My son’s 13th birthday came and went with much fanfare. Instead of it being the kind of joyous celebration I had hoped for, the day found us overwhelmed with packing and moving. We celebrated the day as best we could with a special breakfast of pancakes—a few candles included—thirteen whacks on the bottom and of course happy birthday balloons. After breakfast we went back to packing. That evening we went to some friend’s home to have a special birthday dinner of hamburgers and French fries. Instead of a cake my wife created a donut stack complete with candles. It wasn’t anything close to what I/we wanted, but at least it was something.
The insurance business struggled along from October through December. One month I borrowed money from family to stay afloat. The next month I fell behind on the rent. In December I borrowed money from the credit card to pay the back rent and bring current the December rent. During this time we also had two holidays—Thanksgiving & Christmas, one anniversary and two birthdays’. The irony in this is the fact that I was the top producing sales person three out of four weeks in December. January just fell off the grid with very little sales production. This is what led to breaking the lease and moving.
As difficult as all of this was, here is what happened behind the scenes. Even though the rent continued to be a challenge, every other bill was paid on time. Our friends watched our children, which allowed my wife and I some time out. We had friends and family come by during the holidays—which encouraged our hearts. We were able to celebrate the birthdays without disappointment.
The family regularly gathered for prayer and discussion around the bible. We even began having everyone take turns in leading a discussion. No matter how much we prayed over our situation, it seemed clear that we were to stay in North Carolina. At each turn when it appeared that we would have to pack up and return to Florida, something would happen to allow us to stay. We had people unexpectedly give us money or gift cards or food. Our landlord even said it would be okay to be late on the rent.
It was very important to me that our children did not get angry and God and blame him for our situation. There is no question that it was difficult, but to blame God for it would only make matters worse. Each time we gathered I made sure that we discussed how the Lord had taken care of us to this point. I would ask the children for references from the bible of people who had to endure difficult times—they could give me some, like David, Daniel, Jonah or Job.
In January something changed—for the worse it seems—when the sales I had made began to cancel. This meant that I would loose the commission I had received. Even though I did have to pay it back, it meant that I would not receive the commissions I had made until the returned amount was satisfied. This is what led to breaking the lease and moving. Our only recourse was to return to Florida. The plan was to pack our belongings into a storage unit, take my family to my mother in laws and return to continue working the insurance business. But wait a minute! We believed that the Lord wanted us in North Carolina! He would have to work that one out—which he did! Just prior to our leaving a widow and her teenage son offered us their upstairs to stay in while we sorted things out.
Okay, so it appears that we are supposed to stay in North Carolina.
The question now is, what are we supposed to do in North Carolina?
During this entire ordeal, my relationship with my son has taken a hit, but remains solid. It has allowed me to open up to him about trusting God and working things out during difficult times. It has allowed him to see me in a vulnerable place while still holding onto hope. One thing I have realized that I still need to do is have “The Talk” with him!