I think mostly everyone I know has been there. We’re not ones to complain about it (though, don’t get me wrong, we complain about plenty of other things), considering we knew what we were in for when we made the decision for me to stay home this year with our crazy kid. We had been broke before. When we were first married, we, collectively, made 600.00 a month and lived in the basement of the church we attended. We’re not strangers to collection agencies. We know what the term, “garnished wages” means. We know how to use the change we found on the floor of our car to buy a cup of coffee or a loaf of bread. We never really wanted to have to do it again. Especially not at Christmas time. It sucks to be broke at Christmas time.
But, this time around has been different. Though, we are still fairly faithless that God will come through for us the majority of the time, we’re not as panicked. We know that this was the right decision for our family, and believe it was one that God called us to make. That’s confirmed every time my kid does something new and I’m there to see it. To take her to the doctor. Hold her as she cries. There’s a reason why her first words were, “Mama”, closely followed by, “Hi, Papa!”. I am so thankful to be here. And yet, the notification on my nightstand from Geico explaining that if we didn’t pay soon we would lose our insurance could have been blinking neon for how much it was on my mind. The fact that we had exactly 91.06 this week for bus tickets, gas, groceries and diapers was playing over and over again in my head as I rummaged through our cupboards searching for some spark of creativity. What can I make with a can of diced tomatoes, a half a bag of lentils, a handful of chocolate chips and a stale box of Cherrios? The e-mailed overdraft statements were taking over my inbox and there was nothing in our mortgage account. In the past, I’ve prayed for financial security only to be challenged that money will never be secure, nor should it be where I put my faith. So, it was with a resolved, but not exactly happy about it heart that I put on my best face, scoured the food blogs for inspiration, moved the Geico bill downstairs where I do all the family business to call them later to see about sending them a minimum amount to maintain some insurance and decided to bake all of our holiday gifts this year. Flour and sugar are two things I always have in abundance, no matter what our financial state might be.
Then, I took my daughter to every room in our house and we thanked God for it. For our kitchen, for Ellie’s favorite window in the living room, for the library. I realized that this time was different because we have a kid that I want to teach how to be thankful, how not to worry; how much her heavenly Father loves her. That this Western way of thinking that we never have enough when we have all we need, is wrong. I told her about children who were hungry. Who didn’t have Mamas and Papas. Then, I told Ellie about Matthew 7:9. That if she asked me for bread, I wouldn’t give her a rock. Because I’m her Mom and I love her. And God’s the same way. He promises to love us and take care of us. Sometimes He doesn’t do it the way we want Him to, but I wouldn’t be a good Mom if I gave her everything she wanted. Like newspapers. And Papa’s dirty sneakers, she for some reason, always wants to chew. I think she understood by the way she looked at me. No, really. My kid’s smart.
I was busy with laundry and finding sweet potato puff-things underneath my couch when the mail came so I didn’t check for it until Ellie was down for a nap. Good thing, too, because, I would have scared her as I cried and cried after opening a letter that had a check in it for 700.00. For no apparent or expected reason. But I couldn’t wait for her to wake up to tell her that I forgot to explain something really important. God doesn’t just care that we’re fed and clothed and housed-the basics. He cares about other stuff, too. Like giving hope. And what our hearts long for. And as long as we focus on Him, he’ll take care of everything else. Even stuff we didn’t even think to ask him for. He’s that kinda guy.