Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"times is tough!"

i saw a man on the side of the road the other day with a cardboard sign that said,
"$$$ times is tough $$$"
i was checking out at the grocery store this week & felt so guilty for taking so much time. there were a few people behind me in line. one lady with 2 items, coffee & bananas...a man behind her with a small hand basket full...then a mama & baby with a cart slightly full. here i was with a honkin' full cart, a red notebook full of coupons (that i had to go through), a rain check for a sale item, & on top of that i was going to write a check. when i pulled out the check book the lady behind me sighed out loud. the nerve, never have i wanted to spill my guts & slap someone like i did that afternoon. if she only knew...
  • matt came home to watch all our kiddos & so i could finally go grocery shopping without the distraction of a cart full of kids, coupons, food & then make it to check out only to be bombarded by the candy shelves & 4 screaming kids.
  • i drive to my parents house to dig through recycle bin to get their sunday paper coupons. followed by 3 separate online grocery coupon sites...our printer is almost out of black ink b/c we print so many.
  • i meal plan & only buy meats on sale...we now have red meat once a month & chicken once a week, leftovers, soups, casseroles, and creative meals go a long way now.
  • the shear volume of milk, apple juice, paper towels, toilet paper, cereal, cheese, yogurt, and fruit consumed makes my head spin.
  • on top of the need of a bigger vehicle, not new, just larger...a folder of medical bills 4 inches thick, now starting our 2nd one...the holidays...a new baby in 8 weeks or so...seminary...and one salary for 6 to share.
she better be glad the fact that i saw the pilot front page reading "PASTORS WIFE ARRESTED WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING!" and contained myself.
this christmas will be very different at our household. we have always done 3 gifts for our children & focused all of the attention toward Christs birth. acts 20:35 they knew the truth about santa, we never got into the holiday craze. but each year was full of the fresh tree smell, trips to lowe's & target for new decorations, ornaments, candles, maggie's PINK tree, the boys little tree in their bedroom, new clothes for the holiday, sweets & treats, eating out...it was a still a season of indulgence. even when we were so purposeful to make it NOT. as our family grows some things are needing to change & have not. the famous saying, "the buck stops here" well that is my new saying. i am making some adjustments. i have never had to live on a pastors salary with 5 kids but now i do. i have now accepted gone are the days of spending money that had no place to go. we are bare bones. no cable t.v., no newspaper, purchases made only with a coupon to go with, no live tree or wreath this year, major limit to the 3 gift spending, coffee creamer is now a luxury item...how our lives have changed.
i can't even believe that i am saying this but i am so thankful for the bottom line of our checkbook. not for the stress about medical & surgery bills, insurance claims, medicaid denial, disability applications, seminary costs, and everyday household bills. but grateful that i have reached another state of brokenness. there are many verses about money & finances in the bible & all have baffled me. because we have always just had, had enough & had plenty. i am thankful the past 5 months have taught me more. more of life, family, Christ, money, relationships, submission, gratitude, joy, simpleness. we are good stewards of what is entrusted to us but have missed it all somehow.
yes, this holiday season will be very different. yes, bare bones. isn't that the way our King of Kings was born. magnificently simple! now i am baffled that i was sold out to the ways of this world. bigger, better, newer...how sad is that? when i have known forever. i am on a journey to bethlehem the next few weeks. expecting not only a new baby boy in our household but in expectation of the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus. even as believers we often miss the glory of this enchanting time.
on my way to bethlehem this year i will be carrying my red notebook full of coupons, telling my children of the amazing gift that has been born unto us, spending each night grateful for our health, wholeness & salvation, gazing at the fake leftover little tree that our kids decorated with pride, cooking meals that still fill our tummies, paying bills that mean i have a home to live in, filing medical statements that have brought new meaning to life to our family, living magnificently simple, & come january matt & i will just ride in separate cars.
and to the lady behind me in the grocery store...i will never let you make me feel angry or guilty again. "the buck stops here."
i am going to admit what not many will admit to "times is tough" but look at what gift we have been given. journey to bethleham this year & accept it.
philippians 4:19

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