Monday, June 21, 2010

God's Blessing Us in Big Ways, Too!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about all the small ways God had been blessing us. I explained that I waited and waited sometimes for the big blessings but wanted to recognize the many small blessings and be thankful for them.

Interestingly, since that post God has been blessing in big ways.

The first big blessing was a call from our property manager. We have a rental property that we have been unable to sell in this market, but the current tenants are moving at the end of the month and we were going to try and sell it again. We were also planning to list it for rent and trust the Lord to rent or sell it in His timing, though we hoped quickly because paying the mortgage with no rent would be next to imossible. Well, the property manager was calling to let us know that our previous tenants had been in touch with her and were interested in renting the property again. These were good tenants who always paid on time and took care of the house. They wanted the property on July 1 and would pay more rent than the current tenants. We were amazed that God would answer our prayers so completely. We won't lose a single month of rent and will have increased income from the higher rent.

The second big blessing occured in three pieces. We have had some unusual expenses in June including a car repair, a rental property bill, an emergency room bill, and travel expenses for an out of town wedding. Needless to say that cash has been tight! Well, we picked up our car one morning about 10 days ago and prayed that God would provide the funds to cover the expense. When Ed got to work about 30 minutes later there was an anonymous gift of gift cards on his desk. A few days later we got another anonymous gift card in the mail. Then I was handed another gift card by a friend that had apparently passed through several hands on the way to mine, and it also was anonymous. These gifts were for gas, stores we frequent, and a visa gift card. Can you say Hallelujah? We sure did! This is incredibly comforting, but it is also humbling.

And the third big blessing? We just found out on Friday that DH's job is back to 40 hours starting today! That means he is earning a full time salary again instead of 75%, and we are back to "normal" after almost a year. Praise God! We have always lived frugally so it's not as though we suddenly have a huge excess of funds, but we will be able to pay all of our bills again with DH's salary and have a little left over to save and chip away at our last remaining non-mortage debts. It has been a weird couple of days realizing the financial stress has lifted and reflecting on what we've learned and the amazing ways God has provided for our needs.

  • First, we learned of DH's layoff last May, 60 days ahead of time. I was three weeks away from Joanna's birth. We would have full medical coverage and DH would have no work responsibilities except to look for another job within Microsoft for those 60 days.
  • DH was unable to secure a position within Microsoft during those 60 days, but he found a job contracting at Microsoft and was working that job in just two weeks after the official layoff.
  • Microsoft has excellent insurance, and the COBRA was over $1,500 per month. Rather than have to purchase our own private insurance, we ended up qualifying for a government plan that covered 65% of the COBRA, so we only paid a little over $500 per month and were able to keep our excellent no co-pay and no referral insurance. Private insurance with co-pays would have been in excess of $600 per month just for the very cheapest premiums.
  • The severance package from Microsoft was generous and carried us through four months of an empty rental property while we tried to sell it and through six months of the lower contract job salary.
  • In October, we had a water problem in our basement with ground water coming in and ruining the flooring. We didn't lose anything of significant value except the carpet.
  • We had many, many friends and family stepping in to help us with the water problem - including diagnosing the problem, helping move things out of the basement, removing carpet, helping fix the problem, and helping watch the kids so I could unpack into the upstairs.
  • In November, we received a Thanksgiving basket from our church. At the time I thought it was funny, though I appreciated it, because our pantry was overflowing and grocery shopping is one area I can be really, really frugal. In retrospect, I can see how helpful it was as we've been supplementing so much of our grocery budget with the stockpile in our pantry and freezer. How else would I have been able to spend less than $200/month (and sometimes much closer to $100) on groceries?
  • In December, DH was offered a job as a Microsoft employee again but in a 30 hour/week position. It came with a promotion that made the 75% salary on par with the 100% contract salary, so we made the switch and got a whole extra day with DH each week.
  • We could clearly see God's hand in this promotion. It would have been next to impossible if DH hadn't had a complete employment separation from Microsoft.
  • We were able to take our kids to Disneyland in January on a very limited budget and had a great time making wonderful memories.
  • In March, we discovered a water problem at our rental property. My sweet dad worked with DH and was able to locate and fix the problem at very little cost to us.
  • In April, DH was hired by the U.S. Census for temporary work. This job has filled "the gap" for two months, and we have been able to avoid using our credit card.
  • DH was able to take parental leave from Microsoft in May for two weeks. Joanna was 11 months old and the "rule" is you must take the leave before the child's first birthday. We were amazed that DH qualified for this because Joanna was born during his previous employment with Microsoft, and he'd been separated from the company for five months before getting rehired. We were able to coordinate his parental leave with the U.S. Census training and a family vacation. What a blessing to have him around!
  • We have had help during these months from our church in many ways, including scholarships for programs, food from the kitchen, and even a couple doctor bills.
  • We have had help from many friends and family during this time, including food, clothes, anonymous gift cards, labor, and just plain encouragement.
  • DH got the news about his job going to 40 hours on Thursday with no notice whatsoever. His manager was out of the office and an administrator called to ask him when he wanted to start the 40 hour schedule. His manager confirmed on Friday.
  • The U.S. Census job wrapped up this weekend and DH is starting his new schedule today. Could the Lord have timed that any more perfectly?
These are just the highlights and "big" moments where we could see God at work in our lives and carrying us through a difficult time. There are many, many smaller things that were equally glorious, and we are so thankful to be leaving this season behind and looking forward to using what we've learned to glorify the Lord.



So, what do you think?