Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Money, Marriage, Miracles, Oh my!

So I'm writing this because Travis and I have been complimented on our ability to handle money over the years.  I can honestly say I feel blessed to be in a marriage that can handle hard discussions and keep going.  After ten years of marriage we relate more and more to those vows we spoke out loud in front of friends and loved ones.  For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, crabbiness and joy( I hope that was one of them!).
 Anyways, somehow we've managed to get through a variety of money issues mostly unscathed.
Although it isn't because we haven't made mistakes.  We bought a condo when we didn't really have the money and got stuck with it for 8 years or so( our family growing, our place not).  We've bought bad vehicles that weren't cheap.  We couldn't afford insurance and then had an emergency that made us realize why we couldn't afford not to.  My husband has been downsized twice and we once went five months without income( which in retrospect doesn't seem long but it did then).
 I'm so thankful for where we are now, which is attempting to aggressively pay down my school loan but at times I feel the urge not to be thankful.  To want things that I can't have right now, to splurge, to not pay attention to our budget.  I ignore it though and thank God for all our financial breakthrough and favor( at least that's what I'm doing right now).  Thank him for the courage to use our tax money to fix and sell our condo when we really just wanted to run away from it.
 Our condo that we'd owned had felt like a hopeless weight trapping us in an increasingly uncomfortable situation.  In all actuality we owned next to none of it and I was afraid that costs of selling were going to outweigh what we got for it.  We did it though.  We prayed and put our money into it trusting it to sell.  By the end before we sold it we had 3 boys in the condo and just about all of our belongings in a storage unit so we could fit.  It sold the day before it was on the market officially!
 There have been so many times in our marriage like that financially that if I stop to think about it I can't help but feel blessed.  Bills being payed on time despite no money, a job with perfect timing so there was no lag in pay between the ending of another job which included severance money, large hospital bills being written off, health insurance being back paid, grocery bills staying at $50 no matter how much I got!  Praise God!
 Travis and I do have a heart for saving, budgeting, living within our means and total honesty in our finances.  For some crazy reason we enjoy it and at times staying within our budget feels like a game and the prize is financial freedom.  Every time we feel anxious about money or frustrated I find the best thing to do is look at reality, not how it feels, to talk and to pray.  At times it can feel personal and raw and uncomfortable because it's addressing needs, wants and dreams you may have for yourself and your family but you can trust God.  You can trust him with money and even with all the stuff that goes along with hashing it out.  Numbers are a fact but dealing with them can get messy. I'm so glad that God's held my heart as I've gotten real about this subject again and again.  How I'm scared, how I'm frustrated, how I just want some new clothes and a haircut for goodness sake!
 I'm going to come back and address some practical things because every answered prayer was not a miracle.  Sometimes it was just an urge to keep going and to steward what we had but for now talk and be honest.  Look at reality and don't turn away.  Be thankful when it's hard to be thankful and know that he's a faithful, loving and personal God who see's you.

About 7 years ago, in the midst of no money, mortgages, giant student loans and no jobs I sat in a service where the guest preacher shared a pretty random fact about the meanings of names before going on to preach an entirely different message.  I was reminded of a little laminated card I had been given as a little girl that said, Jessica- "Wealthy" and felt the Lord impressing on my heart that I was wealthy no matter how much I had and that he was taking care of my family.  I went and told the preacher after the service and when she asked me to share people handed me money afterward.  It wasn't my intention but it definitely blessed us( we needed it) and I went home to look up my name meaning.  My name was derived from an ancient Hebrew name and means God see's.  Just what I needed to hear.

He sees.