Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Necessity of Struggle

I don't feel able to adequately express myself tonight, but I'm going to try.

In January of this year, Dave had two jobs and I had one. In February, Dave had two jobs and I had none. In April, Dave had one job and I still have none. These jobs were quit because of BURN OUT.

We have cut our spending more than I thought was possible for a couple with two kids. I live on "X" amount of dollars per month. Exactly. Not more. I count my pennies. I look for deals more than ever. I use coupons whenever possible. I watch how much I drive the car. I use cash ONLY. Not debit. Not credit. If I don't have the money for something, I DO NOT GET IT.

We have not eaten at a restaurant - even a fast food one - once since April (which is quite miraculous for us).


Dave has been home - EVERY NIGHT - for supper (compared to RARELY being home).

Dave has spent more time with the kids in the last month than the entire last year (he was just working stinkin' hard).

We have had more family time than ever.

And you know what? I have been able to step back and be truly thankful for this financial struggle. It has always been my desire to get out of the rat race and learn to RELAX. We have attempted this off and on over the years, but this has truly been the closest we've come to accomplishing this. Although I will likely have to get a part-time evening job because we can't quite meet all of our NEEDS, I don't want to fall into this trap again.

I am tired of chasing the almighty dollar.

I am sick of being married to material things.

I am constantly amazed when I hear parents say that they work their long hours "for the sake of their kids". So non-existent parenting is okay as long as our kids have their toys? Their sports? Their hobbies? Broken marriages is a price worth paying?

We are so twisted in our thinking in the world today. We fight the thought of letting our kids struggle when struggling is necessary to survival.

Struggling is the stepping stone to thriving.

Do we want our children to thrive?

Lord, help me, truly. Like any parent, I want to give good gifts to my children, but Lord, I do not want my gifts to be a detriment to them. I want their gifts from me to be long lasting, life changing - things that will mold their character and help them be better Christians than I am. Not materialistic things, Lord, for those things pass away.

Help me, Lord, not to fight AGAINST their struggle.


Rachel Roberts said...

I think you expressed it perfectly!

I feel the same way. To be honest, I think couples/families who are never put through that financial "stress" of having to literally pinch every penny at least for a short period of time, have a harder time really appreciating what they DO have.

I am so grateful that my husband and I started our marriage without an abundance of cash flow. It taught us the good, bad and ugly things about money, I think.

I hope you find a good part time job that you can enjoy, Darla! 3 days a week I pick up one of my daycare boys from the bus stop and every time I see the bus driver I think of you. ha ha! :) She has gone chasing after parents more than once who disobey the crossing rules and it always puts a smile of my face cuz I remember your (not so) hilarious stories. ha ha!

Darla said...

It's kind of ironic that you mention my bus driving, Rachel, cuz my previous boss called me yesterday and asked me to if I would consider returning to drive bus for the next school year. I told her I would consider it, but to be perfectly honest, something would have to change drastically in my psyche to go back. Right now I can't even look at a school bus without practically getting the "heebie-jeebies".

Back to the original topic, I would like to learn this lesson (of being truly content with less, even if it means struggling) once and for all, and not have to keep re-learning it, so good for you if you and hubby learned that lesson early on and live by it. It's not that we have to have a lot of material things, but we have liked the option of going on a vacation, and things like that. My biggest weakness has probably been buying to much unnecessary things (like clothes) for my kids because they were cute or on sale, even though they really didn't need it.

However long it takes, I will strive to be completely content to live a simple life where our needs are provided, and be happy when we get a FEW things that we don't really need.

Rachel Peterson said...

I started a post on the concept of "live simply". At my work, its a pretty big ideal that many of my coworkers try to live up to. And when you think about it, Jesus really did live simply. Its convicting to say the least. One of the goals I have is to try use everything I have for the glory of God. I use my car to pick up people for church, for example. I use my time (ahem, TRY and mostly FAIL) to grow closer to God, be responsible and give to others. This is actually something bugging me of late. So, thank you for hitting the nail on the head Aunty.

Anonymous said...

Love this post Darla! I remember when we lived in the basement of the old church on pretty much nothing... but my parents were happy and us kids remember it for all the great times we had there! Time, not things, are what strong families are built on!