Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Money Troubles

And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide;[a] as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
(a. Genesis 22:14 Hebrew YHWH Yireh)
~Genesis 22:14, NKJV~

Don't laugh, but after years of serving parents of special needs children and blogging, I am aghast that I have never written anything about the incredible financial challenges parents endure in our situation.  One does not have to look very far to find numerous articles on the impact of special needs on family finance.  Issues range from the unseen financial toll of special needs to the ways that money troubles can influence divorce, and there is plenty of information out there.

Regardless of what is being discussed in the public arena, what impacts us most is what is happening in our own individual lives.  No one can convince us it will be okay when we are the one with no money and no financial help in sight.  The absolute stress and anguish when we have a child with essential needs, and endless bills flooding our mail, is one of the toughest parts of parenting such a unique human.

That is why those of us who have not only survived, but now thrive in spite of such trials need to share our own personal stories. These are tales of hope, encouraging us to hang on in spite of what seems like impossible circumstances.  Our stories edify and give strength to press forward for even one more day when it feels easier giving up.

I will prime the pump with just a few of the amazing tales of how God has been our Jehovah Jireh in the most unlikely of times.  Hard-working and fiscally responsible would describe how my husband and I viewed ourselves before becoming the parents of children with special needs.  We did not carry credit card balances or have car payments.  We only spent what we had.  Yet, that fiscal responsibility of our own did us little good when my husband found himself between jobs 5 times over a 7 year period.  Add to that stress the tsunami of medical bills that came our way when our son was born with an outrageously expensive genetic illness.  Add to that the financial challenges of my need for 3 knee surgeries, physical therapies, pain management therapies and an eventual partial knee replacement all stretching over a 2 year period.  Add to that a second child with special needs, with most of the diagnoses or treatments not being covered by insurance.  Add to that dental issues in 3 of our 5 family members costing over $6,000 out-of-pocket beyond what dental insurance covers in one year.

By the world's standards, our family financial situation is utterly hopeless.  There is no reason we should have been able to hang on to our home.  There should have been no reason we could keep our eldest daughter in a private Christian school through her second grade year.  There should be no reason we have clothes or food on the table or cars to drive.  And yet, we live an unexpectedly wonderful life.

I could (and just may) write a book about the times and ways God has rescued us by His provision.  There was the time that our eldest daughter had her remaining tuition paid for by a generous anonymous donor during that second grade year.  There was the time we were completely out of money and that same daughter came home from school with a sealed envelope with $200 cash in her backpack.  There was another time where an anonymous cashier's check came in the mail, with enough to pay for our mortgage.  There was the church Thanksgiving basket that showed up in a laundry basket at our house.  There was the local company that mysteriously arrived, buying Christmas gifts for each of our children.  There were the refund checks that we didn't know we had coming that showed up in the mailbox.

These are just a few of the instances where God appeared just in time to launch our financial rescue in the face of utter desperation.  No doubt, He took us to the very edge of the fiscal cliff, but he never let us plummet off of it.  I would contend that He did this so that we would know that He is our provider and no one else.  Until we were willing to fully rely on Him because He was all we had, deliverance was not possible.  But He graciously and gloriously showed up.  (In a future post, I will describe why I think help came for us when sometimes, it does not come for others.)

Friend, know that in the midst of the disproportionate financial burdens that families with a child who has special needs may bear, there is a God who is our Provider.  He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.  He is the God of miracles.  And He stands at the ready waiting for you to turn to Him.

PRAY:  Lord, I want to know you as Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.  I put my trust in You, crying out for your help.  I need a miracle to financial provide for my family.  Help me to be a wise steward of that which You have blessed me with.

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