I wasn’t prepared for the bad news. The unpacking of boxes kept me busy. With pure joy, I thanked God for our new home. I placed the floral arrangement on the dining room table. The colors complimented the beige and navy blue couch beautifully.
Although my husband, Gene, and I spent every last cent on the house, it was truly our dream home.
“Hey, guys,” I called to our three small sons, “wipe those feet before coming in and no book bags on the floor.”
As I stirred spaghetti sauce, the phone rang. I pressed the speaker button.
“Hey,” Gene said, “What are you doing?”
“Fixing dinner. What’s up.?”
“We need to talk when I get home.”
I swallowed hard. The only time he used that serious tone was when bad news came our way or when he did something he regretted such as putting money down on a boat. But I knew that wouldn’t happen. Our finances were maxed with the mortgage.
“Something wrong?” I asked, almost afraid of the answer.
“I just got called into a meeting. The company is closing. We’re getting some compensation, but not much.”
I dropped the wooden spoon on the pot, grabbed the phone, and plopped on the kitchen chair. “No way. You asked them about the future of the company. They knew we were building this house. Why didn’t they warn us?”
I glanced around the kitchen. All was so perfect, so carefully planned. And now what?
Lord, why. Why now? I know you must have a plan. I questioned my commitment to God. Was I too focused on the material? Was I mistaken in the order of my priorities? Maybe God was chastising us for not doing things right.
Those thoughts filled my head. And when Gene got home, I put on a fake smile. “Don’t beat yourself up for this. It’s not your fault.”
Seated on the bed, hands in a tight fist, he leaned his head back. “I didn’t see this coming. Who knows how soon or even when the next job will come.”
He was right. No guarantee of opportunities would come soon enough to keep up with the monthly payments. My job as an over-the-phone Spanish interpreter couldn’t even pay for the utility bills.
Days and weeks passed by after the company closed. Resumes were sent. Phone calls to contacts were made. And applications sent everywhere. Bills began to pile up.
And what piled up inside me was resentment. But not sure at whom. His employer? At Gene? At God? I was sinking in my own confusion.
But I held it all inside, confiding only in God. Months passed, and phone calls to the bank didn’t render any solutions. The tone in Gene’s voice revealed his discouragement. And my words to lift his spirits didn’t work.
But one night while the family slept, I sat on our new couch in silence; I stared into the night and the word submission rang in my ears. The issue we faced had nothing to do with the house, the mortgage, or Gene’s job. All had to do with my submission to God, my total surrender to Him. I inhaled a deep breath and that night I tucked this verse under the pillow of my heart: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
You might be there, too: life made a detour, unexpected and stressful. But with a still mind and a calm heart, you can follow these steps to inspire your spouse.
1. Be willing to sacrifice.
“Hon, got to tell you something,” I said to Gene as he shaved in the bathroom. “We’re selling the couch. That will give us enough for a partial mortgage payment.”
He pulled me close. “I can’t’ believe you would do that,” he whispered. “You love that couch.”
He was right, but what I loved more was a husband who knew I’d be willing to sacrifice for us, our family, for him.
2. Change your attitude.
Each time Gene came home after an interview, rather than ask, “Any progress? Any possibilities?” (questions that told him I was anxious and that my focus was on his performance and results) I greeted him with, “You won’t believe the new recipe I created with only five dollars. Got a new, yummy way to fix tacos.” Followed by giving him a kiss.
3. Recognize his strengths in front of others.
During gatherings or attending Bible studies, our friends asked about Gene’s job situation. I quickly chimed in and affirmed him. “It’s just a matter of time. Gene is so qualified, there is a company just waiting to grab him. I just know God is in the process of answering our prayers.”
“Thanks,” he whispered in my ear that night. I knew what he meant.
4. Never allow intimacy to decrease.
A man carries his sense of worth in his job and accomplishments. Unemployment wounds his self-confidence. And my added affection and intimacy reinforced my admiration for him and my love -- unconditional and sincere.
5. Dare to make plans.
Although at times, I had to fight fear, worry, and anxiety, I counted on God for strength and wisdom to react in a way that would edify Gene.
My conversations with him centered on “When you get a job and we pay the debt…” I needed him to see that I counted on God’s provision. I displayed reassurance that God’s faithfulness would pull us through.
Five months later. Five months with partial payment to the bank. And weeks of scraping even to tithe, Gene came into the kitchen. “You won’t believe it,” he said. “Got a call from a head hunter and Disney World in Orlando wants to interview me.”
I did a twirl and clapped my hands. “God is so good!”
Should Disney World offer him a job, moving from St. Louis, Missouri to Orlando, Florida was a dream no one in our family even dared to dream.
After the interview, he called home. “Well,” he said, “they didn’t offer me the job.”
I sank in the chair. My shoulders drooped. “What?”
“Nope. They didn’t offer me the manager of merchandise position. Because of my experience and credentials, they offered me the director of merchandise position instead. I start January 3.”
He had a start date. And I did, too. I had the start date to praise God and declare without a doubt that “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
God continued to be attentive because He allowed Disney World to buy our home in St. Louis. And in three days, He led us to a new one in Orlando. As I snuggled next to Gene on our brown leather couch, I hugged his arm. With gratitude, we both gazed at the floral arrangement of God’s faithfulness that He placed on the table of our life.
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author of four books. Her best-selling release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta invites you to experience the simplicity of finding joy even in the midst of hardship, With engaging stories, Simply Salsa gives practical steps to overcome heartache and celebrate life once again. www.janetperezeckles.com
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: February 6, 2017