I spent the better part of my afternoon today trying to relearn how to successfully coupon. I want so desperately to save our family money where I can, and I hear all these crazy stories from friends (people I really know!) of getting $300 worth of groceries for like $86. It has to be possible.. right?!
This rabbit hole stemmed from a quiet panic that has been rising within me all month. It happens every month. About this time.. after the bills have been paid, we've used up most of our budget categories, and I see the bank account getting lower and lower, I just begin to slowly self-destruct. I start feeling like a burden to my husband, I start googling job openings in Nashville, and then.. I recommit myself to couponing. As if this will solve all of our problems. Ha!
The reality is, our finances are fine. Logan makes plenty to allow me to stay home, and we never struggle to "make ends meet," but ever since I closed the retail portion of my business (read: the part that made the *relative* big bucks), I wring my hands over every tiny purchase and stress as the money - that's been carefully budgeted and responsibly dealt with - gets spent. I feel an obligation to save our family money, since I'm not making our family money.
All of this to say, I found a cheap recipe that sounded good for dinner and had to pick up a few things at Kroger before I do our real grocery shopping later this week. Naturally, "a few things" turned into $40 worth of groceries and I left with a pit in my stomach. Did I spend that money wisely? Were those items that weren't on the list really necessary? Is milk necessary? Did I find the best deal?
As I'm running through these questions in my head, trying to stave off the guilt of making the bank account drain a little more and remind myself of the reality that we have to eat, I turn out of the parking lot behind an 18-wheeler Kroger truck that was leaving the store as well, and on the back of the trailer, someone had taken a Sharpie and written "TRUST JESUS" almost unnoticeably in the bottom right corner. Exactly in my line of sight.
The swirling thoughts immediately fell to the ground. Trust Jesus.
Money. Groceries. Saving saving saving. Working. Staying home. Trust. Jesus.
What sweet relief washed over me at the sight of those words. In Jesus, my hope is found. Not in coupons or bank accounts or salaries. It's in Jesus.
I've questioned my decision to be a stay at home mom hundreds of times, and continue to, mostly for financial reasons and because sometimes I wonder if I was really cut out to play this role - and today was the first day that I realized that instead of viewing my current situation as something upon which to improve, maybe I should just look at it as a sacrifice. I do want to be home with my children, putting them down for naps and feeding them and watching them learn instead of letting someone else do that. I'm selfish for those moments and responsibilities. Instead of viewing this decision as something that holds me back from allowing our family to live more comfortably, or fulfilling a deeper desire in my own mental space, maybe I should view it as a worthy cause that also happens to bring some sacrifice with it. What a beautiful thing to sacrifice a "more comfortable" life in exchange for all those precious moments and memories. And maybe in a different season, it will be time to go back to work, and that will be beautiful too.
This realization came just hours before the Kroger wisdom.
Trust Jesus. It's like nothing else mattered suddenly. Just Jesus.