We;d just turned fifty. My husband’s business was successful. So much so, that our accountant advised us to sell our current house and buy a new one so we could deduct more interest on our taxes. It was our dream house. We celebrated our 25th anniversary, planned our oldest daughter’s wedding, watched with tears as she left the nest and were concerned with our then 21 year son moving out too. Our youngest was graduating from high school and soon would leave home too.
We were living in a house that we’d soon be rattling around in by ourselves. We still held the mortgage on our old house, which didn’t sell for a year. Making two house payments wasn’t a problem at the time, but then the bottom fell out.
Paul’s company had to close its doors because of a failing economy. We were forced into bankruptcy as the bank called in the business loan. Our world suddenly caved. Here we sat with an almost empty house that we couldn’t afford, which would eventually be foreclosed upon. The house went up for sale and didn’t sell until the last minute when the realtor bought it for the balance due.
For many folks these circumstances could be devastating and to say we didn’t go through some depression would be an all out lie. My husband kept a journal, which read much like the Psalms of David, groaning for God’s intercession. We had no income – only one car which was paid for – a closet full of nice clothes and Christmas was coming. For us it seems like the most amazing miracles occur at this ptime of year.
We still had our artificial Christmas tree and a truckload of decorations and ornaments. This would be our final Christmas in this house. We didn’t know where we would be living, because our now defunct credit rating would not allow us to buy another, plus we didn’t have the money for a down payment. Our gifts to our children that year included hand me down coats – with designer labels – and some antique rings which had been passed on to us.
Still it was Christmas and the time of the most amazing miracles of all times – an undeserved miracle – a gift directly from God. His Son, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Ghost to atone for the sins of all the world. We didn’t deserve God’s grace, yet because of a love we will never understand, He took our place to pay for our sins.
It was getting down to the wire. We’d spent the past year doing odd jobs. Paul drove for a messenger service and I cleaned houses. He eventually found another job, but it was too late and we still had to find a place to live.
Out of the blue, a friend and former business associate of Paul’s, offered us a house to buy on a land contract. We would not have to qualify for a loan. During that year of restructuring our lives, the Lord gave us opportunities to explore the things we truly loved doing. I began teaching drama classes and Paul got back into sculpting wood, which would eventually lead to the start of another fruitful business.
Once again, God had our backs. Not by anything we did to deserve it. Simply because of his amazing love. Through this ugly time, He’d remained steadfast, consistent and compassionate. We grew closer to Him and each other as well.
“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” Aeschylus