Almost exactly one month ago I wrote this post about God and finances. We were on the tail end of a great few weeks where God had been coming through for us in very obvious ways. And it all looked like prosperity with more money in our pockets. In the last 4 weeks we seem to have entered into a new season financially-one of brokenness. In no particular order here is what has occurred in the last 4 weeks since that post I wrote:
-Nathan's car is still broke. We know for sure its not the battery (which we hoped bc it would be cheapest to replace) which leads us to believe its an electrical issue. It is in the shop as we speak and we are waiting to get an estimate.
-My tooth broke. A random side effect of pregnancy for me is that my teeth just break off. Out of pocket we had to pay $1000 to fix it. This came two weeks after just paying off the bill from my dental work last May, which was to fix the original broke tooth from pregnancy #1 three years ago.
-Our garage door stopped working. We can still manually open and close so we are kicking that down the road because its not urgent right now.(although being 8 months pregnant and getting out in the cold to open and close garage is starting to feel urgent!)
-Our stove broke. Cost $500 for new one. Then cost $200 for plumber to come out and re-install a gas line to get it up to code so the stove could be safely installed.
-My phone broke. It still works for everything EXCEPT calling! Taking it in this weekend.
-Last night on the way to take the phone in our furnace stopped working. Cost $350 for a repair man to come out on a Friday night and replace the motor.
So yeah, we are feeling a little worn down from the past 4 weeks. I wanted to write this and put the actual costs of things in here because I want to be real. We proclaim that we trust God with our money. But that doesn't always look like things never happening or us having a ton of money for savings. In fact it often looks like what the last 4 weeks have-things happening and us having to be detached from our money, our plans of how we would like to spend it. In prayer God has been telling Nathan over these last weeks "Do not be afraid to use what I have given you." While that sounds nice, in reality its been painful. We have watched as Nathan's long awaited for "extra" paycheck in the month of October went to pay these bills. We had been planning on putting that paycheck in savings. Now we are watching what little we have in savings go down, down, down as we pay off the rest of the bills. Not to mention my inward panic of the holidays coming up and a new baby being here (diapers!) in just 8 weeks.
But when things like these happen I'm always remind that my money is not my own. Its simply on loan from God and we are entrusted with it to be good stewards. We make an intentional point to always make sure money is our servant, not the other way around. And I must say-its been a great servant these last 4 weeks. Everything has gotten fixed in a timely manner. I've been able to see God working through the men and women who have come to our rescue and fixed all our broken things. More importantly we have not lost our peace. God is still in control even though it may not feel like it. I don't like having to spend money on these things, but that's life. Jesus said "In the world you will have trouble, fear not I have overcome the world." I'm learning that following Christ does not mean bad things won't happen but that He will be there when they do and He will give you His peace.
Right now I'm going to continue to trust God even though that scares me to see our savings go so low. And maybe you are thinking "well at least you have savings! We would be out of luck if these things happened." My answer-God would still come through. Yes, we have savings, but its not a lot. It certainly isn't the "6 months of living expenses" set aside for a rainy day that the world tells you to have. We don't have college funds set aside for our kids. We mostly live week to week, month to month on a strict budget and then we watch God show up. I firmly believe that if you want Him to show up in your finances then you have to give Him room to show up. I could take control of things myself, go back to work in an attempt to bring in more money. But God isn't calling us to that. He is calling me to stay home and raise my children. By being obedient in that I give Him room to show up since we only have one income.
Throughout these weeks I've been encouraged in a few ways. First I have seen God providing for two of my close friends. They live by giving all their finances over to God. The first friend had a check from an anonymous person show up this week. The money will cover all her extra monthly expenses that had piled up. It literally just SHOWED UP thanks to someone else in the Body of Christ who felt moved to give her money (see-it didn't come from her savings!). I have another friend who is diligently trying to buy a house. Her and her husband have lived in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment for the entire 3 years of their marriage. They also have two small children and have had to make sacrifices in their living situation in order for her to stay home. This week they found another government program that will help them put money towards a down payment on a house (not coming form savings!) Hearing their news and knowing that God is helping them encouraged me.
One last thing that encouraged me-God sent us bread. Last week Nathan came home from work with two loaves of our favorite kind of bread-the expensive kind that we only buy when its on sale. He said someone brought it to work and didn't want it so he took it home. And I cried. Because it was a small gesture but I felt God saying "see, I'm even giving you your daily bread. Don't worry!" And He is and He does and He will continue to. Day by day is how we are called to live and day by day God will come through.
I want to end by continuing to encourage others who are struggling financially. I want to show you that we get it. Its real for us too. Each month when I do our budget on paper I'm not sure how its all going to come together, but each month it does. Give God room to work, to show up. We had a season where He was giving us things and now we are in a season when He is asking us to give away our money, possibly even use up all of our savings. We will continue to do what He ask because in the end, Jesus is what we are living for. Praying for those out there with financial burdens. May you feel the peace of God even in the midst of financial difficulties.