One friday in late January, Ben came home with a look on his face that I'll never, ever forget. He walked into th kitchen, leaned against the counter and fought to hold back the tears. He managed to barely whisper out, "I lost my job today and I'm so, so sorry. I'll fix it. I promise." Clearly, he didn't do anything wrong, we live in a time of uncertainty and our economy is wavering. But still, my heart sank, I got angry (not at him) and went numb for a few minutes. Then, in the realization of what was happening I went to our bedroom and cried. Cried tears, cried out to God and my mind went a thousand different directions. "What will we do? We just moved here. How will we pay our bills? Will I have to go back to work? What will people say?" The last question is the worst for me. It stings. That should never have even crossed my mind. But, it did. You see, we've been here before. In September 2007, two weeks before we had Jackson, Ben was laid off from Acxiom along with a lot of other people. I still remember those long 9 months before he found another real job. And even more than the wait, I remember the looks and comments. Not uplifting, kind comments. Mean words, wondering where our resources were coming from and why Ben was taking so long finding a job. Oh it hurt. We are hard working people, why was this happening?
And now, why is this happening again?
I can look back on the 2007 job loss fondly now because I know where God took us. You see, in 2007 we were both working full time, with good income and the thought of saving money or using coupons were the last things on our minds. I remember one evening in January, watching a Fox News Special where the creator of the Grocery Game was featured and I was fascinated with what she was able to get with those coupons! I thought to myself, "Why did I not know about this? Why has nobody told me?" So I learned and saved and my knowledge grew and eventually I was able to use what little we had to more than provide for our family. That saving streak has not ended and because of the struggles that our family faced I started this blog - just one of many savings blogs out there but I get emails all the time from people telling me that they were able to provide for their family because they shopped sales and coupons that they heard about on my blog - not a testimony to me, but to God. I know exactly how they feel and so I'm thankful, so very thankful for how God blessed that time in our lives. It was a struggle, we had to lean on each other, Ben stocked shelves for Keebler at all hours of the day and night and we used our tax refund to go as far as we could make it go and we managed until Ben got a job at FedEx in May.
God was providing for us then and He is doing it now too. Fastforward 3 1/2 years to this January and we're back there again. Not sure why this is happening but trusting that God has a plan. Because He always does. And just as the scripture says,
"25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds?"
I thought I was a humble person until Ben lost his job this time and God allowed me to become more humble. I'll never forget finding an envelope in my purse the Sunday after Ben lost his job, only 2 days after it happened with this note that I'll treasure as long as I live.
Do you ever think about that? Truly think about it? The God of the Universe. The Creator of ALL things LOVES you. It blows my mind. I'm so wretched, so selfish, so unworthy and He freely gives, freely loves and I'm blown away. He is God Almighty and His promises are true.
I struggled with even sharing this because who wants everyone to know their struggles and insecurities? I worry about what people will say or think and how our family will be judged. But that makes it about me and it's not about me. If I don't tell you what we're going through then God doesn't get the Glory He deserves for everything He has done for us.
I get scared, I worry and I don't understand a lot of things. But, I've learned so much through this trial. One that is still going on. I've learned how much He loves me. That if it matters to me, it matters to God. I've learned the importance of the body of Christ. I love our church and the other Godly people in our lives. It is so encouraging to see people actually acting like Christians, actually loving on us not because we can do anything for them but because they love Jesus and want to be His hands and feet. It's overwhelming. And last, I've learned that no matter what we're given financially, whether through a paycheck or anonymous envelope it is from HIS hands. We don't earn anything, He gives it. That's humbling and I'm so thankful that He loves me enough to take the time to humble me so that I can become more like my Jesus.
"If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, tis now."