It is both uplifting and humbling when you are in need - desperate need - and you must ask for help and then, your help is given. I asked, swallowing my pride, and I received. I prayed with all my heart, and my prayers were answered.
Just so you know, I don't give all these details to you as a sob-story. I know which of my issues are personal an which are just beyond my control. Really, I just want to let others out there know, that some people go through this stuff and they are able to live happy lives anyway. Maybe by telling the tale of what I have to go through, it will help someone else out there either to feel less alone, or possibly recognize they maybe, they needed help too. Maybe someone can see the future of their own lives in some of mine and they can make efforts and changes to avoid the potholes that I keep falling in.
Anyway, back to the Miracle. Since we moved to The Country four months ago, money has been tighter than it even was back in the City, but we have had more motivation to make the best of thing. We've been doing so well at "making do" that I really thought we would be able to pull out of the financial tail spin on our own, without asking for help. Eventually, I was sure that I could work the numbers well enough and use my imagination creatively enough that I wouldn't have to "steal from Peter to pay Paul", as my MIL says. I also should add, that with a diagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder, inability to manage finances and accurately predict and follow through with budgets is a common symptom.
At the beginning of December, I was getting comfortable with the notion that I could juggle bills and stay less than two weeks behind when, suddenly, our van stopped working. I had been in school for about three weeks and I had already discovered just how much it costs in gas to get to and from my college, so we were not in any type of a good place. We managed to put off the car repair for two weeks by borrowing WP's car for school, but eventually, we had to get the van fixed and when it came time to pay, the bill was twice what we had planned. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, pushing us from less than two weeks behind to more than a month behind. A series of bounced checks and cut off utilities followed closely behind, as well as a notice from school that I have now been dropped from all classes due to poor attendance.
We managed to scrape things together, borrow a little here and there for gas and groceries, but still, all the bills were due as well as the rent, and we simply didn't have it. By the time pay day rolled back around, we were so far in the hole that we were still in the red after the deposits were posted. (That is a sick feeling, I tell you.) So, covering the bounced checks was impossible and paying anything current was even harder. Calling up the landlord and utility companies only got me so far. My stress level was cranked to 11, and then, we got hit with a major cold storm. Snow, ice, below freezing temperatures for more than 48 straight hours... everything in town - including school - shut down. (that may seem silly to those in the northern half of the lower 48, but in Texas, this is a rare occurrence.)
While we were sitting at home (adults trying to stay warm and busy, kids out enjoying a real snow day) the water gets cut off. My first thought was that there was some sort of line breakage. Then, I find out that no, it is due to non-payment and no, they won't even leave it on a trickle to make sure the pipes don't freeze (very old pier and beam houses like mine have completely exposed pipes so this is a big issue.) That by itself is pretty ugly way to spend the day, but then, we got a call from the In-Laws. A close relative (cousin of MIL) passed away after a lifelong battle with MD and a short fight with pneumonia. DH was devastated. I wasn't close to this person, so it didn't affect me nearly the same, but I did so hurt for DH and his whole family. The Good Reverend was a truly good man with an incredible sense of humor and a very strong will to fight. We will all miss him down here, but I know that God welcomed him with open arms as he walked (for the first time in most of his life) through the pearly gates to be among the Beloved in heaven.
Later that same day, a close friend of mine lost her father. He had been sick, and in the hospital but I had no clue that he was THAT sick. I had met him a few times, and I knew him to be a good man. I know he will be missed. The part of the situation that had me torn up the most was that my friend is doe with her first baby in less than a month. The joyous event of a new baby and family being created will be overshadowed by the paid and loss that her father would never have gotten to see his new grandson here on Earth.
Having already taken a humiliating hit by getting the water turned off (something the entire street knew about before long since all the kids were running in and out of ALL the houses on the block trying to stay warm and have fun at the same time) now I had the news of two separate and tragic deaths on my mind. I don't think I could have performed any sort of normal function at all, at that point, had it not been for my family around me and WP there to save the day. He gave us a five gallon jug of water for emergencies, and invited us over for dinner. After the most incredible meal of beef stew, and the gift of a warm shower, I was starting to see things a little more clearly. The dark fog was beginning to lift and I realized what I had to do - I had to ask for help from someone who could actually GIVE me the help I needed. I called The Minister and His Wife.
I really didn't think that they, or the Little Church, would be able to give me the help they needed. We had such a BIG problem, and this is such a SMALL church. I called asking them if they knew where to send me to actually get the help I would need. I never expected for The Minister to actually come to my house, get the information he needed, and help take care of these problems within a matter of hours. Apparently, some kind soul left a large sum to the church several years ago, and the interest that is created from that account is specifically used in situations like mine. I had no expectations of this, at all. One minute, I'm telling them my story, and the next, The Minister is walking over to pay the water bill for us. It was back on before dinner time. Not only that, but he found a way to pay off some of the back rent we owe in order to hold off procedures there, too. I was able to give them a check this morning and make arrangements to get caught up by the end of the month, which I think is a reasonable goal.
Monday, when I went over to WP's in the afternoon looking for answers, he told me to "put this in God's hands." I have to admit, that it was a little odd coming from him. As deeply spiritual as he is, he just doesn't say stuff like that. So, I listened to him, and I prayed. In fact, I don't think I have stopped praying yet. Granted, my prayers have gone from despair, to hope, to thanksgiving, but in my mind I am still talking with God and letting Him know.
So, there is my story of the First Miracle of the year, just proving that rainbows are not possible with rain and sun, together.