Five years ago, I was nearing the end of my college degree, and my husband was still in the middle of his undergraduate program. We'd lived simply and frugally for a couple of newlywed years. Now we had a choice in front of us: I could finish school and continue working to pay our living expenses and my husband's tuition, or I could have a baby, come home, and let my husband go to school and take the financial responsibility for our growing family.
Does this one sound like a no-brainer? We had many friends in our situation. The wife graduated first, found full-time employment (with lots of benefits) and worked to put her husband through school. When he finished, he found the full-time job so she could stay home and become Mom.
That scenario sounded great, but it wasn't right for us. We skipped the money and security and instead decided to invite children into our family.
You don't have to think I'm right. Feel free to call me stupid and irresponsible. Trust me, I have days when I say those things to myself. But most days I remember that we did what we felt God wanted us to do. He wanted to send some of His children to us sooner rather than later. So we accepted them with the faith that if we did our best God would provide us with whatever we needed.
And guess what! He has provided everything we've needed! As we've trusted in Him, our needs have been met. And not just money or other temporal needs, but blessings of time, energy, wisdom and health. We're not a perfect family, but we are surviving. We feel His love and help every day.
Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if we'd just waited to have kids until we finished school. In some ways life would certainly be easier. I imagine we'd have all sorts of luxuries, like two cars, a big bank account, gym memberships, cell phone plans, weekend getaways, nice wardrobes, no student loans, and even a subscription to Netflix! But I'd sure be lonely without these two little ones to keep me company all day.
And although I'm not contributing a steady salary with a dental and vision package, I'd like to think that I am doing other things to put my husband through school. I can cook a dinner for him to come home to (with lots of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch). I can keep his shirts clean. I can keep myself from complaining about fill-in-the-blank that's hard about our current student life (this one is still hard for me). I can do a multitude of small things every day that stretch our income and resources.
Things are challenging at times, but so much easier when I remember that the Lord is on my side (Psalms 118:6).