The Blessing of a Health Scare

The “Share Your Story” for May is by
Kim Hall who blogs at 
Too Darn Happy

 
My husband and I were blissful spenders. While we didn’t take on lots of debt, we also didn’t have an emergency fund.

The sad reality is that for years we were completely unaware of how close we regularly walked up to our financial edge. We actually thought we were wise and thrifty.

What finally opened our eyes was a major negative life event that statistically 4 out of 5 of us will face in any given ten year period. For us, it was the combination of a health scare and a routine health issue that would require $5,000 out of pocket in a matter of months.

That got us scrabbling away from the cliff in a hurry, right into a Financial Peace University Class, where we learned 7 out of 10 people earning middle incomes were living paycheck to paycheck just like us, and for those in the higher brackets, it was 8 out of 10.

Yikes.

To be completely honest, we did a whole lot of financial stupid.

But at least we didn’t fight about it. 🙂

To the contrary, we ran arm in arm, pellmell, down the road of financial foolishness, enabling each other at every turn.

People who know us have had trouble believing our story because we just don’t seem to be the kind of people who would do stupid.

Oh, my.

How amazingly good we are at hiding things.

There was the big stupid:

  • Taking our baby girl and our just paid for cream puff of a car to the local dealership “just to look”, and driving away with a brand new leased mini-van, complete with a big monthly payment, but nothing to show for the car we left behind.
  • Getting so caught up in the fever of “The rates are so low that you just HAVE to buy a bigger, nicer house RIGHT NOW!” that we soon found ourselves doing just that, with a much larger, longer mortgage and higher property taxes to match.

But it was really the little stupid that brought us to the brink:

  • Buying “something shiny” that just caught our eye.
  • Ordering “something important” we were sure we would ultimately sell, unused, at a yard sale for a loss.
  • Letting hundreds and thousands of dollars dribble through our fingers via foolish five, ten, and twenty dollar purchases.

While small amounts of money invested over time compound into mighty millions, we realized small amounts of money spent over time conversely compound into a very shaky financial footing.

Still arm in arm, we learned to love budgets and paid off our debts. We also give more now and enjoy helping others on their way to less stress and more peace.

But most of all we learned to be good stewards of God’s abundance, that it all belongs to him anyway, and we are just the caretakers.

There is so much peace and contentment in this place, and my dear hubbie and I are so grateful now for what my doctor said to me that long ago day:

Can you come back for more tests? Your mammogram shows something unusual.

What a blessing that health scare was!

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” ~Psalm 24:1 (NIV 1984)

Question: Have you ever been fearful or angry about a situation only to see later it was a blessing? 

How can we help you find the blessing where you are?

*********

Linking up with – NOBH, Monday’s Musings, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Matrimonial Monday, Playdates with God and Marriage Monday’s

  • Nan

    Many years ago my hubby lost his job when his company closed down. (This was obviously before he became a pastor, lol!)

    He was out of work for a year. We lived on severance, unemployment and then our savings. We had always been fairly frugal but, like you said, we had allowed hundreds of dollars over the years to slip through our fingers by nickle and diming it.

    Fortunately we had no debt (other than our house) and we had the severance and savings, so we made it through.

    That year my mom and dad were in and out of the hospital 7 or 8 times. My mom nearly died and my grandma did die.

    Because my hubby was home, he was able to take over the homeschooling (and be slightly horrified in fear of “ruining” their education, lol!) and I was able to be at the hospital or stay with one parent while the other parent was in the hospital.

    I also discovered a whole lot more good money saving tips and stuff due to that year of very little money!

    Thanks so much for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday” today! I hope that you are all well now and doing great!

  • 4TamaraEden4

    Oh in reference to your post on your blog, yes to cloudy days for photography! I love it all for sure but often prefer the all around cloudiness to finding shade. I think my husband and I are in the middle of financial stupid right now but we’re working our way out. Very, very slowly. And of course we had a health issue last week with an ER visit for a separated shoulder! That will not be pretty on our insurance but we’re blessed it wasn’t worse.

  • I agree on the cloudy vs shade! Congrats on working your way out. The path may appear long, but it is so very worth the journey. It has transformed our lives, our views, and especially on how much more loosely we hang onto money and stuff. If you haven’t dived into anything Dave Ramsey offers, I highly recommend it. Hope that shoulder is better, and thanks for sharing!

  • Good reminders, Kim, to be thankful for those scares that knock us out of our “little stupids” and help us see (and act on!) the truly important things.

  • What wonderful testimony, Nan! Your story is a perfect description for how much opportunity opens up when you change how you manage your finances. One of the bigger things for us was me being able to leave a job that was a bad fit so I could pursue my writing. What a huge blessing that has been! Thank you for your kind words, and especially for sharing your story.

  • laura boggess

    Wise words, Kim. I especially appreciate what you say about being able to help others more when we are more responsible stewards. It reminds me of that scripture about being faithful in the little things…

  • Good stuff, Kim! Finances are on the front page for us right now. We just talked about the hubs transition into retirement! And sadly, we’ve done our share of “financial stupid” over the years.

  • Heather C.

    I always try to remember that everything happens for a reason, especially the bad stuff. Nice post.

  • That’s a great and positive outlook, Heather. Thanks for coming by!

  • Thanks, Renee. “Web of financial ruin” really is a great description!

  • How exciting you & your hubs are talking about the transition into retirement! Finances, interests, how you will spend your time, etc: all such important topics to be handled. Thank goodness for strong communication in your marriage!

  • Thanks for the reminder about that scripture, Laura. Yes, indeed, being better stewards changes your family tree in amazing and far-reaching ways!

  • Lisa, thanks for the smile. Scares from little stupids are good things-who knew?!

  • I felt a big “ouch” on “Letting hundreds and thousands of dollars dribble through our fingers via foolish five, ten, and twenty dollar purchases” We miss it on the little things, don’t we. Yet these “little” add up to much. This is a timely reminder for me. thanks so much for sharing

  • I can certainly relate to being fearful about a situation only to later find out it was a blessing in described. I think Garth calls these Unanswered Prayers. The beautiful thing is when this has happened enough times, it allows you to remain happy and hopeful during those times when you’re going through a situation knowing on the other side it will be even better.

  • Nancy Sturm

    Such wise advice in your post! Thanks for reminding us to be wise stewards of our money.

  • Kim, I just want you to know that I really appreciate you being willing to share your story here at MM. You know that I’ve wanted you to guest post for quite a while, so the day has finally come! It’s been a great success. And just so you know, I totally resonated with your words here. My hubby and I had lots of “big and little stupid” in our past. We worked really hard about a decade ago to get out of debt and haven’t looked back. Now the only debt we carry is to our house. Even our cars are paid for. It’s an incredibly freeing feeling to make “smart” choices with money! Thanks again!

  • That’s a great perspective, Fawn. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • You are welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Thank you, Beth, for allowing me to share my story with your readers. I am delighted to be here. Congratulations on being nearly debt free. It is an amazing feeling!

  • GreatPeaceAcademy

    Yes, well when you’ve been caught in the web you know exactly how it feels. 😉

  • Ha ha! Just like the proverbial fly. The web was right in front of me, yet I never saw it coming. . .

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Thanks Kim and Beth, for this good reminder. Actually, several good reminders are packed into this one post! We have taken FPU and know what we “should” be doing financially, but it is very easy for us to “drift” off that path. So thanks for the prod to bet back on the path. And yes, you are entirely right that God often shows us something new and wonderful as we round the corner from something bad and frightening.

  • Hooray for you and your husband, Gaye, to move towards more financial peace in your lives! Anytime you need personal prodding, just let me know. 😉

    My hubbie and I became facilitators of FPU because we were so blown away by the simplicity of the plan, the hope that we were able to grab hold of, and the support of being with others in a similar boat.

  • soulstops

    Thanks, Kim, for sharing your story and the wisdom you have gained. Thanks, Beth for hosting Kim 🙂

  • Kim, I love how you always find the silver linings in challenging situations and I agree with your financial common sense 100%

  • Beth

    My husband and I have been too guilty of the little and big stupid financial mishaps. “We did a whole lot of financial stupid.” And fought about it too. I love how as we learned to trust in God, and accept responsibility for where we put ourselves that pulling our way out of debt has slowly begin to happen…along with making smarter choices.
    Great post!

  • You are welcome, Dolly, and thanks for coming on by!

  • Remembering or having the will to follow it is sometimes a struggle, unfortunately. 🙁 Thanks for joining me at Beth’s place, Ilene!

  • It’s always nice to meet another person who is working or has worked their way out of “financial stupid”. Thanks for sharing your story-you never know who might be inspired by your words!

  • Kim, your message inspires me to a new round of gratitude. I see a silver lining in what I considered to be an oppressive situation for much of my life:

    My parents grew up in the Great Depression and taught me to squeeze a nickel until it hurt and save HALF my babysitting money “for a rainy day.” It never did rain, but I was able to buy my own sewing machine. Between them, my parents could make or fix nearly anything, usually from scraps. I learned to enjoy this form of self-sufficiency.

    Then I married a man with a similar mindset. But as time went along, how I wished for a few frivolities!

    After fifty years, we enjoy our abundance, with a few frivolities now and then, though we continue the sustainable lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to. I so appreciate the former frugality that made this possible, and that continued frugality is a choice, not a necessity.

    Thank you for helping me remember, and I wish you and all readers well on their journeys to fiscal responsibility.

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