Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lessons and Mercy and God's Goodness, Oh My!


I hope no one reading this blog spends their days in a low-key panic that you and/or your spouse will be laid-off from your job. Yet if you are one of those people, please let this post encourage you, ok?

On that fateful day last August when Tom was laid-off from his job (along with 3 other guys), we had only around $3,500 in savings. Now, for tons of years we'd heard that you (all of us) should have at least 8 months' worth of expenses saved-up, we'd heard that more than ever the previous year, what with everybody and his Aunt Sue getting fired. But did we take that seriously? Did we ever attempt to reach that 8-months of expenses mark? Did we believe Tom would ever be laid-off?

Uh, no. (Ding-bats, I know.)

So when Tom, out there in the car in the driveway, first told me he'd been laid-off, one of my first thoughts (besides, "Ack! Ack! Ack!") was "Oh dear. We've only got enough money to live on for maybe two months!" (Followed by additional, "Ack! Ack! Ack's!")

But then we came inside the house, sat at the dining room table (along with Naomi) and Tom said his company had given him a nice severance check, along with a couple other technical-sounding checks he was owed. Of course, being a list-maker, I grabbed an old envelope and began totaling all this extra money, breathed sighs of relief, even though Tom said we'd only see around half the severance check because taxes would eat it up.

They did. Eat it up, that is.

But still? Here we are seven months later and wow. We haven't yet touched those savings accounts. And how fun--yes actually fun--it's been to watch God take care of us. To watch Him s-t-r-e-t-c-h our finances and make them travel doubly far. In little ways like, just before Naomi's birthday I'd decided to give her a $20 gift card from amazon.com, but before I did that, wow! Living Social had a deal where you could buy a $20 gift card at amazon.com for just $10. And to me--that is fun. That is like watching God, with my very own eyes, help us undeserving ding-bats.

And all those free groceries He's enabled me to buy just by waiting for sales and using a coupon! And just last week I bought more of my oh-so-lovely krill oil gelcaps (which help me sleep) from VitaCost.com, along with two bottles of chewable acidolphulous, for just $28 rather than what would have been $58 without special sales and money I'd earned from online surveys.

And then as I mentioned earlier this week, our tax return will be three times larger than we'd budgeted. Wow, God truly is merciful. I mean, I feel Tom and I have had to make God work harder than He would have if only we'd had a decent savings account before Tom lost his job. And yes, we put the majority of our extra money into this house and barn and that, in itself, is a type of savings. I realize that. But you can't eat a new garage or barn siding or replacement vinyl windows, now can you? :)

And as I said, for lots of years I kept hearing everywhere (even inside my own head by way of conviction) that we should save money for a rainy day, at least 8 months' worth of rainy days, actually. And, well, I never did take that as seriously as I should have--and trust me, I've done a bit of head-hanging these past seven months. But that's where God's mercy comes in.

That's where learning from our mistakes comes in, too. Believe me, I've learned some awesome lessons these past seven months! And here's what keeps returning to me--do your part and God will do His. But sometimes? Sometimes (probably quite often, actually) God will do His part even if we mess-up ours. But as for me and my house, we desire to no longer be flakes, to not make God work harder than He should and to become better listeners. To learn all our lessons well. Very well, indeed.





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Of course, God provides for us and blesses us in other ways besides with money (I'm keeping a list of those ways, even). But this post, as you can tell by the photo at the top, is about, well, money matters. So there you go.



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A special thanks to those of you who commented upon my last post! By now my most faithful readers will know to take those mentions of moving away with a grain of salt. :) And thanks, Julie, for sharing your friends' story! That was awesome and that's the kind of testimony I was thinking of when I wrote about our phone call. Around 26 years ago we received a call from someone wanting to buy our mobile home--another person told them we might want to sell it. (They did end up purchasing it from us.)That kind of thing is rare for us, so that's partly why I shared it. It was a surprising thing just out of the blue.


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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart.... lean not unto your own understanding.... in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

5 comments:

James Martin said...

Very inspirational post! I am so glad to hear that you and your family have been taken care of even after the lay-offs and tough economic times. There's definitely a lot to learn from those test trial periods. I actually had to overcome a big debt, and after 5 years of getting caught up, I was able to open a savings account with Aurora Bank and finally save for a rainy day! Be blessed :)

debi said...

I love your last two posts...well, truthfully I love them all :) Thanks for being real and sharing your life with us!

Pat said...

The verse at the end really says it all. So many times the first thing we do is act like we are in control...silly us! Let God be God and letting him take control always works better!

Tracy said...

God is surely good and amazing! Thank you for sharing, Debra!

Debra said...

Thanks, Everyone, for your encouraging comments! I really appreciate know others have gone through this sort of thing, too, and seen God take care of them also. Blessings, Debra