This is a very personal story for me, a pouring out of my heart. Some of you may not read it, but I hope you will. But here’s the “punchline:”
Over the past two months God has provided, through this blog, all our curriculum needs for the year. Praise Him! Now we turn our attention, and income, toward a more pressing need, a home.
He always does. The story of our last dozen years or so can be summed up with “leaning on God for provision, almost daily, and being able to see Him provide again and again.” I have often mentioned that we are not well off, but I’ve never really shared our story.
Our short story:
Two years into our marriage and not even a year into being parents, James was laid off with tens of thousands of other computer working people when the tech market crashed at the end of 2000. God provided through several different means to carry us through the end of our lease and we moved in with my parents while James looked for a job and the tech market tried to recover. Almost a year later we moved back out on our own after James had found a job again–but he had to commute 2 hours and we had debt from bills that we’d been unable to pay while he was on unemployment and I worked three part time jobs. Things were still tight, but God provided through every step.
Two years later he was let go after a management change and James pursued his dream of owning his own computer business here in town, and God provided again with an office space and customers. I pinched pennies and we relied on God to feed our 3 year old and brand new infant; we never starved. Since that time God has blessed James’ business enough to provide and, because self-employment is unpredictable and fluctuates, God provided in other ways when the business couldn’t. In the past 6 years we have been surprised with a 3rd child, James has expanded into online marketing and I’ve tried to make a few extra dollars for school books with my blog. God has provided for all of these things.
Poor But Abundantly Blessed
We are by most standards, poor. Many things people consider as necessities and everyday things are luxuries to me. And yet — we are not poor. We are not poor! We are blessed to see God work in our lives and provide for our needs on a regular basis. We are blessed to be able to survive on one income so that we can homeschool, even if sometimes it’s only just surviving. We are blessed to have 3 great children, great extended family, a wonderful home church, good friends, and the fortune to work from home, be self employed, and spend time with our kids. We are blessed.
I have so many stories; I can’t possibly share them all.
- the day shortly after moving back out on our own again when a friend from church stopped by with an envelope – “We’ve taken up a collection to help you get back on your feet.”
- the time our dryer died — right after our car died and right before Christmas — and someone from our church called to tell me that a brand new dryer had been anonymously donated.
- when James had pneumonia and bronchitis at the same time and couldn’t work for two weeks and the church collected so much food for us it wouldn’t fit in our pantry.
- when we truly *needed* to replace our car and God worked out the details perfectly so that we found something well within our budget and were able to help out someone close to us at the same time.
Learning and Leaning
Over the years we’ve learned to live with less and less as God taught us to lean on Him and be more responsible with our money. When I look back I see lots of growth, and now we willingly and happily live without things like cable or satellite, fancy clothes, or a nice house. We do have internet and cell phone bills (for James’ computer business.) We do pay for Netflix (because it is cheaper than cable or renting dvd’s or going to the movies.) But we are still aware that these are luxuries. God’s not through with us; we are still growing in wisdom and responsibility.
Over the past few years God has blessed us through this blog as well. When I moved to self-hosted, I began to develop my blog and use any income toward our homeschool curriculum. Even when I felt God leading me to pull back from the “business side” of blogging, he still used blogging as a way to provide for as much as half of our curriculum! Earlier this year I felt God leading me back into blogging as a second income and I openly committed my blog to Him to do with it what He will. As I’ve prayerfully considered each and every step, God has blessed and provided abundantly. Blogging income has paid for all of our necessary school curriculum, save maybe $40. (If even that.) Praises!! GOD. PROVIDES.
I’ve always felt that honesty and integrity were of utmost importance if I were going to glorify God with my blog. I’ve been open about including affiliate links and I’ve been forthright about the few paid reviews that I’ve done. I’ve told you that any money I made would go to curriculum and I have firmly stuck by that. God has provided for our curriculum and we’re good to go for the year. And now we have another need.
For a long time we’ve “needed” to get out of this rental house (mobile home.) It’s old. When I say old, I mean “old and literally falling apart at the seams.” I’ve been patient and trusted God and repeated to myself “all in God’s time.” It’s becoming unsafe and the time has truly come, we NEED to get out of this house. For a while now there has been a window, a way out, but the window was not all the way open. There have been setbacks like surveys that were surveyed incorrectly and a number of other things. There are no other obstacles at the moment, save one.
The Window and the Need.
Our landlords, basically family, want to sell us this land that we’re renting and the newer double wide mobile home that is on another part of their land. It’s a good home, it’s in good condition, it’s the right size for us, and it would be a blessing. We would rent to own it, which is also a blessing. We only need to move it three-tenths of a mile but it will cost us six or seven thousand dollars to move it. We don’t have six or seven thousand dollars to move it. We did. But we are self employed, remember? This year has been very lean financially; our savings is gone. But I am not going to worry. I’ve seen God provide for us repeatedly. I know that when we truly needed a car, God provided one. And I believe that now when we truly need to get out of this house and into that one, God will provide.
Putting feet to my faith.
We do feel like this is what we should do, renting to own here rather than finding another rental in town. Rentals in town are above our means; we do not qualify for home loans. This is our place. I’ve been saying I’m trusting God to provide, but what am I doing about it? We need to put some feet to our faith. To that end, the kids and I have started a family piggy bank with a large Ozarka water jug. We’re saving toward a house and we’re stuffing all our loose change into it. It won’t be enough, but it’s an active step. And now that curriculum is paid for, I have decided that my income will now go toward the house, too. Every penny.
Beside the point of telling you our story and our testimony of God’s provision, that is another reason that I’m writing this post. I want y’all to know that you have played a part, that God has used this blog to bless us this school year and that now I’m devoting any future income for this new purpose. However much that may be. I’m giving that part to God, and I know I’m in good hands.
I’m not asking for anything, except prayer, and that you continue to read and follow and comment as you already do. God will work out all the details and use who and what He chooses to use, which ads, what paid reviews, which affiliate links – He’s got it covered. I have no doubt that God will take care of us and meet our real needs.
I debated sharing this with you all. I was nervous. But a friend reminded me that there may be someone else out there, at war in the trenches with worry and fear, fighting to keep their head above the water financially. This is my testimony: God provides. (Not always when or how we expect it.) But God always provides.