"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps."
What a blessing it is to have my giddiness from God's activity yesterday spill over into the reality of today. I am so glad that joy comes from the Lord and not circumstances! Aren't you? (If you clicked onto my blog because of an e-mail I sent you, I wanted you to read MONDAY'S POST 1/24.)
While I was upstairs getting ready for work this morning, I heard my phone, which was downstairs, ring with a text message. I did not check it until I was ready to walk out the door. To my surprise, it was my aunt (my boss) telling me that things at the office had been REALLY, REALLY slow and she wanted me to consider taking most, if not all, of this week off.
You see, I have been awake since 4:19 a.m. this morning anticipating an incredibly busy day. I had asked God for extra strength and grace today so I could take care of my responsibilities and myself physically. I had confessed to Him that I did not know how I was going to get it all done. HE TOOK CARE OF THAT, DIDN'T HE??!!! He is so good and faithful!
Unfortunately, not going to work means not getting paid.
Okay, I'm about to get a little personal here and talk about money.
Cancer is not cheap! The medical bills are streaming in. The insurance we had last year STINKS and is not paying for very much at all. A huge praise was that we were able to change insurance companies at the beginning of the year to have better coverage.
However, my biopsies, MRI, and surgery all fall under the old company. The bill for the operating room alone is over $16,000, and that does NOT include the surgeon, anesthesioloigst, radiologist, or pathologist. And I was only there for a few hours!!! I did get great care while I was there, but over $16,000??!!! Really? Come on!
My radiation and any further tests or appointments will be covered by the new company. YEAH GOD!!!
But, with the new insurance comes a MAJOR increase in our insurance premium. Our budget has taken a big hit. We are cutting off cable, eating lots of PB&J, staying at home more, etc. to accommedate. We are already on a cash budget, thanks to my Mom introducing us to Dave Ramsey several years ago. We do not have any outstanding debt like credit cards, student loans, car payments, etc. So, there is not much else we can cut to pay for all of these healthcare costs.
Oh and did I mention that due to some substantial changes in the way Rapid Refund tax returns are handled this year, my aunt had to cut everyone's hours? In the past, I have been on salary. This year, I'm hourly and anticipate at least half of my usual income (probably more) to be cut.
I mentioned before that I've been looking for a 2nd job to earn money for missions. After getting a taste of foreign missions last year, my heart has been forever changed, and I want to go on more trips in the future, along with my family. Being diagnosed with cancer put getting a 2nd job on hold for awhile. Now, medical bills threaten to thwart my desire to earn money for missions all together. UGGHHH! (I guess God does not want me to become self-reliant for missions yet. It looks like He still wants me to step way out of my comfort zone and ask other people to support me. Been there. Learned that. The hard way.)
Good news though. I talked to my Dad last week and he needs help with the bookkeeping and payroll for his 2 stores. One store burned down a year ago, was rebuilt and has now reopened. He and my stepmom are back to working a full shift everyday and would like some help with the paperwork. HUGE PRAISE!!! Once I learn their system and get everything caught up, I should be able to do both of my jobs before I go to radiation each day!!!
Unfortunately, the money I wanted to set aside strictly for missions will have to be used for medical bills and most likely some household expenses now that my hours are being cut at the tax office. And my husband may still need to get a 3rd job.
BUT.....all of this is just setting the stage for God and His incredible plans!!! So, watch out! God is about to perform miracles! "You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples." Psalm 77:14
**Some of the biggest miracles actually take place in our HEARTS rather than in our circumstances**
And the reason I'm telling you more of my business than you ever wanted to know is so you can witness God's miracle(s) right along with me! BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELT AND HANG ON!
*************************************************"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13
God makes me laugh! This is my Bible verse for today. I thought it was quite fitting after I just bared my soul to you about our finances! GOD IS AMAZING!
Radiation is going well. Yesterday, I had my weekly x-rays and needed a few adjustments, but that is to be expected. Today after my treatment, my skin started turning red for the first time. It feels like a sunburn. Dr. Bobo, my radiologist, said this was normal and that I would really notice skin changes in the next week. He also said my fatigue will noticeably increase in the next week as well.
The most exciting thing though is the different women I've been meeting. Early last week, I mentioned one lady in particular that I sensed God wanted me to spend some time with - I described her as being at the end of her treatments and being weary. Well, I was able to talk with her at length last Friday. She has a lot going on in her life, besides breast cancer. God is allowing the two of us to talk every day now. What a blessing!
When I walked in the front door this afternoon after radiation, I was greeted by a nice cool breeze. The heat had gone out (again)! The first time it happened was before Christmas, but it started working as soon as the technician got to our house! He was able to show my husband a reset button in the attic that would prove to be useful for later. But he was not able to detect the problem or fix it.
Today, another technician came and found the problem (PRAISE!) - even though the heat came right on for him too as soon as he got here! So once the part is ordered, the weather dries up so the part can be installed, and we pay more than $600, we will have regular heat again!!! SWEET!
Yes, we are obviously doing something right at the Swicegood household. Otherwise, our finances would not be such a target! I'm telling you, the stage is being set for GOD TO DO SOMETHING BIG!!! Something only He can do. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Stay tuned.
Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,