At the beginning of this year, Hero Hubs and I looked our financial situation square in the face, and had no idea how we were going to make it. We were still figuring out the cost of living in South Africa and the amount of income committed to us by our monthly partners did not look like enough for us to make our budget. And our budget is a bare minimum one â€“ pretty much the least that it takes for us to live here in SA (in a safe place with a car and health insurance) and make ends meet.
We wondered if we were going to have to go back to the States for an extended period to try to raise additional support.
Weâ€™re a rather organized couple for the most part, so we began listing out the options we felt were reasonable possibilities for moving forward. We thought about trying to move to a cheaper place in order to pay less rent, but we were in the middle of a contract and that didnâ€™t feel right. We considered that one of us could look for extra work part time, but we just didnâ€™t have a peace about that either. We thought we might have to go back to the US to raise more support, but weâ€™d only been here four months and that just didnâ€™t seem right either. There were a few other options on the list, and we put them all down in front of us, probably in an Excel spreadsheet. Finally, almost jokingly, we thought, â€œWe have to add the possibility that the Lord wants us to do nothing.â€ In our minds doing nothing seemed like the least likely of options.
Then we prayed together and prayed on our own and spoke with our colleagues Stateside. We both came away feeling the Lord was saying: Do Nothing. Stay the course. Watch Me do something.
We werenâ€™t about to argue with the Creator of the Universe, as senseless as that option seemed, so we stayed the course, and while keeping our eyes open for opportunities He might present, we made no changes.
A couple days ago HH and I sat down to look at our finances. This is a regular occurrence in our household. He has created an incredible Excel spreadsheet with tabs for expenses, income, bank accounts and balances…itâ€™s seriously phenomenal. It takes into account the bank accounts we have in three countries and even the exchange rates for the three currencies we have to work in. Sorry, this story isnâ€™t about the amazing spreadsheet, but it is honestly a thing of beauty.
As we sat looking at the magic spreadsheet, now in June, we can see that our income has exceeded our expectations every month. Somehow we have managed to pay off about $3,000 of debt (paying off Mr. Potato Head), weâ€™ve been giving generously, and we have never missed a meal. Even HH, who knows the ins and outs of the magic spreadsheet looks at it and says, â€œI donâ€™t really even understand how weâ€™ve done that. The numbers donâ€™t even make sense.â€
We have some good friends whoâ€™ve just moved to Boston, and sometimes when one of their kids has a â€œfreak out/tantrum/throw a fitâ€ moment, theyâ€™ll calmly ask: â€œIs there any reason to freak out?â€ On one particular occasion I was around to hear their oldest little girl respond, â€œNo. Thereâ€™s no weason to fweak out.â€
And in my mind Iâ€™ve stored that moment, because I need to hear it myself: Caroline, thereâ€™s no weason to fweak out.
Although at the beginning of the year HH and I were almost fweaking out, being unsure about how we were going to make it, the amazing Creator of the Universe has showed up and blessed us in exceeding abundance. Weâ€™ve had new clothes to wear. Weâ€™ve had plenty to eat. Weâ€™ve had provision at the moments when we needed it most.
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the moment, to fweak out about what seems like an impossible situation, and to feel like you just have to react…you just have to do something. But sometimes, the very thing God is asking us to do is Not to fweak out, and to trust Him.
If I can tell you anything about this today, itâ€™s that weâ€™ve trusted Him this long, and He hasnâ€™t once let us down.