Just after Christmas last year, I discovered that my checking account was almost empty! It had been a wonderful holiday as the whole family had come to stay. Our house had been full of activities, laughter and love. Now it was empty and so was our bank account. Entertaining and feeding a group of 17 is expensive. Add to that buying the necessities for the babies and projects to keep the preschooler busy, and it cost way more than I had anticipated. Now I worried how we would get by on 83 dollars until payday, which was ten days away. The pantry and refrigerator were both empty. We needed groceries and I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled that would require a copay. I didn’t see any way we would be able to make it.
My story is that for many years I have lived one step ahead of just enough. What does that mean? Well, I’ve experienced years of financial struggles, while an outward appearance made it seem like I had it all. The truth is, I had options to make things look better than they were, including credit cards, an option to refinance our home or get a second, and a path to find a better paying position. When things got tight and there wasn’t enough money, there were options. Then one day, there were no more options, credit cards maxed out, no more offers for higher paying positions, and a downturn in the market meant more was owed on the home then its value. Options were gone; reality had to be faced. And beyond the reality of facing no more options, I had to face the reality that I had been the one to make the choices. Now what? If I’m honest, facing reality is not a very easy thing to do. I spiraled down into a tunnel of darkness. Seeing no way out, I became withdrawn and cocooned in the darkness. The hopelessness wrapped around me, keeping me paralyzed and alone.When I was in this cocooned place, I could not move or see any light of hope.
So, did I ever get out of that dark place? After all it’s not a fun place to be! Slowly, I started to see light, but it was a process! A slow and painful process with hard lessons. Even writing this blog is not easy, because all the facades, prestenses and masks had to come down. I had become comfortable with the life I presented, facades and all. Right now, today, there is no more false outward appearance, just the plain and simple truth. That is how I can write that I have just enough. Yes, just enough for today, for every day and that is a good place to be.
So, what happened? Well, it was only through the grace of God. He helped me to see that I had enough, even if it was just enough. He showed me that all I needed was just enough for today, for this minute. Have you heard a similar story? While in the wilderness, God gave the Israelites manna for each day. They were instructed to collect just enough for that day. If they gathered more and hoarded it, the manna rotted.
Even knowing the story from the Bible didn’t make it easier. It was still a very slow process of accepting that I was going to be okay and God was in control. It meant I took things little by little, day by day. In time, I started to see light through the darkness giving me hope. There is a big lesson here that God really wants me to learn and live by, which I’m trying so hard to grasp. To be totally honest it’s not always enjoyable. The most important lesson He wanted to teach me is that while I have less than I would like— financially or in any other area—I need to trust Him. He will give me what I need, like he always has, just enough. A second but just as important lesson is that I am not alone on this journey of life; He is here alongside me. The third lesson and probably hardest is that He needs my story for His glory. I’m not the only one who has struggled with whether they have enough and I need to be able to be open so others can feel understood and know that they are not alone. He is asking me to be vulnerable and that’s why I am sharing. He gives us all enough. Sometimes just enough, but enough.
I still catch myself worrying whether I have enough, yet God is right there reminding me that He is enough. Of course, I might need to do some things differently, make some changes in my lifestyle. All of these feel different, perhaps even scary. Although I may be uncomfortable with the shifts and there are even things I don’t want to change, in the end, it will be okay And more importantly, I will be ok. My job is to trust and know that Just Enough is His plan!
So, you may be wondering, what happened when I only had 83 dollars? With ten days before the next paycheck would come in, we would receive absolutely just enough for each day. An unexpected refund hit our account, a client called for an emergency appointment, and I even found a check that I had not deposited. In the end we made it to payday with, you guessed it, Just Enough!