Monday, February 27, 2012

The Ugly Truth Ain't Pretty

The ugly truth crawled into my brain yesterday morning during the pastor’s sermon. It wasn’t pretty.

 My pride would kill us.

The pastor spoke on burdens and it dawned on me that my pride was the source of one of our greatest burdens even though I thought I’d conquered it.  Didn’t I buy Wal-Mart brand food now? Didn’t I wear jeans purchased at thrift stores and wear my bras until the elastic stretched like an overdone piece of spaghetti?

Did God really want me to give up on my house dreams?

Twenty-five years ago my husband and I built (by hand) our dream home on three acres on a hilltop. We stuffed insulation, painted, wallpapered and designed rooms to entertain our friends. I bawled all the way to Florida when we sold it and moved.

Then God gave us our Clermont home. Oh yes. It was bigger and better than our PA home. Soaring ceilings. Open floor plan. Columns and tiled floors. All on a landscaped acre in a community of custom homes.  

I forgot about my PA home and threw myself into decorating this one.

But the recession changed the game.  We laid awake at night wondering how we would pay our $621 mortgage each month on unemployment.  We feared foreclosure and wished we had paid our home off when we were making the big bucks. Instead I bought clothing and furniture and took trips—certain that we had it made.

When we moved to Texas and then sold our home in Florida, I began a search for my new home. The one I was certain God would give us to make up for the one I had given up. I imagined making friends here and entertaining in a huge family room on acres on land for my grandchildren to play on. Wasn’t that what we were supposed to have at our age? Wasn’t that what God would do for us now that we had suffered enough?

I can be pretty dumb at times.

Three banks turned us down for a mortgage because my husband hadn’t been working yet for six months. Every home I drooled over went pending the day before I set up to look at it. On and on it went.

Until yesterday when finally God made me aware of my prideful burden I wanted to put on my family.

I don’t need a fancy home to entertain real friends. I don’t need a fancy home to feel like I’d made it. I am not entitled.

God has given us enough funds to buy a home big enough for us to live in and be debt free so we can sleep at night. He has answered my desperate prayers sent to Him over and over for four years. It is enough. Just because I’m the age I am doesn’t mean a thing. I had to remind myself that many people my age don’t even own a home now and might never again.

The ugly truth can be darned ugly when come face to face with it. But the real truth that God takes care of our NEEDS is so much prettier.


36 comments:

Linda O'Connell said...

You know, most people want more-more-more. I like the way my mom thought, All anyone needs is"Just Enough." She didn't collect things. In fact THINGS were never important to her. Have a great week.

Christine said...

I grieve for the suffering you endured, especially the part about hurt from friends and family, but when I see what God has done in your heart, I praise Him! He sanctified you!

Karen Lange said...

Learning a few lessons lately too, and I appreciate your insight. Sending hugs your way! :)

Susan Roux said...

Oh you sure put it all into perspective. Terri, you're gonna be fine. Look for the little blessings in your life and remember to thank God for those. The rest will make it's way in time. Patience is also a virtue... God likes to take His time.

Joanne Sher said...

This is SUCH a hard lesson to learn. I do it too. Praying. LOVE ya, girl!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, your story really has me looking at things in a different perspective as well. God does always provide.

Ginny said...

Well said. I had to learn the hard way too. I could have paid off our home when my mother left us a small inheritance. Instead, we went on vacations, paid for my daughters wedding and shower and did some updates to our home. Now since the economy hit us hard, we are living from day to day, hoping the bills get paid and we can maintain our house payments.
God knows. He is in charge and has always been faithful.

Jill Kemerer said...

Terri, you and I must be on the same faith journey lately, because I can tell you God has asked me to give ALL of my hopes and dreams and plans to Him, and it's HARD!

I'm so proud of you for listening. We'll get through this!

Susan said...

Hi Terri....Good post. It's true that sometimes God gives us our wishes----makes our dreams come true.

Other times, he gives us something else and that's okay, too.

He ALWAYS provides and never,ever abandons us.

We have to trust Him, Terri, and at times that is sooooo hard.

Susan

Lin Floyd said...

wow major insight...pride is quite deceptive and we call it other things like acceptance, success, happiness, etc. The lessons of life aren't always easy but important. The trick is to have gratitude for all that we suffer and look for the lesson within the trial. You are doing that...

Cheryl Klarich said...

Oh Terri, I am with you girlfriend... we thought that we had paid our dues- and prospering felt so good... it seemed like it would last forever...
But God is so faithful in spite of us!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Terri, thank you for this post. I've learned a lot about entitlement in the last several years and sometimes it takes something big to make us realize that we're not owed anything, but God does provide us with all we need.

Retired English Teacher said...

This post was very powerful, Terri. You are so right. We have to stop thinking that just because we are Christians, we have the right to have every little material thing our hearts desires.

I have learned that the material things no longer matter that much. I had to lose my health to realize it though.

Nancy said...

It's always nice when you hear from God in such a powerful way. I like your attitude. I know that He will continue to bless you and meet your needs.

By the way, we are "older" and we downsized several years ago. We love it and have met some very nice friendly people through this move.

Lisa Jordan said...

Such wisdom in your words, Terri. I don't dream of a big fancy house. I just dream of improving our constant WIP of an outdated house. I need to have an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for my humble home, especially since Hubby hasn't had a secure job in 3 years, and we've still been able to pay the mortgage.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

So happy for you, your settling into life in TX, both in heart and home. God will continue to shape and grow you under than big Texas sky.

The best is yet to be.

peace~elaine

Lynda R Young said...

I remember a time when a friend's funds were extremely low and she had no one to support her. The washing machine broke down and she wondered how she was going to pay for the repairs. The very next day she sold a painting for the exact amount the repairs ended up costing. (She rarely sold any paintings at all) Our Lord really does provide.

Sally said...

I love when God speaks and I hear. It's like the light above my head turns on and I can see so clearly. May the light continue to shine brightly for you.

Diane said...

Terri, thank you for sharing your heart, for being so transparent. We all learn from that. I've been through loss. I know the grieving process we go through. It sounds like you've come through that process as well. I bless God for that!

Rhonda Schrock said...

Huggin' your neck, Terri. This is tough stuff to plow through; it really is.

Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story with us.

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda

Rhonda Schrock said...

Huggin' your neck, Terri. This is tough stuff to plow through; it really is.

Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story with us.

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda

Beth K. Vogt said...

I don't skip your blog.
I don't skim your blog.
You write honestly -- even when the truth is ugly.
This is your voice.

Melissa Marsh said...

I hope you have found peace in this now, Terri. I know you were struggling for a long time. But you're right - you don't need a fancy house to entertain. It's not about the surroundings - it's about the company. :-)

Anonymous said...

I was told once "you are always right where you are supposed to be" and I have to remind myself of that often. Great post! The ugly truth is no fun but needed.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I so admire you for this humble attitude, Teri.

I am one of the ones--close in age to you--who does not own a home. We live in a house provided by our church. If we leave, we trust the Lord will give us a place to live. I'm tempted to worry at times, but I'm choosing to believe God won't let us down now, after caring for us all these years.

The desire of my heart is to own land with trees and my own home. It would not surprise me one tad if God gives both you and I our desires! Not because we're entitled; just because He is so good.

I heart you,
Jen

Carol Riggs said...

Great honesty here. Yes, God meets our needs! Sometimes our wants too, but there seem to be seasons for everything. I'm just thankful to have a home, period, in this economy and with my hubbs on unemployment. We live in a 1140-s.f. mobilehome. And it's fine!

Hope Filled Living said...

Terri, thank you for posting this to remind us that it's not THINGS that matter. I think it's awesome that you have downsized and are debt-free! Not many people can say that. It is so liberating.
xoxo,
Mary

momto8 said...

This is a great post....I have come to realize what you say to be true...and if someone is going to judge me by the size of my house or the car I drive...do I really want that person to be a part of my life anyway? no...
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
hang in there!

Julie Gillies said...

What an honest, soul-searching post, Terri. God is faithful, and though He doesn't always give us what we want, He blesses us with what we need.

Praise God that you will be able to buy a home and be debt free--in this economy, that's huge. Huge!

I think you're arriving at this scripture: "Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) And that, my friend, is a good place to be.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Wow, great reminder, Terri. Thanks for opening up and sharing this.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks Terri for sharing this post which is so heart tugging. Its not easy trying to cut down our wants and desires, but sometimes that's what God wants us to do. Hugs and more hugs to you.

Heckety said...

Need v. want...I battle constantly with this, as do the rest of our family. Even after living so many years in Africa where you'd have thought I'd have learned my lesson...You may be battling with pride, but you DID hear God tslking to you...I'd say that's ok. God doesn't expect us to be perfect straight off, if we were then why would we possibly need and want a relationship with Him?

Janet Smart said...

God does supply our needs, we just have to learn to be happy with just our needs. You have moved around a lot and I am glad that you have found a new home and our now happy. God is good.

Lauren F. Boyd said...

Wow, Terri! This is a great lesson! My husband and I are in a similar house situation. We have been trying to sell our home for over a year, and so many houses that we like and want to offer on keep going under contract before we can get a buyer for our house. Lord knows we can't afford two mortgages, so we have to do something with our current home before buying the next one. It is frustrating, but you're right: God has a plan that's better than our own. And one day, we'll be able to look back and understand.

Kudos to you and your husband for living in a house that's "big enough." That's what I'd like for us as well.

Thanks, too, for your thoughts at my blog last week! ALways great to see you.

Just Be Real said...

Interesting post. Prideful burden. Good point Terri. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

Patti said...

What a great reminder. It's so easy to get caught up in what we want that we think it's a need.