Everything began to change the year (2011) my husband switched jobs, and in doing so, took a paycut equivalent to half his salary. We had just enough to make ends meet, but no longer was there any extra. Our lifestyle change was sudden and drastic, but the thought that it was only temporary until he could figure out the next career step made it easier to swallow.
We knew it would be a hard year, but it was a much-needed change for the health and stability of marriage. While I would certainly miss the hefty financial cushion, I was honestly looking forward to rekindling our life together as a family. And, I figured, we could make anything work for one year. Left with no other choice, we went to an all-cash system, deliberately paid down debt, and I turned into one of those “crazy couponers” to make ends meet.
I remember leafing through the pink, pocket-sized accordion envelope filled with dollar bills and feeling a tangible, holy fear, knowing that when I spent the very last dollar in the envelope, the money was gone. Like, gone gone. There were no savings, there was no emergency fund to fall back on. We had to figure out how to make it work.
I tend to be an all or nothing person, so when I dive into something, I go all the way. Over the next couple years I did my research and got very proficient at couponing. It was a good thing, too, because our finances didn’t recover as we expected. In fact, with every additional baby we birthed, our income declined. I was able to feed our family of six on a budget of about $70.00/week, which included diapers, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and paper products.
For the first time in our married lives with children, our budget didn’t always work out on paper. Many weeks we had more bills than money to pay them, but the Lord never failed to come through in the exact moment we needed Him. And just like the food on our kitchen table, there was always enough.
We could intimately relate in a new way to the concept of the Lord giving us our daily bread. Our offering of manna that had to be eaten today, that couldn’t be stored away for a tomorrow, lest we forget we need to depend on Him Every. Single. Day. Though it was certainly nerve-wracking at times, we had no choice but to rely on Him to provide. And He did.
It was a beautiful, humbling thing to be gently reminded of our place as God’s children, of Him as a loving Father who wants the very best for us. Those were the precious, refining days we learned to filter our wants from our needs, our earthly desires from the eternal, what we never thought we could live without from, surprisingly, what we didn’t actually miss.
This post is part of a series I’m writing for the month of October called, 31 Ways God Paved the Road to Urban Missions. If you’re interested in the reading the rest of the series, you can find it here. To receive these posts directly in your inbox every week, subscribe below!