Right now I’m living off of faith, luck, and a bit of an emergency fund. I’m unemployed, looking for work with outdated skills in a down economy. I have a tiny part-time job that brings in money on a hit or miss basis. Even thought I send my résumés out daily, the rejections come in just as fast. It’s scary.
With all this, I’ve learned one very valuable lesson: God gives me just enough to make it through the hard times. (Before tuning out, I’ll let you know that I’m pretty private about my faith so getting up on a soapbox to preach my religious views is not something you’ll have to experience on this blog).
I’ve noticed this last-minute bailout trend my entire life. I grew up in a large, blue-collar, one income family with a father who was either laid off or on strike for most of my childhood. I have memories of digging coins out of couch cushions to buy bread. My paper route money was used to support the family. We ate government cheese. It wasn’t fun but it was educational. I learned that you could be poor and still survive.
Later on, I put myself through college and fretted about paying expenses like rent, tuition, lab fees, and book costs. Financial aid and student loans were great but I still needed to come up with what was a relatively large chunk of change each semester. To open a statement from the university and see a balance due of $2000 was a crushing blow. But I worked multiple jobs, didn’t go out much, and survived. Twice during really tough times I received surprise windfalls of $500 from two different grandmothers. I never told anyone in my family about my financial struggles so the timing was amazing and unexpected.
When I was in the middle of Divorce #1 I got laid off. In fact the area I lived in got hit hard by an economic downturn. EVERYONE got laid off. The Dot.Com Bubble had burst and there were no jobs to be had. For the first time in my life I was filing for Unemployment Payments. Weeks of payments passed without a single nibble and I was looking at my last check from the government trying to figure out what to do next. That’s when the extension was passed giving me a breather. The extension was signed right when I needed it most.
I continued my job search throughout the extension. Temp jobs did not exist. There weren’t any fast food jobs. The only field that was hiring was nursing and I didn’t have the money or time to go back to school. I was competing against other job seekers who ranged from being new college grads to seasoned vice presidents. We were all fighting for a paycheck.
Once again, I was holding one of my last unemployment checks in my hands when I received a tip from a relative. His company was looking to hire someone. He mentioned my name, gave them my résumé, vouched for my skills. I interviewed even though it meant moving 9 hours away from my current locale with no moving allowance, no offers on my current home, and what was going to be a pay cut. But it happened just in time, when I needed it most.
This month I’ve had some large bills come in: insurance for the car, the quarterly fuel payment, the life insurance premium on Husband #2 (which I will not drop for personal reasons). As I was holding these bills in my hands wondering about funds, I was given just enough once again. My share of the local tax refund came in, I had one of my creative clients buy extra services, and I discovered a long-lost stock certificate (In a rising financial market!). And I booked a new client for my little sideline business. By themselves, none of these amounts were outstanding but lumped together they gave me just enough to pay the bills AND treat the kids to pizza that night. I even had a coupon for a second free pizza. SCORE!
Throughout my life God has given me just enough to make it through. The money comes in. It’s not the winning Powerball ticket but it is enough to strengthen my faith that someone is watching out for me when I need it the most.
Even now I have a half-dozen resumes in the hands of solid, long-time business acquaintances who are pulling for me. They are selling my ability to learn quickly and be of value to a company. I just wish the corporate wheels would turn a little faster. But I know that when I’m at the lowest point, the unexpected will happen, and I will get exactly what I need.