Sunday, February 3, 2008

Get Your Church On, with Sister Seven

Sister Seven is just that, the seventh child in our very large family. She lives in AL where she dotes on her cutie-patootie husband and homeschools her two beautiful daughters. Sister Seven does love her some Jesus and is bringing church to us this Sunday morning.

I was going to talk about home schooling, but during a conversation with my Sister HB, I told her my awesome God story and she said I should write about that. So, I will. Because she is my favorite.

Psalms 68:35 "You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!"

God is so awesome. I know this and have always known it but there are some days when I feel/know it more. Some of you are familiar with our situation. I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful girls. They are 3 ½ and 5 years old. As with most stay-at-home moms, money is always tight. That wasn’t always the case.

When both my husband and I worked full-time (before kids) we made great money and really didn’t have to budget much. We got married when I was 23 and he was 22(or so). When I was 26 we started trying to get pregnant. We succeeded almost immediately, but I lost that baby at nine weeks. After that we could not get pregnant. After trying for over two years we started fertility treatments. We did almost a year on clomid and one month on injections and other hormone medications, which was very expensive.

We were getting ready to do our next month (out of pocket) fertility treatment when God gave me something else to focus on. I started listening to Dave Ramsey and got carried away with him and his financial philosophy.

My husband (K) and I knew that we wanted me to stay home with our kids when we were finally able to have them. We also knew that wouldn’t be possible unless we got a bunch of stuff paid off. In 8 months we paid off $17,500 in debt and made our last car payment.

The next month I got pregnant.

Five years later we had two kids and our financial situation was very depressing. I was scared to share with K. how bad things really were. I didn’t know what to do.

What I did know, was that God put the desire in my heart to stay home with the kids. Going back to work full-time wasn’t the solution for our family. So I tried many different part-time jobs. As is the case with part-time employment, my bosses needs increased and they wanted me to work more hours each day and more days each week.

The last job I had paid $10.00 per hour. I was assured that my schedule would match my daughters school hours-Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-1:30. Shortly after I started working, my manager changed my schedule from what I was promised, to two full days. I had to find a babysitter who could pick my girls up and keep them until I got home from work. My babysitter charged me $5.oo an hour, which didn’t leave me much money to add to my family's budget.

By February 2007, we were upside down approximately $400.00 each month and my job wasn’t working. I was getting so stressed out trying to figure out what bills to pay and when to pay them. At the same time I was starting to feel that I should homeschool Audrey. My plan was to begin when she was in first grade. I talked to my husband and he wanted me to start home schooling her for kindergarten.

We were MINUS $400.00 each month. Homeschool my daughter was on the horizon. I had no idea how to get the bills paid. I start to pray. I feel like God has called me to homeschool. I know I am suppose to stay home with the kids. I pray, and I pray. And I keep praying

In June my friend came up with the idea that we clean houses. So we prayed about that too and before we know it, we each had one house to clean.

Now I have the tendency to sometimes think that I may know a bit more than God. So I asked Him to give me four or five houses to clean each month. (Because I am Super Mom.) I figured I could manage cleaning two homes each week and earn an additional $400.00 a month. Exactly what we needed to break even. (Of course, God had other plans.)

I started my new cleaning career and was doing great. Before I knew it I had Nasty Nancy (a very nasty house) every other week. Mini Mansion Morgan (a much nicer but bigger house) every other week. Perfect Pam (a perfectionist house) every other week. I also cleaned a few others once a month.

At the same time I start trying to home school Audrey. I was very busy with the house cleaning and not able to school her like I wanted. I was having to either take Audrey with me when I cleaned, or pawn her off on other people. I hated doing that.

Madison was attending a Christian preschool two days a week. I was trying to take care of my own home as well as other activities I was involved in. I was getting tired and stressed and I wasn’t doing school like I felt I should. I felt like Audrey was getting the leftovers and we were doing only what was required. That was not at all how I envisioned things to be. I wanted to do more than the minimum but I couldn't figure out how.

So I start praying again. I said “OK God you were right, I really don’t need this many houses and I want to do the right thing and teach Audrey well. But you know our finances. Please work out a way that I don’t have to work as much and we are still able to pay our bills and have a savings account and a cushion in the checking account.”

I began praying about this in October. Now remember, we were negative $400.00 every single month. When I was cleaning all of the houses I was able to pay the bills and usually have about $12.00 left in our account before my husband got paid again. I was expecting a miracle - and as always God is faithful, especially when you are doing his will for you in your life.

In November, I received an offer to clean at BellSouth. The contract would go through December. I accepted the position and recruited a few of my friends to help me clean. This was a great job. We were paid $15.00 an hour to clean offices. Shortly after I started cleaning the offices I was FINALLY able to get rid of a few of the houses I cleaned every week.

One afternoon, my husband came home and told me he took the whole week of Christmas off. Now most of you would be saying "Great! Now we can stare into each others eyes and cuddle all day long." But that is not the case with my husband.

When K. is home too much he gets bored. Then he gets depressed. It all goes downhill from there. So, rather than do cartwheels at the news, I told the man he had to find something to do to keep himself busy. Or I might have to pull my hair out. And I have cute hair.

I was still working too much so I kept praying. I prayed that God would provide a way for Ken to make some extra money. I also prayed that God would find a way to keep him busy during the Christmas holidays.

(I'm sure some of you are going to wonder, “Why should you make your husband work two or more jobs just so you can stay home with your kids?”. My answer to that is this. In our family my husband needs to feel like he is providing for us the way he wants to. He is also a man who goes stir-crazy if he is home more than a few hours a day. He needs something outside of work and family to feel fulfilled and satisfied.)

Shortly after I got the BellSouth job, K. asked to be put on the access list so he could help. That was awesome because I wouldn't have to work so much, and he would work his butt off happily bringing home more money.

He worked an extra 67 hours in a two week period! His normal work days are 6:30 am until 5pm. K. worked his regular job and every night he would go to BellSouth and clean. It was so great. He was happy because that is what he has wanted all along, and I was happy because things were getting less tight financially and I knew he would have something to do the week of Christmas.

God had even more in store for us! K. talked to his boss the Friday before Christmas and told her that since six people were off the week of Christmas he would be happy to work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (his vacation days) for his normal pay rate. She said no. She didn’t think she would need him. When he got home he told about their conversation. I told him he should have told me earlier so I could start praying. I decided to start praying about it anyway and on Wednesday morning she called K. and asked him to work. He worked four hours but got paid for the whole day. I continued praying and he got called in to work Thursday and Friday as well. We made an extra $680.00 plus what K made cleaning BellSouth.
We decided to take the $680.00 and purchase a Wal-mart gift card so I didn’t have to take grocery money out of our budget.

Right now I clean one house every week and we have $175.00 cushion in the checking account, $850.00 in our savings account and a $200.00 check waiting to be picked up today. I have been able to spend as much time on school these last two months that I felt I needed to do. Audrey is doing amazingly well. I took Madison out of pre-school and am teaching her at home now as well.

God knew all along that I only needed two houses. He just waited for me to realize He knew best.

God is our Jehova-Jira, Our Provider, for all things, not just money, but family, friends, peace in times of trouble, joy etc.

What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.


Sister Honey Bunch said...

Rock on with yo bad self.

Sister Sassy said...

God is my Ezer K Negdo

cool for you! you wanna drive your skinny ass to my house to clean?

Wade Huntsinger said...

What a wonderful story Sister Seven. How many of you people exist. Did I hear one of you guys live down here. Cool. I am beginning to see that Sassy has her name for a reason. Is she the baby? Anyway, that is an awesome story and God is good to the goodest extent. He is always there even when we do not realize it. He is our provider, our protection and He is our Promise. God bless all you sisters.....

Sister Sassy said...

Wade, how'd you know I'm the baby :) lol

And bless you and yours Wade.

The Romantic Portuguese Daughter said...

God is so GOOD! What a wonderful testimony! One of these days I'll have to post about mine.

Oh...sister sassy, Thanks for stopping by blog. I am keeping the chair and table set. I wanted to change the seat covers but, I can't get the cushions off...LOL!
My kids have been making Valentines all weekend on it.

Thanks again,

Ashlee said...

Such a great story of faith. Thanks for sharing!

Sister Big said...

That's a great story; you are one patient young lady. I'm sure there's a scripture about patience... By the way, that is such a cute picture of you! You look mah-ve-lus!

mom of 2 said...

That is a great story, Sister Seven! Thanks for sharing it! I try to remind myself daily that I need to let God be in control of my life instead of trying to grab the wheel and steer it myself. I always end up going the wrong way. This story is a great reminder of that!!

Brother Jimmy Eat World said...

Great story Sister Seven! As sister sassy has said, God is our Ezer K Negdo, he sustains us and often, just in time. Thanks for sharing and can't wait till the next post!