the two-week life

Every two weeks, for the whole of our married existence, something rather important would arrive.

A paycheck.

In the beginning, the checks were small, but as his role at the company grew, they grew as well. Like everyone else, we worked hard at our finances - mapping out strategies for reducing debt, increasing savings and planning for retirement. It wasn't always easy (we tackled a lot of debt in the early years), but at the very least I felt quite a bit of stability and security from the regularity of those checks.

You all know the punchline, right? Let's just stop here for a moment and shake our heads in collective agreement: stability, in all its earthly permutations, is really just a big fat illusion.

It's been nine months since he was laid-off from his job. At that time we made the choice for him to forgo looking for another job in the corporate world, and instead decided to take a (gigantic) leap of faith and expand his evenings + weekends only freelance photography into a full-time gig - effectively making it our only source of income. (I had quit my job earlier in the year to be home with our son).

Since then I haven't talked about it at all, because I worried that writing about my myriad fears would only magnify them and because I knew that if I didn't talk about it, I also wouldn't have to talk about any failures we encountered along the way. It's embarrassing to admit, but it illustrates that I didn't have much faith in what God could do in our lives.

George Muller said that "God delights to increase the faith of His children." I see that now.

The photography business is our employer, and since our budget has always been based on the anticipation of a two-week paycheck, we kept it that way. We established ahead of time how much money we would need every two weeks to survive.

And then we survived.

Every time he has a photography job, we deposit the money into our business account. And without fail, for the past nine months, we have survived. Sure, I'm not getting weekly spa appointments (I bought a nail file last week and felt sort of guilty), but it's better than that. We are together. Pursing a dream. Increasing our faith.

Every two weeks, the money has been there, even during the times I never thought it would be. I remember one time being SO COMPLETELY SURE that we would have to resort to plundering our savings in order to buy groceries. And then, voila - our tax refund came and it was literally the exact amount we needed to survive for the next two weeks.

There is no stability. Not that kind of stability, at least. There is only this two-week life. And I am learning to love it.

Like swinging from vine to vine only to discover that the forward-motion is terrifying and exhilarating.

Like peering through the dirty glass to see the shape and form of something just beyond, where things are a little obscured but everything is beautiful.

[All photos by me, taken July 2010]


  1. I completely understand where you are coming from. About a year ago, we did the same thing. Hubby went from working for someone else to working for himself. It is both terrifying and exhilerating at the same time, but we love having him around so much more.

  2. Marisa, your stories always make me want to be a friend that comes over for bubbles & a picnic.

    Your healthy perspective seems to make such a happy life.

  3. jennifer - so glad to hear that it is working out for your family! and i agree, it is wonderful having my husband home so much more. :)

    kelli - i could only wish to have you over for bubbles + picnics! if you are ever in AZ, you have an open invitation.

    (p.s. i think you should add more of your writing to your blog. it's so good.)

  4. Oh, what a wonderful story of God's grace! Thank you for the reminder to trust and be willing to take the faith-steps necessary in life.

    p.s. I loved the photos of your guys! They're so charming.

  5. This post resonates with me so much. We are in a somewhat similar boat and I marvel at God's goodness in your life. Jeff would love to grow into his photography full-time (and me too!), but we feel like the (somewhat superficial) stability of both of us working part-time is holding us back. Not sure what God's timing is for our dreams, or if our dreams are even what he has in mind for us. But ultimately, it's so comforting to know that God blesses our lives in ways that we could never deserve or anticipate.

  6. There is a zen type of calm in not worrying past the expiration date on the milk carton. Beautiful post. I'm happy that if the leap of faith has not yet become a booming source of income, it has become sustaining - clearly, in more ways than one.

    And those two boys are impossibly cute. :-)

  7. jules - thanks!

    christina - you are so right. I had been thinking of it in terms of God's sovereignty over our lives, but it truly is His grace + mercy that has allowed us to pursue this path.

    and, they are charming, aren't they?? they both have a LOT of personality. :D

    jessica - i agree, it is definitely is a matter of waiting for His perfect timing. God knew that we both prefer the stability of the standard 9-to-5, so I'm sure that Aaron getting laid off was simply the kick in the pants that we needed in order to move forward. I'm not sure we would have otherwise.

    it's probably worth mentioning, also, that Aaron worked for many, many years as a part-time freelance photographer. so i definitely identify with what you said about not knowing if our dreams are even what He wants for our lives. one quote that I love that provided inspiration is this one by Jim Elliott: "Dreams are tawdry when compared to the leading of God."

  8. carly - you always leave the most thoughtful comments. thank you. really. i love what you said about the faith being sustaining.

  9. I am so thankful that your life has been blessed! You are lucky! I'm praying for something similar (maybe not laid off...since I am the sole money-maker in my family...but similar) to allow me to get to the point where I can do something I enjoy. God is pretty awesome, isn't he?!

  10. This is pretty close to where my husband and I are right now...who needs stability right?!?! Life's a little more exciting without it, lol. :)
    I wish you both the best of luck with all your endeavors!!

  11. Hi. I came across a reference to your blog from an article in Huffington Post (PsychCentral - Margarita Tartakovksy)

    My husband also happens to be a photographer I love to write and we are currently living in Winnipeg, Canada from week to week. Never before have we been so without buffers and not really knowing how we will keep going. But God is somehow sustaining us.

    What I'm really learning is: how to do without, how to actually depend on God, how to ask, and how to be content. It can be really tricky not to acquire or pass on (we have 3 kids) a poverty mindset. Focusing on how blessed we are is really helping.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. me and my husband are living a similar situation; he has opened a sandwich shop 3 months ago and we have been living from what I earn at the museum where I work and from some savings we had but it is coming to an end and things at his shop are still far from being profitable. I'm also at a middle of the road of acceptance which is a rather difficult road to follow but I must continue it because everything is impermanent and things will keep on moving in different directions, the only thing we can do in order not to become sad, depressed or insurgent is to accept the changes. This is so difficult but necessary...