But Stay-At-Home Mothers Surpass Them All
I have always been proud of the work of my wife's hands. Employed as a registered nurse for four years, Becca served hundreds of patients at two hospitals in our area. She commuted 45 minutes each way to the first hospital, then logged 13+ hour shifts--many of them logged as the overnight variety. Her passion and heart for the care of others came through in all she did as a nurse, and I believe that the luster of the staff at her former hospitals is lessened slightly without Rebecca R. Pearce, RN among them.
Becca and I have together decided that she will not, Lord-willing, work outside the home while our children are young. As such, she has not worked as a nurse since March. Deciding to try to live on one income in New Jersey has been a continual act of faith on our part (I am not boasting--it's the truth!), but our Lord has seen fit to bless our decision thus far. Praise the Lord, Jehovah Jireh: we have lived on one income since January 1, 2009!
The purpose of sharing the above is not to garner pity or even to hearten our fellow Garden State families. I wish for the above to reinforce the significance of the new work in which my wife has engaged herself--the work of furnishing our home, raising our son, filling our table, caring for our church, etc. Using the phrasing of the description of an excellent wife found in Proverbs 31, below are examples of some of the ways in which I wish to praise my wife for what she does.
verse 13 "She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands" It may seem an inconsequential thing, but Becca has taken up knitting again. She has quickly learned to make winter hats, and has knitted one for our friends' newborn son; she has plans for two more next month.
verses 14, 15 "She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens." Becca makes her own granola; she has made two loaves of homemade bread and a different pot of soup each week since it got chilly; I have not had store-bought cookies in my lunch since May; I don't remember the last time our dinner involved a portion of anything that was bought pre-made. One of Becca's greatest delights is preparing food and serving it to others. I, of course, delight in eating it. I love her love languages.
verse 16 "She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard." Although she already did a wonderful job before we were pregnant, Becca has since re-dedicated herself to saving money in every aspect of our lives. She has resurrected her affinity for coupons and upgraded it to a passion. She takes our $50 groceries per week budget on as a challenge and meets it more weeks than not. She plans our meals throughout the week, accounting for leftovers and lunches--it is rare for any food to be tossed. She uses every part of the buffalo, so to speak: she used part of a baked chicken for four different meals, and recently stretched a baked ham into three dinners, one breakfast, and seven lunches!
verse 18b "Her lamp does not go out at night." Until Liam finally slept 12 hours straight last week, Becca had not enjoyed a single night of uninterrupted sleep for over a year! Considering that pregnancy prevents a woman from sleeping well, and further considering Becca's dedication to breastfeeding, Becca might possibly wake up three times a night out of habit for the rest of her life. How she manages to be as gracious and cheerful as she does despite the sleep deprivation is beyond me.
verse 20 "She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." One of the advantages of a homemaking mother that I did not consider is the availability of the mother to minister to others. Although Becca's "To Do" list is hardly ever satisfied, she has not hesitated to minister to different families in the church as she has been aware of their needs. She has made and delivered meals for mothers of newborns, she has spent two days with a church family after the passing of their grandfather, she has visited her recently widowed grandmother, and more. Seeing my wife's example of love for others has helped me to better understand how my employment is fulfilling Ephesians 4.28, which reads, "...let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need." The Lord has blessed my labor with enough income that Becca does not have to work. As a result, she has a greater abundance of time to spend ministering to others.
verse 27 "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Becca has dedicated herself solely to the purposes of being my wife, being Liam's mother, managing our home life, and ministering to others. There is hardly a hint of "taking up a hobby" or "finally getting Becca time." The self-less-ness of stay-at-home mothers is something that can hardly be overstated.
verse 28 "Her children rise up and call her blessed;" While Liam is not speaking coherently at this point, the ways in which he praises his mother are myriad. He is abundantly healthy, bubbling over with cheerfulness, and developing rapidly. All these are primarily testaments to the Lord's graciousness, and secondly are convincing evidences that my son has a mother who loves and cares for him well. I have made it my standard response to any compliment I am paid regarding Liam to say merely, "He has a great mother."
To conclude, my heart does trust in Rebecca, my bride (v.11); I know full well that she does me good, not harm (v.12). Together, she and I will face many snows without fear (v.21); we delight to consider the future that our Lord has for us (v.25).
It is the Lord who has allowed me to find a wife of such excellence and worth. To me, there is not a woman in my life whom Rebecca does not surpass.