How To Survive Without a Paycheck – Magda
Up to a certain moment, our life as a family was financially stable and smooth. My husband Roman had a well-paid job, and I didn’t have to worry about the expenses or count every penny I spent. Then one day Roman had to change his job. He wanted to start his own company but I objected to that idea. I couldn’t imagine taking a risk of a lack of constant, monthly paycheck. Therefore, Roman accepted an offer from a big company which gave him a guarantee of stability (what an “unchristian” thinking!), although the level of his earnings was half that high. It took us about half a year to adjust our family expenses to those new circumstances.
We succeeded, although not without debts, and we reached a new level of stability. I was pregnant with our son Jaś when Roman’s employer decided to cut the work force – my husband lost his job and we had to answer the question again: “What now?” And this time – both with doubts and with a conviction that God wants us to do it – we decided to start our own company. In the beginning, Roman had neither any prospects nor orders. We believed we acted in accordance with God’s will for us, but despite his constant endeavors, for the next 15 months Roman neither got any big order nor did he find any permanent post in another company.
At first it was horrible – there were countless needs to be satisfied (things for the house, for children, food) but we had no money. Slowly and painfully I learned that most of those needs had to remain unmet – both the needs of food, new clothes or shoes and the ones related to health of our children. For example, Jaś required rehabilitation from the third month of his life. We had to pay for every single visit. I decided I wouldn’t go there as often as the doctor suggested, and one day I clearly felt I didn’t have to do it any more. I risked my son’s health but in prayer I got conviction that I was doing the right thing.
The modern world puts on us a high pressure of needs, greatly surpassing the level of a real necessity. Do our children really need to eat expensive yogurt or French fries in McDonald’s? Do they need a new pair of shoes every season? Does my house really need to be fully finished and furnished from the bottom to the roof so I could start to invite guests? Maybe the children wouldn’t develop scurvy eating apples instead of bananas, and their bones wouldn’t suddenly decalcify if there is no yogurt in their daily diet.
As a family, we learned to wait and joyfully receive surprises from God. When you think you really need something, you take your savings or even borrow the money and buy it. But when you have neither any money nor perspectives for future income (who knows how long God would allow that tough situation), you wait for God’s miracle and gratefully take what comes your way. The miracles prove that He watches over us, but they also help us separate the real necessity from the things that can wait. Because it’s God who decides which need will be met first. For example, one day we got a special surprise: we could go to the movies to see “The Chronicles of Narnia”!
During the crisis we didn’t let ourselves put God’s rules aside “for later”: we still paid for the public transportation, we paid taxes and a tithe, and we tried to manage on what was left. We also didn’t give up any of the kind of service we had been involved in. At that time I often repeated a short and concise prayer: “Lord, You have allowed it, You can see what’s happening to us – so help us now!”
However, the attitude of a full trust in God and waiting until He would satisfy our needs – that attitude came only during the long-lasting crisis. The only way for me to change my daily habits and to decrease the level of my expenses was under the pressure of circumstances. I wasn’t too keen on doing that; I was comfortable with the way I’d been living. But I know that the life we’ve learned is better and healthier – both from the spiritual and the human point of view. Today we enjoy a deeper relationship with each other, and all of those experiences have brought us closer to God. Looking at specific, real events from our daily life, we can see that God watches over us and satisfies all of our needs. It’s obvious both for me and Roman and also for our older children. One day they said that maybe they didn’t have all the things they would like to have, but that was cool! The situation has also brought us closer to each other as a family. It was a real blessing that Roman could stay at home with children for over a year – it improved their mutual relationships and let them learn about their needs. Our 2-year old Jaś still calls for help first his daddy and then mommy!
Of course I don’t wish anyone such a crisis, but I think there are many families which can’t imagine getting by only on one paycheck; they believe they can’t survive without that double income. And they can even prove it, making some calculations. But we have proved it in our own family that they are wrong! I keenly encourage you: test your motives during a sincere talk with God. What drives you to be 10-12 hours outside? What makes you go on a few-day trips, sometimes at weekends? Is money and everything it can buy really more important than being with your spouse and children? Would God really be asleep, not able to save us if we gave up an over-demanding job? Surely He’s not anxious for us only to “have.” He rather wants us to be spiritually mature and to build relationships with other people – these things don’t perish but they build up and strengthen God’s Kingdom here on earth; they also distinguish Christians from all other religions or cultures. And they are something we would have to give an account of: if we held a sick person’s hand, if we helped someone in need, if we listened with attention to our child’s questions, and if we went to the movies with our spouse.
It’s good to have a stable job and a monthly paycheck, but it’s even better to build good relationships with those around us. And when we build God’s Kingdom, He surely will take care of all the provision and supply. Just look at us – we are the living proof of that!
Magdalena Adamiec, 2007
About the author (as for the year 2010):
The Adamiec family consists of Magdalena and Roman, and their offspring of five: Bogusia (18), Kuba (16), Mateusz (8), Jaś (5) and Radek (2). Over 20 years ago Roman and Magdalena almost simultaneously made a decision to invite Jesus into their lives and to make Him their Lord and Savior. They both studied electronics at Warsaw Technical University and they work in IT. They are active in their church (e.g. helping in Sunday school or a bookstore) and in a Christian Motorcycle Club “Boanerges.”