It's been a crazy ride. The past 15 months have sent us into a tailspin more than once. Yet through it all, we've been okay.
I finished my job this week. Finished it. Yup, resigned. Much as I liked many aspects of it, the sheer number of hours and the odd dayparts those hours consumed were taking a toll on my family. So, I am stepping away, thus freeing my husband to fully take the reins whilst I consume bon-bons on the couch. (And try to stretch each dollar so I can continue to pay bills as I enjoy those bon-bons. I might just end up eating some less-than-gourmet bon-bons; donations will be accepted should this unfortunate event occur.)
How are we reacting to this precarious situation, you ask? Why, with a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment family vacation!
Yup, we will return this week to that lovely NJ beach town that treated us so well last year, when we kept the pre-layoff reservation so as not to panic our little cherub. What's the point? we thought back then. Who knows when the next trip might be? we thought. Keep the plans, don't pay the cancellation fees, and then move on into official poverty.
But we're still here, still afloat. In fact, I just checked our records and, oddly enough, we have more money in savings now than we did 15 months ago. More, even, than after we'd plunked the generous severance package into our account. Huh? How did that happen?
Well, dear reader, I am happy to report to you that God is faithful and He takes cares of His people just like He says He will. We've been making our way day by day for this past year, and it hasn't always been pretty...but it has forced us, over and over, to trust God and pray and move forward without knowing exactly what will happen. Each time we have stepped on what appeared to be less-than-sturdy soil, it has held us and propelled us to the next safe spot.
I'm not such a freak about money anymore. I can't be. There hasn't been time for me to obsess over such things. I have a general idea of where we stand, which I am thankful to report is quite enough information. The finances, just like the house, needn't be trifled with every 15 minutes. Life goes on when I don't know the exact amount of today's expenses, just as life goes on when I don't pick up every stray Lego or Matchbox car.
If I have learned nothing else in the last year, I have learned this: I was never in control of diddly squat in the first place.
The sooner you learn this, and admit it, the better off you'll be emotionally.
Do we still have financial plans and retirement accounts? Yes (although they are diminished thanks to the stupid economy). Do I still obsess over dollars? Yes, sometimes. But now I see, repeatedly, how the less I cling to money, the more it comes back to me. The less I try to squirrel it away, the more I can spread it around among people I know to be truly needy. I'll be okay. I know from where my help comes, and it doesn't come from the bank, although that may be the channel. It comes from my Provider. And all my needs are met.
What will happen tomorrow? I have no idea. Something will likely break down; it always does. Taxes will go up. More jobs will disappear. Is it easier for me to say all this about trust and getting by because I have only one child? Because we all enjoy generally good health? Because we live on the cheap to begin with? Yes, I'm sure all those factors play a part.
But I stand firm: even in uncertainty, especially in uncertainty, all my needs are met, and then some. I may not know what's going to happen, but honestly? I never did. I do believe that we'll be okay. That I can lean on my Savior, take up His yoke, and get through whatever I'm facing. I believe that even as I shoulder that yoke, I can be the "channel" of help for some other person. I urge you to try it for yourself.
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.