Sometimes, I get these waves of anxiety about our finances (triggered by things like taxes or unexpected expenses). Maybe because I’m the primary breadwinner for our family right now, I tend to worry that I’m not providing well enough, and that something might come up that we wouldn’t be able to handle. I wonder if I’ve made the right choices with regards to my education or my job, or I feel guilty about buying something special, like a carton of ice cream or a shelf. But when I calm myself down and look at my circumstances, I see that those worries are small and insignificant in light of all the abundant ways God has provided for us this year. Remembering those things – focusing on His provision – helps to clear the worry from my mind and replace it with gratitude.
We are blessed by having both our extended families in town, helping us to avoid childcare expenses and (more importantly!) giving the boys deep and special relationships outside of the nuclear family. My parents in particular have blessed us by opening their house to us as often as we want to visit them, and filling up their living room with the timeless toys they’ve saved for all these years. We probably drive over at least once a week so the boys can play in the big house and the big yard with different but still familiar toys, and my parents are gracious enough to make dinner for us when we visit as well! Their generosity has also extended to special times of need in our lives – like when our station wagon needed repairs and they helped pay for the replacement parts, or when my hard drives died and my dad bought me a new one for my birthday (using the birthday as a convenient excuse, I am sure, to make sure I got a better and more reliable hard drive than I might have on my own).
My job has been a blessing as well, even though the salary is low, because it covers my husband’s tuition costs, gives us high-quality, low-cost health insurance, and even subsidizes a bus pass so that we’ve been able to save on fuel and vehicle maintenance.
Our home has also been a huge blessing to us financially: because of God’s past provision, we were able to buy a few years back when the market was still low, so our monthly payments are much lower than they would be if we were still renting, and that is a huge relief. Our location gives us access to many free or inexpensive places to take the boys – the library, multiple parks, Main Street (which is currently extra exciting due to the Christmas tree!), the children’s museum, the dinosaur museum, the fire station, the arts center (which is actually a really neat place to explore) and so on. So our finances haven’t prevented us from giving those experiences to the boys, which something else to be incredibly thankful for.
And honestly, we’ve always had enough so that I didn’t have to worry about groceries or utilities. When I hear of or know people who struggle to make ends meet, to the point where electricity is turned off or they have to skip meals, my little financial worries are put into perspective. We have so much. We have as much as we need, and enough to give to others as well, and any lack is more than made up for by the richness of our family and community. I wouldn’t want to give up my time with the boys for a higher-paying job, or put them in daycare so that my husband could work while finishing school. I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made to get us to this point, because I think they were all for the best for our marriage, our children, and our pursuit of God – so I really shouldn’t worry about whether or not He will provide for us. He always has, and He always will.