Last week, my article focused on how marriage/family is affected by one or both partners having a chronic illness, especially in the area of communication. I pray that by sharing my experience, you, as the reader, were able to gain some understanding and ideas on how to keep communication flowing and a positive experience in your home.
Marriage is a growing experience, even more so when we face times of stress and crisis. In learning how to work through the challenge of chronic illness together, man and wife become a united team where they are able to overcome any obstacle, even financial pressure.
Financial stress and the task of trying to make money stretch in a time where you have lowered income and more expenses coming in is enough to make the best marriage show signs of breakage. Randy and I have not escaped this struggle.
As the balance in the checkbook has lowered, the outflow has increased dramatically in our home over the last year. I used to contribute income through getting odd jobs of sewing or photography, and teaching high school English online. As I lost more and more of my abilities, I had to let more and more jobs go… until I couldn’t depend on my abilities to help my husband with providing for our family’s needs.
I went from burning the candle at both ends to having no more candle to burn.
At the same time, our medical expenses shot up. Hospital visits, specialist appointments, and the new expense of medical prescriptions and lots of vitamins and supplements stretched our already lowered income to the breaking point. Each trip to the mailbox brought us another bill for another doctor, another procedure, and another expense for ME. Each one was a sad reminder of how much I had lost and how much I was now a “burden” on my husband and children.
I thank God for the Truth that came to love my heart back to reality through this time; my husband worked really hard to take care of me, of us, and our children, reminding me daily that he has been called to love and provide for our needs … and that I wasn’t a burden… and that God would provide.
It’s true: God’s provision has been there. We have had to really cut back on everything and I am not in a position to supplement my husband’s income anymore. We have had to choose to rely on God each day or focus on the pile of bills sitting on the counter. It has been very hard, but also very rewarding to see how God has worked miracles again and again for us right when we have needed it – - -
In His timing, not ours.
I also believe with all of my heart that He will continue to do so, as we continue to walk this stretch of road God has chosen for me, for us, for our family, down the unknown path of the future.
With hard experiences has come hard-earned wisdom and a deeper ability to work together (most of the time!). We are still learning how to work on being faithful and intentional about using our finances wisely.
Communication and managing finances work together, as you will see in the following lists of what God has taught me in this season, in learning how to work through financial pressures and my chronic illness in our marriage together.
Start with a Foundation of Spiritual Truth about Money:
- Daily, reinforce the Truth that God is your Source and the Provider of what you need, when you need it. * If you and your husband are not on the same page in this, pray and believe that God will answer your prayers for unity in this area of your marriage. *
- Pray together for God to lead you both to have wisdom in being faithful managers of your resources and finances. * I avoid window shopping, reading the feed on Facebook, and looking at websites that encourage me to want more and more, making me dissatisfied with my life and my “things” - I am learning to work with what I have, with God’s help. *
- In putting the truth of the Word into practice, you need to have an open hand of generosity when it comes to your money and resources. * In other words, investing in the Work of the LORD in your local church and by blessing others by looking to meet their needs, you open your heart and life to being blessed by God. *
Real-world Examples of Managing Resources during a time of Chronic Illness:
- Learn the details of your medical insurance, if you have it, and work with the guidelines to minimize costs.
- Be careful to read over and check medical statements for errors, etc. Call and ask questions about anything that doesn’t make sense.
- When facing a huge bill, call the medical provider or facility and ask about a payment plan or other financial help they can offer you.
- Tell your doctor your financial issues with paying for medications. He or she can give you samples and give you a written prescription for generics (if available) to save you money.
- Prioritize your bills and expenses – work with the resources available to you – and do your best to pay things on time to avoid late fees.
- Cut expenses where you can. Do your homework to see if you can get things for free (LIBRARY!) and shop around for the best prices. Eat at home more, clip coupons for necessities, etc.
- Be willing to ask to borrow things from friends and family instead of buying it yourself. I have a cane that I am using for free because I asked to borrow one from a friend.
- Be willing to admit that you need help. It’s SO hard to do this, but I know how often God uses those we love to meet our needs.
- Check in with each other before spending money on any expense not discussed. Again, communicate before, during, and after to avoid misunderstandings and more stress.
- Balance the checkbook often. Keep track of everything and be organized; doing those things will help you stretch your finances to cover as much as possible.
Above all, look to God, pray, talk things over, plan the best you can, hold tightly to each other’s hands, and know that you can overcome this trial together with the Lord’s help.
As the Bible says, a chord of three strands is not easily broken. With God, your husband, and yourself clinging one to the other, you can make it through this time with a strong marriage, no matter what the balance is in the bank.
We are so blessed indeed and cared for by the LORD Himself. Through HIM, we do have all that we need.
* If you need prayer or have tips you want to share with our readers about this topic, please leave a comment or send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org *
To God be the GLORY,
Don’t miss a single post! Take a moment to sign up for the free updates through your E-Reader or in your email. And be sure to join the Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Community where you will find daily updates, Scripture, encouragement and opportunities to share prayer requests or follow us on Twitter!
This week’s blog publication schedule is going to be a little different with some very special articles posted to celebrate our last week leading up to our celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.
Thursday– Holy Thursday-Last Supper Devotion– Mary Joy
Friday– Good Friday Devotion– Mary Joy
Saturday– Joy comes in the morning devotion– Mary Joy