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Friday, September 16, 2011

How'd We Get Here...


On the news this week a new announcement: Poverty in American is at an all time high.

So ...  we're not the only family feeling the strain of unfunded needs as this video from NBC news indicates. However, with my overly blatant (and borderline inappropriate) confessions on my Finance Friday entries I thought you might appreciate knowing our story and how we got here:

5 years ago my husband had a full time job (calling??) as a pastor. It was a lovely congregation, second family really ... We had five kids and I had a perfect, part time job at the kids' school.
And while our income was humble we were making it. That's because seven years ago we made a commitment to live a financially peaceful life (thanks Dave Ramsey). We lived with a small savings account, a trimmed up monthly budget and had just what we needed. If we found something we wanted, we saved for it. It was working out nicely.

Two years ago, with tears in our eyes and a tug on our heart we said goodbye to our faithful congregation to work with an organization working with church planters in central Europe. While it would require extensive travel on Aaron's behalf and a tremendous leap of faith, we moved forward excited about the possibilities.

The new position was a self funded position. That is, Aaron had to raise his own budget.
After a solid year of focused fund raising and working, he was still falling grossly short of his goal.

--enter us waving goodbye to our savings account---

For about fifteen months we lived on faith, the little funds we were able to raise from a few very faithful loved ones and the hope that we were one miracle away from funding our dream.

While we squeezed in some amazing ministry opportunities, the truth is our dreams never came true.

Confused and
disappointed
we knew we needed a new dream fast.

But what do you do when you don't know what you want to do?

At 40 years of age, we approached the most intense soul searching season of our lives. Where you admit what you wanted isn't happening and admitting a change in course is the only option.

But what course?
What are your options?

Aaron felt he would like to return to his passion for education. He decided to transfer his BA into a teaching certificate. He would be a teacher.

---play noble, hero-ey music here---

But that wouldn't be so easy - like enroll in school & take classes for 3 years not-so-easy. Like our oldest will enroll for college before he graduates not-so-easy!

And that's where we are today. I'm still employed half time (but looking to change that). We have a handful of faithful supporters who remain and will sponsor the last of our commitments to the churches in Czech and Slovakia. Aaron studies full time and coaches soccer in the afternoons.
All the savings is gone.
The ends aren't meeting the means.

We still budget. We remain faithful to our commitment to live debt-free. We've cut out our cable bill, pizza nights and every other possible expense you can imagine. I've bartered for services. I've held onto my pride with my every last ounce of humility as I have found myself standing in lines for handouts.
And with Divine help, I swear, it's a miracle no one has come for the house yet.
We've no outstanding bills... tardy...but not outstanding.

So there you have it.
That's our story.
And I think there are others out there, like us, hanging on by their fingernails. And that's why Friday's are dedicated to Finance on my blog. I can only hope that by talking about it it takes away the sting of shame associated with poverty and instead offers you comfort and encouragement.

Not having enough is not always the problem but how you deal with not having enough can be.

Join me on Fridays as I blog about our experiences, the wisdom we apply in budgeting and the frugality of it all.




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