I’m about to share a part of my life with you that I have never really felt led to be vulnerable with. Coming from the heart of emotions and feels, choosing to go a different path in my words feels funny this morning, but exciting all the same.
I’ve spent the past year dwelling on this phrase “new season”, because I’ve been in one. Not sure if it’s really even considered to still be all together new, but regardless, here I am. I’m a stay at home mama who has become a penny pincher. I know there are so many of you in different seasons of life. Some working. Some entrepreuning. Some living the easy street in the financial aspect. You are blessed, my friend, but the cool thing in where we are both finding ourselves? Even while rocking my financial budgeting every dollar counts crown, I too am so richly blessed in the Lord. Because what does He tell me?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
Rich or staying on a tight budget, you are blessed beyond comprehension if you know Christ (and oh goodness, I pray you do!) because HE is our treasure!
This August marked a year that I quit my job to become a stay at home mama to my two babies. We adopted my Sadie and 8 weeks later had my Todd. I was working my dream job as a girls minister within a church and because of how awesome the Lord was in that season, He so graciously gave me and my husband a church home to live in that came with my position. It was the absolute greatest blessing for us. But, since then, we have learned so much. Brett and I have made plenty of mistakes in our finances, as I’m sure you have to. We were baby free and had been bit by the travel bug the entire time of our stay in that wonderful little house. We loved to eat out, see movies, shop…spend money. And oh if I could only look back at that Ashleigh and give her advice, it would be to SAVE SAVE SAVE! We had only been married a year when we moved in and had never pursued buying a home. We didn’t have a savings account. Well, we did, but we used it to transfer a million and one times over into our checking throughout the month. How you supposed to save doing that? We didn’t know a whole lot about money, the right way to use it and the right way to save with it.
Fast forward to now. The church gave us more or less a year after I stepped into motherhood to get our bearings before ultimately branching out on our own to find our “home”. We had a lot going on, let me tell you. My husband began school this summer. We were navigating new parenthood with twins. We were also navigating living off of one salary. On TOP of trying to start a budget that we would have to stick with. This past May after house hunting for a month or so, we began thinking. With so much going on, with all we felt we knew then that we hadn’t known before in regards to our money and our finances, we began asking the Lord what the best path for our family would be while Brett finished up school. I kept hearing this word.
Refining. “I’m about to refine you. In every area of your life, Ashleigh. Just be willing to let me do it.”
We sat down first together as husband and wife and prayed over our situation. Every night. For a solid few months. We sought the Lord and we felt Him leading us in wisdom. Fortunately for us, we have amazing family who we knew would truly pray about helping us in this transitional season we had found ourselves in. Yep. We decided to pull out of the contract we had placed on a home and instead, sell our furniture, pack up our things, carry them off to storage and ask to move in with my wonderful in laws for exactly one year while the hubs finished up school.
Talk about being refined. Talk about refining. Talk about humility. It didn’t come easy, my friends. My in laws are absolutely precious and if you’ve had the chance to meet them, you already know that. But, one can’t deny that it IS most refining when you come from having your own home to packing everything up and carrying it off to a storage unit. I’ll admit to you my struggle with the ugly headed pride monster. The Lord is a refining God and He will use the narrow, beaten path to do just that in your life.
And so? Here we are. Welcoming the 4th month of our transitioning season as we continue to do life with my sweet in laws. They have so graciously opened up their home for my little (but wild ) family and as much as Pinterest and realtor.com calls my name, I sit here so very thankful for this refining. I have seen His hand. I have felt His wisdom shape me. I have felt safe in this safe haven we’ve been led to. And now? I’m more motivated than ever to live like no else now so we can live like no else later. (Thanks Dave Ramsey). We really are trying that out. We look at what we think we need, we step back and we ask ourselves, “Do i REALLY need that? Do I REALLY need to swipe my card for that drink, even if only for a buck fifty? Do I REALLY need that gym membership?” The list goes on and I can’t wait to give you a peek into how our way of living has changed for the better in our family! Just one step closer to reaching our goals, short AND long term.
Is it weird that budgeting and living simple, choosing to say no to spending, making lists to tackle our saving, canceling out our debt from the teeniest to the most gigantic (mind you, we are coming from a place of not having a ton of debt, more so like little medical bills here and a car payment there, I’ll unpack this all as I go on)…excites me? I’m such a nerd, but I can’t help myself! Having goals financially for our family excited me to no end! I love paying little things off, I love seeing our savings grow, I love working towards next summer when we will step out to buy a home. And I know the Lord takes delight in the fact that I delight in it all. It’s not having the desire to gain wealth. It’s having the desire to live free. To provide for my sweet little family. To reach goals that will give us more opportunity to press into the beautiful plans that HE has for us, for “who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?…” 1 Corinthians 2:16. God cares about your finances, sweet friend. He cares about your financial freedom. We know this from His Word! So as I continue on in this season of refining, I am thrilled to begin sharing with you a peek into my changed spending, some hacks and tips I’ve picked up in order to knock out expenses, save more and in turn, give more and live in financial freedom! From creating my own gifts and house décor to making extra money to help us reach our goals quicker to things I’ve changed in my spending to inexpensive and free ways I’m making memories with my babies right here in my in between (let’s call it “refining”) season, I am delighted to begin giving you peeks inside!
Are you ready for the Lord to refine YOU in your finances and simple living too, sweet flourisher?
Flourish, baby, flourish,
“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He causes me to stand on the heights…” Psalms 18:33
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
“If you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out…The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and all that you undertake…” Deuteronomy 28:1-6, 8