This life is truly a journey. I see His hand all over my life. I'm grateful that He makes beauty from ashes, and that he turns my spirit of despair into a garment of praise. Jesus is the Faithful One!!
Since I have last posted I have felt His rescue. Our financial situation hasn't changed so much as my perspective of it has. We are practicing (ah hem, attempting) to live on a grocery budget of $50 a week. We are doing the same with our gas: $30 per week/per car. This has been a huge test but God has been SO faithful. We have not succeeded in staying at budget every time, but most weeks for the last month we have done a great job. I've become more adept with my sale ads, with planning my meals around what is on sale, with as few ingredients as possible, and still adding in fresh produce. I've discovered that the drug stores have GREAT sales on everyday items like canned foods and milk (better than Kroger and Walmart). I have discovered that with a little innovation and imagination I can create meals with what we have on hand, even when I "think" we don't have any groceries. For instance, I was hungry for something sweet today and since I'm not buying "extra" snacks (just healthy stuff for the kids) I was wondering if I had anything that would work. I've been hearing a lot about these Snyders of Hanover pretzels that are apparently flying off the shelves:
and I thought I would try my hand at making something similar. I had peanut butter, pretzel sticks, and a half bag of chocolate chips. The peanut butter held the pretzel sticks together and I dropped them in the chocolate and voile! Delish! Innovation!!
Daily bread He is giving us. I'm amazed.
We've also been praying continuously that He would provide more income or helps us to decrease our spending. I've been looking for jobs both in my field and also at possibly providing childcare for a couple of children at home. We've been looking at trading in our Honda for something less expensive and with a lower monthly payment. We've also been looking at buying a home for two reasons: 1) If we could buy a home with a mortgage that costs less than our monthly rent payment, we would be saving money, 2) God has called us to bring more children into this family and we want to make ourselves/home ready for that. If we foster (which is the plan) the state requires that we have a "boy" bedroom and a "girl" bedroom which we currently do not (we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse). So...if we move it would be ideal to meet both of those requirements. We have been continually looking for a home for the last three years (just keeping up-to-date with what is on the market). I was glancing through the Sunday paper about a month ago and happened upon these houses. Ironically my dad drove my husband to a couple of these developments and Dwayne had even told me about them, but honestly it wasn't on my radar. I saw these houses and thought, "Wow, a brand new home for less than $100k?" And started doing some research. And praying.
Dwayne and I started talking about it and praying together. We decided to go look at one of the developments. I fell in love. The funny thing is I kept being reminded of this promise the Lord had spoke to me two years ago when I was longing so much for a house for our family: "Be patient Beloved. It will be better than you expect." We prayed some more about trying to get financing for a home. We had friends praying. We really felt like the Lord was calling us to step out in faith and just test the water, so I called to see about getting preapproved. The mortgage broker immediately called me back and told me that we were approved for a little more than the amount we would need!! We prayed more. We looked online at more houses. We prayed. We really felt like God was leading us to this neighborhood because of the ministry potential and because of the affordability. In addition Rausch Coleman has been amazing to work with. Truly they have been further evidence of God's hand in this process. So last Saturday we went and picked out our land, all of our interior and exterior colors and any upgrades we wanted. Our home is going to cost less than $100,000 and it will be brand new, in an established neighborhood, just outside an area that might be considered "ghetto" to some people. God is written all over it!! There is this unique tension between a huge blessing for our family and the ability to minister to people who will stretch us out of our comfort zone. Wow.
I feel so humbled. Lord willing the process goes smoothly, we will be moving into our home in June. I stand in awe of Him.
The Lord has called me to three things this semester: 1) Love my children better. Spend more quality time with them. Focus on them. 2) Invest in women. 3) Pursue having my thesis published.
Homeschool is going well for us this semester and I'm amazed at the little sponges my children are. In addition I am starting a small group tomorrow studying David Platt's book Radical with some other women at church. I am really excited and anxious to see how God will stretch all of us and call us into further radical abandonment to Him and His plans. As for the thesis, well, it is on my radar. ;)
I hope this is a sufficient update. I know I'm so long-winded. Maybe if I could find time to blog a bit more... but then that would distract me from all Jesus is doing right now and I don't want that. Recently He said to me so clearly: "Invest in the moments." That is my heart Lord!! Your will! Your Name!!