February 1, 2011
My Journey (part 3)
During the time of my husband's recovery and our lightning party, another storm was brewing on the horizon. It was call a recession. My husband is a builder, so when the housing market tanked, so did the the extra cash flow. We were relieved (beyond measure) that he still had a job, but with the strain of our medical bills and repairing the damage to the house, the extra income had become our grocery money. Somehow, telling our kids not to eat didn't seem feasible. :)
Before we had children, we made the decision for me to become a SAHM (stay at home mom). We felt like the Lord was calling me to be at home with them and focus on their little lives for a season. That timing was cut shorter than we had planned, due to finances. When we realized that I needed to find a job, I sort of panicked.
I had forgotten that we serve a creative God.
He provided a job at a preschool so that I could use my teaching experience and yet have my children there with me. It turned out to be exactly the amount we needed for our grocery budget. And not a cent more.
For two years we worked hard at sticking to the budget and not spending excessively. We were beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. We learned to save for big (necessary) purchases and we learned to live without.
God wasn't done with us yet.
We had learned to accept our situation, but we hadn't learned to step out in faith. We had learned to deal with what was handed to us, but we had yet to learn the meaning of sacrifice. That's when we felt the Lord call us to home school. (You can read about my journey to that decision here and here.) Home schooling our children meant I could no longer work at the preschool.
Our income would decrease. Decrease, as in go down.
Some called us crazy. Heck, we even said we were crazy. But that's what true faith looks like, right?
Being creative with your finances isn't always what you'd expect, but the rewards are priceless. Remember our trip to Maine? We were able to afford that trip because we camped. In tents. El cheapo. What a memory my kids would have missed out on if I didn't take a step out of my comfort zone (like heat and a mattress).
My children have learned the value of hard work and to appreciate the things they have earned. They have learned that children and adults alike don't get everything they want. They have seen the fruits of the gift of time far outweigh the objects.
When I say they, I really mean "we."
I still have a long ways to go. I still battle feelings of frustration when I see other kids get every kind of electronic gizmo available without any expectation of responsibility. I still feel a little jealous of my friends who can afford to sign their kids up for camps/classes/lessons. But I am learning.
And learning takes practice. And faith.
And enough humble pie to write about this journey.
*I have just a little bit more to share with you about my journey. I can't stop now. The best part, the view from the top of the mountain, is why I started this story. Stick with me for one more day. Every story needs a good ending.