Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Moment: God's.

In case you're one of those folks who reads my blog from Athens, Greece (as a handful of people do), or in case you're one of those subway-riding city types who doesn't buy gas in the U.S., allow me to state the (otherwise) obvious: the price of oil has tanked.

In May I paid $4.09 for a gallon of gas outside Telluride, Colorado. In November I'm paying $2.15 per gallon at my local pump. Good news for most. Nightmare for me.

Since 2005, I've worked as an oil and gas broker. I always heard it was a "feast or famine" business, and for the past few years I've been feasting. But now I - and thousands of other dear, dear people I've worked with - am out of work. We've been laid off and cut loose and shoved out the door, and we can't find another position to save to our lives.

To say the least, I've been concerned. I knew I had enough money to see me through October and that was it. I took some short-lived work at a local law firm for some extra money, but that's done now. I decided last week that since it's gotten so bad - and since this house needs so much that I can't provide - I was going to put Freeman House on eBay. Put her on the market. It's overwhelming enough when I have a good job. Now it seems impossible.

***********

My church is currently hearing a series of sermons about money. Money stewardship... things like that. Yesterday our preacher read from Psalms 24: The earth and everything on it belong to the LORD... It encouraged me. Although my name might be on Freeman House's title... although my name may be on a few accounts... my house, my car, my investments - everything, is really God's. Not mine. He's just given me a few things to enjoy or take care of, is all. And I have a responsibility to do well with what He's given me. Although I could think of a hundred other things to do with the money, I wrote a check for 10% of what I made at the law firm (us Christians call that "tithing") and dropped it in the offering plate. It's Yours anyway, Lord. And I'm counting on You to help me with this house and the little money I have left.

So I get in the Jeep this morning, still encouraged by yesterday's message. I have an armful of packages and letters to mail and a box of henrybella's goodies to deliver. And... ? What? ? I'm turning the ignition key and waiting for the Jeep to start and all I'm getting is a loud click-click-click-click-click-click-click.

I sat there a second, confused. Then I pumped the gas and jammed the key forward again. "Oh no you don't! NO. YOU. DON'T" I yelled.

Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click

Fortunately I live almost downtown. Fortunately the post office is six houses and two blocks (if you take an alley) away from Freeman House. I got my stuff out of the car and started walking. Then I dialed my Mom. When she answered I started crying. "My Jeep won't start!" I wailed. "And you know, Mom, I'm doing the best I can. I'm tithing. I'm giving. I've told God that Freeman House is His to do whatever He wants with. I really, really go out of my way trying here. What's the deal? I wrote God a check yesterday and now I WANT MY MONEY BACK!"

(Yeah. I said that. I'm not proud.)

My Mom sets me straight. She reminds me of what I'm always saying, anyway: I can't take it with me. So I stop blubbering. I do my business in the post office and skulk back into the alley to head home.

I'm walking... walking... and pass the pretty flower pots that always have such colorful blooms. I'm passing them and thinking what a mess this all is: the job market... my Jeep... poor old Freeman House with her leaking roof and now-moldy sheetrock... and suddenly words catch my eye. What? I've walked this alley 700 times and never noticed that between the flower pots before:


THIS HOME IS GOD'S.

Funny thing, the building the sign rests against isn't a home. It's the back of our little town's newspaper office. And even funnier is I never would have seen it if I hadn't been on foot.

This Home Is God's.

I don't know what's going to happen. I don't have answers... I don't have money... I don't have plans. But it doesn't matter, does it? The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. So I don't need to throw up my hands or crawl back into bed. I don't need to spend my day worrying. This is God's stuff, after all. He'll see to it. Clicking Jeep and leaking roof and lacking job. He's got it covered.

Thank God. Thank goodness. Thank God's goodness.


Monday Moment is a little humble little devotional to help kick start your week. See you again next time!

45 comments:

Johanna said...

What would we do if we didn't have our faith?

My prayers are with you for strength. You already posses wisdom.

Becky K. said...

Oh Brin,
I am so sorry that you are going through this painful time. You are a dear young woman who has been terribly brave.

I love it so when God just reaches visibly into our lives as He did for you with this sign.

You will be ok. He will take care of you. I, of course, don't know His plan...but I know HIM well enough to know that there IS a plan.

I'll be thinking about you and praying for you...

Becky K.

Susan said...

You, me snd SO many others are in this mess Brin. These are terrible financial times with many of us having to say goodbye to well loved dreams and homes. I have to sell my house too. I can no longer afford the upkeep and maintenance of my big ol' brick fix-er upper.

I'm now dreaming new dreams ... much simpler, teeny tiny, very affordable (cash only) brand new dreams and once I got over the initial disappointment ...well I've actually been finding this new adventure very exciting. Frugality is my new passion

I'm sure you've got some new dreams brewin' too.

SCB said...

I agree with Susan...sometimes our dreams take a little detour. Things are tough...I am a teacher...an UNEMPLOYED teacher who moved to a bigger city thinking I could find a job in a district that advertises needing teachers...and you know what? They are not even hiring substitute teachers! My plans had to change. And just like you, it took a little discovery to understand that it is all in God's hands. Our life is always in his hands...sometimes it is scary and not what we had planned but there is someone up there who loves us very much and makes sure we will have just what we need and sometimes if we are very lucky more than we could want. By the way...I am anticipating HenryBella's I hope online ordering can be done from anywhere. If so, I will be having some goodies sent to Memphis, TN.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Just listen for His voice, Brin. Don't even attempt to do a thing without hearing it. Not one thing. A tithe will not bend God's arm, a prayer will not either, but He does have a plan for each of us and it will work out.

What a great sign painted on the sill. It's not by chance that you saw it when you did.

Courage!

Cheryl said...

Oh honey, I've been there, I AM there! We've been going through financial difficulties for over a year and a half. It is not fun. But, I do know that God tells us to count it joy when we go through various trials (James 1:2), because we will grow in our faith! We studied James in by Bible study group last year and when we studied this my first inlcination was to say "yeah, sure, great..YOU try it!" But, you know a year later I am certain that my faith and perseverence have grown by leaps and bounds. I have learned so much more by going through these trials than I could have by reading a thousand books. I am also comforted by 1 Peter 1:6-7.
Brin, you are doing such wonderful things for others in His name. Please know that you are storing up treasure for yourself in Heaven, and that God WILL take care of you and provide for you!
God Bless!

Cheryl said...

Oh, one more thing...go hug that puppy! (He is still technically a puppy, isn't he?)

Cheryl said...

SHE. Is SHE still a puppy. Jeesh! Okay, I'm leaving now.

Rosa said...

I'm praying for you!
The first several years of our marriage money was extremely tight.
When my oldest was a baby there were many times I didn't know where the money to buy groceries would come from.
But God always provided. My mom would come over with bags of groceries telling me she was cleaning out her pantry (unasked) A cheque would come in with money from a side job done months before and we no longer expected it to be paid for. The kids would need a specific item of clothing and it would always be in the thrift store when it was needed.
I can't pretend to know what God has in store for you but I DO know that he is faithful.
I'll keep praying. . .

Jenny said...

Sending up more prayers to all affected by this financial mess, Brin.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, huh?

Amy said...

I just got introduced to your blog a few days ago I love it. I am sorry you're going through so much. "God never gives us more than we can handle." I'm sure things will turn out good one way or another.

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Oh Brin, my heart sank when you said you were putting Freeman House on Ebay, I sure hope it doesn't come down to that! I'm so sorry your out of work, but what a sign from God you got on that walk home, such a powerful message, I"m so glad you shared it with us! Hold your faith close, you will get through this too....just wait and see!

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

When the book finally comes out and Henrybella's gets to rolling, you'll be just fine. Keep the faith, darling girl, just keep the faith. xxoo

Lisa E said...

I will certainly keep you in my prayers. I love your blog and your beautiful home.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I needed that today. :)

Pearls To Hide My Neck said...

Aww, Brin,
If I had a million dollars I would give so much to you! You're amazing and I just know that things are going to work out the way that you want and need. My fingers are crossed and I hope there is a CHEAP trustworthy mechanic nearby.

Susan said...

so true Cheryl! ... I forgot to mention the comfort of a dog - thank goodness for the sweet brown puppy. I thankfully have a scraggly black girl named Winnie Dixon who helps me through the rough spots. As long as I have her I know I'll be OK.

The Quintessential Magpie (Sheila) said...

Brin,

You are an inspiration. So many things are going on in so many lives. And you're right, God is in control. I'm glad you reminded me of that. Some days I remember, but today wasn't one of those days until I read your blog.

Sheila

thedomesticfringe said...

My prayers are with you during this hard time. I feel your pain...we've been there and it's not fun. I can say in retrospect that God is most certainly faithful and always has our best interests in mind...sometimes I doubted that though. It's hard to keep your focus in the middle of trial. Just keep praising Him till He works out His perfect plan for you.

Christina said...

Isn't it so true that our trials either destroy or purify us? Omit trials like these and you would have to take out the 'messy' and 'thrilling' out of your blog title. I hope you the best!

Brandy said...

READ ME! READ ME!

Hey- You used to have your snail maid address up and I went looking for it today but it is missing. I had planned to write you a letter. Email me your address please, thanks branandmike at hotmail dot com.

Brin said...

Dear Everyone,

Your comments make me cry happy tears. Thanks for all the encouragement, well-wishes and prayers. I know many of us are looking at leaner times, but there's so much comfort in knowing that times never get tight for God. He's never in a tough spot. Thanks to all of y'all for sticking by me while I remember that....

Brandy- ask and you shall receive! I've posted my email address on the blog sidebar, but just in case, it's: brin[at]freemanhouse[dot]org.

Love you all. *Sniff.* :)

Brin

betty r said...

Aww Brin, it feels like the end of good times but with God at the helm, there is only the best ahead!
Wish you well..

Mod Girl said...

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3

Our family read this tonight as part of our devotion. The key thing to remember is that "succeeding" may not be by the world's definition. But, if you remain steadfastly committed to seeking the will of your Savior you will have success through Him in holiness... and that is the sweetest success there is.

My hope is that as He works in your heart and life through these faith-building circumstances He will also rain down material and monetary blessings upon you so that you can keep Freeman House... if that is His will.

marymartha said...

I really needed this! Yesterday I put $10 bucks that I could have done so much with in the basket at church and decided to let go and let God...
My house needs a roof too, my car is making strange noises... and your blog helped me have faith.
Thank you.
Hang in there. You are on the right path...

serenitymeadow said...

I have no doubt you will be fine, Brin. After reading your blog the past two and half years, I don't think anyone can make dreams come true the way you can. You decide to do something and you do it! That's really quite admirable and inspirational to me. You have a whole community of people behind you in real life and blogland. My fervent prayer for you is to find gainful employment and to be able to continue living at Freeman House, but I, especially, hope and pray you begin, right this very minute, to feel peace and contentment in your heart. Your uplifting thoughts on your blog have shown me what having a beautiful soul is all about.

cupcake studio said...

What an awesome post. What an awesome God.

Sherry said...

This too shall pass. Just hang in there!

You really need to come visit your friends at the library. We miss you!

everydayangel13 said...

You'll never know how much I can relate. I just passed my 6-month anniversary of becoming unemployed.
It's depressing, humiliating, painful and faith-testing. I am trying to take things one day at a time.

rileyranch said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was an encouragment that I needed today! My husband and I are self-employed and business has been very slow and we have had lots of unexpected expenses. We are also a month behind on our mortgage. Reading your post reminds me that, yes it is in God's control and when we spend too much time worrying, we spend less time focused on His glory and blessings!
Thanks Again & God Bless!
Nadine

Adrienne said...

Dear Brin -
As I read your post today the words to the old, classic hymn came to mind -
'When all around my soul gives way HE then is all my hope and stay -On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.'
Hang onto the Rock. I am praying for you. Thank you for sharing from your heart.
~Adrienne~

Meredith said...

You are more than your house and God's plan for you will not be contained by four walls. I feel for you going through these hard times, I hope you reach a happy resolution soon. Take care

Patsy said...

Praying for you sweetie. In 2005 I had to file for bankruptcy because of medical bills. SO I know how you are feeling. It is the most humbling experience. But lessons are learned and doors are opened. God is going to send you a sign that He hasn't forgotten you. Look for a colorful bird, a dropped coin or an unexpected aha moment. He hold you in His hands.

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Amen! Brin, you of all people are a walking testimony to our Lord, what a beautiful story you've shared. I am praying for you right now! He hears our prayers.

Hugs,
MN Kathi :)

Claire said...

He works all things together for the good of those who love Him... He is in the midst of your everything. Thank you for your faith.

Holly said...

Hang in there Brin. When I'm going through rough spots and getting down, my very wise and sweet grandma always tells me that god only gives you what he knows you can handle. Have faith that although this may be a trying time, He knows you are fully equipped to deal with what ever comes your way. Trust in his faith in you!

Liz said...

The earlier comment about the hymn reminded me of one we sang a couple Sundays ago: "I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I'd rather have Jesus than riches untold. I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands; I'd rather be led by his nail-pierced hand."

Truth be told, it was very hard for me to sing all those words. Trusting God's sovereignty is never harder than when we are in the valley, and so many of us are in valleys right now.

It's very comforting to know that we're all praying for each other--what a blessing to be in the body of Christ!

DoubleDog Mom said...

Thanks for sharing the incredible way God spoke to you. I'm so sorry you're facing these situations.

We're doing a study at church right now on the book of Ruth, and it has been an amazing reminder of how God completely transforms situations, into something better and different than we can ever imagine. We have to hold onto Him, and act with honor until He shows up.

Prayers for you, and hug Millie, she's there to help :) Or to tear stuff apart, one or the other :)

Madison Richards said...

Dear Brin,

Perhaps you're supposed to inquire at the newspaper office about a job? You're a good writer. You could make it work...

Madison

DoubleDog Mom said...

Crap, I forgot the other thing we learned in the study. It was actually someone's grandma that pointed this out-

In the parable about where the wise and foolish build their houses (rock and sand), both houses go through a storm. The house of the wise is the one that survives.

I hope this touches you like it hit me.

ViolableWings said...

That was a very enjoyable read, my wife reads your blogs often and she shared this one with me and I am glad she did. I know how you feel, I am currently on my last week of work (GM permenant layoffs mostly due to gas as well). I am going to nursing school and trying to start over but its a scary struggle and do not know where I am going to stand with my own house, so I can relate. We will keep you in prayer that the love and grace of Christ will surpass all understanding, keeping you held close and lifted above what is seen by the eyes

Terri and Bob said...

Brin, I am sorry you are having to deal with these things... and I do believe God gives us what He knows we can handle. I think he must think a lot of YOU.

That sign... was a sign. God wants you to remember that He will care for you through all.

Check your altenator (is that spelled right?) or starter. And, check with your church, they might know someone who fixes cars for fun.

Kim said...

The good news is -- you're not alone. We owned a construction company and when the housing bubble burst -- well it trickled down. Now, every 10 days my husband leaves us (me and our 13 yr old son). It's tough on our son to be without his father. Everyone in this economy is hurting. All we can do is trust God. I don't know what HE has in store for us, but I know HE will never leave us or forsake us. I and you are cradled in HIS loving arms and HE will see us through.

Beloved said...

That is SO like Him...thank you for sharing your beautiful journey. Our lives are God's.

Sharon said...

Oh I was having a similar day to yours today and I was just going to bed and I thought I would stop by your blog and I'm glad I did because I needed to hear that also. Proverbs 3 V 5-6