God’s ways might be mysterious, but they are not necessarily “miraculous” in the common understanding of the term. He does not always raise the dead, heal the lame or part the Red Sea. Sometimes He gives us just enough for tomorrow and asks us to trust him for the day after that.
Those who look to a higher power when dealing with trials and tribulations sometimes expect an unmistakable movement of God’s hand. We ask to win the lottery or to find a pile of cash on the sidewalk. Sometimes we try a get-rich-quick scheme or hope a rich uncle passes away and leaves everything to us. I know that many times I ask God to solve our financial difficulties in one fell swoop and if the solution is not miraculous, then the credit goes to me and God “must not have been paying attention”.
Almost 10 months ago, my family moved across the country for a new job. My primary reason for taking the job was the job itself, but there was a small salary increase that came with it. We believed that we could live in contentment on my salary – as long as our house sold within five to six months. Being upside-down in a home mortgage while you are still living in the home is one thing, but being upside-down in a mortgage while paying rent to live in a different place is an even greater problem.
When I accounted for our surplus cash, income and cash outflow, I knew that we were headed for some tight financial times.
Our expenses on the home that we own – mortgage, HELOC, taxes, utilities, insurance – require just under fifty percent of my monthly paycheck. The rent for our current domicile requires about forty-five percent of our monthly income. The last five to seven percent was going to have to cover food, utilities, car payment, insurance, clothes and all the other necessities of life. There was no way to make it all fit – we needed a miracle.
To our knowledge, we have never experienced a miracle in the traditional sense, but after we had lived here for about three months, we received a phone call from one of my co-workers who was looking for someone to look after her child. In addition to caring for our three children, Mrs. Rocket has a college degree in childcare and experience in daycare work, so the opportunity was a natural fit. Shortly afterward, another family called, also looking for childcare. We did not advertise or seek this kind of work. “Someone” just prodded this mother to call us and see if childcare was a possibility. Mrs. Rocket works very hard in her home daycare, but her effort is providing an additional $600 to $800 per month. The best part is that she can stay in the home with our kids – saving on transportation costs and our own childcare costs, were she to take a job outside the home. This blessing balanced our expenses in our new location.
However, we still owned a home back east that was tearing a hole in our budget.
Once again, just at the right time, we took a call from a friend who told us that a husband and wife in our former church were separating and she had no place to live with three small children. It was a difficult situation and she wondered if we were planning to rent out the place that we had listed with a realtor. We were not, but quickly told her that we could work something out. There was no way that we could charge enough rent to cover all of our expenses, but any income was going to be a help. Furthermore, it turned out that the renter that the Lord provided was clean, a good decorator and took care of the house. In fact, having her and her children in the home might make the house more attractive to potential buyers.
These two events reduced what was originally a $1,700 monthly budget deficit down to about $300. Would I rather win a million bucks? Sure, but the point is that it has been almost a year since our move and we are still in the black and our needs are being met – God is keeping his promise.
There is an old proverb that says, “if you need a helping hand, look on the end of your arm”. I believe that Divine Providence uses the two appendages on the end of our arms, the gray matter between our ears, and the two stumps on which we walk to meet our needs far more than he uses actions that are out of the ordinary. Sometimes we don’t see it in the moment, but when we look back over time, His care is clear.
Note from Lynnae: I totally agree with Rocketc. God works far more often in day to day events than in big miraculous ways. If you’d like to read his full story, start with his post, A Perfect Storm.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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