Note: I wrote this post June 6, 2018 sitting at my computer in the kitchen while my husband was in bed in the middle of a nervous breakdown about our financial future. I needed to put my thoughts to paper. I needed to write down my lack of fear so that I could share it with my husband in the hopes that my faith would lift him up. At the time, we didn’t know what our life would look like on September 4, 2018 - life is good, everything worked out. But first - the prequel, the hardship, the darkness before the light:
A Naive Little Girl’s Dream
When I was a little girl, I never thought about money. I thought about things I wanted, things I enjoyed, but I never related it to money. Maybe I was naive. Actually, I know I was. I always have been - looking at the world and seeing potential without seeing the struggles that may lie beneath those amazing visions.
When I was about 6 years old, my family rented the lower level of a home. It was a modest house that my parents turned into their home. I remember dancing in the living room with my mom to an Amy Grant song and holding barbie fashion competitions with my family. I remember cuddling up to watch Full House and the coziness of the comforter my mom made for my bed. It was a wonderful home full of love. It never dawned on me that we might be poor.
My parents were struggling financially. My dad had dreamed of running his own grocery store and he was finally granted his wish. We moved into this little white home and my dad opened his grocery store! I remember being at the grand opening and seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces, but the joy of a dream fulfilled didn’t last. The business struggled and before long, the reality that this career path was falling apart hit hard. With three little girls to care for, rent to pay, and food to put on the table, I can’t imagine the fear my dad felt when he closed the doors to what was supposed to be the answer to his success.
At some point during this season in my family’s life, I remember turning to my mom and saying, “Someday, I want to live in a little white house with the love of my life.” I meant it with all my heart and my mom’s response didn’t make sense to me. She said, “Ok, Jaime. Just know that having some money makes life a lot easier.”
I tossed my mom’s response to the wind. Who needs money! All I need is love! That was the smartest and most naive thought I’ve probably ever had. My dream was simple and filled with all that is truly important in life. If only life were that simple. As I’ve grown-up I still hold true to my statement, but I’m starting to understand what my mom was trying to tell me twenty-six years ago.
Still Naively Confident
A year ago my husband had a stable job while I was home with our three daughters. We had a nice house and more than enough money to live on. We had a comfortable life, but we wanted the dream.
We dreamed of Chris working on his own business from home and having more time for family adventures. Summer of 2017 we made the leap to make our dreams a reality - Chris left his job, we sold our home, and moved into an apartment. I couldn’t have been more excited for our future. We even found land where we could build my dream little home, nicknamed The Little White Shack.
Money wasn’t a concern when Chris left his job. We had more than enough cash from selling our home. Our finances weren’t a concern for me. Making our dreams come true had taken center stage and I was ready to forge ahead.
While my naive self has been able to stay positive, my husband has found himself consumed with worry. Losing his stable paycheck hit him harder than he thought it would. In order to combat his concern, he started working around the clock to make his business successful. His hard work hasn’t created the outcome he had wished. He is feeling defeated and questioning if this year was a mistake. With three little girls to care for, rent to pay, and food to put on the table, his fear of failure has completely overtaken him.
I try to comfort my husband. I tell him, “We are OK. Everything will work out. Good things are coming.” I wish my words had more impact, that they would allow him to catch his breath and relax. Instead, he responds, “I wish I felt that way, but I feel like our money is disappearing. I need a job. I want a career I will find success and purpose in.”
I sit here, in this moment, and my mom’s words come back to me - that money makes life easier. I think back to the struggles my parents went through and I look at the struggle my husband is going through. And I think - Yes, having money (an active income) does make life easier. And while my heart is breaking for my husband, my naive self is still strong.
Filled With Faith
I may be naive, blind to the realities and struggles of this life, but I still believe in our dreams, even as they are crumbling. I still believe that love (not money) is the answer. I have faith that everything will work out, that we will still accomplish an amazing work/life balance and have amazing family adventures. I am confident that everything will come together.
How can I be so confident in our future? How am I able to move forward and not worry?
To be honest, I feel completely helpless in moving forward in our future. I have no answers. I don’t know which way to go. I’ve tried to plan a nine-month adventure in Central America. That path crumbled. I’ve tried to embrace our cold winters. I’ve crumbled. Chris tried entrepreneurship and crumbled. Chris tried to go back to his old work to find out that his old path no longer existed. I’ve tried to move our family to Florida, but I couldn’t make it happen. We’ve wanted to build a home, but a lack of a W-2 form prevents us from getting a mortgage. Everywhere we turn we hit a dead end.
I don’t know where our family is supposed to go. I don’t know what my husband is supposed to do or how to make him feel better. I literally don’t know where to turn. The paths we’ve tried to walk down don’t take us anywhere. I’m tired and don’t have the energy to try another path. The only thing I seem to be able to do is be still.
And in this stillness, I am finding comfort and hope. I’m realizing that I’m not naive, but full of faith. I have faith that everything will work out, that God is using this struggle, this fear of our money fading away, to strengthen us and lead us toward an even better path.
Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!
1 Samuel 12:16
I have faith in God’s love and in His plan for our life. I may not know what He wants for us, but I know it’s going to be great. And with this knowledge, I’m able to persevere and patiently await the path that will lead to our dreams coming true.