My husband has been self-employed since he was 18 and he has been in the real estate industry for the last 15 years. The Lord has seen it fit to take us through the Refiner’s Fire with one trial after another. As I wife, I quickly learned I needed to batten down the hatches and get ready for the great storm that was about to blow through our lives.
We faced one trial after another without ever getting a reprieve.
- The first trial was a four-year lawsuit. It was real estate related, and the suit was filed by the buyer and the sellers of the property against my husband, their agent. The sellers did not tell the buyers, or my husband, about special restrictions on the property, although they stated in writing that there weren’t any. The cause of the suit said otherwise. Basically, the seller’s lied in writing and then blamed my husband. What made matters worse, the seller’s attorney told my husband that he found no fault in his actions but they had to file a cross claim on him anyways so he could protect his clients. After the buyers had purchased the home, and after they found out about the restrictions, they fraudulently refinanced their home not just once, but twice to spend large amounts of money on personal items. Then they wanted my husband to foot their bill. Oh the injustice of it all. Of course none of this sat well with my man and I, but what could we do? We paid an attorney our last $5,000 to represent us in this case and the money lasted about a mere 3 weeks. From that point on my husband had to learn how to legally represent himself for the remainder of the case without the legal knowledge needed to do so.
- During all of this, within a 45 day period, the real estate industry came to a screeching halt. The market was dead.
- About a month or two after the lawsuit was in full swing, we received notice from the IRS of an audit for a preceding year. The focus of the audit was the amount of our deducted ‘contributions’ (tithes) for that year. The IRS said they were too high and thus, they investigated us. They basically called us liars.
- At this time, the “Do Not Call” telephone policy was in effect. My husband had followed up with a property inquiry from a lady from four months earlier, and promptly received a letter from the Federal Trade Commission threatening to fine him $11,000. Even though she contacted him first, the law says that he cannot contact her any later than 90 days. This now means that he cannot contact any past clients, contacts, leads, etc. if they had not contacted him first within the last 90 days. On top of the market woes, this completely shut down the way he had made a living for the past 11 years.
- Finances were strained, so cutting business costs was the natural next step. He proceeded to reduce the number of phone lines he had to lower his business expenses. But the phone company said he could do so only if he paid $8,000 to get out of the contract. He didn’t have the money. He couldn’t afford the high business phone bill as it was, so he lost his business telephone number. This was the number that all of his past clients knew for the last 11 years. Now, he can’t call them, and they can’t call him…it was tough to do business that way!
I can’t tell you how many times I wondered about what was going to happen to our family based on our current situation. We were never late on a mortgage payment and at the time our credit scores were high, but soon, that all changed and our property went into default. I did not understand why this was all happening to us. We tried to live an obedient, God-fearing life, yet, I felt like the Lord had forsaken us in ALL these situations. I felt like Jobette and my husband was quickly starting to feel like Job. My man was starting to crumble under all of this weight and I knew I needed to do something to help minister to him.
My husband would often say to me he felt like a failure and my heart would just break for him. There wasn’t anything I could do for him financially because we had made the choice when we were engaged to have him work and provide for us and I would stay home and take care of the family. Our convictions on this subject matter didn’t change based on our circumstances.
What my husband needed from me the most was my encouragement and support. He needed me standing by his side and believing in him no matter what happened to us financially.
“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1
I was placed by his side to lift him up, not tear him down. So, that is what I set out to do.
I would pray for him and talk with him and listen to his hurts and frustrations. As I would spend time daily reading the Word, there were times that the Lord would prompt me to read those verses to my husband as well. Reading the Scriptures to him soon became an on-going way of life for many months to come. My husband knew by me taking the time out of my day to pour into him spiritually I was telling him that I believed in him, I loved him, I respected him and I would always be by his side no matter what trial came our way.
We often had discussions about what would happen if we lost our home and where would we go if we had no money. We had said that if it ever got so bad for us financially, the boys and I would go live at a homeless shelter for women and children and my husband would sleep in his truck parked outside of the shelter so he could still be with us. We were determined to live our lives built on the Word of God no matter how uncomfortable it would be for us and no matter what those in the world had to say about it! We did not care what others thought, we cared about what God thought.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 1 Corinthians 3:10-14.
Is your man down? Does he need your support and encouragement today? Will you be willing to minister to him?
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