In exactly 17 days, I will celebrate the 1 year anniversary of quitting my ‘dream’ job to follow my heart. And by follow my heart, I mean living for an undetermined amount of time on a single paycheck, while paying for school, working for free (aka student teaching), and paying for daycare.
In case you missed it, I quit my self proclaimed ‘dream’ job around this time last year. I loved my job, but my heart was not in it. I wanted to teach, and I wanted to spend more time with my family. So I took a giant leap of faith last November and walked away from my very stable and comfortable job, only to face plenty of bills and unemployment.
So many people called me crazy, y’all. Seriously. I had nothing to do but rely on my faith in knowing that God had a bigger, better plan for me most days. And other days, I let the criticism get to me and I lost focus on what I was doing. Those 9 months were a total roller coaster of emotions. I cried and doubted myself a lot. I panicked as I watched my savings dwindle down, and I felt some pretty serious guilt for putting my family in the situation that I did.
But don’t you know, the God I serve is bigger and better than any doubt or guilt or financial burden I face.
I have to share this story with you because it really shows how God does provide. I am overwhelmed when I think about just how faithful He is.
As I was preparing to quit my job last year, I spent some time building up a small savings account to help provide for us while I was unemployed. With my paycheck, I typically paid for daycare for the month, bought groceries and toiletries, and paid for my gas. I wanted to continue to pay for those things as best I could, so that would enable Ben to continue saving and paying for other bills.
I had November and December of last year off before I started student teaching. I spent cautiously at Christmas last year, hoping to stretch my little savings account as far as I could. From January-May, I spent $440 a month on daycare. That was almost an easy $2,000 on childcare for the time I was student teaching. Seriously, so many days I came home in tears, thinking of what I was putting us through.
Groceries were the next big bill. I spent as little as I could, and cut as many corners as I could find. I did some couponing when I had the time, and relied on a frozen stockpile I had started accumulating before I quit my job. Even with this, I still spent an average of $300-400 a month on groceries. So, even figuring with $300 a month for food from November to July, that’s still around $2,700 for eats.
As summer approached, my little savings account was quickly becoming lifeless. I spent as cautiously as I could. I had NO income. And yet, God still managed to provide. Every time I looked at my bank account, I was certain I should have less money than what I had in there. I got summoned for jury duty, and got a $30 check for that. Then, I got to substitute teach a few days at the end of May, and got a $120 check for that during June. We planted another garden, and it grew beautifully over the summer. We managed to get a lot of great meals for free! I counted every penny and held on tight.
As the end of July was drawing near, I had no job, and no prospect for a job. I stopped looking at my bank account, and just prayed that God would take care of us. I was so, so discouraged.
The last week of July I managed to get an interview for the position I have now. I never thought it would work out, and I felt like the cards were stacked against me. And lo and behold, a few days later I got the call that I had gotten the job. It was an interim position, but it was for a year, and it was with full pay and benefits. Praise the Lord!
I started work in August, and worked 2 1/2 weeks before I got my first paycheck. It was on a Friday. I’ve never been more happy to get a piece of mail in all of my life. I pulled up my online bank account for the first time in over a month, and I immediately started crying. $32.14. Thirty-two dollars and fourteen cents. That was all I had left to my name before I had gotten that first paycheck. Months of unemployment. Months of paying for necessities and bills. Months of thinking that I should have already ran out of money. And months that He provided for us.
Isn’t that the way He works? He’s always there. Always. It may not be on our time, but it’s always right on time.
Looking back on this past year, I’m overwhelmed. I’m blessed. And I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the unexpected lesson in faith, following your heart, and finances. And I’m here to say this: if God is leading you to it, He will lead you through it.