I had just sent Gary an encouraging email at work about how God is working behind the scenes. Even when we don’t see anything good happening, He is quietly doing things for us and working things out for our good. I was still sitting at the computer when I heard the door open, and I looked over and saw Gary walk in. My workaholic husband home in the middle of the day? I asked, “What are you doing here?” He looked kind of sheepish and said, “They let me go. I’ve been laid off.”
My first reaction was a bit of panic, but then I felt this excitement well up in me. Now he could pursue his business full time, and he wouldn’t have that pesky old job with all of its trials and problems getting in the way or taking up his time any more. I said, “Yay, you’re free!” I think he was kind of shocked at my reaction, but he looked relieved that I responded that way.
I had been wanting him to be able to work from home for a long, long time, and now he would get his chance to do that. And he would be his own boss. The problems he constantly had in the workplace wouldn’t be an issue any more. The more I thought about it, the happier I got. I felt like celebrating!
But then he started working on his business in earnest. He worked out in his office for long hours, trying to develop a good business plan. It was a difficult, tedious process for him to learn all the things that were needed in a business plan, such as long-range predictions, costs, equipment, estimated income, profit, all kinds of things that were way outside of his area of expertise. He studied and wrote and thought and worked all day and night for many days and nights. He had a business partner, Alesia, who still worked at the place he had worked. She and her husband were working on things, too, but the financial matters and business plan were all in Gary’s lap.
He was busy out in his office all the time. I really didn’t see him any more than I did when he had a job. Maybe even less. And he was stressed out. He was trying to make the best business plan he could because he was going to present it to a bank to try to get a loan. He had to make it shine. He didn’t have the problems with fellow employees that he had at the workplace, but now he had the fear of failure and the burden of so many people depending on him to do a good job on this business plan.
While he was out in his office sweating over his business plan, I was inside the house trying to take care of six children, ages 1-10, cook, clean, do laundry, buy groceries, and generally be Supermom who needed no help from anyone. Unfortunately, I did need help. I just never asked for it. I thought I should be able to do it all and do it well. All by myself. Like a little 3-year-old, that’s what I said. I can do it myself.
But I started thinking, now that Gary’s home, maybe he can help me some. Then I started getting mad at him when he didn’t read my mind and start helping me when I started thinking that way. So our relationship became a little strained. I was mad at him and he didn’t know why, and he was so caught up in trying to get his business plan done that he really couldn’t focus on our relationship anyway. And I was tired. My baby was still nursing, and he was a very demanding little guy. I had so much to do to take care of my own family, but somehow I kept getting roped into helping other people with their kids: homeschooling, tutoring, keeping them out of trouble, doing homeschool assessments, etc. I had a hard time saying no to anybody when they asked for help, and I kept trying to help out with finances in what little way I could through tutoring and assessments.
In the middle of all of that going on, we had to decide what we were going to do when his severance pay ran out. We had an inkling that God was giving us a chance to live by faith. We weren’t sure, but we thought He might be calling us to step out and take Him at His word and let Him be our sole Provider, with no other source of income. We prayed about what we should do about Unemployment, and we felt that Gary should go get it, so he went to the office to inquire about it.
When he got there the caseworker had a fit when he found out how many kids we had, and he told Gary he was going to get everything he possibly could for him. Gary came home with food stamps, Medicare, etc., and I felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing. I had a feeling we were supposed to just rely on God, but I wasn’t sure, so I let it go.
In the meantime, I was really feeling impressed that I needed to learn to hear from God better. So I started asking the Lord to help me to hear Him better. The first thing I heard in my spirit that I knew had to be from Him was when He said, “Go buy yourself a new dress.” I knew it had to be God and not my own inner voice for several reasons. I hardly ever wore dresses at that time. It’s not very convenient to wear a dress when you have a nursing baby. I didn’t want a new dress. And I didn’t want to spend money on anything besides bare essentials at a time like that. That voice telling me to buy a new dress was not my own, that was for sure!