Two weeks later, the freestanding garage that housed our business burned to the ground. In one hour, we lost our pottery business and my husband’s tools. In 60 minutes, we lost a good 2/3 of our measly little income. We were already living on a shoestring, and that fateful hour cut the string. We also lost the ability to make ends meet when they weren’t, because my husband always did odd jobs to meet the bills. We thought we would be okay for a while, because it was tax time and we were expecting a big refund.
A week later, we received word that someone had stolen my social security number and our tax return. (And might I say, “Shame. Shame on them!”) Our joke in the whole thing was that whoever did that had just inherited worse credit than they already had. That’ll fix ‘em.
So, in less than 30 days, our sad little world had caved in. I had two choices. I could curl up and go to sleep, or I could get up and put one foot in front of the other until things got better. For the sake of my kids and my husband, I did the latter.
Through dealing with the issues that came, I learned many things and I was reminded of many things. I won’t list them all, because you would surely lose interest way before I finished the list. (I know..”Don’t call me Shirley.”) So, for the sake of time and your need for a social life, I will just name 5 things that God taught me through April 2012.
1. God will not let us starve to death. My butt is proof of that. It is just as fat now as it was at the beginning of April. (Okay, maybe not quite as fat, but that is because of the major life changes we made after my husband’s trip to the hospital.) We have not missed one meal. We have not missed one bill. We lost 2/3 of our income, and we had our bills paid sooner in May than we normally would have. God will (and did!) provide. He always does. Matthew 6:25– 34 and John 14:27 were verses that I focused on.
2. A church family is a good thing to have. We were so tremendously blessed by our church family during our hard times! Over the course of 3 weeks, we had close to $2500 handed to us by members of the church. Besides that, we were given buckets (literally!) of tools. It was unbelievable how much God blessed us through our church family. Galations 6:10 and 1 Peter 2: 9-10 are two verses that talked about this.
3. It is what it is. That may seem redundant or confusing, but it’s true. It is what it is, and I can’t change it. I had to quit obsessing over things I could not control and just focus on who was in control. Through worry, I accomplished nothing. If I had listened to worry, I would have gone to sleep in my bed and not gotten up. I would have wallowed in my self pity and focused on no one but me. I would have been angry at God and angry at myself for being angry at God. That would have done no one any good. Instead, with God’s help, I let it go. I realized that it truly is what it is. Since there was nothing I could do about it, I just looked upward instead of around. Read Proverbs 12:25, Luke 12:32, Psalm 55:22 and Philippians 4:6-7.
4. Kale is gross. Oh wait. That’s a different subject. I’m not sure God taught me that, but our little side trip to the hospital sure did! I don’t care how you cook it, juice it or season it, kale is nasty.
4. (really) I am not in control. I don’t have much to say about this one, but it is probably the biggest lesson I learned. I...am….not...in...control. Until I stopped trying to control things, God let me flounder. As soon as I relinquished control, life started to improve. Focus on Psalm 46:10.
5. God has big plans for me. I don’t know what they are yet, but I know He does. How do I know? He told me in Jeremiah 29:11-13. Do I believe this? Absolutely! If I believe God’s word, then I have to believe this. He was speaking to the Israelites, but I believe this was also for me. I take comfort in that, and it scares me to death all at the same time. What does God have in store for me? Who knows. I may have to go through many more struggles to get there, but as the old saying goes, “If He takes me to it, He’ll get me through it.” He hasn’t failed me yet, and I don’t believe he will.
6. (Okay. I lied...there aren’t 5.) He will work it out. How? I don’t know. When? I don’t know. Where? I don’t know. With whom? I don’t know. I’m not sounding very convincing right now, am I? It’s true, though. There are so many times in my past that I can look back at and know that God’s providence was there and He worked it out. It’s those times in life that make us strong and give us faith. So, if that’s what it takes to mold me into the person I need to be, bring them on! I would like it if I could just have it easy for a little while, but, for one last cliché, I know that no matter what tomorrow holds, God holds tomorrow. Read Romans 8:31 and Romans 8:28.
If you are having an “April” kind of month, just hang on. This too shall pass in time. If you are having a good month, enjoy it and be prepared. We all have an April eventually. There is no need to fear it, though, because God already has it covered. -Al