If you’re just joining in, you can start from the beginning here.
The next several months and year were a whirlwind of bills, late notices, final notices and LOTS of worry. Now, I tried my best not to worry about things, but when creditors call you night and day – it gets a little unnerving. Things were bad. Really, really bad. There were points where I honestly thought we were going to lose everything!!! And in fact, we did.
The Hubster had been working an evening shift for the past year and although it was technically meant to be temporary, there were several employees who had been in the same position for several years. We had no way of knowing they would end it so abruptly. They moved him back to overnights (can I just say, ugh!) and wanted to move him farther from our home. Those two changes combined would not allow us to make the drive to his part-time ministry position 45 minutes away. He refused the store transfer, but had no choice about going back on overnights. Finally, his manager and supervisor (reluctantly) approved him getting off an hour eary on Sunday mornings only so he could continue working at the church. So, Sunday mornings became increasingly more difficult as I navigated the early mornings with 2 young boys by myself. If I’m being honest…Sundays were no longer a day I looked forward to. They were exhausting and very, very long.
After several months of this schedule, he lost the 2nd church. Soon after we lost our nice new Honda Odyssey van. One morning I awoke to find it missing from our driveway. I was sure someone had stolen our van! I had no idea we were that far behind on payments and that close to repossession. So, I quickly woke up the Hubster from his slumber and told him our van was STOLEN!!! We’ve got to call the police and insurance company…as my mind kept running through the list of things inside the van, he interrupted me. He wasn’t at all surprised. He knew it was close. They had repossessed our van. I was in shock. I had no idea it was really that bad. I could see the pain and humiliation on my beloved’s face. I had no idea how to comfort him or make it better or even go away. He was devastated and so was I.
The next few hours were full of phone calls to find out where our van was taken so we could retrieve our belongings, the insurance company to cancel the insurance on the van and my parents to find out if we could borrow a vehicle for a few days until we could figure out something. At the time, my dad was out of a job so he was quickly able to rearrange a few things and drive the Hubster the 1.5 hours to where they had towed our van. It was a very, very long and emotionally draining day to say the least.
A few days later we received a HUGE blessing from the LORD. My parents had, unbeknownst to me, been talking about getting a new vehicle for some time. They had worked out a deal with a family member who sold them a vehicle they owned. So, they gave us their old mini-van!!!! It was 10 years old and had a lot of miles on it – but it ran and held our entire family!! We were so thankful and blessed by God’s provision for us.
The loss of our van convinced us that we needed to look at some options. We were up-t0-date (temporarily) on our house payments, but we knew without a second income coming in it wouldn’t last long. So we began researching Bankruptcy. We were ashamed. Bankruptcy is such a taboo word – especially in the Christian world. We had been through a financial planning class, but when you don’t make enough money to pay even the basics…you can’t create a debt snowball. It’s just not possible. So we did our best to survive and cut things we could. But after much prayer and advice, wep sought out a lawyer and began the process of filing for bankruptcy.
As we got into the process, we began to feel more and more uneasy about filing bankruptcy. So we put it on hold. We were treading water and things were going just fine, until one day – WHAM!!!! As I was driving Mister Bull to a summer class at our local community college, we were broadsided at a stoplight. I was 30 weeks pregnant with Punkin and had all 3 of the other kids in the van with me. We were thrown through the intersection in a matter of seconds and stopped mere feet from the light pole on the other side. And this was no small intersection! It was 3 lanes across with turn lanes!!! I quickly gathered my composure and made sure all the kids were okay. No one was crying which unnerved me at first. But then I realized they were all okay and safely strapped tightly in their carseats. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
The next few minutes were a whirlwind of phone calls to my parents, Mother-in-law (to come get the kids) and someone who could go by and wake up my husband who was sound asleep having worked all night. The firemen arrived in what seemed like seconds from when they were called and then came the ambulance and police. I was terrified for the life of my unborn baby girl, but tried my best to stay calm for the children. The firemen examined them from inside the van and assured me they were absolutely fine and safe!!! The carseats had done their job! My Mother-in-law took the kids to her house as they rushed off to the hospital to monitor the baby. Several hours later, we were released from the hospital with a clean bill of health for me and the baby. I was so thankful that the injuries were not worse and that our children were safe. I was pretty sure the van was a gonner though.
Again, we found ourselves without a vehicle. Thankfully only 2 days passed before we had a rental large enough for our family. It was the nicest vehicle I had ever driven, but I felt blessed that my family was safe. Within a few weeks we were able to find a vehicle that seemed perfect for our family! It was not new, but we felt blessed to find something that fit our family.
About 6 weeks later, we welcomed our healthy and beautiful baby #4!!! I was in complete awe of God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness! She was absolutely perfect!!!! Even though everything checked out initially, we would watch her growth and development for the next 10-12 months before settling with the insurance company. We wanted to make absolutely sure there was no developmental issues from the wreck. Praise the Lord, she has never had any issues (other than ear infections, which run in our family)!!! All Glory to God for He is ever faithful!!
Life seemed to be getting back to “normal” when the notices started flooding in again. We found ourselves trying to tread water yet again. And this time, the rip current was much, much stronger. We were being pulled under and tossed around left and right. We were banged up and bruised. Final notices for our home started coming again and we felt defeated. We had tried so hard to make things work and to keep things going, but it was not working. Again, after much prayer and counsel from family and impartial advisors, we believed our only way out was bankruptcy. So we began the process of filing, only this time we had to go through with it or risk losing what little we had left. Within several months the process was complete. We were “debt free”…at least according to the credit bureaus. During the process of the bankruptcy, our home foreclosure was put on hold, which was a small relief. But things were far from over!-
Shortly after our bankruptcy was final, my Dad fell very ill and died only 18 short days after his diagnosis of Cancer. My life was turned upside down again. I was lost, confused and in so much pain at the loss of my Dad. Two months from his death, almost exactly, I fell ill. I won’t go into detail here, but you can read more about it here. To say that my life changed might be the understatement of the century. My life already felt like it was spinning out of control and now this illness? What more could I endure?? As I got more and more sick, the Hubster had to file for FMLA so he could stay home with the kids as I recovered. He was out of work for 12 weeks, working only a few days here and there as my body allowed. While it was such a blessing to have him home while I was sick, he did not receive any pay during those 12 weeks!!! But, the LORD sustained us through friends, family, benevolence ministries and several other avenues that kept food on our table and a roof over our head. And for that we were thankful.
Fast forward a few months. The holidays began to roll around and our home was now in full foreclosure. We had tried everything on our end and continued to pray for deliverance. At times it felt like God had abandoned us and left us alone. Soon it would become clear that He NEVER left us. He was there all along.