Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Financial Miracle- Part 2

Dear Readers, 

     Today is part 2 of "The Financial Miracle."  If you didn’t get a chance to read part 1, just scroll down this page and you can read it first.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog…

 

     THE FINANCIAL MIRACLE Part 2 -Journal Entry, Nov. 4, 2004

 

     Over the next several months my husband and I received two surprise large church donations; discounts on all our utilities; food stamps, free state health insurance, unexpected sick and vacation pay, free legal advice, free prescriptions, fuel assistance, love gifts from our kids, and disability approval for my hubby.

     But the most valuable gift I received in the last very difficult five months, was a trust in God that surpasses any humility I’ve learned.  He had to put me in this special place!  A place my pride wouldn’t allow me to be in, and God hates the sin of pride almost more than any other sin.  He hates it for one reason; because it takes away credit for all the good He does for us; credit interminably from where it belongs!  The Word says, all good comes from God.  ALL GOOD!

     I want to mention one more valuable lesson, and I pray this has spurred my growth.  Patience has become my best friend.  As soon as my stomach gets tense I say, "One day at a time, Claire, one day at a time!  Each day has enough problems of it’s own."  The government moves at a snail’s pace, and all the anxiety in the world doesn’t change that.  Besides, God commands in Phillipians 4:6+7, for us to pray, be patient and be at peace about everything.  We have a whole generation of people existing on anxiety pills, and I thank God every day I’m not one of them.

     Every experience in life is supposed to teach us something valuable.  Through this one I have learned to share my home more; I’ve learned the man living on the street is no worse than I am; I’ve learned that I worship a God that wants us to trust totally in Him because He knows our needs and promises to provide for them.  I have also learned to be patient, that God’s time is different than our time; I’ve learned to take life one day at a time.  But mostly, I’ve learned that my Lord is way way bigger and more powerful than I ever imagined.  My finances were the last thing I had to give Him control of.  Long ago I gave Jesus my kids, grandkids, health, and work.  And now, finally my finances and I must admit, the Lord has surprised me again and again by providing unexpected financial support to get us through this arduous time.

     It just happened again recently!  As of the end of the this month, November, our income which has dropped to less than $200 a week, stops on 11/30/2004.  It’s six weeks until CJ’s disability check finally comes in the mail.  An old fear creeped into me when he signed off his job after ten years.  That was only three days ago and I prayed, "Lord, You haven’t failed us to this point!  Why should I not trust in You for the next six weeks until we have a steady income again?"

     Cal’s work gave him two weeks unexpected vacation pay when he signed off his position.  Food stamps surprisingly tripled our amount this momth,  And so it all kept surprising us until finally his disability came in.

     I could go on and on, but you get the idea, right?  If we trust in the Lord, He will take care of us!

 

                                           Love in Christ, Claire xoxo

 

     Phil. 4:6+7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   (NIV) 

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The Financial Miracle

Dear Readers,

     This story will take two blogs for me to enter.  It covers a very difficult financial time for Cal and I ten years ago when both of us were out of work at the same time.  But the Lord miraculously got us through…

 

     THE FINANCIAL MIRACLE- Part 1,  Journal Entry, Nov. 4, 2004

 

     A miracle is taking place in my life.  I’m not quite sure when it started.  Maybe it was when my sister died.  That was two months ago.  Maybe it was when my husband went out on disability last June.  That was four months ago.  But, I know for sure it happened some time between those two events.  The miracle is this, a total dependency on living day to day, trusting in the Lord to take care of me; physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

     At first it was the scariest venture I have ever taken on.  But with no other direction to turn for help, I had no choice.  I retired because of cancer and cancer related complications (which included three surgeries in one year).

     This left me for the first time in 11 years, with almost no money coming in.  My dependency then became totally on my husband’s income for the first time.  Swallowing my pride on that one, was difficult, but I adjusted, and when I got well enough, I even started to enjoy being home away from the stress of the corporate world.

     But then, within a year and a half, my husband whose health had been failing for some time, had to stop working to have knee replacement surgery.  Panic set in!

     I’ve always been excellent at living within my means, but in 18 months our income dropped from $90,000 a year to $12,000 a year.  This adjustment would have been impossible had I not been prompted by the Holy Spirit, before I retired, to get debt free.  Plagued with messages from God daily which some were, "I want you to pay off your mortgage!"  And, "I want you to pay off all your credit cards."  I repeatedly heard them in my prayers, in my dreams, and in my thoughts.  So, one by one, I paid off the credit cards, and finally the mortgage.

     At first this seemed great because our weekly expenses dropped to a bare minimum.  But I found it difficult to stay debt free, because unexpected needs arose constantly.  My kids even started telling me it was a foolish move because our funds were cut to nothing, and as our income plummeted, it became impossible to replenish our savings.

     When I was alone I would cry and pray, "Lord, did I make a mistake?  Did I hear You right, about owing no man and living within our means?"  I found myself not praying but begging the Lord to provide for our financial needs.  It required more humility and trust than I have ever experienced in almost 30 years of being a Christian.

     Oh, I fought for us.  I fought hard!  I went after all the financial help available to people out of work and disabled, but it takes months for these applications to the government to go through, and tons of paperwork.  I filled out forms and more forms and each time I dropped one in the mail, I prayed for the Lord to get it approved.  I learned humility, true humility!  I got used to the looks and stares when I used a food stamp card, or asked for free care at a hospital.

     My personality started to change.  I found myself looking at homeless people and indigents through different eyes.  One time when I myself was referred to as "Indigent," I got violently angry at a hospital nurse.  All she said was, "We don’t do indigent cases!" referring to me and my husband, who both needed surgery at the time.  The amazing part of that humbling situation was that we still had excellent health insurance that had not expired yet.

     I know now, as I look back to that moment in time, that this experience was only one part of the Lord’s lessons for me to learn.  At that moment in June, I had yet to encounter sitting with a social worker and applying for free care; or waiting in a room full of people for two and a half hours to fill out an application for fuel assistance; or digging back in months of paperwork to prove the need for food stamps.  After all, I lived in a nice house and we both had jobs earning a combined income of $90,000 a year, not so long ago!  I didn’t have to think about food stamps, mass health, R2 electric, or disability income, did I?  When I got through the pride stage; when I got through the crying stage; when I got through the anger stage; then and only then did I start to realize the vastness of the Lord’s provisions.    (End of part 1).

 

                                                          Love in Christ,  Claire  xoxo 

 

 

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The Letter

Dear Readers,

     "Claire’s Letter Stories" got started because of the many letters I used to write.  Here is one of those letters, written 11 years ago to a troubled coworker who couldn’t decide whether to quit or stay at her job…

 

     LETTER TO JANE- Journal Entry – January 4, 2003

 

     Dear Jane,

      I don’t know how else to share with you how valuable it is to follow God’s Will for your life, but I’ll try to explain by writing it.  For a couple years now I have been praying, actually begging, God to get me out of the bus company.  I gave up believing that He would.

     Then I discovered something. I was the one keeping me from letting God answer my volume of prayers over the years.  It was me, not God!  I discovered the real truth!  Are you listening?  What I’m about to say to you is very important; "I WAS THE ONE WHO WOULDN’T LET GO AND LET GOD!"  I finally realized that I had a death grip on my big fat paycheck!  I refused to release my finances over to my Savior and let Him show me what His Will for my life was.  I literally made myself sick over the thoughts of letting go of my income and quitting that company.  I ended up in the emergency room with what I thought was a heart attack.  To make matters worse, the hospital ran a battery of tests, and they found a lump in my breast that scared the daylights out of me for another couple months.  I was convinced, just like my two sisters before me, that I had breast cancer and could be facing death.  I was so frightened that I started again to evaluate my life and my stressful position at work. 

     For the first time in years of begging God to get me out, I decided to trust in Him and make a decision to leave, and pray that He would show me, "His Will for my life," even if it meant I had to give up the big paycheck.  Facing a life or death situation made me realize that I had not given God control of my finances; maybe He wanted me to do something else for work that might not bring in as much money but would be rewarding because it would be His Will, not mine.  Hopefully, it would bring peace and joy back into my work life.

     Then God presented me with the perfect opportunity!  While in the hospital, my doctor told me to take some time off from work because the ulcer medication was strong, and he wanted to run extra tests to be sure there was nothing more serious.

     I now had a reason!  So my prayers changed from, "God, get me out of this place!" to, "God show me Your Will for my life!"  I decided to take a FMLA (Family Medical Leave of Absence) and during all the extended testing I started searching for another career direction.  I put my application in a few places and asked around about job openings.  (They are out there kiddo!)

     As I prayed, God seemed to be pulling me towards, of all things, Specialized Foster Care.  I decided to get MAPP trained (Massachusetts Assn. of Parent Planning) in a December class, which I might add is quite rare of a class to catch during the holidays.  I went through 8 three-hour classes, and continued to ask God to show me a way to do this financially, since it paid little compared to my previous work.

     I had a wonderful stress-free holiday season but continued to spend hours and hours reading my bible, hoping God would show me His Will, not my will anymore.  I can honestly say that this was the first time ever, that I released my financial worries totally to the Lord.

     The day before you called me Jane, Friday, December 2, 2003, I received a call from the foster care foundation, and was asked if I would take a five-year-old severely physically abused little girl.  As I listened to the gruesome details of her background, I realized that God had sent her to me.  I agreed to take her, and when you telephoned that following Saturday, I was praying yet again for direction of His Will to show me how I could help her.

     I put off telling you about possibly leaving the company because I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was God’s Will for me to do this kind of work.  Foster care is not a job I would have chosen in a million years!  It is a total invasion of privacy, it’s lousy money, and you have to be able to share your whole world with angry, troubled, children who want only to go home, no matter how bad home is.

     My church was quite supportive and reminded me that these kids might never hear about Jesus except through me.  Even though we aren’t supposed to talk about religion in Foster Care, a Christian lifestyle speaks for itself.  Also, they told me that I might be the very answer to this child’s prayers.

     So, my dear friend, that’s it!  I love you dearly.  I miss you a lot!  God seems to have finally answered my prayers, but not until I was ready to hear what He had to say.  First, I had to totally give Him financial control.

     Now, back to you.  It seems to me that you are missing the most important part of what you told me about yourself!  Are you still listening?  "GOD IS TALKING TO YOU!"  Even though you missed some of it, He is still talking to you!  Do you know how exciting that is to actually hear the Lord’s voice?  Many Christians never reach that height in their walk with Jesus!

     So, today is the first day of the rest of your life, Jane!  You must start to listen and do His Will, even if you don’t want to do what you hear!  He will not steer you wrong!  It’s not too late!  Start today, Jane!  Every morning in your prayers, command satan away from your head, and the next time God speaks, and your Spirit tells you it’s Him, do what you are told to do and watch the miracles happen!  And remember, most of the people at the company can’t relate to you as a born-again Christian.  They are of the world and you are not.  You march to the beat of a different drum.  You are a King’s Kid!  God instructs us in His Word to be humble and serve others.  How many of our employees can even grasp that concept?

     Please keep in touch dear friend!  Please read this letter more than once!  And please call often and I will update you on my new career.  I’ll be praying for you.

                       Love in Christ,   Claire xoxo

 

The Scripture that inspired my blog:

     2 Cor 3:3, "You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."  (NIV) 

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