This summer I read a book called, if I remember correctly, "The girls guide to homelessness" and it was based on the blog of this young southern California girl who found herself to be out of work and out of a house, seemingly overnight. she recounts with total transparency the fears and obstacles she faced daily. I applaud her honesty and her transparency even as I shy away from TMI (too much information) about my own life. Yet I always want my blog to be authentic. Life is not always a bed of roses, or a sunny day. Still, even when I struggle in my day to day life, I cling to the grace and goodness that I know my God delivers.
Right now, my husband and I are going through some of the leanest times we have ever faced. As a self employed contractor, every winter is hard. Work always slows down this time of year and we have had times of severe unemployment but none such as we are faced with right now. And I have decided I need to share honestly how this is going. What we are facing. How we are dealing with it. Because I know we are not alone. I know others-- many around us-- are struggling too. How do we get through it? What gives us the strength to hang on, day after day, when the rope we cling to frays a little more each day?
We have never gone hungry. But we have (are) faced the same meal of top ramen or oatmeal many many days in a row. We've not run out of gas but we've cancelled many trips because we don't know where the next tank of gas will come from. We've just recently been disconnected from our landline phone, which also meant saying good bye our internet service. Thankfully we were able to pay the cell phone bill (Bruce's cell number is listed on all his business cards so it was imperative we keep this in service) and our library offers free Wi-Fi. We don't have insurance. No medical. No life. No auto and lastly, and possible the worst-- no liability insurance. (For a self employed contractor that is really not O.K.) My car needs brake work, the work truck needs all sorts of repairs and Bruce's car has no heater/defroster among other goofy things. We haven't made a house payment in 3 months, as well as our garbage and water bills. I have just enough money set aside to pay the power bill on Monday but it will only just barely satisfy the beast.
Work is spotty. Bruce's job in Oregon last month seemed like a wonderful golden opportunity.... but the vehicle problems we had trying to get there ate up a lot of the income. In times past, a job here and a job there kept us from total bankruptcy. Lately there seems to be plenty of opportunities for Bruce to provide mission outreach work... which means nothing in terms of a paycheck, but is priceless when he sees the grateful face of the person receiving the help.
We feel God is leading us into something... and we understand that to serve Him requires sacrifice. Is this financial crisis part of that? Are we being asked to simplify our lives, remove clutter and distractions so we can more clearly hear God speaking? Yet, when the bills are piling high on the desk and the threatening letters and phone calls increase, do they not also serves as serious distractions?
Bruce can pound the pavement looking for work and feel frustrated for lack of return on his investment of time.... and then marvel over the lead he gets of someone who desperately needs a repair on his home and lacks the funds to pay for it. And his heart takes him to that persons home and he fixes it and comes home, torn between celebrating being able to use his gifts in this way, and weeping over another day of not providing for his family.
the tension we are living is HARD. But we desire to be faithful. And we desire to TRUST God in the face of such scary trying times. We believe God is good and that He has a plan for our lives. Does his plan include going with out? What do we really need to survive? I have said I would be happy to live anywhere as long as I have Bruce at my side. Does God want us to lose our house? Would that be the worst thing that could happen? No not really.
Are we supposed to be learning something NEW in all of this? Are we being tested? How are other Christians out there dealing with the economic tsunami that wipes out the foundations on which they live?
We are going to ride this thing out.... with faith instead of fear.... but it aint easy. It sure aint easy.