My purpose in sharing our testimony of how the Lord provided when my husband lost his job is to encourage those ladies who may find themselves in a similar situation. Finances and struggles within are deeply personal and the dynamics are specific to each family. This is our story of how the Lord brought us through, showered us with His grace, and made us stronger on the other side.
In the fall of 2009 my family and I were living our dream life. We had stepped out in faith as I had left my job as a Charge Nurse to focus on our family life. We were in our 4th year of homeschooling. I wanted this to finally be the year in which I didn't have to run out the door to pick up an extra nursing shift.
In order for us to accomplish the goal of me being home full-time, we had to cut our budget back to next-to-nothing. It was only the basics of house, utilities, gas, and a nearly invisible grocery budget that meant I had to quickly get creative in the kitchen.
Although our hearts were right, and we were seeking the Lord for His direction, we still hadn't met Dave Ramsey's wisdom, and we were far from having even our baby step number two--$1,000 emergency fund in place--yet God's grace abounded.
The Day My Husband Came Home Early
As the kids and I were cleaning up from lunch one day, my husband suddenly walked in the door from work--4 hours early. The children were excited that daddy was home. I, however, was already subtracting the hours that he was currently missing from the upcoming week's grocery budget. Every hour counted. Why was he home?
He had a wild faith smile on his face and a sparkle in his green eyes as he handed me the pink slip. My first thought was, “I'll have to go back to work.” I remained claim though and whispered in faith, “This is no surprise to God.”
In between the faith-sparkle of my husband's eyes and my poetic faith reassurance that God is in control, we were not instantly transported to heaven. We were still in our kitchen with the truth that we had no savings, we already lived paycheck-to-paycheck, I had been home full-time for almost a year, and nurses were now getting laid off in our area.
After running the numbers, we figured that we could make it a few months with my husband's unemployment. We would most likely get behind on everything, but we would make it.
No Unemployment and No Savings
Several weeks went by and finally we heard back from the unemployment commission. My husband was denied unemployment benefits because, although we believed it unfair and fought the decision, he was fired instead of laid off.
His employer had begun firing employees for the slightest infraction, coincidentally right before a massive layoff. After two years of employment with his company, and 15 years in his profession, my husband’s employer didn't even give him a warning, and let him go on the spot after he made a mistake on the job one day.
There we were with no unemployment income, no savings, and four children ages 9 and under. In the eyes of the world, things looked bleak. We held on tight and trusted the Lord; somehow he'd make a way.
The Lord's Provision During My Husband's Job Loss
It is no doubt the Lord who always cares for us, even during job loss. We are in the palm of His hand and, truly, even job loss is no surprise to God. Some of the provisions mentioned below are undoubtedly miracles of the God-kind. Others are through wisdom and creativity the Lord gave us at the time. No matter, the Lord gets the glory.
Put accounts on hold. One of the first things I did was call any open accounts we had. We had cell phone contracts and cable at the time. I was able to call both companies and they were able to put our accounts on hold for 6 months. We were waiting for those contracts to run out anyway, and we knew we couldn't just cancel those contracts or we'd owe much more. Putting those accounts on hold was a huge help and allowed us to cross those items off our list.
Recycling metal. My husband is a car guy and has always had extra metal, or even an extra car or two, lying around. He was able to take loads of scrap metal to recycle and make $200-$300 per load. He wasn't able to do this every week, but when he did get enough metal together it was a huge blessing.
Yard sales. I pulled together a yard sale and made $250 in one weekend. It was amazing how people bought up items that I considered junk. Anything in our house that wasn't nailed down was purged in a good yard sale.
Money in the mail. One day my husband came back from the mailbox with an envelope full of money. His co-workers were so upset over the fact that my husband was fired, and right before the holidays, they took up a collection. It was over $500 cash, plus one man sent an $89 check from his church.
I got a job. It wasn't what I wanted to do. I wasn't being a whiner. I just had so clearly felt the Lord led me to lay down my nursing job, and here I was a year later looking for work again. It was a faith-struggle for me at the time. Nonetheless, the unemployment we were counting on fell through and I knew that eating was important. Even though nurses were having trouble finding jobs at that time in our area, I was able to make one phone call and have a nursing position again. It wasn't full-time, but it was enough to help us through.
Tax refund. Despite my working weekends and all of our penny-pinching, we still got behind on our house payment during my husband's job loss. We were communicating with our mortgage company and letting them know our situation, but things still felt bleak. However, when we did our taxes the tax refund that came through was the exact amount we owed to catch up on our mortgage!
In the End
All in all, my husband was out of work for nearly 6 months. He applied everywhere he could and tried to creatively make money from home as he could. He took the first job that was offered to him. It ended up being several more dollars per hour with a better schedule and better benefits than his previous job.
Even though it wasn't nearly perfect, and it was messy, our faith was strengthened for the better during this job loss. We held on tight to the Lord and He did make away – despite our failings. My hope is our little testimony would be an encouragement to those who need it. Jobs come and go, the economy rises and falls, but God Almighty stands forever.
Have you dealt with job loss in your family? How did you make it through? Share your story as encouragement for other readers in the comments below!