Oct 20

Grace in a Recession

2009 at 12:04 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood

We know many people who are struggling financially these days: couples who had a hard time making ends meet before the recession, now in financial crisis; people out of work with no job in sight; families forced to sell their home; families who can’t sell their home.

Maybe you are experiencing economic hardship, or fear you might be next. If so, we think you’ll be encouraged by this testimony from Kathy (not her real name). She tells how God used a financial crisis to transform her heart, her marriage and her family.

Three events brought life-altering change to our family and our finances and taught us lessons about God’s faithfulness, love and commitment to us.

We were living in Roanoke, Virginia with our two teenaged sons and toddler daughter, part of a gospel-centered church with many deep and godly friendships. My husband’s business was established and very successful. We were very comfortable and our lives were good in every way.

Those three events – the recession at the beginning of 2001, the 9/11 tragedy, and an auto accident in October 2002 that left my husband with permanent injuries – each contributed to the gradual dismantling of our business and necessitated the move that would bring us to Covenant Life Church.

God used the pressures of these events to reveal misplaced affections, deeply rooted patterns of sin, and to teach us to trust Him as our true provider in spite of what our circumstances tell us. I’m sharing the details below with the blessing of my husband; we are both grateful for the new fruit in our lives and pray that, in some small way, our experiences can serve to encourage others.

As we entered the fall of 2003 our financial reserves were exhausted and the consulting income Steve was able to generate was barely enough to cover our very basic needs, much less maintain the life we had built over the previous eleven years.

That September, Steve attended a men’s retreat and had an amazing encounter with God. His heart was laid bare as the Holy Spirit revealed the depth of his pride, self-sufficiency, dishonesty, and a plethora of other sins that had taken root and ruled him. In His kindness God granted Steve the gift of repentance.

It didn’t take long for my own heart to be revealed. I was sure I was not as big a sinner as Steve. I was angry that his sin was costing our family the comfortable life we deserved. In His kindness God did not allow me to remain in this state.

I studied idolatry to help me see how materialism was affecting my life and in the process a deep root of self-pity was revealed. I saw how I had “clung to worthless idols and forfeited the grace that could be mine.” Jonah 2:8.

I began to see that Steve and I were both at the foot of the cross rather than at different levels in our relationship with God. This revelation gave me the vision and desire to really walk through this with him. I began to understand what a helper is.

Over the next ten months we learned to trust God moment by moment. We were continually making adjustments based on our ever-decreasing income. Things we always felt we needed became luxuries that we could no longer afford. We cut back in every area we could think of. We traded our two expensive cars for a modest, paid for model and sold some of our more valuable possessions. As we look back we marvel at how God sustained us. We received gracious gifts from many sources, known and unknown – money, groceries, clothing and even toys for our daughter – it was humbling and such a witness to us and to our sons of the church at work. We fell into a net of loving arms.

Kathy’s story continues tomorrow….