Your Family Can Make It on One Income

To work or not to work? That question is usually simple to answer when considering a father's role in the family. But when we consider whether or not a mother should work outside the home, many factors make the issue more sensitive to Christian families.

Each family must pray together and agree about the mother's role in the home, considering the children's well-being, the mother's desire to work, and ultimately whether or not the mother working outside the home is God's will.

I was once happily married, the mother of two children, and the editor of two parenting magazines. At the present, I am still happily married, the mother of three children, a freelance writer, and conference leader (as I decide to accept assignments). Both in my former, full-time employment position and my current, at-home position, I was and am in the center of God's will for my life. I have experienced two very different opportunities with two very different answers from God.

Once a family begins to feel the tug that the mother should leave her employment and be home full-time, the question becomes: "Can we make it on one income?" When my husband and I began to look at how our family income would be cut, the option looked impossible. But once we knew that God was leading me to quit my full-time position, faith led us to admit our reliance on God and accept the fact that He would not lead in a way in which He would not provide.

Crown Financial Ministries ( gives several suggestions that help families prepare for mothers who wish to leave the workplace. They suggest that families:

  • Begin living on the husband's income.
  • Consider part-time work to transition home.
  • Pay off consumer debt.
  • Use profits from extra assets to set up an emergency savings reserve or to pay off debt to reduce monthly expenses.
  • Come up with creative family recreational ideas and gift ideas to reduce monthly expenses.

They also suggest reading Larry Burketts book Women Leaving the Workplace to better prepare for such a family transition.

Although the reality of a mother leaving her full-time position to come home may look totally impossible, my doing so has strengthened our family's faith. The peace that comes from knowing that we are just as much in the center of God's will now as we were then helps us to live by faith day to day.

Joy Emery is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, Chris, and three children in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. She serves in the adult Sunday School ministry at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tennessee.

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