This morning I woke up with plans to post about the marriage conference, but I can't. I have such a heavy heart and I'm just plain distracted.
Before posting, I sat down to tackle my budget update. I usually do this towards the end of the month to see how much we've spent in each category and prepare for grocery shopping- by the end of the month we've exhausted "cleaning out the pantry meals" and pancakes, so as soon as we can buy more groceries we do. After calculating each category I sat silent and frustrated. Once again, we over spent in EVERY category. I felt so defeated.
A little background:
My husband has owned his own construction company for the last eight years. It was something he and his buddy did to make it through seminary. Praise God for his provision, because it not only got them through school, but it got us through our last 5 years. I also worked, so combined we had a decent, middle class income. After the revelation of our second child, we concluded that I needed to be home. I've always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but with Bob in school (achieving his Masters and beginning his PH.D) I needed to work even though Braydon came along. I was happy to serve my family in this way; however, with the coming of our second babe it didn't make sense to work and pay daycare costs. Not to mention, I thought my heart would break if I had to miss another baby's day-to-day activities. So in February I became a stay-at-home mom. We did all we could to get our finances squared away. I even sold all of my stock to get us out of debt. I was so proud.
Then it went downhill.
Shortly after I began staying home, Bob had two jobs not pay, costing us thousands. Earlier that year we had decided to take a family vacation to Florida on the generous gift my previous employer gave us. This was our first "big kid" vacation and we had already purchased a good portion of the trip pre- job situation, so we decided to go ahead and go. Little did we know this trip would cost us significantly more than we had planned- some of it due to our naivity and some due to unforeseen circumstances like Tropical Storm Debbie. Right before we leave for vacation I had something weird happen to my eyes. I went to my Optometrist and he told me I can no longer wear contacts and to strongly consider LASIK. What was happening was going to cause my prescription to change every couple of months and financially speaking it made more sense to go with LASIK. Awesome....
There have been other decisions and situations that have cost us over the last 6 months- some small, some bigger than I want to deal with.
A couple months ago, Bob was offered a full time role at our local church. We were ecstatic because we LOVE our church and it seemed like a perfect fit for our family. We took it, knowing that Bob would have to do side jobs each month and I would have to work two days a week. Even with these additional work pieces, we still had to cut our monthly costs because, well, ministry isn't exactly a money making industry. can I get an amen. and we now have all these extra payments from our "situations."
Upon Bob taking his new position I went through our budget and cut what I could.
This was painful and I was a big fat baby about it at first. I had developed entitlement to things like good shampoo and makeup, seasonal shopping sprees, and quality restaurants on date night. When faced with needing new clothes for Avery I cried. We had NO money and I felt like I was letting my daughter down. She was my girl after all. I should be showering her with hair bows and adorable outfits. But, after awhile I got over myself (or so I thought) and began to see this as a game. I went around the house selling unused items and I sold enough for me to buy the kids clothes at the upcoming consignment sale and for Bob and I to get a few items. I also began purchasing some of our toiletries on Amazon mom which has saved us both on items as well as frequent trips to the black hole, otherwise known as Target.
But, as today revealed, it's not been enough.
That's why I sit frustrated. We've almost completed our second month of a "tight" budget and we're still failing miserably. Not because we don't make enough money. We're wealthier than most in this world and let's be honest, who ever makes enough money? But it's because I'm still pursing ideals that promise what they cannot deliver and I've allowed good desires to control my heart, turning them into idols. Good desires like providing healthy and full meals for our family and guests, quality toilet paper, generous gifts, and DVR so we aren't scheduling our evenings around TV. All of these desires are good, but only when you can afford them. And we can't right now. At least not all of them.
So. I've prepared my husband for the infamous discussion awaiting us this evening and I've already begun to pray that God keeps us from feeling like victims or that more money is the answer (b/c if left to myself I will go there). We have much to be thankful for. I also have no clue how we are going to do this, but there's something in the hopelessness that grants me comfort. Time and time again, I've been in this humble place and it always testifies to God's grace.
And just like the past moments, I look forward to the day when we look onto this post and praise God for his continued grace. The grace that brought us this current phase, the grace that drew unhealthy and sinful behavior out of us, and the grace of his presence during a seemingly petty struggle of ours.
He's so good to us.