I’ve decided to make this into a series. I started writing and just couldn’t shut up. So, maybe I’ll get it all out of my system this week. I must say that the subject is pretty broad: some people are living without spouses, healthcare, a support system, etc…I’m going to focus on what I know. Here is the first installment.
How I’m Living Without What I’m Living Without:
1. Pray. Yep, you can live with it or without it, but your gonna have to pray about it. I will put this on the top and bottom of the list. Now, I’ve had moments when I swear God was on an extended leave of absence and His nit wit secretary was not forwarding my urgent messages because I was not getting the answer that I wanted. I can see a lot of those answers now, especially since I’m a bit older, slightly wiser, tad bit more patient and much more willing to be honest with myself and others.
2. Tithe. I know you’re saying, “April put on her Godly Woman hat to write this up”. Here’s the truth. When we were first married Clay and I were given the poor advice not to tithe until we could afford to. Well, if that be the case we would still be holding back. But, my husband was softened and eventually started to tithe a full 10% of our income. He did this much to my dismay. At the time I was the one in charge of all our finances and the one check he wrote was the tithe check because I couldn’t bear to see that much money go to the church when we were often relying on a credit card to pay for groceries. Clay has always been much more generous than me in ways of giving what is right; this was a good lesson for me. God clearly states 10% and I have no grounds to argue. Even some of the more worldly financial advisory folks embrace the belief that before you can get ahead you give. You give from your heart and you do it quietly and you make sure it’s the full ten, it becomes less painful the longer you do it, just like any other payment you are required to make. So build your tithe into your life and God will bless you beyond measure.
Okay, now that I got the meat out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. I’m afraid I might start sounding a bit like some sort of instruction manual, so bear with me. There is a lot of stuff I could live without and in our most humble times we lived without a lot. We lived with one car for the first five years of our marriage. There were three of us going to three different places at the same time, I don’t know how we managed. Clay was in school and delivered pizza at night. Ellen went to daycare in the mornings and I went to work. I guess when it’s got to get done you just do it. I do remember being tired and sad a lot mostly because I was watching other women come into my work place with their little one in tow and I sat behind a desk while my baby was at daycare. Not being with my child to care for her was very difficult and I was so happy to get to be home when Seth came along. I was willing to give up anything to be with them. So, obviously a high paying job and fancy business suit was not for me. Being a mom, a wife that was a pretty hard job to learn, but I thought it was a luxury to be at home with my little ones.
I’ve always worked with the exception of the first eight months that we lived in St. Louis. When I was pregnant with Seth I quit my job and went back to school full time and worked on the weekends. After Seth came along I finished up the semester with my newborn going to my finals with me and ended my career as a student. I found work I could do around caring for the kids. I did medical transcription at an office at five in the morning during the week so I could be home by the time Clay left for work. I took care of two other children a couple days a week and I did the books for our church.
When we moved to St. Louis we bought a sinking ship of a house and the cost of moving and repairs were just too heavy. The breaking point was our daughters birthday, we couldn’t afford to get her anything. She was headed to kindergarten and I wanted to buy her a new outfit, let her have a party to meet new friends, buy her a bicycle. I know my motives were purely selfish and worldly. I decided to find a job. The best option was Home Depot, the hours were right I could work evenings and weekends and the pay was fair. I worked 20 hours a week. Then the church offered me the finance position and I took that with the hope of quitting Home Depot someday. I was able to let Seth go to a preschool twice a week with the option that if I worked one of the days with the toddlers that he could go half price. So again, I found myself with three jobs on top of my responsibilities at home.
We were all getting a bit tired of the chaotic schedule of Dad coming home while Mom walks out the door and there was no rest during the weekends. Clay had switched to a new firm, he was finishing up with his license exams and things were getting better. I quit the job at Home Depot just in time to be welcomed with the news of baby number three on the way. I also ended the year at preschool. I still do the church finances, but I don’t like to define myself by my job so it is rare that I’ll strike up a conversation about it or introduce myself as the church finance secretary. I do like the work although I still daydream of someday just being a mom and wife with no other hats involved. But for now, since we can’t seem to slow down the pace of my children growing up and the needs that come with that, I think I’ll hold onto my job to help with those growing pains a bit longer….unless that black gold that I planted in the garden starts sprouting hundred dollar bills.