Friday, July 16, 2010

Mostly Fingerprints Part 11

As we waited for God to show up in a mighty way, each day passed as a gift. A gift in the form of a paycheck, some crazy type of stability...survival. Shawn helpt those working for him to find different jobs, and continued to seek God to find His will for Shawn. The company had purchased a CNC machine to help fabricate the granite for their jobs. This is a very expensive machine...more than $200,000! Because of the business bankruptcy, Shawn was facing losing the very machine that sustained his business (beyond God). We didn't have this type of money to buy the machine, and Shawn searched daily for someone to loan the money or finance him so that he could buy the machine. Nothing. The time came for the family business to shut down, and so Shawn continued business out of his shop that he leased from another company. Reluctant at first to take on business because of the fear that the bank would repossess the CNC machine, we continued to pray for guidance. Shawn developed a business relationship with one steady customer that has been a HUGE blessing until this very day. Slowly we gained confidence that if the bank had not come to get the machine (that was in default) by now then Shawn would just continue where God was keeping him.

I must interject here that Shawn had made several payments on the machine only to find out they had held the payments due to the pending bankruptcy. (During the entire process he was very honest and forthcoming with all of those he dealt with. Shawn's name wasn't on the bankruptcy since he didn't actually own any part of the business, nor was his name on the leases for equipment either.)

Shawn and I had resolved that whatever he did, it would not be to own the world. We had struggled for so long to simply cover the bills that in the future, we simply wanted to have a healthy income that covered the necessities and if God blessed us with more than we needed then so be it! God had led us through a time that totally changed our mindset of what we needed and wanted. We started out our married life wanting to conquer the world as far as money and tangible things, and I have no doubt that God did a great job pruning us! :-) The lesson had been learned!!

Back to the story... Day by day the weeks passed. What seemed to be the scariest thing as far as careers go was shaping up to be one of the best things that ever happened to us. We were still on borrowed time as far as the machine, but we were able to pay bills on time without juggling!! Beyond finances, because I don't want you to think that is my complete focus, Shawn and I were more on the same page than we had been in a long time. The fingerprints that God had left over the past few years were oh so visible and I could see SO many times God had showed up in the day to day.

Shawn went ahead and named his company Rock Water based on Moses trusting God when he struck the rock as God had instructed that the clean water would flow for the Israelite people. Shawn was totally trusting God with his business and felt this was the perfect name. We both felt like this was where Shawn was supposed to be, if even temporarily.

Summer arrived, and since we had turned my Mercedes in at the end of the lease I had been driving I had been borrowing a pickup truck from Shawn's brother. A ford work truck with an extended cab was my new ride...and I couldn't have been happier. I was so ready to get rid of my car because of the tumultuous time that swirled around the last couple years of having it. By mid summer, we had enough cash to buy me a vehicle and I have never been so happy and proud to drive a used vehicle in my life! Thank you Jesus for bringing me to this point in my life. The road to get here was SO SO SO beyond difficult, but I am thankful for every bit of it!!

Now...what would become of that CNC machine????

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mostly Fingerprints Part 10

The new year brought a bit of hope. The lease on my Mercedes was up in March, so that would free up $1000 every month. This would eliminate some of the time I was having to spend every month making arrangements with the phone and utility companies to keep everything turned on. We could see a bit of a light, but then there was also the looming end to Shawn's business. He was concerned with his employees and helping them to find more business, as well as how he was going to provide for his own family. Again, my faithful God spoke to me on a day when the possibilities of the future seemed more scary than exciting. One thing that was continually my worry was our children and how this was going to affect them. He led me to 2 Samuel 14:11 "...As surely as the Lord lives...not a hair on your son's head will be disturbed." That same day God also filled me with more answers. Shawn had been talking to several different people about buying the entire business, or even just his end of the business which was the granite fabrication. I cannot tell you the countless number of conversations he had, the advice he was given by other successful businessmen, and how he was torn with what he should be doing. We had just sat and discussed several possibilities and options but God knew there was only one option and wanted to be sure we understood this. All in one day, this is what God shared with me:

Amos 9:12-13 ..."The LORD has spoken and he will do these things. 'The time will come', says the Lord, 'when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested.' "
Introduction to Job ... Friends give answers that are technically true, but God wants us to stay in touch with His living realities.
Acts 5:27-32..."We must obey God rather than any human authority."
Job 6:24-27... Job was questioning his friends and their lack of specification. He was asking them to tell him the truth.
Hosea 12:1-14...Businessmen engage in freud. Return to God and don't give up on Him EVER!

God was very clearly telling us to focus on Him and what He says and not to place hope in what others were telling us to do. He was telling me once again that He will do what He has said, and to simply stay focused on Him!

So, we pressed on. Each day was definitely a gift because at any minute the bank could have chosen to shut it all down. Shawn was reluctant to take on new jobs and sign contracts he may not be able to fulfill if he no longer had a job. He had to look at his employees and tell them he couldn't assure them their job day by day, and yet they stuck by him. It all seems so much less taxing when I write it in blog form, but living it day to day was quite the test. However, I knew what God had said, I was hanging onto it tightly so that satan didn't steal my hope...and I was waiting for His word to come to pass!

Mostly Fingerprints Part 9

As I sit on my bed with journals spread across the comforter, my bible in hand and laptop at the ready...I'm not sure if I shared this is my previous blog, but it is very important and I need to mention it. On June 5th, 2008 God led me to Acts 7:11-15. Through this scripture He spoke to me that there would be a move or a change that would end our financial hardships. Remember...I only see with human eyes, and so I am thinking a physical move and possibly out of town. I resolved to the fact that if that is where He was leading it had to be better than what was going on!

Throughout the Fall of 2008 God continued to leave mostly fingerprints. Some of them we couldn't see until when we looked back on the situation. But one thing was evident to me every single day...God had not shown up in the mighty way that I had been praying for! Another truth became evident during this time...the family business that Shawn had helped to build with his dad for almost 2 decades was coming to an end. I'm sure you can just hear my thoughts..."Ummm...God. Things are getting worse, and not better. How could you let this happen? Is this our lot in life, because I am SO miserable I can't possibly be doing any good for your kingdom! Where are you God?????" These were things God heard quite often from me, and looking back I must have reminded him of the Israelites! Regardless of the food falling from the sky for them, the sea opening up so that they could flee from the army, and countless other miracles they actually saw with their own eyes...not to mention the cloud they followed by day and the fire by night...they still wanted more from God. Humanness at it's all time stinkiest, and I was acting just like them. Satan continued to try and wreck my thoughts, and I'll have to admit that on some days he was successful.

On November 6th, 2008...when we knew that bankruptcy for the business was eminent, I sat down to pray. I reminded God of all of the scriptures he'd led me to with regards to rescue and harvest...and most of all the recurring way He spoke deep into my spirit that He didn't want us to sell the house because it was the enemy that devoured. I knew if He was telling us to keep the house He would provide. But where was the provision? My human eyes looked and saw financial struggle and Shawn losing his job on top of that! God led me to Numbers 11:23, "Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!" Wow. Again, He spoke directly to me. I knew my hope was in God, and even though I had momentary lapses when satan used my mind as a playground...I fully trusted God. (AND He had just reminded me to do so!) I was scared about His plan, but I knew He knows what is best for our life. Somewhere during this time I attended a Beth Moore live simulcast at our church. God used her to keep me focused and to refresh my focus. It was so simple, and yet SO huge! Beth shared that when God gives you a word and you know that He has will be tested. Hang onto it, believe, and don't let satan still your hope. God had spoken, and we were still in the testing because we weren't ready just yet.

Christmas was upon us, and we somehow managed to buy gifts for the kids. I will tell you though, that the holiday doesn't stand out in my mind as a super difficult time. We had unexpected money come to us from God and so we made it. I had also learned by this time to try and make the best of what God had given to us. Instead of everyday being a complete fight with God about what He had NOT done yet, I realized that was part of this lesson. I needed to find JOY in Him and not what He has or hasn't given me.