“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” Proverbs 31:15-16
I used to feel badly that I’m a WAHM (work-at-home-mom). If I didn’t have to work, I could spend more time with my kids, clean my house more, be a better wife, blah, blah, blah. Half of that is genuine mom-guilt, the emotion that plagues nearly every woman to have birthed a baby. The guilt is usually nonsensical. When they’re a baby: guilt that I don’t hold her enough. Guilt that I hold her too much. When they’re a toddler: Guilt that I don’t discipline them enough. Guilt that I’m too hard on them. See a trend here? But the other half of the reason I drag my feet about working is that the idea of having one less thing on my plate is simply heavenly.
For some reason, despite multiple readings of Proverbs 31 (mandatory, of course, for every Christian wife, especially due to the shortage of descriptive biblical material on the subject), the overarching theme of the passage seemed to elude me. I think most everyone who has ever referenced the chapter has done what I do, focus on this verse:
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
An excellent verse. But it does not sum up the content of the section. It is not the theme of the Proverbs 31 woman. Instead, ninety-percent of these verses describe how this godly woman who is to be praised is a working woman. Not a SAHM. Yeah, I understand, cultural differences and stuff. But I think it’s astounding how applicable this is today. The main idea, that it is honorable for a wife and mom to bring in supplemental income to her family, is extremely applicable. Today it is rarely considered supplemental income! Oftentimes both the husband and wife have to work just to pay the bills.
It is interesting that for years it has been thought proper for the wife to stay at home while her husband worked. The wife’s place is in the kitchen, at home, with the children. But according to Proverbs 31, not only is it acceptable to the LORD for the wife to be bringing money to the table, it is considered honorable and commendable.
This is not a knock on the rare SAHM variety. Everyone’s situation is different, and every season is different. But if you are able in any way, shape, or form, to bring a little extra income to your family, even if it’s working from home, selling crafts or vegetables from your garden – whatever, be creative! Use your gifts! This is something God delights in. He sees us, and our day-to-day struggle with our family and our busy lives. For those of us able to push it further and “(select) wool and flax, and (work) with eager hands” (HaHa, okay, maybe not those materials, exactly) God will give us the strength and blessing to do it.