Week 4 - $7: wow! Just now, as I was typing and looking at the amount for week 4, I realized the significance of the number 7. God's perfect number. The number of completion...and, of course, this test of faith had to end in God's perfect timing. I love Him so much.
Nobody at my house has gone hungry. Ever! I don't know what that would be like. But, there are many people that do...we don't have food and clothes and shelter because we deserve it or God loves us more. We have those things simply because we do. Those that don't aren't loved by God less. Maybe they know God in more awesome ways than I ever will. Maybe they will be more open to the Gospel because someone meets their spiritual need through meeting their physical need. God has wowed me many times by meeting my physical need, only to show me that the spiritual and physical aren't really separate. He meets both!
What I bought at the store the 4th week has eluded me. I know that experimenting with making meals from what was in the pantry was interesting and fun! We learned that we like hummus and falafel. Never underestimate the power of a can of chickpeas! :) I was exhausted and stretched but obedient...what is crazy hard is what happens next...
As some work began to pour in, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could pay things instead of floating them. Income came just in time or we would have had to pay INTEREST on the business credit card...this makes me feel physically ill. For real. Bruce told me to make the MINIMUM payment...To me, that is crazy talk that sends me into a fetal position. After I got over myself, I was prepared to do it but, thankfully, I did not have to.
So, bills have been paid. The phone is ringing. Bruce has work! (Bruce is, technically, always working on something when he's not hanging with his family and sometimes even while he is hanging with his family but I am referring to paid work)
Yay! Things are easy now, right??
Well, they are different. Maybe even better but, for me, not easier. Let me explain.
As hard as stretching $75 for a month's worth of groceries is, figuring out the post-fending spreeze budget is the hardest for me.
I am sure I was driving Bruce crazy!! I was asking his opinion on every penny I wanted to spend. We were out of toilet paper, contact solution, diapers, TONS of food items, and at least one kid needed shoes. Meanwhile, he needed a new winter coat, I didn't have jeans that fit, and gas stations still wanted money when you filled up your tank. Not to mention that we were feeling like doing a tiny bit of splurging after being so tight. And, by splurging I mean eating at a restaurant or getting hair cuts or driving to see friends hundreds of miles away.
Thanks to generosity from my hubby's Mom, I was able to visit my KY peeps! Thanks to a family member and a sweet friend we were able to travel for my Dad's open heart surgery without worrying about the cost.
But, how to budget everything else was weighing on me. Here is one of my biggest weaknesses.
I don't know how to prioritize without over-analyzing. After spending a month stretching $75, how can I drop $150 in one trip to the store? What gets prioritized and when is crazy hard for me. I don't know if I should spend or save. Should I stock up on pantry items when things are at their best prices? I try to buy items on sale (I don't really use coupons much anymore because most coupons are for processed items that we don't usually purchase) and I buy in bulk a lot so having to buy very small amounts as we have the money is mentally maddening. Should I spend meager amounts at the store and save the money? Can I spend on x, y, z or are q, r, and s more important? Not knowing when the next fending spreeze will be, I just don't know. Do I buy that school book when it's on sale or wait until we have the money but it's full price??
When the wants or needs exceed the ability to buy them all, what should I do?? What does pleasing God with my spending look like?
I am floundering all over the place, I'm sure. It really doesn't matter what anyone's income is...it all comes down to what you do with what you have. Decisions must be made. Sometimes, very difficult or even heart-wrenching decisions. We really are all in the same boat. We all have to decide what to do with what we have. Contentment and wisdom are what I want to guide my decisions.
I do know that somehow it all works out. God's math, that is. It always does. Somehow we have everything we need and so much more.
I share all this to hopefully encourage you to remember that our minds are fierce battlefields that Christ can be the Victor in...if We really let Him. Now that you have had a tiny peak into my crazy head, you can run away or, maybe, stick around and pray with and for me. We all have burdens, way beyond financial decisions to lift up to the Throne of Grace. Let us go there together with boldness and confidence.
Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16