I grew up with my mom at home. In a culture that was going through a massive shift in values, while I was being told I could be anyone I wanted, and do anything I wanted, I didn’t have a career ambition. I knew I wanted to be a mom when I grew up – a mom like mine. A mom who stays home.

As the youngest of five children, I watched my sisters forge a path for their own families. They were smart, educated, and when they started having babies they put their paying jobs aside for the work of caring for their children. I knew it was against the grain of what culture was doing, but as I watched women I respected take a stand for what they believed was the best choice for their families, it gave me courage to do the same.

We don’t live on one income because we’re wealthy. Clay’s income is not so large that it equals two salaries. One income for 6 people means there’s less money to go around than if we had two incomes. I keep up with the budget: I’ve done the math. That means there’s a lot of stuff we can’t afford. It means Christmas is lean on gifts and large on traditions. It means family vacations look like camping with Grandma and Grandpa, and visiting grandparents who don’t live nearby. It means both our cars are at least 10 years old. It means our kids are riding 25 year old bikes. It means we frequent thrift shops and sale racks, and we welcome bags of hand-me-downs for our growing kids. It means by the time we’ve paid our monthly bills, there’s next to nothing left.

We all have priorities about where our money goes. We give to our church until it hurts, because the church is deeply important to us. We are laying down our lives for Jesus, and our money goes along with that. We spend money on eating healthy food because we believe it’s important to take care of our bodies. We spend money on our home and utilities because we clearly need a roof over our heads. We spend money on music lessons for our kids because we feel it’s important to invest in that part of their education. And we spend as little as possible on our vehicles because all we need is something that reliably gets us where we need to go.

Living on one income is a choice I’ve made with my husband, and I live it gladly. We give up money for the sake of more time, and that’s a sacrifice I make willingly. I’m not being held back from achieving my best. There are days when I feel like I would gladly trade this work for a paying job and a break from the endless work that comes with raising and educating four children. I’m often overwhelmed and feel unequipped for the task before me. But when I take a step back, I realize that being at home with my kids, and sacrificing luxuries to do so, is exactly where God wants me. Where he has placed me is not an oversight, it’s his plan. Through the daily trials and joys of mothering I am being refined by the Holy Spirit. Through the daily surrendering of my self to God’s will, He is making me into the woman I was meant to be.

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