October 7, 2013
I have been posting at the end of each month about how our budget is going. Nothing has changed since we started it back in February, which is good (we have been living within our means) and bad (we are still in debt).
A couple of things that have changed in the past month:
- my heart and, specifically,
- my pride.
If you don’t remember, we have been using cash for the past 8 months. My husband cashes his pay check and brings it home. I get $250 for groceries for the two weeks & enough to fill my tank one time. He figures out how many times he will need to go to the city in the next two weeks & takes out what he will need. We also take out tithe. We deposit the rest and pay bills from our checking account. It has worked really well.
However, this is NOT because of us! Three years ago, we tried this exact same method to bring our spending under control (we weren’t in debt but we weren’t spending wisely) and we blew it HORRIBLY. What is different between three years ago and this year? Well…
- we have 2 more kids
- we make 1/2 as much money
certainly nothing you could point to and say ‘THIS is why it is working now!’
For these past 8 months, every time my husband got more work, I thought…’Okay, only ‘x number of months’ until we’re out of debt.’ or whenever a new bill came in and the Lord provided the means of paying it off, I would think, ‘Good thing we have been budgeting so we have the money to pay this but man, this money was going to go to paying off more credit card debt! How many more jobs does the hubby need for us to get out of debt by the end of the year?’
Did you notice, even though I am very thankful, never once have I been thankful to God for providing us with the money to pay our unexpected bills without using a credit card. Of course, if someone were to ask me if I was thankful to God, of course I would say yes. In reality though, I was proud of what we had accomplished.
I have been praying that the Lord would get us out of debt…while at the same time trying to figure out how to do it myself. It is similar to asking God to save you and then going about trying to save yourself. I realize it is not the same but I see similarities…me saying I have faith but at the same time, working so hard to do what I said I had faith in God to do.
All of this was revealed to me when I found out I was pregnant. We had been holding off pregnancy (something I am against doing for the most part) for a couple of reasons.
- I wanted to nurse longer. The World Health Organization recommends up to 2 yrs and since I try to keep my children away from dairy other than my own, nursing this long is ideal for us.
- The other reason we had been holding off was because we were in debt.
My husband was able to get a lot of work last year from his second job. So this year, we went in debt to expand his business. We thought we would have the debt paid off by March. Guess what? Life does not always go as planned. We were not able to pay off the debt by March…or by June…We took a risk and learned a lot. At the time I had a part-time job from home. I decided I was going to work more and pay off the debt by September. I was praying that God would get us out of debt occasionally but really, I was trying to pull us up from my bootstraps to the exclusion of all else, including the children, who got pushed aside for the time being.
Thankfully, this only went on for about a month and a half when I realized the money I was making, which was minimal, was NOT worth disregarding my children half of the day. I stopped working and reevaluated when we would be able to pay off our debt. Again, I was thinking, ‘If hubby can book x number of jobs, we’ll be out of debt by the end of the year.’
However, more bills kept coming in…unexpected ones…that were quite large. I was starting to become very discouraged that we would never have a baby again 😦 I never did like the ‘wait until you have everything together before getting pregnant’ plan. I saw too many friends and family do that and end up not being able to have babies because their bodies had been messed up so badly by all of those years of birth control pills.
The Lord put it on my heart before I got married to not try to control everything. The Lord controls when women get pregnant but I felt the Spirit’s leading to stop trying to control (the reason I am against holding off pregnancy for us)…obviously, I still struggle with control issues. Anyway, I was starting to feel quite despondent over never paying off debt and never having another baby 😦
Then I found out I was pregnant…I was worried because we had not paid off our debt yet and there was no way we would be able to pay for a baby and debt! At the same time, I was glad because God took the ‘decision’ away from me 🙂 As I was praying, I said, ‘Okay God, I’m just going to pray that you pay off our debt. Nothing I do seems to be getting it done so I just pray that You will do it.’ Light bulb. Why had I not been praying this all along?
Some thoughts the Spirit imparted to me:
- God can do anything. He made me. He made this baby. At this time.
- Debt is unbiblical. I know He does not want us to stay in debt.
- God’s timing is perfect, as He is perfect.
Just because we wanted debt to be paid off in 3 months, if it had, we would have never created and stuck with a budget for 8 months. We would have continued to use our credit card (we have not used a credit card since February). We have much to learn. For now, I have made the decision to stop trying to ‘figure things out’ and instead, whenever I get another bill or when my husband gets a job or whenever my mind won’t shut off (which is often), I am praying that God take care of our debt…in His time…and that we are patient and diligent while we wait.
I hate that I struggle with control issues but at the same time, I love the struggle. Sometimes when the Shepherd is so good and provides everything we need, we (the sheep) start to think we can do it on our own. I love the struggle because I need to stop being so stupid and see what a wonderful Shepherd I have!
PS. I have not been writing much & will continue to take a break for probably at least another month as the first trimester takes everything out of me & then some. My garden looks beautiful but healthy food always makes me sick during this time so hopefully everything will stay yummy a little while longer so we can enjoy it 🙂
Congratulations on your new pregnancy! I don’t think we ever thank God enough for all he does, even in things that aren’t money related. I thank God for helping our budget lately! Nancy