Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A loose hand.

Money, money,!

Dollars and cents seem to be overwhelming my thought processes these days.  What brought this about you might ask?  While I can't pin it down to one specific thing, I think it's a culmination of several things put together.

1.  Going from full time to part time brought a pretty significant cut in my income.  I cut my hours almost in half, which for an hourly employee, is quite dramatic.  Our budget looks quite different than it did 4 months ago.  But in all of this, I have learned that time with my son is literally priceless.

2.  As I have become more and more immersed in refugee life in Houston and as I have been preparing for my upcoming trip go Guatemala, I can't help but look at international poverty and ponder my place in that.  There are days that I am so weighed down by guilt from the overwhelming abundance that we are blessed with.  There are other days that I look around me and long for a bigger house, a nicer car, cuter clothes.  I don't know how to balance what I know about the third world with living a very comfortable life in the first.

3.  Last weekend, our little family went looking at homes.  We visited a neighborhood in the process of building huge homes on huge lots.  We thought this was our dream neighborhood.  On paper, (or the computer screen), it seems perfectly reasonable.  But in reality, we felt lost in these huge homes.  How could we ever be as involved with our kids as we want to be if we can't even find them in our home?  We are so glad that we visited in person so we could make the decision that we don't need that much.  We want a home that promotes family togetherness, transparency and frugality.  So we are back to square one looking at homes.

4.  We are in the midst of a pretty aggressive debt payoff plan.  Between college and PA school and two cars, we came to the realization that a huge portion of our income was going towards debt.  So what did we do?  Devote an even huger portion of our income towards paying our debt down faster.

All of these situations amount to a time of life where we are analyzing every single cent of every single dollar that we spend.  And it's stressful and exhausting.

Geez, there's got to be more to life than this.

I love the story of the widow's mite.  She gave the last small coin she had, but this sacrifice was more pleasing to God than a much larger offering from a much wealthier man.  I wonder what the coin in her pocket was being saved for?  Had she budgeted that money for her children?  For her next meal?  Was she putting herself in the financial red zone to give that coin?  Perhaps she didn't care.  Perhaps she was well acquainted with the feeling of physical hunger and knew that it is nothing compared to spiritual hunger.


From the depths of my soul, I want my budget to reflect her spirit.  Forget Dave Ramsey, let's fashion our finances after the widow.

I don't want to miss out on being part of God's story because I was too concerned about building my treasures on earth.

I don't want to spend money in a way that is inconsistent with the life we say we lead.

So I am trying to hold our money with a loose hand.  A hand that is open to receive, and open to give back.  I want to seek God's heart instead of His hand--seeking the freedom that He promises and not the "blessings" He can add to my life.

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