Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Very Personal Story

Well, as I was reading a devotional tonight online, God asked me to share the following story. I have only shared it with my mom, but I know God wants it out there.

I have a house down in Texas with a mortgage. When I was planning back in early 2009 to move back to Washington state, I realized that in light of the housing market, I could not afford to sell my home. I was looking at deeding it over to the bank or facing foreclosure. Then God provided a miracle. My daughter's preschool teacher and her family were looking for a house. They loved the house and area, and they agreed to pay me the mortgage monthly. I was elated. God really had provided for me.

Well, since they were Christians, we had a written contract, but I never dreamed what would happen next. They began to delay their rent payment. I was understanding at first. My understanding stopped when their first check bounced. And their second check bounced. And they fell 1, 2, several months behind on the rent. They continued to assure me that their finances were going to be in order next month. And then next month. And then... you get the picture.

I was ready to foreclose when they sent me a large check for back payments and one month or two in advance. Okay, things were looking up. Good!

Then it got worse. To this point, they are at least 4 months behind on rent. I am grateful that God provided me with a job that allowed me to make the mortgage payment each month. I was ready to evict them and go with a rental company. It irked me that they made more money than I did, and yet they couldn't pay their rent. I was pretty upset.

I sent them a professionally nasty letter, and I set deadlines for the back payments with interest. They begged for more time. I was nice again to no avail. How could they afford an expensive cell phone plan each month, but they could not pay my rent??

Well, when I had finally made the decision to check out some rental companies, I was sitting in church. God spoke to me as I considered the possibilities. I was supposed to be listening to the sermon. Instead, I was listening to God. He said, "Do you remember that time during your divorce when that family took you in for 2 months and let you stay with them rent free? Do you remember how you asked Me to be a blessing to someone in a similar situation. Well, You have that chance."

"No," I told God. "I wanted to help a young woman who was going through a divorce or who was being abused. Not a family like this."

God said, "This is the time I want You to be merciful. Remember how much I forgave you?" The parable of the man who had been forgiven much was brought to my mind. Ouch. God had forgiven my debt. Why could I not forgive theirs? Sure, they had messed up, but hadn't I messed up when I married the wrong man? Hadn't we all made our share of mistakes.

I gave the situation to God, and I decided to give them till the end of August to get back on track. This is their final chance because after all, even we don't have forever. If we do not truly repent, we know what will happen at the end of our lives.

I pray right now that this family will be preparing even as I write this to send the required fee. I pray that this month has been a time of getting their finances straight. I pray that they will be good stewards of what God has given them. I would not want to have to turn them out on the street, but I know that if I have to evict them after this month, I have followed the Lord. I cannot force anyone to change. But God can and hopefully they will let Him change their hearts.

I do not write this to build myself up. I write this because maybe someone out there is in a similar position. Maybe not exact, but hopefully there are principles to learn. If nothing else, I pray that all of us will listen when God speaks to our hearts. And act.


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