I often wonder why it takes me so long to learn the lessons God has for me....I am pretty sure He wonders as well. I grew up in a home where I had everything I needed, and pretty much everything I wanted as well. But my parents were not born into privileged families or given all of the best opportunities growing up, they worked and sacrificed for many years to be able to provide the lifestyle that we enjoyed when I was at home.
Unfortunately, that lifestyle often leads to expectations of ease and wealth in one's adulthood that are not entirely realistic. Although my parents tried to instill a sense of gratitude for what we had and understanding for how we got it in me....I never really caught on. I have been through years of financial struggle (and I am not sure when those years will come to an end!) because I never understood the "value of a dollar" (great...I just channeled by Dad!). I made risky decisions based on my personal, selfish desires without any thought to how they would impact me or my family financially.
My Mom and Dad are frugal---and that is putting it mildly. I used to tease my Mom about re-using plastic bags and tin foil (now there are 3 plastic bags in my sink waiting to be washed and re-used!). I never understood that it was because of their frugality that they could provide for me the way they did. I never grasped the concept of "saving for a rainy day" because I would rather spend it NOW! Even after I came to Christ and started reading my Bible and learning what He intended for me, I criticized my budget-conscious parents for putting their faith in money rather than God. But I was wrong....
Yep, I said it...I WAS WRONG! God does provide for His children, and I believe that with all my heart and soul and being, but God expects us to be responsible with what He has provided us. Our "back-up plan" has always been dependent upon the charity of our family and friends and I have come to realize that is not only selfish (incredibly selfish), but it goes against God's teachings regarding provision.
So now I am learning to find the joy in frugality. I love seeing how far I can stretch my groceries and how creative I can be in the kitchen preparing meals for my family. I enjoy seeing how much I have saved on my receipts when I use coupons or buy on sale. I have learned so much in the past year about what I truly need and what I truly just want. I pray that this financial drought will pass for us, but it may not...and that's okay, for I am content with what God has provided for us and am much more aware of what a true blessing it is!
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' " Hebrews 13:5