Are you thankful this Thanksgiving Day, or are you asking questions instead?
If you are dealing with struggles on this earth, and I mean real STRUGGLES, read here to see where we found thankfulness and to see if you can find something good too this upcoming day of thankfulness.
I’ll tell you my husband and I have had some pretty bad times these last few years. After 25 years in the military, my husband retired, and we packed our bags and went to seminary. We didn’t think it would be easy, but we also didn’t think it would be the end of the world as we knew it.
Let me just say this now.
We faced troubles like you wouldn’t believe.
As required by the Army at that time, my husband submitted his 9 months notice to retire, and we immediately began putting the work into getting our house into tip top shape to sell, thinking we would sell it and go live in the lower cost of living state of Texas with great ease. We even had these great plans of buying a little, low cost house in Texas with cash and living frugally throughout my husband’s seminary training. We could do that! Right?
And then that $330,000 home in that nice, further-out Washington DC suburb fell to where we couldn’t even sell it to break even around $160,000. We lost not only tons of potential equity but thousands in actual equity.
Not able to sell our home, not able to pay for it ourselves anymore on a retired income, a retired enlisted income in fact, and feeling all the obligation in the world for our word (your yes means yes, you know), we rented our home there in Virginia for more than two more years at more than a $700.00 a month loss (what we owed each month vs. what we could get in the rental market where our home was), hoping (dreaming) the market would eventually come back to where we could at least sell our house back home.
Remember, we had never lived through such a housing burst before.
The market never did come back.
We sold everything we had of worth or value, from large to small value in fact, to keep making those monthly payments and to put even a meager amount of food on our table, selling ALL we had of worth except for a few family items we knew our family back east would be upset if we parted with.
We did without. We lived without. We sold plasma. (I still have the scars in the crooks of my arms.) We knew any extra need would have to go untouched. We learned to not even have any wants.
We sometimes only had the food we received from the seminary’s weekly food ministry to eat, supplemented only at times by $10.00 to $20.00 a week at the grocery store (and that included funds for purchasing grooming and household items needed).
My husband cashed out what little 401K savings we had which had only started shortly before he put in his retirement papers.
We eventually realized our “yes” to that house back home was going to mean “no” to the small house here in Texas we had purchased and were living in here in Texas (with a mortgage since we didn’t have the funds we thought we would have to move here to begin with).
We begged the mortgage company back home to work with us… for a reprieve… for some kind of help… just to do SOMETHING… ANYTHING to work with us.
We subjected ourselves to being an open book to them. They knew every single thing we owned (or did NOT own by that time), every penny we had go into and back out of our bank account, and every large or small intention or thought we had throughout the time my husband’s retirement, relocation, and everything before, in between, and afterwards.
After several weeks of what seemed like a whirlwind couples relationship and almost-marriage and also the sale of our only decent remaining vehicle to make another monthly housing payment, the mortgage company gave us a financial worksheet to complete. After competing it, they came back and said they were sorry they could not help us because we did not have enough income or assets.
We were broke, and we couldn’t get help because we were broke.
Oh, there was plenty more going on there at that time, and things only got worse for us throughout the next few years. I have said many times , “when God gave us a calling, He sure didn’t make it an easy one.” And He didn’t. He really didn’t.
I’m sure we had difficulty many days being able to say even some of the kinds of “I’m thankful for…s” you see on Facebook these days.
We really had nothing much to feel thankful about in the sense of seeing or having things we were thankful for.
But we came to understand there was ONE thing we had, and that was Jesus Christ.
Oh, God didn’t set us up with lots of comforts or even assurances for several years, but we had Jesus Christ Himself.
And what was even better to learn, we came to realize that no matter what else failed us in this earthly life, no matter what else we lost, and no matter what else we did not get, or did not have to survive even, NOTHING could take Jesus Christ from us.
I could fill you in on the rest of the story, and maybe I will someday so long as we don’t get the “you were just stupid or sinful” talks. We know what we did wrong and what we did right.
So perhaps, PERHAPS, I’ll fill you in a little more sometime… if you want and if it makes a point I want to make someday.
(Disclosure: our troubles and worries didn’t end there, but neither did our journey of faith and ultimate blessings.)
But for the time we have together now, I want to remind those of you who are dealing with a difficult time or very difficult situations, that if you have Jesus Christ, you really do have what counts the most of all on this earth.
There is nothing more awesome and which brings a person more to life than when they get to the point to where if Jesus Christ is really all they have, that Christ Jesus is enough.
Chew on that this Thanksgiving, and you’ll have blessings many others on this earth have no inkling of.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God for all the toils we know.
Praise God we know more pain than most,
For we can claim the Lord foremost.
Best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving Day filled with Jesus Christ.