Our budget has never been this small and quite frankly I wasn't sure it was possible.
(Background on our financial situation here.)
Bob and I worked really, really hard to make this happen so I want to be honest...
God absolutely gave us the wisdom and endurance to execute our goals for the month, as well as orchestrated the avenues for our 'other' incomes, but we also worked our butts off.
Without a doubt, He deserves all the glory, but I think as a Christian it's tempting to throw up a "praise God" with no further explanation leaving people confused about what happened. Especially for those outside the faith. From their perspective they see Bob and I working more, selling items around the house, couponing, making choices to go without, etc. To say "praise God for making our finances work out" after observing all of our efforts doesnt' make sense. And I want it to. I want people to know, beyond our Christian lingo, what it's like to be in a real relationship with our Creator. He doesn't always drop money on our doorsteps or miraculously solve our problems. More often, His spirit works through us in seemingly subtle ways that, in the end, can become the most transformative and experiencially rewarding.
Now, as for this month, the story has gone a bit differently. A couple days ago I realized we'd overspent in a few categories. On top of that, we had extra expenses I needed to work into the budget: last minute Christmas gifts, I blew a tire, property taxes (I forgot about these), doctor visits and medication. When Bob got home that evening I filled him in on our situation and he proceeded to tell me he didn't have time to work enough construction to meet our monthly needs. I of course began crying. If we get behind it's incredibly difficult to catch up. Almost impossible. There's just not enough extra each month to cover a previous month's mishaps.
So we went to bed sad, asking for God's help.
The next day I received a phone call from Bob. The church had given him an unexpected bonus which was more than enough to cover what we needed!
Are you kidding me, God?
Did this really happen? For this was not fruit of being frugal or working more, this was simply God's perfect timing and His perfect provision.
His kindness completely blew me away.
And it continues to as I ponder all the ways He's cared for us these last few months.
I certainly wouldn't have chosen to go on such a tight budget, but God knew Bob and I's heart needed this experience.
His care is greater and runs deeper than I could've imagined.