August 27, 2012

sweet provision

This summer has been full of transitions. Transition from work to staying home. Transition from two incomes to one. Transition toward motherhood.

Jeremy and I have learned a lot about ourselves and each other this summer as we have been adjusting to life on one income. It's amazing how your values and priorities really shine through when you don't have money to buy everything you want.

I wouldn't say that we lived extravagant lives when we were both working, but we definitely lived in the luxury of buying clothes when we wanted them, going out to eat when we wanted to, going to movies without thinking twice, etc... You know, typical married-without-kids stuff.

Now, on one income, we are learning to live in the beauty of simplicity. Eating at home. Transforming date nights from full-dinner-dessert nights to eat-at-home-get-coffee-later date nights. The list goes on and on of things we have had to discuss, negotiate, and learn from each other. And it has been extremely beautiful and good for each of us as individuals, in our relationship with God, and our marriage and growing family.

The thing that I am most looking forward to about living on one income are the conversations that I have just mentioned: learning to value the eternal, to not cling to material things, to not value comfort or convenience over relationship or time spent with each other.

But also, it is the privilege to live in a position where we will monthly, weekly, daily be trusting God to provide for our needs - and to help us define our needs according to his sweet mercies.

Already this summer, as doubts have flooded my heart time and time again about whether or not I should have quit my job to stay home, God has affirmed (and reaffirmed) the decision with a quiet peace. And then, He has provided. Not everything we want. There are plenty of times I walk into BabyGap and see outfits (just on the sale rack even!) that I want but know aren't necessary. I don't buy plenty of things.

But the truth is, over time, there is such a sense of freedom and joy from not being a slave to consuming, not being a slave to buying into secular thinking.  And there is SUCH joy when we pare down our list of things from "wants" to "needs", and see God provide so faithfully.

Cribs, changing tables, car seats, strollers...gifts given from God's people, God's abundant resources, God's riches in Jesus.

I remember my parents living in this sweet reality as a child. I remember going garage saleing with my mom and hearing her pray outloud that God would provide exactly the school clothes or bike or shoes that He knew we needed at a price that we could afford. And He always did. He led us to the right sale, the right house, the right store. Time and time again, we watched and waited as He gave us exactly what we needed.

I know people looking in, especially those who haven't been able to trust God as a Father yet, might view this as a shallow view of God, a view of God that we appreciate because He's giving us everything we need. Sure we trust him when he's making life easier for us.

But you know what, that's not how I learned to trust God as a Father. I learned to trust God as a Father by watching Him give me what I needed in ways that were really painful. I watched Him take my family through a lot of really awful trials - deaths, cancer, more death, depression, sorrow, more depression, more sorrow. I personally have walked through a lot of seasons where it didn't feel like my needs were being met.

But they were. And in the quietness of those moments when I was crying out to God for rescue from suicide, from despair, from depression, He was building a slow, silent trust - a trust that, in the long run, would come to know that God giving us what we need doesn't apply to only material things, not only to money. It means that his Perfect Plan is so redemptive, so beautiful, so complete, that even when the pathway is filled with suffering, even when it feels like everyone around us is getting a better shot at life than we are, even when "tears are my food both day and night"...even then, I have learned to trust that God is giving me exactly what I need. And through this process of trusting God to meet my needs, I have learned that on every level - the material and tangible, the spiritual and unseen, in relationships, in the unknown times to come, that this Father, this God of goodness and abundant life, truly will provide for every single need through the riches that come through Jesus.

And oh, my, I am just so thankful for community and being eternal known by this Provisional, Good God.