This has been an interesting Thanksgiving and also the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday. Let me explain...
Money has always been tight for my husband and I. I'm not sure why exactly, but it's a trend that resonates throughout our 13 year marriage. As most of my friends and family know, we do not live extravagantly or own expensive toys. Nevertheless, an abundance of money has always eluded us. I'm not blaming my husband, I don't want anyone (including him) to think that I believe that he is responsible for our current economic situation. I have been our money manager for the majority of our marriage, so obviously I accept partial blame.
But it hasn't been REALLY difficult until last year. That was when financially, things got unbelievably tight around our house. Just prior to that I started clipping coupons and continued paying very close attention to what was being spent for our monthly expenses. Before that we had learned from Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University class to only use cash (or a debit card) and cut up our credit cards. But as Dave would say, we have an "income" problem. And as Dr. Phil would say, regarding our current financial situation, "How's that workin' for ya?" To that (and him) I would say, "It's not! Not at all." And then Dr. Phil would probably say, "Well, what are you going to do about it then?" And then I would say, "I don't have any idea!"
We, have been poor money managers. Terrible stewards of the money God has blessed us with. I feel pretty guilty about it, quite often. On top of the guilt is depression. Most recently it began in September. I thought it was possibly due to a couple of different scenarios, which might have added to my depression, but just in the past couple of days, I realized that our lack of money was a big factor. I never realized until a couple of days ago, that our "financial hardship" was also the cause of some of my stress. As a stay at home mom, I don't have a whole lot of things to be stressed out about. I couldn't figure out WHY I felt stressed. Then, it hit me. I was worried about money.
I tell you all of this to explain a little bit about what God has shown me during the past two weeks when we were waiting on a paycheck in the mail. Besides Him showing me that HE is in control of EVERYthing, He challenged me to STOP what I was doing, and turn 180 degrees and do the opposite of my inclinations. I should probably rephrase that, He didn't just challenge me, he FORCED me to change my behavior.
We did not have enough money to buy turkey and the usual side dishes this year. Likewise, we didn't have enough money for me to head out to the stores this morning to find some awesome deals on Christmas presents for the kids, like I have done for the past few years. I had to sit back on the sidelines this year, and watch it all happen, with my hands tied behind my back. Restraint. That's the word to describe it. I needed some restraint, I guess.
In God's timing, we were expecting, and then received a paycheck this morning via Fed Ex from my husband's main employer, D.C. Comics. My husband had complained to them Tuesday when we hadn't received the paycheck that should've come by Tuesday via USPS. With some creative check-cashing and depositing at the bank, I was able to pay our mortgage, and the other bills that we missed during the middle of this month. It was a good feeling to get that done, and even better that I was able to go grocery shopping today and re-stock our pantry and fridge.
So, why am I telling you all of this? I guess it's because I've learned a lesson throughout all of this. I hope that hearing my story will help you, or someone you know who might be going through a similar situation. It's tough out there right now, but for those of us who believe in the God who created us (and all things), we have HOPE and can trust in Him to carry us through the difficult times in this life.
God is good and He loves you.