It was becoming more and more weird when I’d fix his plate for dinner. He was nauseated and not very hungry at all. If you know Ernie, he has a naturally lean body type. Now he was down 15 lbs, and his belt was barely holding up his pants.
Because of family history, it eventually led him to see a gastroenterologist for the nausea issues, where he was then scoped (both ways). He was clean as a whistle, thank God, and was diagnosed with gastritis.
I knew it.
I’d hear about his supervisor often – he was dishonest, he wanted Ernie to do things that were against his morals and then get mad at him for not doing those things, he’d blame Ernie for things he never did, and so on.
Ernie was becoming a little different. Never have I known him to pass out at night when it was time for bed. I was the one who was always drained, and now he was. He was truly exhausted from work, and I really don’t think it was physical exhaustion.
Nonetheless, he was making a lot more money per hour than his previous job.
One year before, due to a lot of frustration and unhappiness, he left a company he’d been with for several years. It made for an easy decision when this new job became available. Leaving a frustrating job for $15 more per hour? Ummmm, yes please!
We thought maybe that could help solve a lot of our financial strain at the time, so it was a great feeling to be bringing home more bacon, am I right?
We always think that money is the first thing we chase in order to provide for our families. However, if you’re not at least somewhat enjoying your work, you will become miserable very quickly – no matter how much you get paid. … and the pay will never be enough.
If you read my post from last week, I gave tips on how we finally kicked Murphy to the curb and kick-started our emergency fund after failing the first time.
We had come to a stand-still when it came to paying off our debt quickly (one of our main goals at the time), and this new job should’ve helped us get ahead a little bit more. We had finally started to put away some savings with a big push from my part-time job that summer.
But just when we thought Murphy moved out for good, it seemed as though he peeked his ugly head back into the living room.
It was the middle of November 2014. It’s almost 9:00 am, and I was tending to our youngest baby.
Ernie walks through the door and calmly sat down on the couch facing me from across the living room.
With a blank stare of confusion, I asked, “What are you doing here?”
“They let me go…”
“Yep. I walked in, and they already had my stuff packed up…
My computer, everything…
[Pause and stare] He just shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know what I did wrong.”
While most families would be scrambling, possibly frantic, and maybe even crying and upset, I can’t really explain what I felt at that moment. Even though we’d been married for about 11 years at this time, something like this had never happened before. It’s not like it was something we were used to. It was a strange feeling.
I mean, you know, we still have bills to pay, just like everyone else. We have a new baby, two other kids, and we’re not planning on going into more debt.
My mother-in-law, who had just moved in with us two months prior, mentioned later that she was kinda freaking out a little. But then she said that when she came home, we were no different than before. She told her coworkers, “I didn’t know what I was going to come home to! But when I got home, Jenn was cooking dinner like any other day, everybody was happy… it was like nothing happened!”
We had one family member ask us if we’d be okay and if we needed any help, but we didn’t feel that we were in too tight of a spot just yet.
I truly felt like everything was going to be okay, and there was a peace in our home that I couldn’t explain.
You just can’t buy that!
Part of it came from knowing that we had a little backup. We had a budget in place, and we knew where every dollar was going. Our starter emergency fund could only take us so far, but at least it could cover a little bit of time while one of us could search for another income. It may sound mundane, but when finances are a little bit of a relief, you really CAN think a little clearer to make better decisions.
My dad gave Ernie the name of someone who was looking to hire him, but he couldn’t get in touch with him for the next 48 hours. Bummer. Once we got in touch, we found out they weren’t hiring until 2 more months. We didn’t have that kind of time.
Ernie felt like he should go back to his previous employer, and he was confident they’d take him back. Even though he wasn’t happy when he left them the first time, he still left on good terms. That’s a life lesson in itself!
When he walked through the doors, his former boss lit up with excitement…
“Please tell me you’re coming back for a job!?” He gave Ernie his paperwork and began the hiring process again!
Since he’s been back there, many other things have fallen into place in unexplained ways. Just when you think a door has closed in your face, another door may be opening that you haven’t quite stumbled upon yet.
I can’t imagine where we’d be if Ernie kept working in the environment he was in. That’s a great example of what stress can do to your body. If we hadn’t turned to holistic ways back then, I’m sure he’d be on some kind of medication to mask all those symptoms (which usually causes more symptoms later!). I’m so thankful now that door closed for us.
I truly believed and trusted that God would carry us through, but we were still doing our part. Don’t ever forget about our part. Many times, we just want miracles for the day without realizing that there’s things we need to do in the long-term. There’s a lot of “if’s” in the Bible, you know. If we do this, then God will do that. For example…
“The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully…
Am I saying that the emergency fund solved all our problems? Of course not.
But, it surely did lighten the load so that living paycheck to paycheck wasn’t the major focus of our life at the moment! We had a small amount of backup to help us think clearly so that we could make better decisions on what to do next. Does that make sense?
No, I’ll never believe that money buys happiness. It never will. But, it does give you OPTIONS when you’re willing to be responsible beforehand. This could’ve been a major disaster for our family and possibly put us into more debt. Instead, we’re in the process of “changing our family tree.”
“But my situation is different. Something is always coming up.”
Do you not think that we live in this world with everyone else, too?
THINGS WILL ALWAYS COME UP.
It’s called LIFE.
It’s a very dangerous thing to believe you’re the ONLY one who goes through stuff. Certainly, we all go through things at different times. So, while someone else may not be going through a tough time at the moment, it doesn’t mean they never did or never will.
“If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Therefore, if you believe that you’ll never get out of your situation, you’re right.
You DO NOT have to stay where you are forever.
This is why I’m so passionate about sharing what we’ve been through. I want you to see that you can get out. You can break free from what’s holding you back.
My mom and dad always tried to give me advice when I was younger, but of course us youngsters know better than them – like our parents haven’t lived life and know better, right? By sharing my real-life stories, I always hope there’s someone out there that can benefit from my lessons learned.
Hopefully you listen better than I listened to my parents 😉
Don’t chase money alone. Chase freedom and joy. Yes, it takes money to live and eat, but please make sure you enjoy chasing whatever it is you’re chasing. And please make sure you’re not falling apart while doing it.
You DO have a choice in the matter!
Read: How We Kicked Murphy Out for Good and Kick-Started Our Emergency Fund