Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred. ~ Proverbs 15:17 (NAS)
We were young, and we were poor. The rent for our first apartment was $175 per month, utilities included. Our landlord, Nora, sweetened the deal by regularly providing cookies, coffee cake and other goodies left on the stairs to our second floor newlywed nest.
A big date for us was to ride my motorcycle to the bank to withdraw five dollars from the fast-cash machine. Then it was off to the store to splurge for authentic ingredients for Toll-House® chocolate chip cookies! We often devoured the whole batch in one sitting!
The following year we moved from southern Indiana to Chicago. Flu symptoms flattened us a week before moving. They were still lingering when we arrived in Chicago. Jill’s flu was diagnosed as pregnancy. Yikes! Not planned, no maternity insurance, and no home. It was not a good script for financial success, but we were certain that we were doing what God had led us to do.
We moved into the home of a polio victim to care for her and her father in exchange for room and board. That was a tough situation for a first-time expectant mother, so we put our names on the list for a campus apartment. The same day we were notified that we miraculously moved to the top of the list we were also informed of our eligibility for a student HMO with no pre-existing conditions clause for pregnancy. Three months later Joshua entered our world for the cost of seven dollars. We brought him home to a 700 square-foot apartment. It was small, but the privacy was priceless compared to the boarding situation.
From Chicago we moved to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, for my first job post-Master’s. After a year of golf, seafood and walking our toddler on the beach, we moved back to the land of familiar in Ohio to raise our children amidst family.
We signed papers for our first home in Jill’s hospital room on the day Carly was born (a few hours after her birth, not during labor as requested by the attorney). Four years later we moved onto the family farm for a great setting to raise kids. All the while I was working for the community mental health agency. Wages were low, but our needs were always met.
The late 90’s brought more income. We arranged legitimate vacations and didn’t worry as we had in the past. We even bought items that weren’t on sale or for which we didn’t need a coupon! In 2004, we volunteered to upset that security when we decided to participate in a national endeavor to save marriages. It’s been back to faith living ever since.
I’ve always wanted to provide more for my family, but Jill has always reassured me that it’s not money she wants. “I want us to do what we’re supposed to do, and for us to be okay.” That’s pretty special, and certainly evidence that she meant her vow “for richer or for poorer”.
Here’s to you on your birthday, honey! I love you. (originally published during surprise birthday trip for Jill, Sept. 8, 2008)
Thank you, Lord, for supplying all of our needs. Thank you, too, for modeling your sustenance as doing the will and work of Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.