It's amazing what a new blog design can do to kick up the inspiration to write! What is this, 3 days in a row now? I can't promise I will keep this up all year, but I think now that I have thrown away any expectations for myself and this blog, it's become a lot easier to just sit down and write. I just got home from a quick trip to Gainesville (about 45 minutes away) to drop my mom off at a doctor appointment and swing by Panera to meet up with a friend while I waited for her to get done. My mom and I love to talk, so there is never a moment of silence while we drive. Somehow we got to talking about college and how God provided in so many ways that seem miraculous to me now. Like the one time I got a job four hours away leading worship for a good-sized church. They reimbursed me for gas/mileage AND paid me a generous salary on top of it. Oh, and I was only 19 years old at the time. It basically paid for my entire semester of college that year, and came at a time when I desperately needed it.

And then I started thinking about all the ways God really has provided, even since then.

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2013 was the first year I have officially been "unemployed" and taken on my new role as a stay-at-home mom. Prior to that I had been working various jobs for the past decade, since I got my first job as a cashier at a grocery store when I was 16 years old. 2013 was also the first year, since Josh and I have been married, that we were able to afford gifts for both sides of our families, our little boy, Micah... and amazingly, each other.

Looking back on the year, I have tried to pinpoint a cause for this ease in financial burden. But, honestly, I just can't find one. On paper it doesn't make sense. We have an extra mouth in the family to feed, not to mention buy clothes, diapers and other baby products for. There have been unexpected doctor bills and we still haven't sold our house in Alabama. We could be drowning right now.

Instead, we're floating. And even getting a nice suntan while we're at it.

I don't say this to boast in anything we have done. Or even to say that we are living extravagant lives and throwing money up in the air above our heads. This is definitely not the case. But we have a home - a nice home with enough room for our growing family - we are never hungry and do not have to rely on credit cards to pay for flat tires. There was a time when we did.

We made poor decisions in the past with money, and I believe we suffered the consequences for it. But since we made the choice that I would stay home and raise our children, I have never seen a decision more blessed.

I write this all, not only to celebrate and praise God for what He has done in our lives, but to encourage others out there who need to hear this reminder.

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. Philippians 4:19

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I think we worry too much about what we don't have, instead of really looking at what we do. I know that was the case for me before I had children. It's amazing the difference a shift in perspective can make. I could complain about the movies we don't get to go see in theaters, or the fancy dinners we don't get to have as often, or even the cost of having to pay for a babysitter to do any of these things anymore.

But what I enjoy more than anything these days is a night at home with my family, cooking a nice meal (usually made for a total of $5 or less!) and streaming a new movie on our Xbox for $3.99. We take walks as a family, go to the park, enjoy God's beautiful creation... and nothing costs a dime. Our bank account is full. Our life is even fuller.

There are so many negative things going around about how much having children costs, and "your life will be over" statements that make me cringe! Maybe I'm only one year into it, and I still have a lot to learn, but that hasn't been my experience so far. And I really don't believe God ever intended for it to be.

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. Matthew 6:31-33

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God provides. I have so much faith in this promise, because I have witnessed it with my own eyes. Through the tangible gifts of family, friends and members in our church - He has provided.

But I think we miss the part where it says to, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and live righteously" and forget that there is an action required on our end. Our lives and choices should be evaluated constantly to make sure we are truly seeking what is best for the Kingdom. If we do this, we can rely on His promise to supply everything we need.   Sometimes that means taking a leap of faith when it doesn't make sense on paper. It doesn't mean you're irresponsible, it just means you are trusting in a God who is more responsible than you. And most importantly, a God who knows what you need before you ever know you need it.  

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