Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happiness isn't the color of money

On August 29, 2007, my husband lost his job due to the turndown in construction. It plunged us into a nightmare that we could never have imagined in our thirty years of marriage. I soon found myself in the belly of Jonah’s whale, not wanting to believe God had a better plan for me or to trust Him with the one I now found myself in.

In the ensuing years, with only about eight months of paid work, our pride took a beating, our faith dwindled to almost nothing and we found out who our real friends were.

Quite often, my husband and I would ask each other, “Do you remember what it felt like to be happy?”

Honestly, I didn’t. Getting out of bed each morning took extreme effort along with putting on a smile for anyone outside of our home. In all my years of counseling depressed individuals, I now knew I hadn’t understood the depths fear can take one.

Our standard for happiness changed. We measured it by how many days we could live without crying. We measured it by the days we could keep our anger and resentment under control.

But the moment came when we realized we had to trust God. We’d reached our bottom after trying every trick to survive. It didn’t matter how smart we were, how much experience we had or who we knew. It wasn’t working. We did what we should have done right away. We sat down and prayed about a direction.

Together.

The answer wasn’t exactly what we wanted. God expected us to take a different route. The route naysayers advised us against. The route that held no assurance of money in our checkbook or a job.

But it was the only route that gave us a semblance of peace.

Two weeks ago, at age fifty five, my husband went back to college to pursue his newest passion. I started reading the Bible every morning determined to put God first in my day. Not my fears.

Last night I asked my husband if he felt happy again even though I already knew the answer.

I could tell by the way he whistled again each morning.

Sort of like me.

48 comments:

Natalie said...

Wow Terry. You are an inspiration. That sounds like a really tough road, but I'm glad you've found happiness again.

Amy DeTrempe said...

Wow, is right. Great post and gives us all hope. Trust in God, not in people.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for sharing; I didn't know the details, just that your husband had been laid off. What a challenge for you, but so blessed to see you coming through. Keep looking up:) Prayers and blessings sent your way.

Heckety said...

That's a POWERFUL piece of writing! I'm glad you are where you are now, and I'm sorry you had to go to the belly to get there, but it proves to me (as an outsider) that God is using you-like Jonah???? He can, and He will, even your really bad time.
Like the Joshua quote on my header-...for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Wifsie said...

So inspiring. I feel your pain and then your hope. Always follow your heart because your heart is God's.
you've come home where your truth lies. It's the only way to happiness. Thank you for sharing this!
Maryse

Lin Floyd said...

wow there's an article in there somewhere that could help others. write it and send it off. blessing and perhaps even money could return...FAITH is easy when all is right. Example-Haiti.

Tammy said...

Your fears turned in to FAITH...wow!

My husband and I been married for 23 years and he has always worked. He slipped by two layoffs but he was told last week there will be another big one in April. He work for Lockheed Martin.

Thank you for sharing,
Tammy

Julie Gillies said...

Oh Terri,

I'm so sorry that you've had to go through such an awful time. But I'm glad things have taken a turn for the better, and that you're both whistling again.

Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I think dawn has broken for you!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You've only scratched the surface of God's "next" for you, Terri. Keep pressing in to Jesus. He's closer now than he's ever been to your heart.

I pray for a holy unleashing within your spirit as you tend to Him and He tends to you.

peace~elaine

Just Be Real said...

Very encouraging Terri! Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

Kristen Painter said...

Amen!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Wow. Terri, you have great faith. Two years without a steady income? That's incredible. I know there were probably times of doubt but faith isn't something you hold or keep. It's an action, something you live from. You've been doing that. Thanks for sharing your story!

sarah said...

I looove this Terri. Of all the posts..this is my absolute favorite. Thank you for your willingness to be open..to be vulnerable and for sharing your heart. And I am so grateful you and your husband have peace again. Tons of blessings to you...You inspire. Nikki

Edie said...

I love this Terri! I have been praying for a word of encouragement today. I have tears in my eyes right now. It feels SO good to come across someone who understands exactly the fears and the route naysayers.

This week I am studying the Name El Elyon, The Most High God. This is the Name that refers to His Sovereignty over ALL.

I pray that He will pour out His Peace and Blessings over you and your husband as you follow Him in complete Faith.

Much love to you!

Sassy Granny ... said...

I just want to jump up-and-down and shout "Praise the Lord"!!! What a wonderful report, Terri; and so very authentic.

I dare say your hind's feet are finely fit now; you'll be walking the high places much easier.

Hugs,
Kathleen

Trudy said...

Yes...praise God indeed! So glad school has started up and things are looking up for you. I will keep you in my prayers for sure for continued success and prosperity to come your way!

Madison said...

My husband and I lived through the exact same terrifying journey years ago. You reminded me of that feeling that we had - that we never thought we'd ever be truly happy again. Oh, that was awful. We came to the same conclusion, trust God. Here we are, years later, and I still remember that time like it was yesterday, when we had nothing left but to lean on God for miracles. What if we had lived our whole lives and missed that He really means it? He's got your back.

mamabear said...

A beautiful piece! Although not on the other side financially (I'm still praying), it's such a testimony that you're there emotionally.

And I agree, send this off!

Jan Cline said...

Perfect. :)

AnooCre8ion said...

OOOh Terri, you really really blessed my heart with this post. Isn't it awesome that when we come to the place that He's all we have, then we find He's all we need?

What an excellent God we serve. He waited for you to come to that place of dependency on Him and Him alone.

Just watch out for where He will take you. I know, I've lived and am still living some of what you have. My husband hasn't worked for almost two years either but God's supernatural power has kept us better than two paychecks every could. We are so much more closer to Him than we have ever been in the more than 20 years that we've been serving Him.

He's so faithful.

Blessings,
Vickie

destrella said...

I keep hearing that song in my mind, God's not finished with me yet..... Great things are on the way because He can see the big picture. Glad the joy is returning. Hugs to you! :O)

Paula said...

Very moving post. Thank you so much! I, too, could have written a similar one and you have encouraged me to try and put my path into words now.

Linda said...

Terri, this such an inspiring post! It almost brought me to tears, and yet lifted my spirits to great heights at the same time. I am praying God's richest blessing on you and your husband as I write this. You have stepped out in faith, and have been an encouragement to many. Bless you, my blogging friend.

Carmen said...

So real! Such a hard thing. Such an encouragement that we have a God who hears, and who truly does care! Thank you for sharing this!!

Mary Anne Gruen said...

I'm pulling for you! You're trying something very hard. But at least the clouds have already started parting in renewed happiness.

I wish you continued Happiness, Faith, and Success!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I'm so glad you're finding the peace of God in the middle of the storm.

Years ago, I saw a picture of a bird tucked in the cleft of a rock. All around him, the storm raged, but he was protected.

I'm seeing God's protection and hand on my life even as I weather unemployment. There's plenty of room in the cleft of the rock for all of us.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kathryn Magendie said...

*smiling at you . . .*

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, Terri, I am crying tears of joy for you both! Whistling equals contentment in my book, too.

So glad the Lord is turning things around for you, dear.

Terresa said...

A friend of mine went through a similar experience in the last 2 years. She and her family of 6 lost their home and 1 car. They are lucky to have each other & their health & God.

This is beautiful. More people need to put their fears aside and put God in it's place. (including me)

Thanks for the reminder.

Jessica said...

What a beautiful post! I'm so glad you're whistling again. :-)

carolynyalin said...

I forget who said it - tough times never last but tough people do. Glad things are looking up :)

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Oh Terri! You always sound so upbeat and content - you do quite a job of holding your chin up! Thanks for such an inspiring post.

We've been through something similar this year and that feeling of despair kept me from blogging most of the time, because I didn't want to depress peeps that visited.

I like how you're putting God first in your day, instead of fears. Glorious!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Terri, so glad to feel your smiles and hear your whistles. Beautiful, just beautiful sweet music. may God continue to see happiness fill you as His plan unfolds.

ginny said...

Oh Terri, I could have written this post! Everything you experienced, you know already, we have. Except my husband had to retire and when I lost my job, I retired with him. Yes, the struggles are still there, but somehow they seem different. I guess God knows what He is doing because we sure don't. But the inner joy we feel is growing, and the more time i spend with my precious grands and looking forward to the one on the way fills a void that no money, job, insurance, friends, or any other thing can do for us at this time.
I can sense you at least feeling a bit more at peace, and I hope it continues. My prayers...

Warren Baldwin said...

What an inspirational story! And one that came at tremendous cost. Hats off to you and your husband for hanging in there so long and so faithfully. YOu are an inspiration to others. wb

Heather Sunseri said...

Oh, Terri, you brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing testimony of your faith. Sometimes our biggest moments of doubt bring us closer to Christ. Thank you for sharing.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I don't know if I ever shared this with you before but my husband did a 180 in his career as well. After almost 15 years in the service business he went back to school and learned a whole new career. He is now in a job he loves and our financial situation has improved almost 100 fold.
For all the difficulty of accommodating school and living with a man who was unhappy in his job while he was gong to school it was so totally worth it!!!!!!

Blessings my friend
Robin

Jody Hedlund said...

That's awesome, Terri! It's never too late to pursue what we love!

lunardancer said...

Advising others going through their own trials makes it seem easy for us to say every positive thing that can be done to ensure that the concerned person stays tough and afloat. But when it is our turn to face our trials, we find it hard to even practice what we used to advice others to do. Nevertheless, as the cliche goes, we would not be given a trial we can't handle. And trials, no matter how burdening or painful, is a major turningpoint that could open the door leading to the kind of life or person that we should be.

Nancy said...

I had no idea you were both going through so much. Your post is heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time. So glad to hear that you both are finding those rays of happiness. I'm still praying for good things for you and yours.

Helen Ginger said...

What a wonderfully inspirational story. I loved the ending line.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Sande said...

Bit of a Joseph story right there.

Just read that eagles 'push' their babies out of the nest .... aren't we a bit eaglish? Need a good push so we can sour and fly?

Jackie said...

Oh Terri.....what a wonderful God filled inspirational story!!!

I'm praying that His abundant peace and blessings be upon you and your husband as you journey with Him in new paths!

Your words bless me!

Sweet Blessings!
Jackie

Journaling Woman said...

Terri, I thought I had commented on this but couldn't find me.

I have been there a few times questioning everything. It's hard, but we do make it through and never alone.

I went back to school at 47. I loved it. Tell him he will do just fine. It sounds like he has hope again.

Thinking of ya and always praying for you.

Gaia said...

I totally agree that this is the right route. I wanted the same for my marriage, but unfortunately we were moving in different directions. So I went at it alone. So far so good. Bless you.

Being Me said...

Be happy, loved your story..very insipring....

BM

Cherie Hill said...

So glad I found your blog...I'll be dropping in often!
God bless!
Cherie

Crystal said...

Hi Terri! Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog the other day! I've been reading a couple of your past posts here and just want you to know how encouraging & uplifting I find your blog. My husband lost a good job last summer and just TODAY found out he was accepted at a new one. It has been really tough the past few months with only my income, but we made it through, too. And I just thank God for that. It is truly a test of one's faith when something like this happens. And I am so glad to hear you & your husband are happy again! That is so wonderful he's following his passion! God bless!