Updated: Jan 18, 2019
Friends, in my last post I began to share with you the bits and pieces that came with our journey of obedience. The loneliness, the stress, and really the financial challenges. The fact that we were drowning. I never really knew how badly I battled anxiety until I cried daily & just couldn't open the mail anymore. I was in banking doing everything from customer service, to opening accounts, to lending, to compliance and operations for 10 years; SO, I knew, I knew what was happening. It paralyzed me in many aspects of my life.
And this post was really hard to write. Hard to admit. It is still embarrassing. But I know someone else is going through the mess. They need to know there is good in the pain, growth in the pain, love in the pain. There is purpose in it all. So I'm letting go of that fear of judgement and laying it all out.
Throughout this we kept tithing and even doubled it for months. Every time I sent in our tithe it reminded me that God was in control, that it was all His anyways, and I was not only saying I was trusting Him, but, I was putting it into action. This is still hard and we still don't get that tithe sent out every paycheck friends. I recently had a talk with God about this actually. Thankful for grace.
In this process I remember making hard choices on what to pay, what not to pay. I chose to pay our vehicle loan over our house because they called and hassled more. Both vehicles were combined in one 1 big loan - SIGH. They threatened more, or so it seemed AND they were not nice either. Not only that, but they could see my bank account as it was at the same bank. This just added fuel to the fire. I remember being asked "Isn't your livelihood more important than your church?" I was already emotional and I came back and said, "I'm sorry but this is not about my church, it is about the instruction God has given to me to give to Him first and although my livelihood is important, obeying His instruction comes first. and... you just crossed a line and it was inappropriate." I then called my church and asked for help sobbing. Thankfully they helped us and loved on us. It was so embarrassing. It wasn't just a phone call, I had to go fill out paperwork and so many people I knew and loved for a long time became aware of our situation. Big Sighs. And here comes the frankincense.
Around this same time friends I had a check on my vision board for $5000. I had NO idea where the money would come from but I knew we needed it. I had dated the check for July 15 2017. On that very day of July 15th, my husband was home for lunch and opened a piece of mail - because remember I was struggling to do this - and inside it was a retirement account of mine with a balance of over $6000. It was from a prior job. And although I did not want to withdraw it, we knew we had to see if it was possible. I called and the amount we would receive after taxes and penalties it was just over $5000! I looked at Chad, I looked at my board, I cried, and I thanked the Lord. This money caught us up on our home and a few other things. Later that night my husband said "Yep I know, there are no coincidences." And friends, this wasn't the only time. I would often put amounts up on my vision board and then I would sign just enough clients to take care of things. God just always provides.
By this point I had begun to do in home child care for a family. I learned that although I love kids that childcare is not my thing. I continued it for over a year and ended up having 3 different families over that time to just to help us get by. And although it isn't something I would want to do for a living, I sure loved each of the kids I got to care for. I remember when it was time to say goodbye to the kiddos from my last family for the last time... I cried on and off all week. It was so hard. Yet, I can say I do not miss it. I learned so much about myself. So much!
So many times I had to let go of pride and ask for help. This is not an easy thing to do for many. We applied for assistance many months before this. So... we were also getting WIC and Food Stamps. I would go shopping for groceries and hide the card as best I could when I would pay. Or I would find a non busy register for my WIC and then I'd tell the cashier that I was doing multiple WIC transactions and to put their sign out to not hold up other customers. Mix of kindness and a mix of pride. This was hard. I hated it.
At Christmastime of 2017 a friend chose us to be her family to take care of that year. This was so sweet and my kids thought it was so amazing that she showed up with tablets, snow pants and more... Honestly I was so conflicted. I had so many mixed feelings. I was grateful, I felt loved, yet I was ashamed. I even felt like everyone knew so I was embarrassed. I am so thankful for her heart.
The holiday season was also when we learned we were going into foreclosure on our home. My stress increased because I was the one left to fix it all. You see basically Chad got up, went to work, came home, helped out a bit, and went to bed. Then he got up and did it all over. It's not that he didn't know how bad it was. But, I was the one handling the house, the kids, the money, trying to attempt to building my business, get the kids to church, school issues, plus I as extremely sleep deprived. Through all of this I found it was harder to take time to be with God - I had it in my head that I needed to be in my quiet corner. Slowly I got less and less of Jesus. I was losing my crap almost daily. I cried daily. I wanted to just run away. I couldn't handle people either. I am a feeler and if someone else cries, I cry, if someone else is super angry, I begin to get angry... I was more than a hotmess. And here comes the stress away. It is like reliving it all over again as I share this.
I had confided in a handful of people but finally I just vomited on a couple of people. One of the people happened to be the friend who loved on us a Christmas. She then reached out to another friend and within 24 hours they offered to lend us the money needed to get us out of foreclosure. My husband and I were at a loss. He just kept saying "Who does that?" Well, people who love do that.
Chad's and I had been having hard conversations for months but they began to shift. These weren't arguments. They were hard because we had to figure out what to do. Was I supposed to go back to work full time and put our son in day care? And then become less available to my daughters, especially Em who needs extra patience and care. If we did, what would that do? Then it was, what if we filed bankruptcy? Throughout the discussion we realized that no matter what, whether I went back to work or not, we had to file. It was horrifying! And all that paperwork was my responsibility? Chad took part in a couple meetings, some financial training, and went to court but otherwise it was up to me. My perfectionist self was in full form. I questioned everything I did as I hunted down statements, proofs, filled out 30 pages of questions.... realizing that everyone got a notification.
In the beginning of the process we had lots of big realizations. One of the priorities was making sure we had one family vehicle. We knew that we had to either get our vehicles fully caught up and be able to continue to payments or we had to voluntarily give them back. We did the latter. There was no way that on 1 income we could continue the payment we had. I was able to take money out of our life insurance policies for the kids (you do what you have to, it gets paid back). And then my dearest friend and her husband showed up one day and gifted us money to use for our floors. This really opened the door for conversations. They heard what we were going through, they expressed we should use it for whatever need God put on our hearts. What a blessing. We hurried and found a 'get ya from A to B' vehicle. Then they day came and when the repo guys showed up, Chad saw them beforehand. Thankfully the people were thoughtful and just came to the house without their tow truck and Chad worked it out with them to make it less obvious. He was so quiet about it. I cried a lot that day.
I cried so much over all the loss and I regularly said:
"Lord, You won't take it all will you?"
"Will you still love me if I do?"
"Yes Lord, please make it stop hurting so much"....
I hope you'll join me next time as I share about how this actually affected our marriage and our family. I hope you see the blessings and beautiful sprinkled in and I promise you at the end you for sure will see it.
So be blessed