Has the Coronavirus pandemic put a damper on your finances in any way? Perhaps there was a loss of a job or a layoff. Maybe you work with clients and they all dried up, holding on to their finances until better times. It can be frightening to have to use an emergency credit card for what used to be basic needs. It is humbling asking family for help or showing up at a food bank.
I was reminded of this when reading some old diary entries from several years ago. I see now how God has provided for me and my family over the years. You see, one time my husband had lost his job. It was at a time when we were still in the early recovery from the affair he had with another woman. There was so much emotional stress as I learned to trust him again that I had no idea how to cope with the loss of trust and the loss of a major source of our income simultainiously. Just to add a few more violins playing in the background, I had lost one of my jobs within weeks of my husband going on unemployment. I was doing childcare for a boy who was now old enough to attend school all day and the family would no longer need my services.
How would we survive? How far was unemployment really going to stretch? I did my grocery shopping far from my home so that my friends and neighbors would not see me using the food stamps debit card. Had it really come to this? Why did this happen to us when we already had enough stress trying to put our marriage back together from his indiscretion?
One of the answers I found was in Deuteronomy. It showed evidence of how God provided for Moses and the people of Israel. In 2:7 we are reminded that of the forty-year journey they were on, they were blessed in the work of their hands and not lacking in anything. My paltry checking account balance seemed trivial compared to a forty-year journey that also involved uncertainty.
Who can forget the story of Jesus feeding five thousand in the book of Matthew? Matthew 14:20 “They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”
Another favorite of mine is in 1Kings (19:1-9) where Elijah was running for his life and just broken in the desert. He had given up and while resting under a tree he prayed to die. Instead, an angel told him to get up and eat. Provided for him was baked bread and water! That angel came back a second time and instructed him to eat again, for the journey was going to be a long one.
So if this patch of unemployment and emotional stress was going to be like Elijah’s long journey, I was ready. I put my big girl panties on and began creating ways where we could stretch our dollars. We hung our clothes on a clothesline to save on electricity. I grew very creative with recipes that used the foods I had been growing in my backyard garden. Weren’t we lucky that our time of unemployment was primarily during the summer months when the garden was in full bloom? God provides.
We knew that going out to eat was no longer an option, but also reminded ourselves that it would only be temporary. Our teenagers were already working summer jobs, so they knew better than to ask for any extravagant items. My son is still happy to shop at Walmart for most of his clothing, and I have often witnessed my daughters sharing clothing.
When I did find a part-time job, the family I worked for had an old car they wished to gift to us so that my teenagers could share it to get to their summer lifeguarding job. It was a rust bucket with dog hair that blew out of the vents every time we used the air conditioner, but we loved that car and named her “Edna.” Edna ran the whole summer and then some.
The pastor who was helping us through the issues relating to the affair said that we still needed a date night outside of the home and away from the kids. My husband and I were learning to relate to each other again and communicate better. We found out that if we went to our favorite dive before 9:00 PM, we could avoid the $5.00 cover charge. If we wanted to see our favorite local band, we would eat and have a drink at home, then arrive before the bouncer started charging. We knew the band would not play until 10:00, but that quiet hour of waiting was a wonderful opportunity for us to just talk and gaze into each other’s eyes before the loud music and crazy, middle-aged dancing.
I won’t lie and tell you how easy those 6 months were, because they were not, but I can assure you that we made it through and have nothing more than a few financial scars from the episode. We are not worried, as we know God is providing for us still. I leave you with this: Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Please remember that I offer a free twenty-minute call. It is not just for people grieving or marriages in distress. If you are going through a rough patch financially, do not hesitate to reach out. Chances are I have been there too.