Lately when I am asked the question, “So what do you do besides write?” I look furtively from side to side before I whisper my response.
I am a kept woman.
Then I grin. Because I feel no shame.
It wasn’t always that way. When I was a stay-at-home mom, raising six littles, and was asked what I did (ha!), I would mumble that I was an educator and quickly change the subject. Not anymore.
If you are a career woman, or living out your dream job, I applaud you. I admire and cheer on my friends in education, in social work, in the corporate realm and medical field. I am inspired by women artists and engineers and pilots and writers and saleswomen and business women. Those who deliver the mail, or drive trucks. or serve in the military or police force – I’m behind you one hundred percent.
But those of you who are part of a one-income family, who are out of the work force to raise children, battle chronic illness, care for a loved one, or because you lost your job or just because you want to be? I’m not only cheering you on, I’m walking with you. Though the world would sometimes tell us it is not enough, that identity comes from titles and power and prestige, and that we should never let a spouse support us, I disagree.
No job or title can determine our value. (And sometimes independence isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.)
The seasons played a ferocious of game of King of the Mountain as I strode along my walking on an early spring afternoon. One moment spring was shining down so victoriously that I shed my fleece jacket and wiped sweat from my brow, but before I could tie it around my waist and finish my spring dance, winter had bullied his way back to the top with a biting wind. The sweat turned to icicles and my fingers were shaking as I tried to zip the fleece. And so it went. A back and forth battle.
My thoughts, however remained consistent and steadfast. Gratitude walked with me.
- Gratitude for blustery winds and the competing sun, for the warmth and the chill.
- Gratitude for a long walk in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.
- Gratitude for the children’s laughter that graces my home.
- Gratitude for friendships and music and hot soup and God’s word that feeds my soul.
- Gratitude for a craft room bursting at the seams with color and shapes and textures,
- Gratitude for an office where I meet with clients, or pretend to write.
- Gratitude for stacks of unread books and coffee and changing seasons.
- Gratitude for a husband who is willing to financially support me, allowing me to take a long power walk in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the week.
Yes, I am a kept woman.
Decades ago, when I surrendered to Jehovah Jireh, the LORD will provide, I began praying Proverbs 30:7
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
I wanted to live a life of integrity, which I had not done in my younger years. And I wanted to trust the Lord to give me just what I needed. I had no desire to be rich, but I certainly didn’t want to be needy.
I’m not just referring to finances. I wanted the Lord to provide experiences, ministry, opportunities, relationships, and direction. I’d already seen how life looked when I was in control and it wasn’t pretty.
Since that prayer, my husband and I have made choices together that have enabled me to decide when and if I want to have a paying job . We have relied on the promptings and leading of the Holy Spirit. I’ve had amazing fulltime jobs outside of the home over the years – from my Air Force days to my more recent braillist stint. But more often than not my husband has been the main breadwinner.
And my Psalm 30 prayer has been answered. We do not have material wealth. Neither do we live in poverty. We likely have excessive amounts of some things – clothes, tools, books, jewelry, craft supplies
kids. (JK JK! ) We’ve done some traveling, have had rich experiences that include hot air ballooning and sky-diving and sitting with wolves. We will surely have more.
But there are also areas where we are, uh, lacking a bit materially. When I began this post, one of our cars was in the garage awaiting parts. We took the other one – an old Ford Focus that the husband rebuilt after a daughter totaled it – out to dinner that night. It was like getting a free massage the way it shook and rattled.
We have bathrooms that need updating. Our bedroom could use a new carpet since the current one is older than Methuselah. We have floors creaky enough to be the setting for a horror movie.
But we feel pretty blessed with where God has brought us, back into a season where I am once again a kept woman. Other than a few dollars from coaching and book sales, I’m jobless. But that’s okay.
Because the real secret? Although my husband, the man I call The Silver Fox, is the current breadwinner and financial provider, he is not my keeper.
The Lord is.
Psalm 125:5 NASB The Lord is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The Lord is my keeper, my provider, my good shepherd. His Spirit whispers “this is the way, walk in it,” and I strive to follow, knowing that He leads me to beautiful places, even if it takes a difficult journey and a bit of climbing to get there.
I am kept. By the Lord.
He keeps me in perfect peace. Isaiah 26:3 Even on days like today, when I’ve spent the past week battling a migraine and the tentacles of depression want to wrap themselves around me, as I wonder when physical healing will come, I find peace in His Word, particularly when friends message His Word to me. When the world is in chaos, I look to Him to steady my heart and to give me direction. I find peace in the richness of life in Him despite the current pain and nausea and uncertain times we live in.
He keeps me from worrying about finances. Philippians 4:19
When I felt God’s promptings to quit my job in 2021, I questioned the wisdom, but walked in obedience. Slightly terrified obedience, for sure. But He has been faithful. When the hubs and I follow His leading, we don’t worry about the finances. God has proven Himself more trustworthy than savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and 401ks. (We do have some of those things, and are debt free other than a small mortgage, but it is most assuredly not where our trust lies.) Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7, NIV
He keeps me content in every circumstance. Philippians 4:11-12 , Ephesians 2:10 I know my values, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my gifts. I know that I am uniquely created for specific works – no matter how small those works may be – and subsequently I am content in times of leanness and times of more than enough.
My dear sisters in Christ, let me encourage you: whether we find ourselves with an extraordinary, lucrative career or in a place where the pennies trickle in, whether we are working and want to be at home or at home and want to be working – we are all kept women. Kept by Him, our good shepherd. So lean in and exhale. He is faithful and trustworthy.
(And hey, let’s cheer each other on along the way! <3)
Take a minute and reflect: Are you content where you are? Why or why not? What is in your control to change? What is one step you can take towards that end this week? What outcomes do you need to leave in God’s hands? I’m praying for you today.
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Grateful for this abundant life,