Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Remember these? I don't even know if they make sliding puzzles anymore, but my budget feels a lot like one of them.
I'm still in the process of making sound investment decisions to cover my needs for decades to come.  Rob taught me well: live frugally, give generously and save for the future and we did this effortlessly with a nice salary.
But death of the primary bread winner extracts the easy from all of this and who ever said living by faith would be without effort? 
Life insurance proceeds must be balanced with burial costs and Cobra plans with investment strategies. It has to last!
Don't get me wrong; Rob left me blessed with enough to cover all of my bills and most likely, much more. 
But I'm learning how to move this financial puzzle into the right order  and I'm still not sure which tile to move next. (Yes, I have a wonderful adviser, but fear often trumps wisdom.)
Bottom line...My lifestyle has changed and I find myself fighting shrinking trust and ugly pride.
Oh, I've been comfortably paring down to a simpler lifestyle; actually it doesn't look much different than before Rob's illness. And what if the necessity to do so is totally unnecessary, but still good for the soul?
But giving has taken a big hit! 
I love feeding orphans, drilling wells, commemorating special events with a lot of love tied with pretty bows. 
I'm blessed to have a lot of friends and my love language is...you, guessed it... gift-giving! 
I've had to skip a lot of opportunities to repay great kindness shown to Rob and me. That grieves me! Being raised with the notion that an invitation always warrants a carefully chosen present, I worry what my friends will think when they open up just a card or a token gift. Will people be insulted or worse, pity me? Will they think Rob didn't provide well enough? Will they still want to be my friend?
I'm flat embarrassed, proof that pride keeps rearing it's ugly head! 
I hate me for being more worried about my image than I am grateful for the blessing of friendship. I'm not even sure if I love giving for the right reasons!
I confess; I have struggled with skipping groceries and medications so I could purchase a nicer wedding gift or a fancier lunch. 
Total insanity, but I wonder if I'm the only one who plays this game?
However, human need is no game! A starving child needing a meal, a pregnant woman sickened by dirty water... no time for inaction, so I question my level of faith when I don't dive into my savings account to heal a little more of the planet and a little less of me. 
How do I balance first and third world issues on a fixed income?  
Seems like death uncovers a host of flaws and conflicts...only resolved by coming clean before a Holy God. 


Rebecca said...

Oh friend, what deep thoughts you have, but yes, I guess it is a blessing to be able to see so clearly the heart of the issues and to seek out your own motivations for giving great gifts. I love your heart of compassion, especially for those who could never give you anything in return. When you can't dig deep into your saving to give an extravagant gift, remember that your friendship and love is a gift in itself and for other great needs could use the wonderful and priceless gift of your prayers! :) I know that takes great trust, and for me I almost daily struggle with this, "Do I REALLY believe that prayer is valuable?" How's that for honest!?! At moments I do falter with this one, but then God patiently and sweetly shows me again and again and proves to me that prayer really does matter, it is valuable, He does hear, and it does make a difference! So, when your pennies are fewer, your prayers can be greater! love you, love you, love you!

Robin said...

Oh, Rebecca. You are my beautiful encourager! I learn so much from you. I think we have to be honest if we want God to use us to touch others. I hope this corner of the internet feels like a place to sit (maybe with a cup of coffee) and ask the hard questions, weep and laugh with each other. I feel awfully rich today because of your friendship and encouragement