vegas, so it is a little hot and need a lot of water!) 😉

  8. Speaking directly to me at a time of weakness! Thank you!

    One thing that really helped us transition from the full time dual income lifestyle was reexamining what we thought of as “entertainment”. I am too embarrassed to tell you what we once budgeted for it, but lets just say it included dinner out, a movie, and a babysitter every single week. Plus an occasional night out with friends. Anyway, it was ridiculous. When we got serious about our budget, we realized that “entertainment” to us was being together and almost always involved a meal. So we ditched the eating out/babysitter/full priced movie waste, cut the cable, and upped our grocery budget a bit to include movie rental (that “box” thing is in our grocery store)and food items that wouldn’t necessarily be considered essential, but expanded our horizons cooking-wise, and our date night became cooking something new at home, babies tucked safely in bed, watching a movie for less than the cost of an appetizer in a restaurant. Our nights with friends now involve them coming over, bringing their kids and their best potluck contribution, and listening to music and visiting.

    Anyway – this was my roundabout way of saying reexamine EVERYTHING. Not only does it save money, it simplifies your life and provides opportunities for new experiences and deepening relationships.

    One other idea (borrowed from that Ramsey guy) – don’t don’t don’t put medical bills on a credit card. The hospital and Dr’s will virtually always work with patients who operate in good faith to pay, and have generous repayment options and usually discounts for cash. Try getting that cooperation from a credit card company and you’ll only get your feelings hurt.

    God does provide. One income is more than doable, it liberates creativity in me I wouldn’t have otherwise exercised. Talk about waste!

  9. Kelly,

    Just when I begin to feel really alone in the world over a subject plaguing my life, WHAMMO, you write about it!!

    We are moving to a one-income situation when our baby is born in late October. I have been the breadwinner for all 5 years of our marriage (I’m the one with the degree, unfortunately) and now we are both serious about living out the Biblical roles of the man being the provider and the woman being the nurturer (to put it bluntly). That is absolutely fine with me! I am scared because we have some of my school loan to still pay off and credit card debt and some other things, and he only makes about $16,800 a year working for Target. That is poverty level, I’m sure.

    But we are going to trust in God, save what I am earning now, and I will be as creative and resourceful as I can. The only thing we’re going on is faith, and I know that is enough. Hubby is working on his Associate’s degree and pushing himself to achieve enough education to be a higher wage earner for our family. He amazes me with his dedication and not giving up.

    I can’t wait to read more about what you have to say on this subject. It will be perfect timing as usual!

    1. I will be praying for you.YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!15 years ago we where in the same place as you are now.I came home and have never looked back.It has been challenging at times.A lot of making it has to do with what is really important to you.Some times for us it has ment no vacation,cheaper meal choices,and the really hard part not as many upscale clothes.But the payoff is greater than I probably can even imagine.

  10. Great post, Kelly! Looking forward to the rest, as I can always use a bit more encouragement in this area os frugality and being a god steward of the dollars my husband works so hard to bring in.

  11. Great post! I am a SAHM as well and we just recently got out of debt and have a pretty good savings…all the glory goes to God for getting out of debt during a recession!
    Some things that save us lots of money- generally not eating out/cooking from scratch, Christian Healthcare Ministries (we save about $600 a month!), I do the family haircuts, and we use a swampcooler in the summer and a woodstove in the winter.

    I agree with cottage child on the medical bills. Plus, I have called and gotten bills reduced for not having insurance, paying cash the day of the appointment or soon after I get the bill…just for asking for a discount has saved us hundreds!

  12. Im so glad you are doing this. Ive found myself many times saying that YOU CAN DO IT to people who insist that they cannot yet live above their means.. My story is a little different as I am a single mother of 3 children, one who is quite disabled. I am a SAHM in order to care for him. For me, working would mean even more debt as daycare costs/nursing costs would consume work monies plus some.

    Anyway Im anxious to read the rest of this series!!

    God Bless You for doing this!!

  13. I am so excited about this series Kelly! We have always been a one income family, and for over 18 months we were a NO income family because my husband lost his job. We too had two children and a baby on the way at this time. We learned so much during that time, and are so thankful that we went through it. My husband has been employed nearly a year now and I have worked harder than ever to stretch our dollars and build our savings. I feed our family (of 5) for $30 a week now and get any diapers or toiletries for free or for a few pennies by using CVS’s extra care buck program. Also signing up for freebies/samples online has been a great help and definitely worth the 5-10 minutes a day that I spend doing it.
    I look forward to reading the rest of these posts. God bless!

  14. Oh yay! I’m looking forward to the rest of this series. I’m a new SAHM looking for tips and tricks especially since my hubby is in full time ministry and has to raise his own funds.

  15. Kelly,

    Thank you for being so transparent by sharing some of your personal testimony regarding money and debt.

    I am looking forward to this series of “Living On One Income.” Since I came back home full-time last year, we have been living on one income. Yes, I’ve had to learn to “give-up” on certain material things, but as time marches on, I realize that in order to succeed to live on one income, one always needs to be developing creative ways to be frugal as well as keep the budget balanced. So, I am hoping that this series touches on some of these aspects because I am finding it’s one of my weaker areas.

    Anyway, looking forward to the next post in the series. 🙂

    ~Mrs. Lady Sofia~

  16. What is so amazing about our story is that a few years ago, I was working full time.

    My husband and I together probably made double what my husband makes now… and we didn’t have children. Oddly, we were always living from paycheck to paycheck.

    Fast forward to now… we have 3 kids and I am at home. We have a mortgage payment plus utilities, etc and are paying close to double what we had in home expenses back then.
    Yet with the Lord’s help (and some hard times that equaled learning for us), we are able now to live within our means. I truly think we are saving a “killing” by my being home.

  17. i’m looking forward to this, kelly! being a new stay-at-home-wife, i could use a few more tricks… i’m shocked how many people i have to defend my staying-home decision to… this is gonna be great!

  18. Looking forward to reading more! I am a stay-at-home mom with 3 children. My husband and I have sunk into $10,000 of credit card debt because our expenses are greater than our income. 🙁

  19. What a great post. DH and I got married a little later in life, so I was an established teacher, but as soon as we got married we immediately started living on only his income and banking mine as a nest egg. We adopted our boys after 2 years of marriage, and I haven’t taught professionally since. Fortuntately, unlike many couples, both DH and I are frugal, so we don’t fight about money. We also took the Dave Ramsey course and learned how to really fine tune our budget. Recently DH was furloughed and his salary was cut by 20%, but it hasn’t hit us that hard, since we have no debt except our mortgage and are used to living simply. We just haven’t been able to put as much away as before and are now paying what is required on our mortgage instead of extra. I will attest to the fact that being debt free is very freeing.

  20. Well, how timely! I am back to being a stay-at-home-wife after school let out for the summer and I won’t be going back as baby is due anytime; my husband is a graduate student, so even though we’ve been living off of his stipend and saving my paycheck (mostly…), it’s a bit intimidating to know our safety net is gone. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series! 😀

  21. After years of infertility and miscarriages, nothing was going to keep me from staying home with our daughter when she was born in April 2008! We felt God was calling me to be at home and so we stepped out on faith and became a one-income family. We lost 40% of our income, had 35,000 in debt, and had a very tight budget.

    God has greatly blessed us since making that decision. It required some sacrifices – selling our restored home in town, learning to live on less, and being very careful about every penny. God blessed us with a promotion for my husband, a family home to live in rent free as long as we wanted it, and a second income for my husband from a voulenteer position he had done for two years.

    Today we are debt free! We live as frugally as possible. God also blessed us with a second daughter in May of 2009. We now spend less a month on All our bills than we used to spend in a month on JUST food and entertainment!

    Women sometimes comment that they wished they could stay home but they just can’t afford to. But no one has ever asked us how we’ve managed it. I actually had a friend tell me she would rather “have her new car and multiple yearly vacations” than to be at home. That broke my heart a bit for her children. I’ve not missed one thing that we gave up for me to be home.

  22. I liked that my mother worked. She was happier and I was happier. I never lacked for her attention. I knew how much I was loved. Isn’t that the important thing?

  23. Lala,

    The important thing? How do you know you and her were “happier” if all you knew was what you knew? That’s my first thought.

    My second thought is one I’ve written about extensively. Happiness is irrelevant in the context you’re discussing. Being a mother and wife is primarily about being a mother and wife, which is a full time job already. Without an attempt to make working women feel bad, especially those who really feel like they don’t have a choice, my desire is to help people return to the understanding that a mother already has a job–a very important one–that scarcely leaves room for another full-time occupation.

    The important thing is that we acknowledge what studies prove to be fact; children, husbands and homes fare better with a full time “employee”.

    This series is to encourage women who want to stay home and have been told by a society that they can’t afford to.

  24. Khourt,
    How do you survive? I am a single mother of five: I was home for 15 years, worked for a year and a half, got downsized, and have been living off unemployment for a year. Times up…received my last payment this week. I would deparately like to figure a way to stay home and (obviously) earn enough income to pay the essentials.
    Please post what you do. thanks.

  25. In answer to your first question, my mother worked on and off. I experienced both. I think a mother’s happiness is rather important to a child’s well being. I don’t think everything should be sacrificed to that. But she enjoyed her work, and so she was a great mother. Not a good mother. A GREAT mother. [She worked at a local bank, and also handled all our finances. She was excellent with money.]

    As to your second point, my mother managed to raise all of us (I am from a family of five), keep the house in good shape, and cook nourishing meals. By the time we were old enough, we all helped out!

    She didn’t work for the money. My father earned a good income. She worked because she was extremely intelligent and she wanted to use her mind and intellect.

    What studies are you referring to? I don’t think there is cohesive evidence that a mother at home helps children or homes fare better. I’d like to see that information.

  26. We’ve been debt-free for a little over a year now and man is it awesome! So freeing! I have made it a consistent prayer for God to give me wisdom and creative ideas for being more frugal just when I think I can’t possibly save another dime. I discovered that homemade biscuits are simple to make instead of buying canned. I discovered that homemade granola bars are cheap, quick to make, and so much better tasting than store-bought. I discovered exactly which items will save me a fortune at Costco. Every dollar we save, we literally save . . .in our savings account. It has been so fun to see it grow and grow!
    God is good and He has so many creative ideas if we only ask.
    I used to be a Speech Pathologist. I specialized in Alzheimer’s. I made good money. Now, I give lots of people advice about their family members with Alzheimer’s. I’m still using my degree! It’s a farce when women say they don’t want to waste their degree. What they really mean is: they don’t want to give up the money their degree earns them.
    My children deserve that sacrifice.

  27. That’s really unfair, Ginger. My mother, as I said, did not work for “extras.” We were quite frugal.

    There are other reasons, and it would be nice if they were respected to. 🙂

    Blessings, all! I felt I had to speak my piece.

  28. I have no idea what you mean, Lala. I just commented on the article. I haven’t read any of the comments yet. I’ll go back and see what you commented. 🙂

  29. I’ve just gone from a stay at home mom to a work at home mom, and I love what I do. We are debt free now. I take care of our three children, one of whom is disabled, and am able to work at home also. I feel “alive” again having something I can do to earn some money to help out, without being away from the children very much. And the times I am away, my husband is there with them.

    For women who stay at home, I think that’s ideal, and for those who love it it’s even better. However, I do think it is irresponsible for women who have debt to stay at home. When we got married, my husband and I both bought a little bit of debt into the marriage, and I know it bred some resentment in him to see that HE was working hard to pay off OUR debt. He still has resentment and thinks that I didn’t care about our debt because I stayed home. It’s really not fair to your husband if you are in debt and don’t work to pay it off also.

  30. First, a little shout-out to Khourt and Marie… I am a single mom too!

    Now, Kelly, I am really excited about this series… although I think you have already nailed the main thing in making a single income (or low income) work: a change of mindset. We are so used to looking at material things as a reward, or entertainment or even our due! Thinking of material things only in terms of what we actually need is counter-cultural. In a culture when many women are working to provide “necessities” like cell phones, gym memberships and various types of lessons for the kids, many view staying home and living with less as a radical thing. Some even feel we are choosing to “deprive” our children. I feel that I am giving my children the greatest luxury on earth♥

  31. Lala,

    I won’t argue with you about your experience; for every one testimony of “I was happier with Mom working” there are 50 who would say otherwise.

    (I will assume by your email that you are a Christian.) I would challenge you to view the issue from the wisdom of Scripture. I don’t talk about this issue in terms of sin vs. not sin as much as I think it is wisdom vs. foolishness.

    There is Scripture that gives us a picture of what a godly woman looks like. But there is reasoning that goes beyond Scripture that supports that view as well. While our society has made it more complicated, I still maintain that a mother and wife best fulfills her calling, if at all possible, in her full-time job at home.

    Laying aside what we are led to believe from a culture who disdains family, what is the will of God concerning home and the station of wife and mother? Is there wisdom from His word, or is this an area about which He is silent?

    I would challenge you to test your own thoughts and motives about what you believe regarding this subject (and there are many more articles on this blog with further discussion).

    You imply things I don’t think you realize.

    To say “my mom was happier working” even though you admit she didn’t “have to”, is to imply that she had to look outside her home and family–the first job God gave her, to find happiness. Her family was not enough. I submit that she bought a lie that many women in our culture bought regarding the import of home.

    You said she worked because she was intelligent and wanted to use her mind.

    The implication is that her family wasn’t good enough for her mind and her intellect and she had to find people more worthy of her gifts.

    As Rose Kennedy said:

    “I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that demanded the best that I could bring to it.” Like Rose, I have found that indeed motherhood is a profession, and it certainly deserves the best I can bring to it.”

    It’s the idea that motherhood/being a wife is a peripheral job that leads us to believe another job doesn’t hinder home-life. The truth is that if we understand the full time job we already have, the suggestion that we even *could* take on a second job would sound preposterous.

    Just food for thought…

  32. Dianne,

    Very well said. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, as we read various missionary stories of third-world countries, how materialism has so robbed us of the ability to think clearly. We need so much less than we think.

    As it regards children, we are *this close* to packing up and moving to an impoverished area for a while. I’m convinced that the most certain irony is: “the more one has, the less one appreciates what he has”. If that is true (would anyone like to challenge it?) then we harm our children by trying to “provide them with more”, which is the underlying message behind, “we can’t afford more children”.

    Didn’t mean to step on that soapbox 😉

  33. Kelly,

    You write, “I still maintain that a mother and wife best fulfills her calling, if at all possible, in her full-time job at home.”

    Can you explain, then, why you maintain several pay-based websites?

    Do you feel this is adhering to your beliefs about full time motherhood?


  34. How timely a discussion. I just got off the phone with a friend who said her 8 year old son asked her to quit work so he didn’t have to spend the summer in daycare. Her response? “Work makes me happy so he’s just going to have to get used to it!” (sigh) No concern about her responsibility to her family at all.
    I would like to add my two cents in here if you don’t mind. I have been married for 29 years and for the largest part of that time I have not worked outside the home. I have had women tell me that I was lucky because I didn’t “have” to work, right after telling me about the new $30,000 boat they had just bought or about the fact that their daycare bill was almost as high as their paycheck.
    But I am lucky or as I would say BLESSED to have a husband who recognizes my value and prefers me to stay home and take care of our children, our home and all of the chores that I do through the day. He would rather have me taking care of “my job” in the day rather than at night after a long day of work outside the home. You see, even if I went to work for someone else, my job here would still need done. The way we look at it is that my job is to take care of our children and our home.
    I would also like address the comment about women staying home when there is debt in the family. I think for the most part a couple can find a way to pay their debt without the wife working by cutting corners and being thoughtful in how they spend their money. There are also ways for moms to earn money from home. I babysit two days a week and then am a substitute babysitter for women that work downtown. It’s not my full time job but it has brought in extra money that we have needed from time to time. We have in the past struggled with debt and I know it’s hard, but sure and steady you can climb out of debt. In 1992 we had 3 children at home and my husband earned less than $10,000 a year. Now my husband has a good job. We still have to be careful with how we spend our money but we live well.
    In life we will all have to make sacrifices. I choose to sacrifice “things” over my family. I am home with them, they get the best part of me, not the tired leftovers I have to give after a day of work away from home.
    Kelly, I encourage you to keep writing what God lays on your heart. I am blessed by it and forwarded it to my daughter who is a young mother staying at home.


  35. Dear Kelly.
    Thank you for your very challenging series. I homeschool my last two children and stay at home most of the day. 🙁 To cut a very long story short… I am already 50 years old and have 6 grandchildren. After not using God’s Wisdom and not being as frugal as we should have been we find ourselves with no savings, no pension, and living from month to month and not coming out on one salary. I have taken on two cleaning jobs first thing the morning 8am-9.30am and last thing in the evening 6.30pm for one hour. I feel like the prodigal daughter when I clean all the toilets and take out all the trash. Its almost like I know the Lord has something more creative for me at home but I need financial breakthrough, favor and perfect timing to take the step of faith. Bless you for taking the time to write encouraging and inspiring articles. I will let you know when I am able to take the step of faith.

  36. We started out out marriage, as most young adults now with about $20 K in credit debt and my husband had a large mortgage-expecting two roomies to help for a while ’til he was higher on the career ladder.

    I had a desire to be a homemaker, and my sweet hubby agreed. But, even our sunday school teacher discouraged us because he looked at our finances with us and couldn’t see how it would work.

    We both agreed to a small tight budget, we vowed money would never be the reason we ended up sitting across a lawyers office with hate in our heart for the person we vowed to GOD we would love.

    Three years later, we’re making it! Do we go to Hawaii? No. We rent a state cabin to get away. I am a “skilled” 🙂 sale shopper and couponer. We eat at home 90% of the time, grow a garden and preserve our bounty, and I pack my husband’s lunch. It’s amazing if you stick to a frugal budget, things will work out with God’s providence!

    We truly feel the importance of tithing makes our budget and life go farther.

  37. To say “my mom was happier working” even though you admit she didn’t “have to”, is to imply that she had to look outside her home and family–the first job God gave her, to find happiness. Her family was not enough. I submit that she bought a lie that many women in our culture bought regarding the import of home.

    You said she worked because she was intelligent and wanted to use her mind.

    The implication is that her family wasn’t good enough for her mind and her intellect and she had to find people more worthy of her gifts.

    No. I didn’t say that. My family was quite good enough, thank you! I don’t feel that the fact she found adults more stimulating at times that seven year olds to be a detriment to her character. She embraced the diverse parts of herself. Do you understand what I mean?

    I think you are not so subtly encouraging me to think badly of my mother for making this choice. If so, as a Christian sister, I would like to ask you to take a step back and consider. I said I had not a good mother, but a great mother. I learned from her many things. I am indebted to her love and understanding, and yes, her intellect, which grew throughout the years of my childhood.

    And yes, my father pitched in. This was good for all of us, as it made us all closer. I remain extremely close to my family.

    We were not lacking in faith. We have never lacked in faith. I represent a different model, but it also can work. If there is one of me, there is a thousand of me.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment on this. I feel it is important to make sure you understand my words. I hope you are 1/10th as loving and caring a mother to your children as my mother was to me! 🙂

    1. Lala,

      “I think you are not so subtly encouraging me to think badly of my mother for making this choice.”

      No, no, I’m sorry if you felt that way. Even though you are talking about your mother, I also see your “argument” as a typical that many women in our culture have been taught to embrace. That argument is what I’m combating–the notion that staying home isn’t good enough, especially for “intelligent” women. What you may not realize is that your comments, even though they were about your mother, similarly were a subtle insult to all stay-at-home women. That’s why I pointed out the implications.

      I’m glad you don’t feel harmed by your mom’s choice, but I think the mentality you have in general is doing a lot of harm. Generally speaking, it is better for a mother to raise her own children, to disciple them as Christ discipled and to nurture them the way a mother was meant to. And frankly, I think it’s awful that I or anyone else even has to tiptoe around saying something that should be so natural. No one should feel bad about saying that a mother should be a mother as much as is physically possible.

      1. “I represent a different model, but it also can work. If there is one of me, there is a thousand of me.”

        Yes, sadly, there are thousands of us – I’m one too, my own Mother made the same choice..the different model, though it may have worked in our circumstances, isn’t a Biblical one. That’s the point that matters.

        We should use our intellect not only after we become parents, but before, as we acquire wisdom about being wives and mothers, ideally from our own mothers. If we are not “stimulated” by seven year olds, perhaps we’ve taken the wrong approach to motherhood. I’m to stimulate THEM – to spur them on to Biblical study, knowledge of God’s Word, and yes, to intellectual pursuit, but my children aren’t here to satisfy my whims or validate me in the universe – they’re gifts from God, just as my husband is. I opted all of us in the day I married, and God honored that. I would be foolish to assume that my self-actualization is a substitute for the relationship God intended between a parent and child.

        Lala, I appreciate where you’re coming from, more than you realize. Why some of our mothers, great though they may be, chose outside careers over their Scriptural calling is not an easy question to answer. But I think the collective answer of the state of society, with essentially motherless children, raised by strangers whether Mom is forced into or chooses to be in the workplace, is loud and clear in it’s failure. A woman who chooses to spend her intellectual power in pursuit of self-fulfillment above her own children cannot be considered “great” as a mother, in my opinion. That her own children continue to do so is a matter of Grace.

        I must humbly disagree with your assessment of the part time mothered home. It doesn’t serve it’s official charge. I wonder what many of our homes have missed by not having an incredibly intelligent woman managing them full time.

        1. cottage child,

          “I would be foolish to assume that my self-actualization is a substitute for the relationship God intended between a parent and child.”

          What a profound word for today’s women. You always say the thing I wish I had said 😉

  38. Dear Kelly,

    I completely agree with word warrior, When we come to Jesus and we let him change our mind and heart and we decide to believe his word, then we truly understand what be a wife and a mom means. I have been in both situations just to realized that thanks to God (and all the glory be for Him) that YOU CAN’T BE THE MOTHER GOD CREATED YOU TO BE having a job outside your home. Not only is unbliblical but a big mistake.

    No only we have a full time job at home (if we decide to do it the way God expect us to do it, like for Him and not for men). But our husbands and our children have so many needs that the only way we can do it is Firt with the Grace of God and with the time and intellingence that He has give us. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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