The Book That Brought Me Home

by Sally Matheny

     Not long ago, I was asked to participate in a blog hop for the on-line magazine, Books Make a Difference. I am to share how a particular book has made a difference in my life. The problem lies in narrowing it down to one book! 
     Books have influenced my whole life.  But one particular turning point occurred when I was thirty years old.  

      My life brimmed with children—twenty -eight kindergarten students during the day, and my own two toddlers at night. In addition to His Holy Word, God used another book to drastically change that number of children, and to reroute my life.

      Even though I loved teaching kindergarten, my little girls continually begged me to stay at home with them. I, too, longed to devote more time to their momentary childhood.  However, my husband and I were living paycheck to paycheck. The first time I brought the topic up with my husband he said, "What? I don't know if we can pay our bills on one income!"
     I picked up the book, Women Leaving the Workplace, by Larry Burkett (Moody Publisher, 1999). It was the book that brought me home for good.

     Burkett is well known for his successful financial advising. Writing with a Christian worldview, he did a superb job offering spiritual counsel and practical advice for women considering coming home full-time.  
     For months, we followed several of Burkett’s suggestions. We practiced living solely on my husband’s income. That meant selling our new car in exchange for a used one. We ate out less often and practiced Burkett’s envelope budgeting system.
     We talked with our girls about the possibility of me leaving my teaching job. If I "came home for good," we would not have money for many extra things. I'll never forget how I felt when our four-year-old replied, “Oh, that’s okay, Mommy. I don’t need anything.  All I want is you.”
     Women Leaving the Workplace helped equip us to take a leap of faith and be obedient to what God was calling our family to do. We were amazed! Not only were we able to pay our bills, we were able to save, give tithes and offerings, and still enjoy a few treats along the way. The time at home provided more precious moments with the children and opportunities to teach their tender hearts.
     The encouragement and guidance this book offered made a difference not only in my life, but also in the lives of my husband and our children.
     Besides budgeting, the book contains a chapter on how to transition back into the workforce.  At one time, I worked part-time as a church secretary and my children were allowed to accompany me. However, after our oldest completed second grade, God called us to a new adventure—homeschooling!
    Books were influential in that decision as well, but that’s another story for another day.

Share with us. What book has made a difference in your life?