Unexpected Expenses

So this morning, I went to a new eye doctor (who's actually my old eye doctor, long story). At the place I've been going to for two years, I go in, I leave. Insurance covers everything. So today I go in, I get my exam, I get a bill for $189.

They didn't tell me at all that they aren't in my insurance network.

So I spent almost $200, unexpectedly. It's one of those depressing days. I have to call Jeff and tell him, and I basically feel sick over it all day because if I had known, I wouldn't have gone there. And I'd have $200 dollars right now. And I'm mad at those people for not being nice enough to let me know they aren't in our network. And I'm frustrated with myself for assuming they were when they acted like they were.

Overall, it's frustrating. And I'm frustrated. And there's nothing I can do now. They've provided services, I've forked over money that I could have used in a million different ways cooler than at the eye doctor.

It's the kind of experience that sinks you. You've probably been through that before. Unexpected expenses at the wrong time. I came home and Jeff and I sat down together to eat lunch, and I prayed before we ate and I asked God to help us keep a good perspective on days like this. Because we were sitting there across from each other, feeling low.

These days happen to all of us. And they're not the coolest, but they still come. But I keep thinking about something Ash said a couple of days ago. It's November, so she's learning about what it means to be thankful. And just randomly at the breakfast table, Ash said, "Mom? I'm thankful for all I have." The words warmed my heart and my response was, "Me too."

At school this month, Ash is definitely learning about being thankful. But I think our kids really learn it from us. From mom and dad. I think they learn what contentment and gratitude are by seeing it in us (or they learn the opposite if they don't see it in us). Which means even on a day when I've been sunk, I have to dig down for that perspective that reminds me that so many people can't even afford food, much less eye doctor appointments. That reminds me that we have a warm home, and food to eat, and each other, and cable, and lots of toys, and plenty of clothes--and gosh, we're blessed.

I want Ash to learn about gratitude and perspective from me first. When things go wrong, or unexpected expenses occur for her--and they will--I want her to have this deep foundation of perspective that helps her remember that things could be worse. That this isn't the end of the world, it's just an annoying bump in the road. That we're not entitled to things, we're blessed with what we have.

I think having that kind of perspective pulls us up when we're sinking.

Our journey group through church has been talking a lot about helping others during the holiday season. It's been good to find out about ways to "adopt a family." Because the focus shifts from ourselves to others. It shifts from "I want" to "They need."

And sometimes, we need that shift.

In my heart, I know I want to be the kind of mother who instills contentment and gratitude in her children. I know they can either see this in me, or they can see someone who's always looking for more, who always thinks she deserves better, who spends the majority of her thoughts on what she wants, versus how she can make a difference in the lives of others. I don't want to be that woman. God doesn't want me to be that way. I want to be a woman who can shift her perspective, even on hard days.

I'm not saying it's easy.

But in November, when being thankful is the theme of the season, the reminder comes more easily. And I'm glad for that.

Today has been a battleground for my emotions, but I'm going to take a cue from Ashtyn and say, "I'm thankful for all I have." Because I am. I'm blessed. I'm grateful.


1 comment

  1. Love this! I teared up when I read what Ash said. I hate that they didn't warn you, but I love your perspective and honesty.

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