Even before Matt and I decided to start adding children to our family, we discussed what the work situation would be and I know I've mentioned that before. I have always wanted to be able to stay at home once we had children. Matt was indifferent at first and as we prayed about it, we both felt the Lord telling us that it was absolutely something we needed to do.
We knew that this would be a HUGE blessing to us and to our child(ren) but that it would also take some tremendous sacrifices for all of us, mostly in the area of finances. Matt has a great job and is moving up in the ranks as often as he can but that takes time. My full time job as a Speech Language Pathologist provided us with great income which we would be "losing" if I quit working.
Our solution was for Matt to continue working full time, I would quit working full time and after we were settled in with the baby, I would go back to working PRN with the companies I had been working for.
Now, we weren't naive to think that this situation would just move about seamlessly. I mean, that's just not how big life situations seem to happen, right?! In an effort to prepare for the changes, we saved as much as we could. We had all of the money set aside to be able to pay off our hospital bill (so we thought) before Mason was even born. We also set aside money for various things that we knew would come up throughout the year. We felt as prepared as we could be at that point.
Then, Mason arrived and our whole world changed but I've already written a bit about that. ;-)
The day we got home from the hospital and checked our mail, there were two bills that had been basically the same amount for over a year and those bills had increased.
Within a few days, we received one more bill which had also gone up. This continued to be a trend for over a month. Not all increases were huge but unexpected nonetheless.
Then there were the hospital bills. We had planned for best case scenario and I ended up having to have a c-section with a three day stay which increased those bills significantly.
Then in January, the battery in Matt's truck went out and we needed a new one. We had one SUPER cold morning and Matt and I had failed to check the antifreeze in the truck (we thought it had been filled recently during an oil change) and while I was driving to work in 12 degree weather, the radiator blew. That same day, the battery died in the car and it had to be replaced. Earlier in this month, Matt went to have the oil changed in the truck and they determined that a gasket on the engine was leaking antifreeze.
Yeah, you're probably thinking what we were thinking. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!
Let me get to the good part!
Even in the midst of ALL of the above struggles and trials, there were some beautiful silver linings and blessings.
--Our oven in our rental house had been giving us trouble. We got a call from the landlady in early January saying they weren't going to repair it. They were REPLACING IT with a brand new oven!!
When they came to replace the oven, our landlady said that she had increased the rent for her properties for the first time in 10 years but she didn't increase ours. WOW, what a blessing!
--I was able to start back PRN the day after Christmas and was given more work than I expected. Therefore, meaning more extra income for us to help take care of extra issues that had arisen.
--We ended up getting some unexpected money at Christmastime as well and many gift cards for Mason which certainly helped.
--A lady that Matt got connected with through a co-worker gave us TONS of formula so we didn't have to worry about buying any. Then some friends sent some formula to us as Christmas presents. Talk about a blessing especially when it was already difficult enough that I couldn't produce enough milk for Mason.
--Around Christmas, Matt took some days off but he forgot to put in the vacation hours for the correct pay period. At first, I was bummed about this but it ended up being a blessing in disguise because he put the hours into the following pay period which was the one where so many of our "issues" happened so the larger check helped big time!
--About two years ago, we took out a hospital indemnity plan and we were able to keep it until the baby was born which resulted in an excellent insurance reimbursement. HUGE blessing!
--I mentioned earlier that Matt and I had worked really hard to set money aside before Mason arrived. This included an emergency fund which helped so much during this big transition period.
--Lastly, with all of this extra "stuff" even with insurance reimbursements, unexpected gifts etc, it was still tighter than we would like. Our most recent financial blessing has come in the form of our tax refund. HUGE HUGE blessing to us.
All of this to say, we have had a rough but beautiful few months. Matt and I have learned so much in this time and through it all we kept reminding each other that we had to rely on the Lord to provide for our needs even in the situations that seemed too big for even Him.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19