Tuesday, February 03, 2009

God Rockin' Some Extra Cash

I wish I had the time to blog every single day.  Because this post is really much more significant if you could see the financial balancing act I've been doing (poorly).  It's my own fault, really.  I'm one of those "poor American victims" that is tight financially.  And when I use those quotation marks, I'm being sarcastic.  I'm one of the majority of Americans (or westerners in general) that has lived in the Buy Now/Pay Later mode.  It's stupidity in action, yet the majority of us live this way.  We buy ourselves into a large debt corner and then our politicians stroke this to get elected by calling us "victims of Wall Street" or some other large financial entity.

Whatever.  That's a whole other rant I could fill an entire blog site with.

Suffice it to say - when the ex left, I hardly had any debt.  Once he left, I used any excuse to rationalize pulling out the credit cards again.  Lots of guilt purchases to make the boys feel better when they're sad.  Lots of purchases to get things ahead of time - before I needed them - you know...to be "prepared".  Lots of purchases just to sooth my addiction.  I have discovered that buying things - and not even huge things - makes me feel good.  Like, just walking through a store and picking up stuff...I don't know how to describe it.  It's a comfort thing.  And then there is the trap of everyone who has been emotionally hurt.  What's your go-to thing?  Food?  Mine can be.  But not as much as "you deserve something nice after having your heart dragged through 952 miles of poo."  And then of course I made the actual necessary or obligatory payments (like lawyer fees, food, clothes, GAS).  Those are the ones that would have been ok, had I made ONLY those.

So over the last almost two years, I have wracked up my credit to stupid levels.  I went back to living paycheck to paycheck.  I drained my savings.  Then I started doing the old, let's see...which card do I not pay THIS month?  Oh it's just so HORRID if you realize that in 2002, the ex and I already bailed ourselves out of the same situation and swore NEVER AGAIN.

Lately, I have been working very hard to not ask for a bailout from anyone (ie - my parents).  In mid 2008, when I started feeling that a layoff was closer to reality than not, my main prayer was, "God, if I have to be laid off, PLEASE let there be a severance package."  In Oct 2008, I got the layoff news.  With a severance package.  And it's a good package for someone with 22 yrs under her belt.  So that was a huge relief and man, I have been thanking God for that one, big time!  Unfortunately, the severance package doesn't come immediately.  And as you keep pushing debt back into the dark recesses of your mental store room, it grows.  Exponentially.  I feel like I am living to just squeak my way to that severance check.  Which blows in and of itself.

A while ago, I stopped just going, "Help!" when praying.  I decided to own up.  I said, Ok God, I totally screwed up.  I admit it.  I got myself into this mess and I'm sorry.  Now I need your help to get out of it.  As you've seen in this blog, he has provided free fridge repair.  He has made my checking account miraculously stretch when I had plane ticket snafus.  He just keeps coming through.  So when it got worse recently and I started having to ignore all phone calls from numbers I didn't recognize?  That was when I owned up.  And I just said, "God help me do this.  Help me fix this."  I didn't even know what that would look like.  I just knew he'd come through.

Last Friday was my last paycheck from Big Ol' Financial Company.  Yesterday, I grudgingly sat down to decide which bills to pay and which to ignore.  It's a nauseating feeling when you sit down to face your own financial stupidity.  So with a sigh, I sat down at the computer.  First thing I did was check my checking account.  Get that balanced to see how much I actually had to work with.  I opened it up and the balance was WAY bigger than it should have been.  Wha...?  My first thought was, oh great.  That's all I need is to deal with my now former-company because they overpaid me.  So I pulled up the pay stub and saw that this paycheck contained my compensation for all of the vacation days from 2008 that I hadn't taken!  I thought that would have been in the severance payment!  Can you believe that?  And let me tell you, this is not just a couple extra dollars.  Not even a couple hundred.  This was more than $1000 more than I was expecting!!!!  Seriously, I had to call my mom and my sister to freak out about how God provided this unexpected extra cash right NOW - at THIS particularly bleak moment.  Does that not ROCK people???

Chalk it up to coincidence.  Dismiss it if you want.  But the timing of it...just when I finally 'fess up and really give it up to God without any expectations.  THAT is God, my friends.

So yesterday, I sat down and paid all of my utilities, my car payment, and I paid all of my credit cards up to date.  I didn't pay anything off.  But that's ok.  I paid them all current.  And on a couple of them, that is like 3 months worth.  I have been thanking God ever since!

I know this country (and dare I say world) is going to be roughing it this next year.  And a lot of people are jumping on the fear band wagon.  Sadly, many of them are Christians - the ones that talk all the talk about living in daily faith, trusting in God.  Well, I'll tell you what these last two years of struggle have done for me: they have shown me what it looks like to wake up and live each day believing God will get you through it.  That part in the Lord's prayer where it says, "Give us this day, our daily bread..." - it's saying "Give me what I need to make it through today."  It's not saying, give me a lottery winning.  It's not saying set me up for life.  It's saying I trust you to provide what I need today.  And I'll trust you'll do it again tomorrow.

That's how I'm gonna live.  Because if I buy into the fear, I'll be back on the anxiety meds in no time.  I like the calm of knowing God totally ROCKS.


C. Beth said...

That is AWESOME. God does totally rock. He is so full of grace--his blessings don't depend on us being perfect! A counselor pointed that out to me one time--when it says "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose"--well, "all things" even includes OUR MISTAKES. That is pretty amazing.

Trish Ryan said...

Amen, Sister! You are so brave to be this honest.

Thanks for the reminder that fear is a rather stupid option when faith works so much better.

Love you :)

Stacy said...

That's wonderful, Lynette!

Oh, and I totally live like a stupid American. I should stop that.

Sarakastic said...

I love this post times one thousand

Mary Ann said...

You totally rock, too!