i believe in miracles, part one
when jon and i got married we had two houses – mine and his. mine was a fairly new dig with a bite-sized mortgage payment. his… well have you ever seen the money pit with tom hanks? (ok, it wasn’t that bad)
had i kept the job i had we might have been okay. but that had already been decided by a miracle in and of itself.
see, i was making decent money at a bank headquarters, wearing suits to work, blahdy-blah, when all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere i get a call to come in and talk to someone about a volunteer position at the church.
i had been interested in this position – heard about it through a friend who was also considering it. i told her that if she ended up in that role, could i please please be her assistant because i knew i could learn from her in it. and she told me she thought i could do the job myself. i dismissed that idea on the grounds of it being sheer nonsense!
the evening that conversation took place, however, she received a phone call from the church asking her what she knew about me, and that my name had come up for this very same position! she told them about our conversation and the next morning i was the one receiving a phone call.
i met that evening at the church to discuss the role and before i left i had accepted it. it was volunteer and i was going to have to work evenings and weekends to fit it around my ‘real’ job. but i was thrilled to pieces.
it’s already lookin’ like a God-story, right? it gets better. keep reading.
maybe a few weeks went by, i don’t remember, i was having fun and time was a-flying. i got another call from the church. this time the role was a staff position and it was paid. another meeting at the church later and i had an offer in my hand to consider. i mean really consider. because if i worked there i wouldn’t be able to work at the bank anymore. which meant a very different income. and we had a money pit to consider.
so jon and i went to lunch and talked it over. i worked up a mock budget that looked at the next 6 months’ income and expenses as though i had taken the job at the church, just to see what it would look like. according to my calculations, we’d be in the red by the end of that time by about $1500. we prayed about it and decided to leave it in God’s hands. on our way home from this lunch, we stopped at the mailbox and in it was a check for $1500!! i kid you not.
i took the job.
the $1500 was a reimbursement from my insurance company that they said would take at least 12 months longer than it took to receive it, IF i was going to get it back at all. are you seeing God’s fingerprints yet?
so here i am working for waaaay less than i was, we’re still paying two mortgages and we are trying to get jon’s house fixed up to sell. i wish i could say that the budget i worked up was correct, but just about every unforeseen thing that could happen… happened.
we had foundation problems. severe foundation problems. the more severe the problem, the more money it cost to fix it. i didn’t budget for that.
we also had sewage problems that would have been paid for by the city if it had been just a few more feet away from the house. it wasn’t. i didn’t budget for that.
oh – and we had water leaks, too. i think you get the idea. it was expensive and frustrating.
in the meantime we had narrowed our living expenses so much that we had no cable, no meals or movies out, etc. i was making really cheap casseroles and then measuring the leftovers into tupperware and freezing them so we could take them for lunches. i figured out how to make a spaghetti dinner for less then 75 cents that would provide both of us two separate leftover meals as well. we were stretching every penny.
and then the letters came.
it seemed like every single week a new collection agency would inform us of something we owed them. some days it felt like i was being swallowed into demands that i couldn’t fulfill and there wasn’t a thing i could do about it. i cried a lot back then.
during all of this, we had decided we were going to continue to give ten percent of our gross income to God (or rather, give it BACK to Him). we felt that tithing was non-negotiable. and it was out of what was left that we were going to deal with everything else.
i like to think that, perhaps because we were faithful with our finances, God blessed us tremendously. i cannot speak for Him. but i can tell you what happened.
with every collection agency, we dealt with them with honesty and integrity. we made plans and stuck with them and promised to pay off things we didn’t even own anymore. if we signed an agreement, no matter how long ago it had been, we honored it.
we knew we would be upside-down on the house when it sold. that was a no-brainer. and my mom had offered to loan us the amount we would need to pay in order to sell it and then we could pay her back when we could.
so when it finally came time to draw up the deal and give the house our “good riddance”, we weren’t shocked to see we had to pay to get rid of it. but what did shock us was that we had half that amount in the bank. we were only going to have to borrow half of it from my mom instead of the whole thing. and then she was reimbursed within two months.
friends – there is no accounting i can perform, no magic numbers i can come up with to explain where the money came from that we had in our account that day. i can’t ‘make’ that money be there no matter how i figure it.
we had poured way more money into the house than i had ever figured on in my budget. and that budget never considered all those collection agencies we had already started paying. not to mention that the budget was a 6-month forecast but it was an actual 18 months that it took for the house to sell! we should have been in the red – way more in the red than i had already figured.
to this day we scratch our heads and chalk it up to a miracle because there simply is no other explanation for it. we are amazed and we are blessed.
we believe that because it was God’s accounting and provision that allowed us to get past that difficult period, that this house and all we own is His. he provides. we just get to manage it.
we have seen dark and scary account balances. and we have also seen the hand of God. we could have scrimped that ten percent and put it toward the house or other debt, but then we wouldn’t have seen him increase the money we had left over just like he fed a crowd with just some fish and a loaf of bread.
he rewards faith. we believe it because we’ve lived it.
the story doesn’t end there, but this post does. stay tuned for “i believe in miracles, part two” coming soon.
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