Tuesday, March 1, 2011

He Meets Our Needs

Did any of you grow up hearing heart-warming stories about people in financial distress who had mysterious bags of groceries arrive just as they bowed their heads to "say grace" over a meal they didn't have? Or countless tales of anonymous donors putting "just enough money" on someone's school bill to let them come back another semester?

Growing up in an upper middle class home, as I heard those stories, a part of me ached to be in such desparate straits simply so I could see God's hand provide for me that way. Well, financial difficulties aren't as exciting as I once imagined, even when God does provide. But He is faithful.

I started this blog entry last night, not knowing what God would do today, but I'll leave you in suspense on that one--for now. :)

I don't want to get awkwardly personal here, so I won't mention amounts, just portions of my husband's pre-tax weekly income, so you at least understand the significance of the amounts. But to give you somewhat of an idea, we thought money was tight when Jonathan was a pastor, but he actually made the same amount (or close to it) that he does now, while also having a home and utilities provided. Amazing!

I've mentioned previously how God provided a job for me last spring that helped us buy our minivan for cash, so I won't go into details about that, here. Those blessings are still fresh in my mind, but since we left Gillet last June, here are some of the main ups and downs we've experienced, financially:
  • Jonathan found a job here in Madison within a week of looking in July.
  • He was led to believe he'd get a raise, about the time Joshua was due in October, meaning about an extra week's pay, each month.
  • With most apartments in Madison requiring a year's lease, we were glad to find a great sublet situation in which we got our first month's rent for free and only had to commit to a 5-month lease, starting in December. (We think God may have detoured us to Tucson just so we would wait for this apartment to come available!)
  • When Jonathan's raise still hadn't gone through, we neared the end of January wondering how we could possibly make our budget (yes, we really have one and keep track of receipts!) work. We decided it was impossible and increased our energy going toward applying for jobs for him around Madison, in addition to the church search.
  • We found a part-time nanny job listed on Craigslist, but that didn't turn out. We were asked to do some odd jobs for the family, though, which included clearing out a basement and removing many sallable goods. We were paid to do this and then sell the items and keep that money, too. (This amounted to an extra weeks' pay.)
  • To end January, we received a surprise check from a family member for about a half week's pay.
  • In February, Jonathan was able to put in some overtime, which was like getting another half week's pay.
  • After many attempts at finding legitimate freelance writing jobs, I received two inquiries within two days, last week. In another week, with commitments already in place, I will have made an extra half-week's pay.
  • The day after I received those jobs, we had to sign a 3-month lease extension, which would mean higher rent, starting in May (about 1/10 of a week's pay). That was discouraging, but less so with the writing jobs starting to come.
  • This past Sunday, it seemed like my writing money would be used for something not-so-savory: someone smashed the window of our van, requiring about 75% of a week's pay to fix it.
  • Monday we received notification in the mail that we would be receiving help for our utilities that would basically make up for the amount we paid to replace the window.
  • Today (drum roll, please!) we found out that we'll be getting money back from taxes, to the tune of about 10x's a week's pay!

It doesn't make sense that we're not in debt, we're nearly making budget, and we're about to have more in the bank than we did when we left Gillett. I'm not saying that to brag on us, but to praise my God who truly does provide!

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