Hear that? It's me, exhaling. Cautiously, but still.
There are times in life when I feel like God is testing me (or us) and we are now at the point in the most recent test when I am eagerly awaiting my grade. Did I pass? Did I set the curve? Heck, did I even meet the curve?
When Steve and I first started the Total Money Makeover ... oh geez, ages ago ... I remember reading in Dave Ramsey's book outlining the plan that we would be tested. Dave tells readers that about the time you think you've got things under control, when you have become much better stewards of what God has given you, the furnace takes a crap or the car breaks down, and there goes the rainy day fund you worked so hard to accumulate for emergencies.
And it does happen. Within weeks of deciding we would change our financial future for the better Steve was laid off from his job. And then our dishwasher broke. And if I think about it for a while I could come up with a host of similar "tests" that happened about the same way over the past five or six years: things seem to be going really great and then ... kaplooey.
Sometimes I think it's God's way of keeping us humble. Not too cocky. A friendly reminder of who is really in control.
I've learned - and I'm still learning - to take those days in stride. I no longer panic when it feels like someone threw a wrench in our plans. I rely on the knowledge that we have always been provided for, even in really lean times, and our children have never known the pain of going hungry or truly living without basic needs.
So when Steve came home a few weeks ago with some time off between work projects, I was actually able to enjoy having that time with him. OK, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a wee bit concerned about how long he would be off work, but for the most part I trusted everything would work. And it has. He's back to the job this week, and while I don't think our current job-and-finance-related challenges are completely behind us, I do feel confident enough to exhale. Until next time. Because if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that there will always, always be a next time.