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Surviving a Financial Crisis and Learning to Trust and Sunday Grace Notes

When a financial crisis hits, what can you do to prepare for what’s ahead? Here are 5 tips to help you in surviving in your financial situation.

These past few months have been difficult.

We found out early last fall that Trent would need open heart surgery. And while I was confident we would get through this medical challenge, I had my doubts about all the hospital bills looming ahead.

Both Trent and I are self employed. We own and operate 3 small businesses and rely on irregular income flows.

That means that when the harvest is great, we have to store our income for the lean times.

One of main sources of income was Trent’s Limewashing business, and with him being out of commission until Spring, we suddenly found ourselves scrambling for what to do next with this loss of income for more than 6 months.

We suddenly found ourselves surviving a financial crisis, so what did I do?

Honestly?

I cried…..

sat in my room and cried. 

I managed through the ups/downs/what ifs of this financial dilemma.

really truly thought I placed my trust in the “Thy Will Be Done”.

Since I’m usually a busy bee and a habitual planner, I noticed that we were about to hit the rock and our ship could sink.

Focusing so much on the what if, I had worked myself into a frenzy and an unstable emotional state.

I laid in bed and silently cried, too upset to come out for the rest of the night.  I fell into despair.

My mental diatribe was relentless.

How was I going to afford my son’s college expenses? Our quarterly tax payment was due. And to top it all off, the car insurance bill just arrived with a HUGE increase from my son’s fender bender.

I was done. So in my distress, I called to my Lord God. 

But did He wash me with peace? nope

Did I harness the patience that’s already been given to me in abundance? uh-uh

All I received was one clear word, over and over again.

WAIT

Wait? What do you mean wait?!

Hello – we are on fire now and I have to wait? When you are in the middle of the storm and see the tornado coming, instinct tells you to run to safety, not to stand there and wait.

I’m telling you – that word was everywhere.  The days following, every phone conversation with my friends – it was there. Talking to my Mom, it was there. Everywhere I looked, everyone I spoke to, there was that word, like a blinking billboard with a giant arrow.

WAIT

I didn’t like it. It goes against everything I am: planner, doer, detailer, multi-tasker.

Jen doesn’t wait, Jen gets to work.

Bottom line, I didn’t trust.  Didn’t trust myself to remedy our circumstance, didn’t trust my husband’s ability to fully recover and eventually resume work, and more specifically didn’t trust the Lord Almighty to get us through this.

Then it happened.

SHAME. Stinging shame.

How many times have we been this place, surviving a financial crisis, and I fail to trust? How could I be so beaten down for this financial difficulty while others face much harder battles?

And how could I lack trust while I have friends facing loss of loved ones, battling cancer, infertility, abuse and unfathomable things that I’m not fighting?

Trent was blessed to have walked through this surgery without any damage to the heart.

And yet I didn’t trust. They champion their battles and I wilt and cry.

Then it dawned on me — I can, because this is the path we’re supposed to walk right now.

Yes, others are hurting, and yes, comparatively, their problems may be more difficult than yours, but please hear this.

It doesn’t make your pain any less real.

In times of pain, it’s way too easy for me to smile through the circumstance and pull myself up with my own confidence.

‘Sola bootstrap-us’ is what my pastor calls it.

But that is not what we are to do – at all!

Just look to the Psalms, and you’ll see it again and again.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

Psalm 18:6, ESV

So when the pain comes, it’s real, and it’s right where you are supposed to be at that moment.

Stand in the pain and face whatever your battle is, big or small, and own your struggle. Discounting it against someone else’s pain may make you lose sight of the lesson you need to learn.

Your struggle is real for you at this moment, and it is purposeful in whatever the outcome will be.

Paul says this in Romans 8:

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

Romans 8:26-28, NLT

Just because our pain isn’t measuring on the catastrophic charts of others around you doesn’t mean that you aren’t hurting, too.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve learned the “well at least I’m not facing that” type of rubric for counting our blessings in times of trouble.  

Counting blessings shouldn’t be a comparison to someone else’s woes.

Counting blessings is taking full inventory with a grateful heart of what you do have.

One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis.

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains.

It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C.S. Lewis

This unsteady ground sparked a lot of soul searching and drive to make changes in my mind.

I know these tough times will happen again and again, looking differently each time.

So how should we face life’s struggles with a renewed mind?

Surviving a Financial Crisis

I think most people can relate to money problems, be it credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, or just poor budgeting resulting in a financial strain on your bank account.

So if you feeling out of control of your finances, here are ere are 5 tips to help you get through the rough times in your financial situation.

1. Be thankful.

I know that being thankful for surviving a financial crisis doesn’t make much sense.

The first step is rejoicing in whatever you can hold fast to.

Find one good thing to be grateful for.

I know that sounds counter intuitive to where you are, but from grace comes gratitude, from praise comes joy.

When stuck in the pity party pit, and the clear skies ahead remain cloudy, find something to alter your focus and look for something that gives you joy and give thanks.

With an attitude adjustment and putting the desires of your heart in the right place, you will be mentally prepared for what’s ahead.

Everyone knows that financial anxiety is the common sources of stress.

Don’t let your financial health affect your physical health.

In our circumstance, heart disease is the cause of our financial distress, so we need to be careful to watch for high blood pressure and stay on the course of healthy living.

And to avoid further damage caused by cardiovascular disease, a healthy diet is essential to avoid a heart attack. Our money troubles also aren’t helped by rising grocery costs.

So if you are like us and feel like you are being pummeled from every direction, then searching for ways to be grateful can help you through this difficult time.

Being thankful might ease the financial pressures of life in tough economic times by not focusing only on your financial worries.

Find a support system in family members or a trusted friend. Someone who can help you find some source of joy in your current situation.

2. Take inventory.

If you can’t find anything to be grateful for, look around at what you have and take inventory.

Looking around at what you do have can help you gain perspective.

It could be a great time to find things that bring you happiness, like an old photo album or your favorite song.

It could also be a smart time to look at items differently. You may find things to sell that could help you out in your financial crisis.

Evaluate an item’s usefulness or sentimental value. If you haven’t used it for over a year, consider selling it and make a profit while doing it!

3. Make a list.

My go to plan is to make a list of what I can do, but sometimes that can create more stress.

I had a dear friend challenge me on how to make my list.

Instead of making a list of the jobs I’m capable of doing, make a list of what I want my days to look like.

Then go from there to try to find a new job that fits your ideal lifestyle.

And surviving a financial crisis isn’t limited to job loss.

You can make a list of medical expenses. When the next medical bill arrives in the mail, you aren’t consumed with how much money you may be behind in paying.

You can also list out your priorities and needs during hard times.

This may help ease some of the money worries by listing out what is essential to get through the rest of month – maybe just the rest of the week!

4. Get control of what you can at this moment.

When life seems like its spinning out of control around you, the next thing you may need to do is find something inconsequential in your everyday life that gives you a sense of control and stability.

Make a goal to drink more water.

Organize your closets.

Weed your garden.

Clean your garage – anything to give you a temporary reprieve from that reeling feeling.

You can also get control of the physical symptoms of stress through diet or exercise. Physical activity will help keep those money stress levels from causing additional health issues.

I have shared that I suffer from panic attacks, and they seems to re-enter my life when stress is at it’s highest levels.

5. Budget, budget, budget!

How do I budget when no income is coming in?

Even in dire circumstances, you can look at your monthly expenses and find ways to cut corners.  

The best thing to do is to know how much you need to survive.

Taking a snapshot of your monthly bills helps you to reevaluate your purchases. This will give you a good foundation on where to start.

You can find a free budgeting tool online to help you list out what your monthly budget is.

Then start by prioritizing your basic needs, like shelter, utilities, enough food and gas to feed your family and get to work.

Take a closer look and consider cutting small things from your budget.

Can you cancel your streaming services? Maybe cut back on cellular usage? Push pause of eating out for a while. Find ways to carpool to save gas.

And who knows?

Having a budget may give you peace of mind that your circumstance isn’t as bad as you thought! Or you may find a financial breakthrough where you have been overspending.

These are some steps you can make when you are surviving a financial crisis that could have a significant impact to the financial challenges you are facing.

And once you are on the other side of these financial issues, before returning to spending and easing the tight budget, consider this next step to your financial planning.

Start an emergency fund. Having a few months of expenses in a savings account can help you when the cash flow stops, be it a job loss, or like our case – something medical.

Bible Verses for Times of Financial Struggles

Hopefully these 5 tips will help you when you are surviving a financial crisis.

Financial trouble and money worries can leave you feeling alone.

But friend, you are never alone!

Most importantly, our Heavenly Father knows the financial difficulties you are facing.

Here are some bible verses to help you rely on God’s word and God’s promises during times of uncertainty in a financial hardship.

And if you aren’t in a local church, it may be a good idea to start looking for one.

I encourage you to find God’s peace in His preached word and fellowship of the body.

These are in the English Standard Version® of the Holy Bible:

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have given me relief when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! Psalm 4:1

Look at the birds of the air:
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds
them. Are you not of more value than they? Matt 6:26

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” Heb 13:5-6

 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every
circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and
need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Phil 4:12-13

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or
‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly
Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious
about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matt 6:31-34

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the
grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how
much more will he clothe you Luke 12:27-28

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15 Comments

  1. Good timing. This has been a difficult year. It is very hard being old and alone on a fixed income and sick. I was self employed for many years too. I know where y I u are coming from. Lately, I think everyone should work on commission, especially Congress. How about you pay for that Bill you sponsored and wait 60-90 days to be reimbursed to have a true grasp of how American taxpayers live.
    In the end. all we have is faith in God.

  2. So well written Jen. Thanks for allowing your readers to walk this difficult path with you and sharing with us, how you are coping. Waiting is a very hard thing to accept when you are a “doer” like yourself. Your faith, leaning on GOD during these hard times and turning to His Word for guidance and comfort is exactly the right path. You are growing and being molded through this season. This will pass, but only in God’s timing. Stay focused and strong.

    “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

  3. Wow!! How elegantly put. Walking in faith is hard sometimes. God also makes me wait because He knows I do not do the limbo well and I think He likes to see what dance I can do before Him. My favorite phrase I read in a book years ago is something I concentrate on daily. " Faith requires of us courage and strength of conviction even when the circumstances suggest the opposite is warranted. ". Love this really helps to ground me. Thank you for your blessings to me this morning.

  4. These are great tips that everyone should take to heart in case they're ever needed. Thank you for opening up & for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

  5. I hear you! I always go to the panic spot whenever there is a dip in income. It's silly, I know. We've never gone hungry or done without anything we really need, but your imagination goes to that broke and homeless place so easily. Stay strong and I hope things work out for you. If it helps, I've been doing little side jobs on Fiverr. I write complaint letters and blog posts and stuff. I got paid $25 for one complaint letter today and that's an easy gig you can fit in with your homeschooling.

  6. Hi Jen,Your post has touched my heart. I know exactly the cycle of, in my case, planning, failure, fear, despair, struggle, shame, more planning. This cycle truly keeps us from turning to God who is our ultimate provider. You are so right in the waiting. He can do amazing things for us if we just give up our plans and wait for His. Thank you so much for sharing your insight.

  7. Thank you so much Paula – it was tough sharing this tender side of me, but am glad that it touched your heart. Confirmation that it was right to open up about our struggles. Love that you stopped by – enjoy your week.

  8. Thank you Rachael – it's a constant turning over to Him – daily. I love that you stopped by and appreciate the pin! Enjoy the rest of your week.

  9. we just went through 4 months of unemployment so i know what you are facing if interested home shopping network is a great place to work from home my daughter started doing this when hub got laid off and she loves it she says the people are really great keep the faith and your chin up xx

  10. Great post. I pinned it as part of the Blogger's Brag weekly party, but after reading it would have pinned it anyway. I'm similar in being a busy bee and planner and struggling with trust at times. I just left my teaching job to be a stay at home mom, which is amazing, but is certainly requiring my trust to grow since our income no longer includes a steady salary paycheck every month.
    Love the C.S. Lewis quote too. He was always so full of wisdom.