When my husband was in his third year of seminary, we’d just about run out of funds. There was one week that we had absolutely no money left to buy groceries because of some unexpected expenses. I mean none—not even an extra dollar bill lying around the house. Just when I was starting to truly fret, I noticed a personal letter in our daily mail—a note of encouragement from an elderly woman I’d met only once before. She knew my husband was in seminary and that things were tight, so along with the note, she enclosed a 20-dollar bill. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was enough to tide us over until the next paycheck. With that small amount we were able to buy some staples—oats, rice, milk, canned goods, peanut butter, bread. It was a rather boring week of food, but it made meal preparation really easy!
So that gives you some idea of what our circumstances were like in those days. We struggled to cover our expenditures, not wanting to go into debt, so we lived as frugally as possible. One of the ways we decided to save money was to get rid of maternity insurance, since that added a lot of expense and since we had no intentions of adding a baby to our already precarious situation.
Famous last words (or thoughts).
A few weeks after the no-money-for-groceries incident, I found out I was pregnant. In spite of taking precautions to prevent pregnancy, there was no denying the facts. Not only did the pregnancy test confirm it, but I was experiencing all the symptoms, including acute morning sickness. In fact, it was so bad, I had to quit my job because I simply couldn’t get out of bed. For an entire month, I was lucky to keep soda and crackers down (which helped our grocery bill stay low!).
But, of course, it was a financial crisis. We not only didn’t have insurance to cover the pregnancy, but I was no longer bringing in any income. When I told my husband the news with tears, he bravely said, “I don’t understand why this is happening now. All I know is that God is good.” So we clung to that fact over the next nine months as we saw God provide for us. My husband graduated a few months after our beautiful daughter was born. And he graduated debt-free.
So what did we learn from the experience?
Children are a gift from the Lord
Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” (NLT) When we were unsure why we were experiencing this unplanned pregnancy, we clung to this verse. We understood that this child was a gift, even if it didn’t seem like it at the moment. So we accepted that fact by faith and waited for the understanding to dawn—which occurred far sooner than either of us would have expected. Once we embraced this child rather than fearing it, we began to experience all the joy expectant parents do who have planned their child.
Babies don’t care about economics
The timing seemed all wrong. We couldn’t understand why I would be pregnant at the worst possible time financially. But the extreme financial stress only lasted a few years. By the time our daughter was school age, we could afford her.
When our daughter was about 10 years old, I began volunteering at a local pregnancy center. A couple came in who attended the local university. The test showed she was pregnant and they immediately said that they wanted to abort. When I asked why, they answered, “We don’t want our child to grow up poor.” I was able to tell them that their child wouldn’t know they were poor. They could continue their education and by the time their child was old enough to understand their economic situation, it would be greatly improved. No preschooler ever feels poor if they have enough to eat and are loved.
God knows more than we do
My husband and I are both planners. We both enjoy security and knowing that “all of our ducks are in a row.” It’s much more comfortable for us to see exactly where the money is coming from and to work out a budget. Neither of us is overly concerned if it’s a tight budget, but we both are a lot happier when the numbers line up. But God blew our budget out of the water so that it was unrecognizable, and there was nothing left but for us to trust him. That’s a great place to be.
With an unexpected pregnancy, we clung to the fact that God knew more than we did. Although, it seemed like a disaster to us, we found courage in the fact that God chose to give us a baby, and that he chose to do that in the midst of our financial struggles. The message was long-lasting. God sees how things will turn out and superintends our circumstances. In our case, he overrode our attempts at preventing pregnancy, which made it all the more clear that this was a child he wanted in the world. Of course, we have no doubts about the wisdom of that now. Our daughter has been a delight and brought us more joy than we could possibly imagine. The days of struggle seem a drop in the bucket to the years of happiness she has brought us.