Today is August 8, 2014. Five years ago today, on August 8, 2009, I said "I do" to the most ravishing man on Planet Earth. I cannot believe it has been five years. That's 60 months. That's over 1800 days. That's half a decade!! Yet it all seems like yesterday that we were standing at the altar, reciting our marriage vows, and giggling and giving high fives... because we are cheesy like that :) We have had our challenges for sure, but we are SO in love with each other and so grateful that God handpicked us for one another. Life is just SO much fuller with my Trice!! Happy happy anniversary love!!
In honor of our anniversary, Trice challenged me to think over the last 5 years and come up with 5 different lessons to share that I have learned so far in our marriage. We are by no means marriage experts, but we do have 5 years, 2 kids, several moves and job changes under our belt. We have had happy times in marriage and sad times in marriage. Good and bad. Fulfillment and boredom. Rich times and poor times. Sickness and perfect health. So I do feel like we have a little experience! And we have had to learn some lessons the hard way! So what I will *attempt* to do is post 5 different nuggets that we have learned over the course of the next month in honor of our marriage! I can't make any promises that they will all be done this month, because that's life. But I will try :) My hope is that no matter what phase of marriage you are in, whether you are engaged, a newlywed, new parents, or have been married for decades, that God will speak to you through some of the lessons He has taught us!
Here is lesson number one:
1. My husband is NOT our provider.
Until the last several months in our marriage, I believed that my husband was the provider of the family. He works, he makes the money, so he provides, right? Well, what if there was NO work on the books? What if there was no money in the bank? If I view my husband as the provider of the home, it seems as if he is no longer doing his job when we enter a dry season.
As a freelancing family, there are seasons of solid work, where Trice is away for days or weeks at a time (such as now!), and there are seasons of zero work. Yes, I mean ZERO work. We have had countless times in our marriage where Trice is home for 6-8-12 weeks at a time with NO work, and it can be SO stressful. In the past I have whined to Trice and told him he needs to go flip burgers, build something or go mow people’s grass if he isn’t going to work for that big of a period. I have stressed to him that HE is the provider of the home and he needs to do SOMETHING to generate an income when there isn't much work on the books. We have stressed out, cried, closed our giving hand, begged God for work opportunities to pop up and sold random things in the house. We have had total freak out moments.
A few months ago we were in another slow season, and I was starting to get antsy as I watched the numbers dwindle in the bank account. I spent some time praying, begging God to help us and reading my Bible. And that's when I came across Proverbs 10:16:
"The earnings of the godly enhance their lives..."
I don't know why, but this particular time that I read this verse I read it in a different light. It doesn't say the earnings of the godly provide for their lives. It says that the godly's earnings are for ENHANCEMENT, not survival. So if the godly's earnings are for enhancement....... then who makes sure that our needs are met? So I flipped through my Bible and highlighted and rehighlighted all the verses I could that dealt with provision. Here are a few that caught my eye:
Proverbs 10:3 - "The Lord will not let the godly go hungry."
Proverbs 11:28 - "Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring."
Psalm 23:1 - "The Lord is my Shepherd. I have all that I need."
2 Corinthians 9:8, 10 - "And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others... For GOD is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat..."
Philippians 4:19 - "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."
According to these Scriptures, GOD is the provider of our needs!
I have always known this in a head knowledge sort of way, but now I feel like I KNOW this with my heart. It's like I "knew" it but still looked to Trice to provide all our needs. Yes, I know husbands (or wives in some families) are the ones who work, but GOD provides the work in the first place. God provides the vegetables and fruits and meat for the grocery stores to sell. God provides the cotton crop for us to be able to purchase our clothing.
It is a totally unfair pressure to place on a husband to be THE provider of the home. That's a HUGE weight to carry alone. Yes, we have a responsibility to steward the work and income that God provides, but what a perspective change to view GOD as our provider. Now, I'm not condoning laziness by any means. There are PLENTY of verses in the Bible that talk about working hard and not being lazy. When Trice is home for several weeks at a time, he does not sit idly by. No, he calls his contacts and seeks out work opportunities. But sometimes, the opportunities are just not there. That's the way of freelancing. But instead of stressing out in our slow seasons, we have learned to view those seasons as a time for REST and refreshment. It is SO hard to rest, give or volunteer when we don't truly believe that we are going to have our needs met. But when you trust in God as your provider, PEACE allows you to do those things!
We have a little notebook that we keep updated with different miracles God has worked in our finances. I wish I could just write out all the stories of God's faithfulness. Like the time our honeymoon unexpectedly got "gifted" to us. Or the time that we bought Emerson's rocking chair for less than half the price that it was supposed to be. Or the times that we have had ZERO money for the next month, and outstanding checks came in on the 31st, just in time for us to pay our bills on the 1st. Time and time again, God has provided for our needs. And although God keeps providing over and over again, it has still been so easy for me to forget and turn to my husband and tell him to step up his game. God cautioned me a while back not to have memory loss when it comes to His provision. Psalm 106:24 says "The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn't believe His promise to care for them." I don't want to make that same mistake. I don't want to knowingly choose the desert because I don't trust God. I want to trust God fully and completely and enter His promised land! And part of trusting God to take care of us is to not put unfair pressure on my hubby when things get tight.
So as we celebrate our 5 year anniversary this month, we also celebrate 60 months of God’s provision for our family. We have never gone hungry, never missed a bill, never had the electricity shut off, always been able to buy groceries and have had all of our needs met. Every. Single. Month. For 60 months! That's 60/60. That's 100% of the time! We applaud God's goodness and faithfulness and cherish every single surprise check in the mail, surprise last minute gig on the books and His constant hand on our lives. We choose to open our hand of giving, walk in confidence and peace, and continually trust Him for the rest of our lives. If you have dealt with this issue of provision, don't look to your husband to fix your finances, but make the choice to TRUST GOD today. God will not let you down!
In closing, I wanted to share one of my favorite passages of Scripture. We have this in our office, and when it starts to get tough to trust God's provision, I love looking to this Word from God and being reminded of His provision!
Matthew 6:25-33 - “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
"And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."
Remember Who your provider is. Love and hugs!