Monday, June 27, 2011

again and again and again and again

Is it crazier that it has been 5 months since I last blogged or that 5 months ago I had just made it through and wrote about an extremely similar trial as what I am going through now? It is so interesting to me how I can have several recurrent themes in my life, and how I seem to repeat the same difficulty/struggle until I have gotten it right at least 3 times or more.

Since i last blogged, my birth services business has boomed. As of early this month I had 15 midwife clients and 6 doula clients. I have already been a part of the birth of 9 babies this year, and am averaging 1-2 births per month. I have backed down the number of shifts I work at the hospital to only 1-2 per 2 weeks on average. In fact, for 1 complete month, I did not work a single shift at the hospital. Which brings to my current trial.

I had a few prolific months in the pay department from my business, that came just before a very difficult, emotional time, in which I decided to take a few days off from hospital work to spend with my family. Although at that time I had already backed down to 2 shifts alternating with 3 shifts every other week, I was getting so busy with my business that I never felt like I had a real day off. So, with only gentle nudging from my husband, I took a hiatus from hospital work. Next thing I know I had chosen not to work at the hospital an entire month.

It was great, I got caught up on sleep. I spent time with my children and my family and had plenty of time to devote to my business, although it still didn't feel like enough time. However, we had not closely examined our finances and I do not believe now that I had prayed enough or put enough forethought into that decision. If I had, I may have avoided the situation I find myself in now.

Over the last month, as we had no hospital income coming in, life happened. We managed to deplete our emergency fund to cover unanticipated expenses. For the last 2 weeks we had less than $1000 to last us for groceries, gas, and any other bills that were due, including two car payments that were past due that together were about 2/3 of that money. Add in the electric bill we just received, the first high summer bill of the year at almost $400, and anyone can understand why I was feeling stressed.

However, I continued to pray and even fasted a couple of times. I started working 1 shift a week at the hospital again. We patiently awaited 2 insurance checks from a previous client's birth. My husband and I were super careful with the little bit of money we had. I even had old friends come visit for the weekend, and although I was quite tempted to borrow money against the checks we knew would be here any day, we resisted.

I felt very strongly that us not receiving those checks prior to my friends' arrival was a blessing in disguise. No doubt, if we had received the checks when we anticipated them, we would have spent more than we should have. Instead, we had to be very prayerful and judicious with every dime. What a great reminder it was of the importance of being prayerful in the use of our finances and resources and in how mindful Heavenly Father is of us at all times. Even though we certainly weren't deserving of his blessings, he generously bestowed them on us, in the appropriate timing so that we could learn important lessons.

The other interesting part, is that I had received no calls for new clients for a couple of weeks, and in the last week have received 4, 2 of which look promising. In the mean time, while I waited, I learned. I prayed. I thought. I pondered. I discussed over and over again a plan of action with my husband. I waited some more. Finally, we made it through that trial and passed. Hopefully, we can keep it up. Not looking forward to repeating this one again, but at least I know where to turn for help.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Go Forward with Faith

Towards the beginning of this year I felt inspired to cut back my hours at work. I had been working 4 and 5 shifts per week. As I was studying last conference's talks, the thought came clearly to me, that I should cut down to 3 shifts per week at the hospital.

In January I fasted and prayed about what my goals should be for this year, and one of them was to spend more time with my family and working on my business, and consequently I received the reassurance that cutting back to 3 shifts per week was in deed what the Lord was directing me to do at this time. This was a somewhat scary idea for me, in that I only had 2 midwife clients at the time and no possible ones in sight, and our budget was based solidly on 4 shifts per week. However, I could not deny that this was the Lord's guidance for me, and I knew that He would bless us accordingly.

This should not have been too scary. I have plenty of faith. However, I have always liked to have some control over my finances and like to plan ahead and know exactly how much money we have to pay our bills. So, going in to this last paycheck, my first one on only 3 shifts per week, I must admit, I was worried. As it got closer and closer to pay day, and no new clients, I kept trying to push away those fears and doubts. Then one of my son's glasses broke beyond repair, my daughter started having some teeth problems. We had to make an extra, unexpected trip to San Antonio.

I stepped up my prayers. I asked Heavenly Father to help me have faith and be patient. I think this may have been one of the hardest tests of my faith I had had in awhile. I even questioned a little if the 3 shifts per week thing was just wishful thinking. Again, I prayed harder.

Friday morning, payday, I was awoken to a phone call. Wouldn't you know, it was a woman looking for a midwife. We scheduled an interview for that evening. Then I quickly got ready, and went off to a meeting for midwives. Just afterwards, I returned an unrecognized phone call. The person calling dialed my number accidentally, but just so happened, was looking for a midwife, and didn't know how to find one.

I then went to a prenatal appointment, where a client going through financial difficulties, had an unexpected financial blessing, and paid me double what she originally thought she would. I felt so overwhelmed by the knowledge that Heavenly Father was coming through for me and my family, that I was shaking. He was blessing me well beyond what I had hoped. Finally, I went to the interview, and they hired me.

It reminds me of the scripture about Peter trying to walk on water with Jesus, in Matt 14: 28-31 . Peter starts to walk on the water out to Jesus, but gets scared and then Jesus saves him, and says "o ye of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" I had faith, but as the seas and winds in my life started to get rough, I started to doubt, and cry out to Him, and He did rescue me. I feel overwhelmed with His great blessings at this time.

I guess I didn't totally doubt, in that I didn't succumb to picking up extra shifts. I have also seen other blessings from backing down to 3 shifts. I am spending more time with my family. I have been able to work on things for my business that I had had to put off previously for lack of time. I have now had the great blessing of moving forward with faith, not knowing what lay ahead of me, only what I was to do, and seeing, that the Lord has everything in His hands and is very much aware of me and my family.