When I graduated from college I got really good at saving money (why I waited so long to start beats me) then Paul and I got engaged and my savings account rapidly began to dwindle. Apparently a wedding will do that to your savings account.
After we got married, Paul and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course through our church. To say I loved it would be an understatement. In Dave’s words, I am a full blown nerd. I’ve always loved numbers (my mom is an accountant and my sister worked in finance before becoming a SAHM so I guess it runs in the family), so it was really easy for me to latch on to his basic concepts and hit the ground running! Immediately after Paul and I got married I became obsessed with paying down debt. My biggest fear is the lack of money to provide for our family. I want to give my kids an amazing childhood and be able to let them partake in activities the way my parents did. I want to be able to give them a great house, in a great neighborhood in a great school zone. I want to be able to pay for their college so they can graduate debt free the way I did. I want Paul and I to be able to retire and enjoy our time together instead of working forever. This course provided solutions for all of my financial fears. Sacrifice now and I won’t have to worry later! Well, Paul is more of the free spirit and has a much more faith based concept with money. Completely rational, unless you’re his crazy money obsessed wife. Our goals are the same, but we have slightly different ways of getting to the end result. Mine is complete sacrifice, working two jobs until we have kids, and followowing Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps entirely. Paul’s is to be conscious and smart, but still have a life and splurge occasionally.
After Paul and I paid off all the credit card debt we decided it would be best for our family to save to buy a new house and then focus on paying off student loans. So we started saving, and the harder Paul and I worked to save the faster money left our accounts. I’ve said before, that 2014 has not been an easy one financially, and we are only half way through! The faster money left our account, the more obsessed I became. My obsession with money became an issue. Money became an idol for me, and this realization smacked me straight across the face on February 20, 2014.
Paul has a herniated disc in his back. Long story short, he threw out his back and after a week of being in pain he became physically unable to walk. He texted me at work and told me he could not put weight on his legs. I had a little panic, and after calling around to a few doctors we were told we needed to go to the emergency room. Paul is by no means overweight, but he is much bigger than me and there was no way I could get him down the steps and into the car to get him to the hospital. I called my brother-in-law and he came over and we could not get Paul to the car. I finally asked Paul if we should just call an ambulance, and his words were “we can’t afford that”… My stomach literally flipped over. Here is my husband, in excruciating pain and unable to walk and his concern is MONEY. His concern was money because he was thinking of me and what I would think.
While I followed the ambulance to the hospital I just started crying and praying. I was crying because I felt so awful that my husband thought money was more important to me than his health. I was crying because I was scared that 6 months into our marriage my husband may be paralyzed from nerve damage. I was crying because it finally hit me, God has been trying to tell me all along that HE will provide for Paul and I. That I need to let go of financial control and obsessing over savings and running numbers to figure out when we can have things paid off, and when we will financially be stable enough to have children. God was telling me to put my trust and my faith in Him that everything will work out, and I needed to stop worrying. Dave’s teachings are based on Godly principles, but I was not incorporating God into our plan.
God has been testing Paul and I this year, probably more so me than Paul. We continue to have huge unexpected expenses each month, and I truly feel this is God giving me this lesson over and over to make sure I’ve learned where to put my focus now. I have come a LONG way in the last 6 months, and I still have more work to do. I stopped logging into our bank account every hour of the day. I am not using money as the determining factor to decide when Paul and I will be ready to start trying to have a baby. I am not running numbers everyday to figure out what we can save and when we may be able to move. I am not so crazy about our budget, but I do still try to follow it. Everytime I get anxious about money, I have learned to pray. I am letting go of control. I am letting God’s plan unfold and trusting that we will be fine. I am so grateful that I can rely on Paul for his strength and his faith when I feel discouraged. This is just the beginning of our journey, but I am so thankful that Paul is the one next to me to go through it. He gives me more grace than I deserve, and he has helped me more than he probably realizes. Just another reason why God brought Paul into my life. He always knows just what I need.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26