Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Letting Go

There's a distinct possibility that we might need to empty out our retirement account to pay for Baby Tessy's medical bills.

God is in charge.

I'm applying for charity from two hospitals, so we might not need to zero out the IRA.

Yet, because God is in charge, not me--I need to be ready to make that sacrifice.

(It's not a lot of money, we're poor Carmelites. Our IRA is small. Compared to the gigantic hospital bills that Baby Tess incurred from a 26 day NICU stay, our co-payment portion is equal to a single day of her NICU room & board charges. Everything else is already paid for by our health insurance company)

The sacrifice of our IRA is painful because it represents a sacrifice of my dream of buying a house soon for our family.

For the past three years, we'd saved a tiny bit of Jon's paycheck in an IRA hoping to use the proceeds for a down-payment on a real house.

I've puttered through my life afraid and bitter for a week. "This is it! Apartment Living FOREVER!"

God loves me so much. This week he healed my heart through episodes of Reality Television. (Yeah, this is the productive way I've spent my time this week. Tessy has a cold. We've been stuck in my bed nursing CONSTANTLY. Instead of doing my prayers, I've been watching hours of old reality TV shows on Netflix. I love Jesus because He meets you where you are!)

I saw lots of families who had beautiful huge houses and were very unhappy.

I'll take my healed Tess, my large family, and my small apartment. I'll detach more from wealth and my selfish, tainted dream to become a more "normal" housewife--one who owns an actual house, on an actual block, with real neighbors next door. I'll trade it all for greater "freedom of the heart."

14 comments:

  1. OH I AM SO SORRY. I KNOW THAT PAIN OF EMPTY BANK ACCOUNTS. MY HUSBAND LOST HIS JOB, I LOST MINE AND MY SON LOST HIS IN 2007. FOR 9 MONTHS WE LIVED OFF OF OUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS AND FOR ANOTHER YEAR TRYING TO CATCH UP ON BILLS. IT IS GONE NOW. WE LIVE ON SOCIAL SECURITY AND MY HUSBANDS PENSION. LIFE IS HARD AND WE ALL NEED JESUS. HE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU AS HE DID US. BLESSINGS TO YOU. YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY.

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  2. Happy are you poor, right Ginny? :-) Praise God for your strong marriage!

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  3. Oh, I do know how hard that is! We've been renting for years and years - every time we think THIS is the year we'll save a down payment we get a baby instead :)

    On the other hand, it has been a blessing too. We've lived in so many rentals I know EXACTLY what I want/need in a home. I know that I don't like Jacuzzi tub so I wouldn't pay extra for a house with one. I know that being able to see the backyard from the kitchen is very important to us. And so on.

    And of course there is the (tiny) daily mortification of living in a space that isn't ours and that we can't customize (i.e., having to make do, instead of customizing the closet with built ins. Planting the garden in the corner, when I'd really rather have a rectangular bed in a different spot).

    Hang in there!

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  4. Amen sister! The good Lord has helped show me so much wisdom while nursing my babies as well...

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  5. Abigail - I'm sorry you're having this financial stress & I am keeping you in my prayers. I just wanted to recommend that you don't empty out your IRA too quickly!! Applying for aid sounds very sound - and get on a payment plan if you can. I don't know why baby Tess was in the hospital, but if you can connect with other parents who were in the same boat, and see how they were able to manage the bills - I would ask them. And sometimes there are state and local programs to help families in this situation. You could also call your local state rep. if you need an advocate. Don't give up that IRA so quick!! Best to you and yours, Ann

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  6. What a bummer. But there are advantages to apartment living, such as if something breaks you can always call the maintenance man to fix it--for free:)

    As for the hospital bills, big hospitals will bargain with you. I've been able to get up to 30% of some of our hospital bills because I was paying out of pocket. It's worth asking the billing department for a discount, they've heard it before. Good luck!

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  7. Abigail

    Sorry if you have to empty it out. Try to think that maybe that's why it was there. And I know you're thankful for the medical care and how much insurance did cover. Back in the late 90's we put some in the 401K the one year I worked fulltime after having my older girls. We did it mostly to avoid the next tax bracket. It proved to be just enough to keep us going 3 years later when my husband was unemployed for 8 months. Right now we're starting an international adoption which we never thought we would come even close to paying for. I'll pray you get one of those miracle provisions. We've had that happen too.

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  8. Because I had cancer four years ago and I've had a few babies since then (and c-sections) I know the burden of medical bills. However, I usually call the places and ask for the LOWEST (and then I as again, "Can it get lower?") monthly payment because they are interest free. Usually the people who answer the phones can't help you get something ridiculously low but you can appeal to their managers. They'd take something per month instead of nothing. I know you weren't asking for advice but I just thought I'd give some. (Thanks, haha)
    You're in my prayers.

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  9. Oh, Abigial, does this post ever touch my heart. Our family of six lives in a 1,500 square ft home which also houses my rosary business. Our two boys share a bedroom while our middle school daughter has her own and the baby shares our master bedroom (she has a crib). But I wouldn't trade our peace or joy for any house in this world! Hang in there.

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  10. I am so sorry about your financial situation -- but PRAISE GOD you've got your sweet little girl home with you!!! (We lived the NICU bit with our firstborn. 50 days in the NICU with our little guy was NOT fun...)

    And I can sympathize with your desire for a home of your own! While I do have a house, the Lord has heard more than enough complaining from me about our need for more space!

    Did you ever seen the PBS show "Frontier House" years ago? There was a rich family that signed on for living the pioneer life for several months, and when they finally returned to their huge mansion, they weren't happy... they said that the house was so big, they could all retreat into their own private corners and never see each other.

    In my better moments, I can appreciate the fact that in small living spaces, we are much more aware of what our children are doing... much less able to retreat into our own private shell... forced to learn to interact with each other, behave properly even when our emotions want us to do otherwise, share, hoard less, etc etc etc.

    Thank you for all your postings -- you are a great inspiration!

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  11. I, too, dreamed of my own "real" house -- and when we finally bought something, guess what we bought? A tiny apartment, in which we all sleep in one-room, Japanese-style! Not only that -- my husband is transferred overseas a lot, and we've already had to rent it out to tenants once, when we were in San Francisco -- so the other day, I painted the drawer handles in the bathroom a nice bright shade of red, and he got upset that I had painted them a "weird" color that future tenants might not like. So much for the concept of "my" home!

    I think of the houses we rented when we were in SF, and how home-like I made them, even though they weren't mine -- I pretended.

    And now I have taken over the tiny patch of earth in front of our building, and planted tulip bulbs. One does what one can....

    (...and we're using our retirement funds for our kids' education, which we hadn't planned on at all....)

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  12. Good luck with the charity care! I used to work for a hospital and I don't see why you wouldn't qualify. At any rate, pay over time, like someone said it is interest-free. I will pray for your family that it all works out for the best. God is in charge and He knows!

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  13. Whatever you sacrifice for your children will come back to you 10-fold. I am one of eight kids, and my parents have spent almost their entire retirement on us...school, homes, weddings, life, etc. Now, with the company my dad worked for going under after 30+years of his working there, and them taking most of his retirement with them - us kids are stepping up and taking care of their needs...just like they did for us. We all remember - and now we're all working and helping them out as best we can.

    You will have a house to call your own. Maybe not tomorrow...but the Lord will give you your heart's desire. Rest in that.

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  14. Praying He provides in abundance- and continues to work wonders in your heart. Thank you for sharing your heart, Abigail!

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