I continue to be blessed by my friends and fellow bloggers who’ve shared their stories during the Lenten focus on faithfulness series. Now it’s my turn to share…
By the fall of 2008, the nation’s banking system began to spin out of control. Many were affected by widespread job loss, the subsequent mortgage crisis, and the overall downturn of the U.S. economy.
Brady and I were among the many.
As two college educated, resume toting, eager-to-work professionals, we couldn’t figure out why our job search was taking so long. At times our questions were interrupted by the occasional part-time or temporary job. Grateful for the income, we’d rejoice and put our questions on hold.
But the reality that the job was temporary or a reminder of our monthly deficit released the hold button. Then the questions came through loud and clear.
Why was this job search more difficult than any other?
What was the lesson God wanted us to learn?
As the answers to our questions came slowly, the onset of anxiety became difficult to slow down.
1. How would you describe your faith walk or view of God before your pain appeared?
Before our resources ran out, Brady and I were already in Christ. But I saw resources as “we-sources,” meaning God is the provider but His provision was multiplied through my efforts. Being a good steward of what He gives is essential, but the fruit of the partnership flourishes by His grace alone. I didn’t have a good grip on that reality.
2. What surprised you the most about this season of your life?
My ego was exposed. I felt the sting of humiliation when we needed to apply for and received public assistance. But I needed to learn the difference between humiliation and humility.
Humiliation is being afraid of what my flaws and failures look like to people. Humility comes from knowing who I am in the eyes of God.
At times, I foolishly snubbed what was in His hand trying to satisfy the pride in my heart. And yet, the gift of humility grew as I became grateful for what God provided – no matter what that looked like.
Experiencing God’s faithfulness was humbling. I began to see the assistance as a bridge to what He would ultimately restore – our ability to financially support ourselves.
3. Who or what did God use to teach you about (or remind you of) His faithfulness and love?
Undoubtedly, He used the prayers and kindness of our family, friends and loving local church. But one example stands out for me. During that time, we received an email from a friend we hadn’t seen in years. He was coming to our city on a business trip and we invited him for dinner. As he left our home that evening, he also left a check for a thousand dollars.
Our mortgage was due the next day and we had no means of paying it. Our friend had no way of knowing this, but God did. God is our Provider — period. My notion of “we-sources” left and my appreciation of Him as our Source and Supply skyrocketed. He sent someone from across the country just to teach me that truth.
4. How does God use your story to encourage others?
This season lasted for two years. As I experienced God’s faithfulness in the leanest of times, He supplied a storehouse of truth in my soul. I continue to share what I learned in my speaking and writing ministry.
Whether I encounter someone who is lacking resources, faith or a relationship with Christ, I’m less judgmental about their struggle and more empathetic with their pain. He taught me how to forage for treasure in my trials and now I encourage others to do the same.
5. How do you desire to demonstrate faithfulness in your walk with God?
Simple trust and sustained obedience. Both require a complete dependency on Him. Sometimes I think that’s part of the purpose in life’s trials—to help me arrive at that conclusion in deeper more transformative ways.
As a result, I’m continually growing in my commitment to embrace the pace, places and people God calls me to with His grace and truth. Ultimately, I desire to know Him and make Him known as the only God who can bring hope for the heart and joy to the soul.