It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
I was so ashamed of myself this week.
I’m a new mother and wife of only two years. I married a man who came with a lot of consumer debt. He is a teacher, a job by his own admission is a labor of love rather than a get-rich-quick job. I also have Crohns Disease so in our short married life, we have accumulated a lot of debt- house, car, medical, unexpected pregnancy two weeks into our marriage (the result being a beautiful now-18 month old son).
Taking inspiration from my parents’ trust in the intercession of St. Joseph for desperate financial situations, my husband Andrew and I have done the same. And St. Joseph and Our Lord never failed us. In every desperate situation, we have somehow pulled through. With nothing more than a few dollars in the bank, we managed to always have a fully stocked pantry and all bills paid on time. And every time we have prayed to St. Joseph, he has worked miracles. I’m talking literally with 2-3 days. We’ve had an escrow check come in at an opportune time when our vehicle needed repair. We’ve found money in a winter coat, received a “late Christmas gift” in April from a family member, had a forgotten expense check suddenly mailed to my husband. I found a small part-time work from home job that added money to our monthly salary. We have been blessed abundantly and then some.
So given God and St. Joseph’s track record, I’m ashamed to say I still had doubts.
I don’t know if it was pregnancy hormones, but I had been stressing for the last three months on how we were going to pay for our newest addition. My emotions stretched from the occasional thought of “where is the money going to come from?” to full blown “I’m going to have to give my baby up for adoption.” We were facing a potential job change, a school board threatening to lower base salaries for the first time in history in Texas, and my husband’s 10 year old debt collections starting to come in. Our baby was going to cost around $3,000 to birth- with barely enough to make bills and nothing in savings we were desperate to change expenses. We have been following Dave Ramsey’s debt-free plan but we were still at Baby Step One- saving that elusive $1k emergency fund. Another pregnancy was NOT on in the near future, at least for 3-4 years.
And then I found out I was pregnant- the ultimate test from God on our submission to His will.
But in my panic, I doubted. I was stupid enough to think we could do this on our own, and for the first time in our married life, I had a huge argument with my husband. He couldn’t believe that money was more important than embracing this new life we had been given. And he was right. I couldn’t see a way out, and, in my pride, forgot the One that kept us afloat in the first place.
But God is a God of mercy. And rather than punish my unbelief, He chose to bless us more abundantly. The next day, a refinance loan for our car was approved…after having been rejected over and over the last year for a refinance. That move alone saved us $100 a month. The school board voted to sustain salaries, so rather than the $2,000 pay cut we anticipated in our Quicken budget, we were able to add that money back. We found out our cell phone contract was expiring in a month- we would finally be able to transfer to a cheaper plan. After all was said and done with readjustments and savings, we found an extra $700 a month on my husband’s salary alone. By our projections, we will have enough for the baby and then some within a few short months. I was just stunned. I still am. And I feel incredibly stupid.
How often has God proved Himself over and over again, only to have us follow our own selfish pride and “do-it-yourself” arrogance? When I look at our human inclination to give “an eye for an eye,” how fortunate are we that God is not a mere mortal. And what a powerful testament to His Love to have Him only return to bless us more abundantly. In what ways has God pulled you through despite your unbelief?
Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a)