Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Part of the Process

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

So for several months I have been trying to write this post, but every time I sat down to put my thoughts into words, it was still too hard. See, I want to share more about the process of paying off our ministry deficit. It was a tough, yet rewarding year - full of little treats. Last January I mentioned that we received some tough news. Well, that news was that we weren't making progress quickly enough on our deficit with InterVarsity. When Mike and I got married, our support budgets with InterVarsity merged; unfortunately for us that meant we combined two deficits into one ginormous deficit: $29,000 worth of deficit. Even now, it's tough for me to write that $$$ amount because it's plain embarrassing to admit that's where we were {I need to say that the Lord has/is continuing to heal me from these feelings, especially as I choose to walk in truth}. Folks, in an effort to be transparent and authentic, there it is. And, I think {hope} it will be good for my soul to write about the process.

Well, the hard news in January was that our salary with InterVarsity was being cut by 75% in order to reduce the deficit. I don't think I will ever forget that night, it was a Thursday - the first large group meeting with our college students. We showed up that night and did our best loving college students...and asked Jesus to keep loving on us. Throughout the next couple of days, Mike and I clung to one another and Jesus. We took turns in the following days {and weeks} being fearful, angry, confused, and then, in desperation, we would pray together. We kept praying...because we didn't know what else to do.

I could list all of the different things we did to "make it," but, honestly, the way we made it work was through the Lord's strength and provision. Seriously, he knew every one of our needs and met each one: I got a permanent job at UGA right before the salary cut, a friend wrote us a check when we needed a car repair, my parents hired us to do some work on their rental properties {thanks Mama & Daddy} which helped us pay for a couple months worth of car payments, another family member sent us "fun" money each month which oftentimes just went towards our bills. Our financial partners continued to give generously and cheerfully. Our hearts continue to be overwhelmed with thanksgiving for them. These are just a few examples how the Lord powerfully met our needs and showed us his love. To Him be the glory!

Simply put, the salary cut allowed us to bring in more money each month than what we spent on our salary. The surplus slowly whittled away the deficit. With our reduced income, we became big fans of Dave Ramsey and started budgeting like two super Steve Urkel nerds. We used {are using} the envelope system and a cash budget. We cut all of our "fun" categories to the bare minimum. We used to spend 85% more on going out to eat than we do now {kinda scary}. Needless to say, I cooked WAY more than I had been cooking {I tried lots of new recipes and our friends were gracious to just come over for dinner or invite us over instead of going out}. Mike got a part-time job at Target during the busiest part of the InterVarsity year to help make ends meet {Thanks, babe.}

Through this ten month journey, the Lord reminded me again and again of something I forgot along the way. "He cares for me" {1 Peter 5:7}. Like really cares. It was a tough road, but it was filled with special surprises. We went on several mini-vacations during that time {Blue Springs, Oak Island}; we celebrated our First Anniversary; we trained for and ran a 5K and then a 10K together; we went to the Catalyst Conference. Somehow, in the midst of penny-pinching, we were able to pay for these extras.

That's it, really. Along the way, we tried to and imperfectly loved college students {and still continue to love 'em}. They were transformed and made new
by Jesus. I'm grateful we got to participate.

At this time last year, I knew that the Lord would be teaching me about self-discipline. Little did I know how much. Thank you, Jesus, for your daily bread and for lifting me out of the mud.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your vulnerability Leanne. I love seeing how God works in crazy big ways! We have quite a few stories ourselves. We should swap some at Oak Island this coming year! wink Praise God for his faithfulness, and your obedience!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...