I am sometimes slow. Not as in unintelligent, but as in not always quick to obey God. Slow as in disobedient, although I would be the first to tell you that I don’t usually mean to be disobedient. Sometimes I need neon lights or a direct sign of the direction I need to take.
God has kept up his showers of blessings: a van given to us that has cut the gas cost for the Handy Man who no longer has to drive the blue behemoth to school each day. (Insurance costs went up $10 a month after some jiggling of coverages, but gas savings was way more than that!) Funds to go to the beach for three days in August (during the Handy Man’s summer break.) New towels for our bathrooms. Cooler weather so our electricity costs are down (fans cost money to run!) I have seen God provide for us for three years now in amazing ways. Why do I forget?
The Handy Man started school in May. He is studying computerized tool and die technology in their CNC program. We are excited that he will finally have skills marketable in our area in this economy. And we did get some VA assistance, at least through April. But that was not quite enough to meet the financial needs of our family. So I began working full time at the end of May….some weeks I was working more than 40 hours. One memorable (and utterly exhausting) week I worked 51 hours. (On a side note, I have no idea how people work that many hours and still have a vibrant family life. This is one mama who cannot!) The money has been adequate, but the energy it takes out of me and the time it takes away from my children are just too great a sacrifice to pay. I knew this was unsustainable. I just felt this huge (false) burden to make sure we would have all we needed.
How or why I decided to put that huge yoke of oppression on myself is a mystery even to me. I suppose we could chalk it up to that old sin of idolatry…in this case me relying on me once again. But God is merciful—oh, so very merciful! I had felt the stirrings of ideas that I needed to cut back my hours at work. I thought I would go ahead and keep working these longer hours through August. And then I thought perhaps just until vacation week. And then the blow-up happened.
It was a fight that began so subtly as a minor disagreement and then escalated into a shouting match. So not pretty. So….not the way Christian families should act. So….real. In the end, we had a good discussion about priorities, what needed to happen to help the various members of our home to feel the love and support they need, and how my not being home has affected everyone. The Handy Man is a bit overwhelmed learning computers….old dogs and new tricks, you know…so while he has been here, he has not always been present as he is spending hours and hours on the computer doing his homework. Dee is getting ready to go off to college, and while she will be close, she will be on campus and not here. Star Child has been working a lot with her two jobs–one as a nanny on Tuesdays, one at Papa Johns. I have been away at work. And that left Gladys Mae here watching her younger siblings. She is perfectly able to do so, but it was a huge burden on a fifteen year old girl to be responsible for caring for her siblings and making dinner most nights. I just saw so very clearly that God really did mean for me to be a keeper at home, and that my absence has been felt.
Then, while working one Monday I heard two sermons–one about investing in relationships and one about priorities. And then, as if those three things were not enough to seal the deal, the Lord took it one step farther.
I had a casual conversation with a lady at church. She called me to let me know that she and her husband have a small foundation that helps people. One of my stumbling blocks to cutting my hours was just knowing I needed to pay the bills. The foundation offered to pay our car insurance for six months and to pay for the science classes which I have arranged for Star Child and Gladys Mae to take this year. It was enough money to offset my full time schedule to a half-time schedule. Twenty hours a week will allow us enough to live–and it will take me away from home far less!
But God was not yet done. Today, we received this:
For new tires on the car. And it will pay for the radiator for the other car, too.
I am not always quick to see the signs, but my Heavenly Father has put this in neon. He WILL provide. We have friends who are struggling financially, too. They are wondering what the Lord wants them to do. I sincerely hope they get neon signs. Because contrary to what I always believed, it seems God does sometimes do neon.