“Babe, we need to have a talk…of the morbid variety.”

I’m sure my husband was thrilled to hear that just after I walked in the door last night after spending the last 10 hours up at church. Nothing says “I’m ready to relax and unwind with you” like a comment like that, right? But it had to be done. I’m getting on a plane on Thursday and spending 4 whole days of my life away from my family and then getting on another plane to come home. And I know, I know. Josh is very quick to remind me that I’m more likely to be killed on the way to work than in a plane crash, but I’m a mom. I need to know there’s a plan in place for my babies. And my hubby too.

The truth is we’re really bad at this kind of planning. Neither of us are insured to the level I want us to be, and we don’t have a will. It’s not that I’m worried about distribution of assets…we don’t really have any of those. :0) But my babies…I just don’t know where I’d send my babies. I want a will so I know they will be provided for and raised the way we would raise them. I want adequate life insurance so whoever is entrusted with such a huge task will be able to do so without a huge financial burden. But I just don’t know who that who would be. How do you make that kind of decision?

Josh and I have had variations of this conversation many times over the years, but we’ve never come to an answer we’re happy with. That’s why we don’t have a will. Does that make us the most irresponsible parents in the world? It sure feels like it right now. In this instance, I’m not quite as worried because, if something did happen to me, Josh is still here, and, thankfully, we are on the same page when it comes to parenting. But any time we walk out that door together without the kiddos, it really bothers me. I guess that’s one reason to be grateful that we don’t go out alone very often. In fact, Saturday night we went out without any of the kids for the first time since January. And it was the first time we went out alone since…I don’t even know…I think August of 2009? But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, we are not properly prepared.

If something were to happen to us, I know both sets of our parents would think they have rights to the kids. And, yes, of course we want our parents to be very much involved in our kids lives, but we don’t want them raising them. Neither set agrees with our parenting philosophies and that’s fine; they don’t have to. But if we were gone, we’d want someone raising our kids who does agree with our philosophies and priorities. But can you really sign a legal document that declares that your kids shouldn’t be raised by family, rather friends?

Obviously, you can, but that just makes me feel so guilty. I don’t know why. I know what’s important to me. But I think the difficulty arises because family is also hugely important to me. It just seems so insulting not to trust family with raising my kids. But the fact is, I don’t. Well, trust is too strong a word. Of course, I would trust them to provide for them and love them, but I don’t think they would give them the same priorities and values that we are working so hard to instill in our kids.

These are the moments that it’s really difficult to be a parent. It’s not the endless supply of dirty diapers and 3 different kids getting up 3 different times in the night. Those moments are trying and exhausting, but not frightening. The fear that comes with parenting can be almost debilitating if you sit around and marinate in it too long.

Interestingly, as I wrote that last line, I had the epiphany that, like so many other causes of stress in my life, it all comes back to fear. You would think I would have realized that before just now, but I hadn’t. The Lord really seems to be trying to teach me not to fear. To have faith. To trust. Those are such difficult lessons for me. I am a control freak, in part, because I know if I’m in control things will go as I see fit. No need for faith. No need for trust. No room for fear. I just make sure things happens exactly as I plan for them to happen. But, lately, I’ve been realizing that’s not good enough for the Lord.

I’ve been on a journey of learning to “let go and let God” since October 2008. Yet, he continually he peals back another layer, phrases the lesson a slightly different way, or illustrates his point anew, just hoping I’ll finally get his message. I’m trying. I really am. But this is such a hard lesson for me. Surrendering all to another is so difficult, but it seems especially difficult for me. Did you know that the Lord tells us not to fear 365 times in the Bible? He left us a message for every day of the year to let go of fear and trust him. Isn’t that awesome? I know I’ve strayed entirely off point, but the Lord continually amazes me and I am truly baffled by his constant, patient, and unfailing love for me.¬† All I can say to that is thank you, thank you, thank you Lord! You are so good to me!

But, wrapping up the initial point of this entry, because I wouldn’t feel satisfied if I didn’t, we are truly unprepared should something unthinkable happen. Now, however, I am much more peaceful about it than when I first started writing. I know that our parenting is in line with the will of God and he will protect that. If he sees fit to bring us home early, he will ensure that my kids are provided for just as he provides for us. That’s not to say that we don’t need to make the appropriate provisions too, just that, as always, God will provide.

Advertisements

Free At Last, Free At Last!!

As I sat down to pay bills today, I realized that, for the first time since February 2004, I would not be making a car payment this month!! I bought the Civic back in ’04 and it’s been paid off since the Spring of ’07, but we still had the Santa Fe payment. That’s one of the glorious things we did with our FABULOUS income tax return. I was excited when I saw how much we were getting back, and I was excited when we wrote the check to Hyundai Motor Finance Company, but none of that compares to how excited I am right now! What a difference not having a car payment makes in the monthly budget!!

It makes me a little sad to know we’re going to have to get a new car in the very near future to accommodate our growing family. I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to handle this upcoming car purchase, since it has to be done NOW, but I know that from now on I will NEVER EVER finance anything again. Not a vehicle, not furniture, not a vacation, NOTHING.

I’m not sure how we as a society got this way. I’m not sure why we think we have to have everything right now, exactly when we want it. And I’m not trying to imply that I’m not a sucker for immediate gratification, because I most definitely am. All I know is debt is a burden I’m no longer willing to carry. It’s like our own form of financial prison.

We’re not completely debt free yet, but I definitely can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I get really bummed out about the times we can’t go out to eat or the clothes I can’t buy or whatever because we’ve been working so hard to pay off debt. But, today, I am completely re-energized. Today, I remember exactly why I want to be released from the shackles of debt. Today, I am completely recommitted to our financial goals. I am so proud of the progress we’ve made so far and I can’t wait to be able to announce that we are 100% debt free!