How many of us know, that when God is trying to teach us something, he gives us ‘plenty’ of opportunities to learn it? He walks us through challenging situations so that we grow.
As I have mentioned, in the past two years especially, God has been teaching me to trust him (Learning to have faith.); using Brian’s journey in California, us both being in school unable to work, etc. to make his point. Well, apparently, I still need practice trusting, because challenging situations keep coming up.
*Throwback to our wedding in July, 2016.
We were both so excited to begin life as one, and as all newly weds do, we had big plans for our life post-wedding: after our honeymoon, we would move to Ohio where we would rent a house from his parents; he would continue working at his good-paying job (where he self-contracts to install replacement windows in residential homes) and I would get a job as soon as we moved in – and with our combined salaries, we would live off of his while putting mine directly into savings. This method would allow us to move to Redding, California where we would continue our spiritual education at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. And at some point within our year in Ohio, we would replace one of our old cars with a newer one so we would not have to worry about that while in Redding.
Two days before the wedding, things were perfect, besides the usual amount of stress, pressure, and business. But, by the next afternoon, it became quite clear to us that life does not care about our best-laid plans or rules. My bridesmaids and I were just returning from town where we had gotten our nails done, and were on our way home to change for the rehearsal dinner (to which we were already running late.) Our little caravan slowed down for a red light… but my little 2000 Mazda Protegé did not. My brakes gave out, my pedal went to the floor, and I slammed right into the back of my Maid of Honor’s SUV, totaling my trusty little vehicle on the scene. To say I was a wreck (no pun intended), is a severe understatement. I reached my limit when I realized that the brakes I had paid hundreds of dollars to have replaced three weeks before, had been defective… and it cost me my car. Not to mention the timing of this incident could not have been any worse.
*Fast forward to our honeymoon.
It was a typical, romantic get-away, deep into the mountains of West Virginia… and in the middle of our honeymoon, was my 20th birthday. We left our quaint little cabin and ventured into town for a celebratory dinner. Long story short, we began our last couple miles of the trip back to the cabin – miles of one-lane dirt roads with sheer drop-offs and minimal guide rails. Sketchy was the only word that came to mind. It was on this sketchy dirt path that his 2002 Honda Civic – the spawn of satan, as I call it, decided to blow a radiator. So there we were: on our honeymoon, stranded on an unfamiliar mountain with no cell service, smoke billowing into the air, and no address to give AAA Towing. We limped the car back to the cabin… and by limped, I mean, stopping every forty seconds to let it cool down for ten minute each time, before coasting down the hills and speeding up them before the radiator exploded entirely. Finally we ditched the vehicle entirely along the side of the road and hiked the remainder of the way to the cabin, dripping with sweat. The saga the next morning with the AAA tow man is simply too complicated and ridiculous to retell, but needless to say, the little backwoods redneck got lost on the way to find us, drove all the way around the mountain, and when he eventually got to us, it was a humid one-hundred degrees with a severe thunderstorm pelting rain. The car was ditched in a valley that would easily flood, and the tow truck’s tires were completely bald – on steep, muddy roads with drop-offs on either side. And to make matters even worse, the three of us were crammed like sardines into a single cab, with the awful-smelling driver who talked too much and refused to put down the windows in a truck that had no AC.
*Fast forward to our first three weeks living in Ohio
So we moved to Ohio with only one car – a car that was at the mechanic’s at least once a week after it continually left us stranded alongside the road. I think we were up to seven tows in five or six weeks. And we just “celebrated” tow number nine of the summer. Not only was this devil-car draining our bank account, but now we needed to purchase that “upgrade” way sooner than we thought we would need to (more money out the window); it cost more than we were prepared for to set up house, and additionally, Brian’s job was paying about half what we expected it to and I still did not even have a job!
A month later, we bought a 2011 VW Golf which was a blessing, but came with a bundle of expenses and a loan. The Civic was still back and forth to the mechanic’s for more repairs. While unemployed and living in California, Brian had paid all of his bills with his credit card, so we had quite a sizable amount to owe on the Visa. I did not hear anything back from my applications, and suddenly (for reasons unexplained) Brian’s work took a cut and they were given tiny jobs… which means very little pay. His paycheck began decreasing and then, one by one, customers began complaining… which means the crew is then required to report back to the job-site and fix whatever the customer is unsatisfied with – free of charge – meaning, the crew worked without pay for several days. For weeks it seemed, customers would stand on their porches and tell the guys how to do their job. They complained about each piece of trim, the grain of the wood therein, the paint flakes in their foot-high grass, etc. Brian and his coworkers just couldn’t win.
I watched the money going out, which seemed far more than that coming in. I started to worry and began suffering from stress-related headaches. I knew we were being attacked spiritually, as I could feel and discern the resistance, but in the physical, it seemed far more than that. Rent was due and a pile of bills came in the mail, along with our first car payment. Great.
There was no doubt in my mind that this was good practice for making educated, healthy decisions, but why was trusting God so difficult? About two weeks ago, I was under attack both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We have descerned spiritual resistance here and attribute it mainly to the “drug house” across the street where shady characters distribute meth on a constant basis. Two Thursday nights ago, there was a street fight in front of the drug house where shouts echoed and punches were heard. Immediately, I felt my head pulsing. I awoke the next morning with my head still pounding and my heart heavy with hopelessness, frustration, and worry. All that day, I battled the pain and sense of despair. Brian then notified me that he was working another long day without pay. I called my mom and asked her to pray with me. As I put a loaf of apple bread into the oven, I found my backbone and decided I’d had enough. I commanded my headache to leave, I told the devil to stop interfering with Brian’s work and our finances, and I started declaring victory over our bank account and his work schedule. Suddenly, the pain from my head left. But then my knee began to throb. It then worked its way to my back, then my stomach, through my neck and to my head again. I was done with such nonsense! I blared worship music through the house at high volume and prayed without ceasing.
I refused to worry. I had spent the last two years worrying and being frustrated and I had not gone through all of that just to succumb to the enemy’s plans of attack. I had not won that battle just to slip back into fretting again. I was a victor, not a victim. In that moment, I let go and let God.
Brian came home that evening and, sitting on the couch, I told him about my interesting day. “What are we going to do financially? Instead of saving an entire annual salary, we’re just making it to pay off all these loans. I’ll be so glad when they’re gone.” He shook his head, obviously in deep thought. “You really need to just start your own crew. You’d get paid twice as much,” I suggested. He looked at me, “And how am I going to buy a truck, and thousands of dollars worth of equipment? If you’re worried about paying off the car, how am I going to buy all the tools I need to create my own crew? And where would I find a worker?” He had a valid point.
*Fast forward to the next evening.
“There’s something we need to discuss,” Brian commented as we drove into town to run some errands. Oh boy, I thought as I refrained from rolling my eyes, what now? I don’t think I even want to know….
“Dad and I were talking and I think we might have discovered a way I can start my own crew.” My interest was piqued as I listened to his business proposal.
By the very next morning, he had created his own crew! His crew leader and good friend, Tom, was selling his own old work truck and agreed to sell it to Brian at a discounted price. Work truck, check! Another friend with twenty-five years of window experience had recently been laid off, and when Brian called him, he was immediately willing to work for/with Brian. Employee, check! One of Tom’s brothers was not using his window equipment, and agreed to rent the tools to Brian. Equipment, check! And the biggest hurdle of all was getting the approval from the management that was not a fan of his – I called Brian after their meeting that morning, and learned that it had been a success. Having the boss on board – check!
I still cannot get over the fact that it was less than twenty-four hours between the time I gave it to God and refused to worry, that he brought blessing and provision. Trusting is one of the hardest things, but it is oh so worth it. When we let go and let God, we give him permission to do his thing and bless us. I believe that when we try to have our life under control, that we often prevent God’s blessing from reaching us because we step in and try to be our own provider, instead of allowing him to do what he’s best at. ‘We’ try to be god in our life instead of letting him be God, therefore we miss out on his hand in our life.
Everything just fell right into place and I give God all the praise for setting this up. I am also overwhelmingly proud of my incredible, hard-working husband who was willing to put himself out there and risk everything: his job, his pride, his paycheck, etc. to step out and trust God to come through for us. It has been a huge lesson in trust for us, as well as learning to trust together, and it has certainly served to boost my confidence in the Lord.
So starting Monday, my honey will be his own self-employed boss who owns his own business, and I will be his “second, on stand-by employee” when he needs me. You go, Window Man, I’m so proud of you! And look, Babe, we’re adulting!
And I have learned that when we sense the greatest opposition and resistance, and simply want to give up, that is because breakthrough is just within reach. When you think you cannot do it anymore, just give it one last go with everything you have, because you’ve made it. My pastor used to call it the P.U.S.H method. She used the analogy of when she had her children: just before she was about to give birth, when the labor pains were at their strongest, and she said, “I can’t do this anymore,” it was at that point when the midwife saw the child’s head, and said, “Just one more push, you’re almost there!” Don’t give up. Give it one more try! Press on through. Just like when a mother holds her precious infant for the first time, she knows that the pain of labor was worth it because, without it, she would not have her baby. So keep going, your blessing is nearly in sight. P.U.S.H = Pray. Until. Something. Happens.