"Please, God, could you just throw us a bone?"
Taken out of context, it sounds pretty rude, eh? It does.
Last week, I found myself praying:
"Thank you, God, for showing me that the bone was always there. And the steak. And the sauce..."
Here's the story (more or less):
Brandon and I have had our fair-share of financial problems. I think everybody goes through a time (or multiple times) where financial woes head their way. Heck, we've had our share, but luckily/blessedly/hallelujah-ey we have always stayed afloat. The goal is to be secure, though, right? Afloat is okay --it's just not the ideal, capische? But I would take afloat over homelessness any day.
One time, Brandon lost his job. We had just bought a new car and were about 3 weeks from having our second child. For 6 months we worried and prayed, worked and worked-more, and then Brandon got a great job. Even before he found the great job (which was about two great jobs ago --what is that? Six years?), he worked temp jobs whenever he could in order to continue providing for his small family. And since then, we've always been employed. Brandon is a fabulous provider for our family --I'm pretty blessed, I think! Of course, I could go on and on how my own Bachelor's degree is such a blessing, too, so if anything happened to Brandon (like if he was injured...or...injured...or...died...ahem...) then I could work, blah, blah, blah, blah...
But I won't. For now. Because I'm already off track.
Okay, so Brandon's a fab provider. He works hard. Dang hard. And we've always been financially afloat. But we've made some mistakes in the past (very unintentional), and now we're kind of paying for them. Sort of. Man, this is hard to explain. Because who wants to talk about finances? Who does it? It makes us all uncomfortable, right? It even makes me uncomfortable...
Basically, here's the gist of it: One of Brandon's former companies (now bankrupt) was paying us as independent contractors. This is while we were living/working in California. This independent contractor work was important, because we were living/working in California (you know, that one expensive Bay Area place of expensive-ness). We knew we would still need to pay taxes on it, but at the end of the year were surprised by how much it was, because it pushed us over some certain tax thresholds. (Hint... if you ever get paid 1099-independent contractor, plan on keeping at least 50% of it in savings for taxes, and don't let anybody else tell you otherwise!) We didn't realize it would be so bad.
Ummm...never think un-taxed income will equal un-bad-ness.
So, we owe the IRS and the state of CA money. Add this to the fact that Brandon is going back to school this May (fingers crossed) --a fairly prestigious school (which always means expensive, gosh darn it). Add to this some credit card debt (very mild), two car payments, two moves within one year, a mortgage, an old house that seems to be falling apart, my therapy sessions, and four children (and now one on the way).
Stuff is expensive, man.
So, when I was praying to God to throw us a bone, I was thinking this:
"Please, could we be blessed with:
*My depression going away miraculously without any rabid side effects. Or affects. I'm never sure.
*An amazing bonus from Brandon's company to pay all of our debt!
*Some fabulous miracle where Brandon's school would be paid for, thereby keeping us out of debt forever!
*Our house would somehow be picked for random acts of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" kindness.
*We would, within a week, become financially stable/secure/freakin' rich!"
Well, that was kind of what I was praying for. It wasn't the bone prayers, I guess. The bone prayers came about when other avenues of hope we were hopin' for fell through/flat. By then, I just wanted a bone. Some help somehow. A way to figure it out.
That's when I realized something, and I told it to a friend yesterday:
Even during my lowest lows and deepest depths of depression, with my entire world crumbling around me, God is just around the bend with blessings beyond my wildest dreams. Why I keep forgetting this is beyond me. I feel like an idiot when I get there and I am so ashamed I didn't realize I would be okay. Because I always end up okay. Always.
So, what happened?
I came home from London and got to work. I contacted the IRS and State of CA and worked out payment plans we could afford. Together (with an ocean separating us), Brandon and I figured out bills, payment plans, cleaned up some lists and bank accounts, and by the end of the week, I saw God's hand in all of it. No, there weren't astounding miracles. No, there wasn't any extra money coming in. And no, it's not going to be a quick-fix. But we are afloat. We are living within our means. We are paying off all the unfair and totally-fair debt whilst-a-livin' within our means.
And we're having a baby.
And I got to see London (work paid for that, btw. I know I don't have to justify it, but I'm sure y'all were thinkin' it!).
And therapy is helping.
And I've never been so happy to be just afloat.
See, Heavenly Father doesn't usually answer our prayers in the way we would want (right? You know this already). But He does give us the ability to figure things out, and He helps us along the way. Sure, it would be great to not have problems, but then that would mean I picked Satan's plan. Who wants to pick Satan's plan? Well I guess a lot of people did...but that's besides the point (although it reminds me of m&m's awesome post here, although hers is more about agency). The point is that I feel gratitude for everything that has happened. It made me get off my butt and figure stuff out. It made me rely on the Lord. It made me work closely with my husband. It made me see that we are truly blessed beyond all comprehension.
So, hopefully the next time I want my Father in Heaven to throw me a bone, I'll remember this experience. Hopefully I'll see that He's waiting to give me more than just a bone. It's probably the whole enchilada. Or steak. Or cow? Perhaps a chicken...Oh, and Happy Groundhog Day! And Happy Brandon's-finally-comin'-home-today-day!