I wonder where the eye of the storm is. I feel like I've been tossed back and forth, up and down, over and under. And I feel like I may be losing hope this storm is ever going to end. At the beginning of May, my husband was fired from his job. We had already downsized to being a one-salary family, and I was three months from giving birth to our second child. We're now nearing the end of September, and he has yet to land a new job. All of the frustrating events leading up to him getting fired brought some serious turbulence into our lives. Every day he'd come home with more drama from working in an environment where honesty was not wanted by his authority, provoking his coworkers to resort to gossip. It seemed he was often talking someone off the quitting ledge. Then he was fired. All in all, we felt it was a good thing. The emotionalism this job created seemed to permeate not just his job relationships but also our interactions as a family. We were ready for a change, and we thought better times were just around the corner.
Our budget was super tight before he was let go and it got tighter right away after his last check was cashed. It felt too tight, and not long after paying for our groceries on a credit card one day, I decided I would sign us up for food stamps. I'm so grateful for the government assistance that has been a huge load off our shoulders during this time. It turns out the government thinks we should get more a week than we had previously been budgeting for groceries. This has been an enormous blessing. But there has been no money going into our car insurance fund, our eating out fund, our giving fund, etc. Every dollar he makes from a side job goes to paying our bills. It's been more than a miracle that our mortgage has been paid these four months. Two of those monthly miracles came from some very generous family members. Still, I find myself wondering how God is going to provide for this month's $810 mortgage payment. It's September 20 and we have $200 toward that bill. We have ten days to scrounge up 600 buckeroos. It seems impossible and yet experience from the past five months says he'll find a way. He'll create another miracle.
Right now, in this moment, I have strong faith that miracles can happen. I have no problem believing that these clouds above my head will bring the necessary rain. But that's where my faith stops; though his power does not. He can make streams in the desert and rivers in the wasteland, but can I believe that he will provide enough sustenance beyond survival? I see the raindrops. I believe in them. But I don't see the stream. I don't see how the few clouds in this dry desert could possibly make enough rain to create a river. I feel overwhelmed not because our mortgage is due in ten days. I feel overwhelmed because there's a fine line between faith and stupidity, and if things aren't going to change in the economic scene of our lives, then I'm dumb for not living even more frugally. But, then again, am I being spiritually stupid by not believing streams are possible in this arid land?
Today I heard another story of how a fellow Christian's obedience toward tithing got her to a much better economic standing. My first, unfiltered-by-the-gospel reaction to those stories is jealousy. That's not my story, and never has been despite my tithing record. Then I think of the older brother in the prodigal son parable and realize I'm being just like him, and that's dumb. And then I think of Job. I wonder how many times on his journey he thought, okay breakthrough is just around the corner. I want to buy my two-month-old some new clothes because the seasons are changing and she doesn't have many long-sleeve onesies that fit. I want to buy myself some new clothes, especially because my post-pregnant self still needs to drop ten pounds if I'm going to fit into pre-pregnant pants. I want my son to continue attending preschool. I want to not feel guilty about every dollar I spend on something other than a bill. I want to fix up my house. A lot.
Will this storm end? More importantly, will I have faith it'll create more than mere raindrops. Will I have faith that God really can create rivers in the wasteland and streams in the desert?