Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Money and Mercy

So! On Monday Tom texted back and forth with his best buddy from his former job and oh my... Since they laid-off Tom and three other men, they've been working the few remaining (young, strong, verile) guys into the dirt.

There's no way Tom (he with post-polio and shoulder and back problems) could have kept-up all these 16 months later. He would have had to quit, and hey, that would have meant no monthly unemployment checks(!) which would have meant disaster, barring a financial miracle from God--and hey! That could have happened, too. God, after all, is Master of Creative Problem Solving. I certainly believe that.

But whatever, I'm so thankful that not once did I get all accusatory toward God when Tom was fired. Instead, I(truthfully) became upset with Tom and myself because we'd missed the signs that the lay-off was coming and we only had two months' worth of expenses in savings. My own presumption that God would take care of us by always keeping Tom employed--that's what bugged me the most.

So anyway, Monday's texting conversation made things even clearer than they'd already become. Over and over, God shows Tom and myself truths by peeling back one thin layer at a time--never all in one big, "Kaboom! Here's the whole picture!" Uh, no.

I know someone whose husband was almost laid-off this year and they both utterly panicked because they've bought tons of toys on tons of credit, even though he makes a very good living. Since she's a friend (and since she's not asking my opinion--oy!), I can't say anything to her, but if I could? I'd say something like this:

Given Today's economy, please stop buying toys. At least for now.
Pay-off your credit cards.
Start saving money in an account you can access without early withdrawal fees.
Learn all you can about saving money on food, gas, utilities, housing, etc.
Get your house in order. Sell what you don't need and put that money into savings.
Improve upon your strengths. Get to know yourself. Get to know the job market for people with your qualifications.
Discover a couple extra ways you could supplement your income--just in case.

I have few regrets in this life, but I do regret that Tom and I hadn't put more money aside in savings. Now, God has taken amazing care of us nonetheless and all our needs are met, but I still feel bad that we've had to make God work harder than He should have had to. And yes! Nothing is too hard for Him, of course. But always, God has His part and we have ours and I just wish we would've taken ours more seriously and not been so darn presumptuous.

Thankfully, we didn't have any credit card debt (except for what we'd charged for the train vacation we were set to take four days later) so at least there we did follow our convictions.

But hey! God is way more merciful than any of us deserves (waaaaay more) and He expects us to accept that mercy and the forgiveness which comes attached to it. So I'm not sitting here all head-bent-over in guilt. I refuse to live that way.

Instead, I'll just allow my past mistakes to positively affect my future. I'll learn from my errors, make the necessary changes and then move forward. And I think that is as God would have it.


The photo? Some of my Christmas gifts. Aren't they pretty?


Preparing For a Possible Lay-Off

Don't Panic! 10 Things to Do If You Get Laid-Off

How to Find a Job In a Slow Economy

Creative Ways to Earn Money From Home


"Never assume anything!"



Tracy said...

With my husband being deployed & earning a little more money I am trying to pay off as many debts as I can & build an emergency fund. Great advice & thank you for the links you provided! :)

Anonymous said...

Yea, you and us both on many counts. Well, when we belong to the FATHER, it is up to HIM to see us through I think. But we need to do our best too. I do not feel we wasted our money on toys ever really...but there are ways we could have pinched pennies more and soon we shall have hubby retires this year.

I think this overwork thing is going on most jobs now. It is the same at hubby's job plus his totally insane boss (who belongs in an institution someplace). At our son's he has good people to work for and with, but they are trying to do it all without near enough help (our son rarely gets more than 6 hour sleep most nights and you cannot do that forever). ...your body will quit and your health will fail. I worry for our young men...we need to cover them with prayer as they have no way to quit. And the risk in changing jobs and loosing seniority is too great too.

Elizabeth in NC

Elizabeth said...

Well said, Debra! I cut back on my spending this Christmas also bought things through the year when I found something at a good price that I knew would be the perfect gift for someone. I did not charge anything! Also made some homemade gifts!

Deborah Raney said...

All so true, Debra. We had a similar experience almost 3 years ago. And we were NOT prepared. We took my husband's job for granted and lived above our means. God has graciously provided for every need since then and in many ways, we're better off financially now, in spite of living on half our former income. We are living one day at a time, but we're finding as a result, our faith has grown by giant leaps and we appreciate and enjoy the things we own so much more than we did when we had so much more.

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

A very wise post full of lots of great advice.

Anonymous said...

I hope Tom is still able to get unemployment. I don't know how long you can stay on it now a days. You two are a long way from Social Security. Besides trusting in God I know you must be working on a plan for this in between stage. We had to go into retirement several years early due to health issues but it worked out financially so far for us. If we have to have time in a assisted living facility that will be another thing though!! I don't know many who can afford the cost of months in them. That thought is scary. As you said it is so helpful to think ahead. What can it hurt to be prepared? Nothing. Yet it can add to your peace of mind...and bank account! :) If they start small now to ratchet down their spending and work on "wants verses needs" , and save all they can it will sure help. If they have to face all the new thinking and doing after a layoff it will sure be harder. We can all have been sad over what we didn't do as soon as we should have but when we have a forewarning we hopefully will heed it and work on our lifestyles. Now we are trying to learn more skills for the years ahead and keep our health up as much as possible. God is so gracious to all of us. Sarah