You all know that I’m not a stranger to financial strain. My husband has lost his job a few times, and we’re pretty much a one income family. Yes, when you lose your only income, things look interesting. So I try to remember a few things when times get tough.
1. Money isn’t Everything
Yes, a certain amount of money is important to pay the bills. But most families have areas in the budget that can be cut. Cutting the budget to the bare bones is hard, but it’s not the end of the world.
I’m a big fan of historical stories. When we didn’t have the money for satellite television or even a computer, I would remember that entertainment for families way back before technology hit, consisted of playing musical instruments together. I tried to think of fun things to do that didn’t involve money. Some of our top choices were:
- Taking walks together
- Watching our daughter play at the park
- Playing board games (except Trivial Pursuit, because my husband wins every time, and that’s no fun)
- Reading books together
The funny thing is that these free activities are often the best for encouraging good family relationships. Not having access to expensive technology can actually be a benefit for the family.
2. Family is Important
More than anything else, I learned that during tough financial times, it’s important for family members to support each other. My husband needed to know that I still loved and respected him, despite his unemployment. My husband needed to remember that I needed some space during the day, when he would normally have been at work.
During a crisis, the needs of each individual family member tend to be magnified. Emotions run high. A crisis is the time to step back and be particularly attentive to how each member of the family is feeling and try your best to accommodate those needs. Again, if done well, this can strengthen family relationships, which something that will last well beyond the crisis.
3. A Financial Crisis Strengthens Faith
Like I said before, my family has been through many tough financial times, from low salaries to no salaries. Each time has been incredibly scary. Each time we’ve had to rely on God to get us through. And each time He has come through, sometimes in big ways, and sometimes by providing just what we needed for the day.
But looking back on each financial dry spell, I can see that my faith in God has grown every single time. And as each new problem comes up, I handle it a little bit better, because I have experienced God’s provision and have every reason to trust Him.
And despite the pain we went through at the time, if I had to do each crisis over again, I would. Because the stronger relationships with God and my family that grew out of those difficult times are not something I want to give back.
Do you try to look for a bright light during difficult financial times? What do you focus on?
Photo by csr02083.