Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An excellent woman, who can find?

I was talking to a friend recently about the importance of finding creative ways to help "pad" the family income by working from home. As I've been thinking about it since then, I've come to the conclusion that I believe that women, no matter what the family income situation might be, ought to be involved in some way, no matter how small, in bringing home a little bacon on the side. Now, hear me out. I'm not talking about a big career, or hours spent away from home and children. I'm talking about using your God-given gifts in the context of your home and family to make a little money.

For starters, it's a great way to involve your children in the whole "bring money in, sending it back out" thing. Obviously Dad is the primary provider, but they don't actually get to see that in motion. You know what I mean? Children can learn a lot about the value of money when they actually see what it takes to bring it in and then see how quickly it can be spent. And I think they can participate and be paid appropriately for their participation.

In addition, there's something to be said for a little nest egg in your top drawer. Maybe it's only ten dollars, but I know that when I have ten dollars of babysitting money in my Paypal account, I don't have to feel guilty about taking a little to use for the extras-- a new blouse for the Christmas Party, for example :) It keeps me from feeling sorry for myself when things are a little tight. Or at least, it ought too!

As I was thinking about all this, I decided perhaps I ought to consult the Scriptures before solidifying my opinion, so I did. Voila! Good old Proverbs 31! Read it and tell me what you think of my ideas :)

10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

Man! I just love that passage! What more can you say? Isn't that the woman we all want to be? The woman we want our sons to marry? It covers pretty much everything.


Hosanna said...

Amen and amen. And dittos to making a little spending money for one's self.

septembermom said...

You're awesome! Great way to apply this wonderful passage :)

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Hey girl. I just realized that it's been a loooong time since I hijacked your blog. So...why not today? LOL

I have a differing opinion on the interpretation of Proverbs 31, but I really think that if you feel in your heart that you should be bringing in additional money for your family, then of course you should. While I've been adjuncting college courses on the side and even selling Pampered Chef for a few extra bucks each month (as a SAHM these last several years), we've recently made a huge life decision for me to not purposefully seek money-making jobs in the coming year so that I can focus on the multiple at-home needs of our growing family. Ironically, at least part of our decision is embedded in the motivational example of the Proverbs 31 woman. It's a Hebrew passage written originally for the instruction of young women born into nobility who will likely become bored and idle with such extreme wealth. Portions are difficult to decipher due to figurative Hebrew language (my husband specialized in Biblical languages), but however you look at her, she's inspiring and beautiful. Nevertheless, I'm finally accepting and understanding that we're not in the same position of wealthy nobility with countless servants at our disposal (as we know she was). I must gleefully and simultaneously cover all of the additional work that she already had fulfilled through her maidens and servants: the wet nurses, the nannies, the custodians, the gardeners, the private tutors, the carpenters, the shepherds, the chefs, the accountants, and much more. Still, after all that, I will pledge to make the best living for my family off the products of my estate, as she did. We know the Proverbs 31 woman finds delight in her handiwork and crafts...I deeply understand that contentment. And if/when time allows for extra hobbies (gotta love Etsy and Ebay) where I can attempt to earn money or barter for much-needed services, I certainly will weigh those benefits against the cost of the time sacrifices made to our home and reconsider our decision. I'm already looking forward to spinning yarn for enjoyment. If that turns into a later opportunity, great.

This will seriously be a huge stretch for our family as we try on this new paradigm for size, but we also realize that the most important 'products' in our lives are our children (not that they're things, but you know what I mean...). And it's been not just a little bit upsetting to find that they've desperately been missing their mommy while I've been attempting to make money in place of making a home. They'll grow up quickly, and I imagine that I'll feel that I suddenly have all the time (and degrees) in the world to make additional money at that point. Until then, we'll take this decision one day at a time as I seek to make our home run so easily...so fluidly...so stress-free...all for the benefit and glory of those who find shelter under my roof.


2Shaye @ Miller Memories

Herb of Grace said...

Excellent, Shaye! Thanks for pointing this out. You made me realize a need to clarify a little. Hmm. How to do that...

First of all, I"m not really advocating any kind of full-time, high-commitment Job. With a capital 'J'. And obviously, the size of your family and the toll of your primary obligations to home and hearth will determine what kinds of industry you can be involved in.

I think that's the key word for me "industrious" and also "creative". In looking at this passage this last week, the creative industry of the Proverbs 31 woman stood out to me for the first time.

In fact, in our specific situation, I am contrasting this creative industry with my current money-making gig as a violin teacher. I am hoping that focusing more on creative industry-- bread-baking, sewing, crafting, etc-- thing that can include and benefit my children, will enable me to cut down on the hours spent away from them (albeit only because I'm in the other room) while teaching.

Thanks for commenting!

Seth and Karen's blog said...

I just want to add my two cents here. I think we all should strive to be thrifty and resourceful in our spending and needs. However, I've often discussed the idea of a side job with my husband and he assures me that my job is to keep to my house, physically and mentally. If I am at home, but my mind is on projects and ventures, then I am not really serving my family. He tells me often that just being a thrifty shopper is great. If I can find deals, save here and there, coupons and such, then I am doing my part.

This issue is probably very different for every family and should be one that the husband and wife are in unity with. I don't think it is wrong to have an at-home business, but I don't think we need to feel like we have to or we're not doing our part. In some ways it can also undermine the importance of the husband and make him feel unsuccessful or incompetent with supporting his family.
All that said, I know there are tight times and I truly admire all these women who are so creative and think of ways to bring in a little extra. It is something I hope one day i can do myself. But Seth encourages me to not stress or fret over that, but simply do what I can right now.

There is a financial trick I started a few years back that has been a tremendous blessing for us. I'll have to post it on my deedsoflove blog sometime! :)

Anyway, thanks for the encouragement Lisi. I think you're an excellent example of a stay-at-home mom who also strives to do her part and help lighten the financial stress we can all feel at times.