I watch. I wait. I wonder.
Some call it courage. Some call it foolish.
I call it faith.
It’s been a LONG year. No, honestly, it’s been a long 17 months.
The unknown is difficult.
On December 29, 2008, I invited you to join our family as we entered another “God watch” period in our lives. An expectant time where we would watch and wait to see all the Lord was going to do. We knew unemployment was on the horizon, due to a company buy out and move, so we began living as if we were unemployed six months before my husband’s job ended. We were privileged to have had that advanced knowledge since many do not. Honestly, I remember the emotions when I wrote that December post. They were assured, unwavering and matter of fact. Little did I know the journey we were about to take. Here’s a paragraph that stands out. Note the last line which causes me to chuckle.
“Our desire is to make it through this waiting period debt free.
The key to a financial plan for one’s family is exactly that...there is a plan – no matter what the income or job title – whether you make $24,000 a year or $240,000. Unexpected job loss is built into that plan with an emergency fund for situations just like what we are anticipating.
But that’s a whole different blog post which I feel passionately about..can you tell?
Remind me of that in six months if we’re still unemployed, deal?”
If there’s one thing I’ve been reminded of is that God’s timing is never our own. As I wrote that last line, I honestly thought we’d have only 4-6 months of unemployment, yet it ended up being almost one year to the day. That was no coincidence. It was all part of our story.
Well, my next true blue financial update wasn’t until September 2009, and I poured my little heart out in that post. I am so passionate about living below ones means, and it came out as I wrote this one late Friday night.
One year ago, I would have been hard pressed to find any more areas in our budget to cut. We were already living well below our means,or so I thought. Yet as time went on, I felt like our daily manna was being provided as we streamlined life, and honed our entrepreneurial skills.
I’ll have to check with my husband about whether we should detail specific financial areas, but for our family of seven, it still amazes me to find out how one can whittle a family budget if they are driven. The beauty of streamlining this year? I never felt like I was lacking for anything. I shared a little about Needs vs Wants on our one year God Watch Anniversary, and honestly, with my thrifting and Frugal Fashionista finds mixed in to cure any selfish “wants”, I knew I was still living life larger than most of the people in the world.
This year has been a time of perspective for me.
A time of growth. A time of hard lessons. A time of unearthing selfishness. A time of wisdom.
It’s a time I want to share with you by processing the lessons I have learned as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, blogger, and frugal living expert.
Because whether you’re in the midst of financial uncertainty or not, dealing with the long term unknown is one of the hardest lessons I’ve wrestled with in a long time.
I wanted to bring closure to this specific “God Watch” in our lives. So why did I choose to do it this morning?
You’re going to laugh at this. It was for no deep philosophical reason.
Honestly, I wanted to spend time mulling over a really profound post, but yard sale season is in full bloom and I found some amazing treasures last week. I wanted to share them today, but realized that from a fiscally responsible point of view, I can’t advocate doing any kind of shopping for “wants” if the money isn’t there. If we had still been unemployed for another year, I wouldn’t be shopping at a yard sale buying things I don’t need….even if they were a great deal. Because great deals still equal cash.
My emotions are still rampant as the reality sets in. The story of this contract job that turned permanent is unbelievable. It’s more than we could have ever asked for or imagined, and speaks to my husband’s character and work ethic.
He called to share the news (on my birthday…again, no coincidence) and I started screaming. Our oldest son came running. I jumped up and down hugging him. As I hung up the phone, I was screaming (joy screams, of course) and then all of a sudden I just started sobbing. Even though I am a passionate person, I am not really a crier – at all – so to start sobbing uncontrollably mirrored this huge weight being lifted. I didn’t even realize how heavy that burden had become because it was something I had lived with for so long. My 16 year old son by now was wondering where his mother had gone and who was this loony woman who had replaced her, so in typical teen wit asked, Does that mean I can get my driver’s license?” It was just humor I needed as I punched his arm and loved on his neck.
So we did it!! We survived a year of unemployment and have lived to not just tell about it but to rejoice through it.
The teaching was hard, the tests grueling, but the lessons learned were life changing.
(I know many of you are still in the midst of trying times, and I would love to pray for you if you desire to leave any comments or requests.)
*edited to add: Don’t worry – this blog doesn’t change. My thrifting, yard saleing, couponing etc has been my way of life long before this journey started. The only difference? I can start being more specific in some financial goals (which I’ll share.)