Something about finances tends to bring the hopelessness out of my husband. It’s hard when gas, groceries, the economy, and other concerns draw in the shadows and tug us down into despair. How did we get here?
We didn’t spend our money irresponsibly, like trying to make ourselves seem well off or important or spending our money on things that weren’t in budget. Prices rise and our jobs stay the same. Arizona makes less than the other 49 states. Like others who bought houses before the bubble, we have lost value in our home. The house needs repairs. The lawnmower broke. My husband and I don’t go clothes shopping, don’t very often go out to eat, and work at controlling our debit spending.
Last night, he showed me on paper. “We need to control our debits. If we forget something at the market, we do without.”
He takes a deep breath, his shoulders slump. “Was God telling me we shouldn’t have gotten this house years ago? Are we going to work even past the time when working is physically hard for us, never taking trips?”
“We can’t even qualify for welfare because we don’t have kids.” Not that we’ve tried, I amended. We’d have to be pretty bad before we opt to go to the government for help.
All the questions pelt our faith, like how can people get large refunds when we have tried everything to not owe?
“Last year we broke even.” I encourage. “That is we would have had I not made a mistake on our taxes two years prior.”
Other doubts creep into the conversation like the dust that builds in the corners of the house and on the shelves. We wipe away the dust, but dust always returns to coat things in light gray. Our doubt creeps into our words.
“God is going to provide.” And I remind him of how the Israelites and the Apostles were provided for by God. I talked about how God sometimes allows things to go too far so that when He rescues it’s Him that gets the credit, and in that waiting we learn His lessons. Our faith grows faster than the weeds in our yard. I also remind him of the miracle of how we got our car; how we prayed for a $200 payment if we were meant to turn in a Jeep that was on its last legs, and how we found our new car at $206 a month; and how the Jeep could have broken down at any time, but chose that moment before used car prices went up again.
“Do you want to watch our show?” My husband switches topics.
I shake my head. “No. Let’s hash this out.” There’s a lot of doubt to work through before we rest tonight and start a new day tomorrow.
“But distractions are good.” He smiles at me.
I see the spark returning to his eyes and a smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. “Distractions are distractions. Let’s work this through. I can’t focus anyway.”
Last Thursdays, Person of Interest has to wait, because the person of interest right now is my husband and his faith and my faith. We discuss this a few more minutes before things feel righted again. Where there’s discouragement, hope has no chance to grow.
The next morning, my husband sends me a love note via text. I send him one, too, with the addition of, “Expect miracles.” I bow my head before work and whisper a prayer. It’s tough everywhere. Disheartening, too. Morale is low in America. You can feel it. I wonder if that’s how the Israelites felt in Egypt before Moses led them out of slavery?
Are you expecting miracles? Or have you given up hope? What burdens can I pray over for you today?