Tag Archives: finances

A Step

I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for nearly 5 years now.  I’ve worked part-time for my church for almost 4 years.  Both of these things hold a dear place in my heart.  Though I’m pretty comfortable with change, the thought of losing either of these things makes me feel a little anxious.  They all feel like my babies, things I need to keep a close watch over and care for daily.

Two good friends of mine decided to plant a new church in Greenville, SC 4 years ago.  Let me tell you – church planting is not for wimps.  Sunday comes every week without fail.  The church started with a relatively small amount of money to get it off of the ground.  Through the grace of God, a lot of hard work from the 3 of us and a good many other staff members that have come and gone, this church has grown to around 160 from 17.

We started out in a local high school auditorium, having children’s classes in the dressing rooms and music rooms just adjacent to where we held service.  There were some challenges that came with this location  – questionable air conditioning/heat temps, locked doors, students who helped themselves to some of our supplies and the arduous task of packing and unpacking EVERYTHING from week to week.  The school district made the decision to no longer rent their spaces to churches, so we had to leave – and fast.

This took us to a local (struggling) church who allowed us to use their building in the evenings.  This was better.  A step in the right direction.  It at least LOOKED like a church, though not at ALL what we would choose had it been our space.  We were still packing and unpacking each week, but it was better.  But, it still wasn’t home.

Finally, we found a space to rent in Greenville that we could afford.  It was small (about 3200 square feet, I believe), but we knew we could make it “Edgy” and we could plant some roots.  We stepped forward again.  What a difference it has made to be able to put our brand on the look and feel of the building.  We’ve been there a year and a half and are already outgrowing all the space we have available to us.  Now we’re looking at our next step.  And it’s a big one.

There’s a church for sale.  It’s huge.  23000 square feet across 3 buildings with a huge parking lot and a good amount of land.  The owners have agreed to lease us the building until we can afford to purchase it at a rate that we can afford, with all the rent going towards the purchase price.  And, they are willing to hold the note for us.  It’s a dream…a miracle…a God thing.  We’re moving forward.  We’re taking this step.  Particularly because I’ve been there nearly every Sunday since the very first one, this is so exciting to me.

But this story isn’t just about a church.  It’s also about me.  And about our home.

For those of you who have read and tolerated my whinings on this blog, you know that my home is in foreclosure. We built it on an acre of land that was a gift from my grandfather.  This past March marked 2 years since we have been able to make a house payment.  We are now over $30,000.00 behind.  Getting to this point was a very slippery slope, that once your feet hit, turning back in the least was nearly impossible.  Missing one payment is reasonably recoverable, but at 3 months behind, we attempted to make a single payment.  This payment was returned to us with a letter that stated their policy (and I’m paraphrasing here): We don’t allow you to be more than one month delinquent on your payments.  You must pay at least the amount to come back to that point.  In other words, they wanted 2 payments.  We couldn’t make it.  The next month, they wanted 3…and on and on it went.

In these 2 years, we’ve applied for 3 types of loan modification and been denied because of insufficient income.  I get it, I really do.  They don’t think we’re worth the modification because we don’t make enough to pay, in their eyes.  My husband is self-employed and he works commission only.  If you are self-employed or know anyone who is, you’ve probably got some idea of the difficulty of proving income.

About a month ago, we called our mortgage company about our current options.  They told us of another new program that would totally forgive all back payments, reset our loan to current and modify to give us a lower monthly payment.  I teared up when I heard this.  THIS is exactly what we need.  So, we’ve applied.  We haven’t heard anything yet, but I’m concerned that we may hear the exact same thing from them: denied for insufficient income.  My prayers are for a miracle, but of course I realize that their decisions are primarily made from data.

A few weeks ago, a friend and former college roommate told me of a job.  She works in IT for a nearby school district.  Her job is expanding to 2 positions.  Reading the description, I KNOW I can do this job.  I briefly fought the battle of whether I could leave my babies, all 3, to do this.  Almost immediately I knew that it was time to go back to full-time work.  Yes, my heart hurts a little at the thought of leaving this job that I love for a new opportunity.  My heart hurts to think that my youngest son will go into daycare for 2 years (until he can enter Montessori school with my older son).  But, my heart also tells me that I can do this…that I need to.  I don’t have an interview or even the promise of one.  I haven’t gotten a phone call from the resume and letter that I mailed in.  I have no assurance that this job could even happen, but if it does I am ready.  I am ready to get this worry of losing my home off of my shoulders.  I am ready to have dental and health insurance again.  I am ready to get up in the morning and go to a job that allows me to earn a good income to help my family.  I am ready to use my college degree in education and my years of experience in technology.  And, selfishly, I think of things I’ve missed being able to do – like get a haircut whenever I want, see a movie with my husband, buy clothes for myself, get out occasionally.

So, it’s not a change yet.  Right now, it’s just a step.  We shall see where it leads.


We Didn’t Know

We didn’t know that 4 years ago when we sold our first home that we had just beaten the beginning of the collapse of the housing market.

We didn’t know that same fact when we built our dream home.  We bought the plans, we watched every brick go up, we picked out every color.  We moved in, but we didn’t know…

…how badly it would hurt for me to leave my son and head to work each day.

…that “it’s all going to be fine” was so far from the truth when I quit my job.

…that the financial markets would also begin to collapse and make my husband’s job very difficult.

…that the school districts would place freezes on hiring, making it impossible for me to return to teaching.

…that the house payment that we easily afforded would become harder and harder to pay.

…how many debts and obligations we would have to let fall away.

…how many times in one day the phone could ring.

…how embarrassing it became to say “I’m sorry, we can’t pay…that amount…or anything.”

…that it would only take about a year to use my entire 401(k) savings that took 8 years to accrue.

…that the time that bought us wasn’t enough for things to turn around.

…how quickly the downward spiral would take us to a point of no return after missing that very first house payment.

…that things still wouldn’t be better after two years…and three.

…what it felt like to be served with foreclosure papers.

…just how little we really could live off of.

…how really, truly amazing our families are.

…that we’d have tough talks.  Tougher than you can imagine.  More often that you can imagine.

…that we’d eventually resign ourselves to silence.

…that we’d become strangers.

…the humility it takes to walk into an office, forms in hand, and ask for assistance to pay for food and healthcare for our family.

…the toll that four years of emotional hell would have on our minds, bodies, outlook, faith, marriage, children.

…that we’d stop turning to each other.

…that walls would come up, hearts would harden and numbness would set in.

…that it would hurt so badly to see happiness in others.

…what happens to a person when they completely turn inside.

…what it feels like to wonder when? How long?

…that help wouldn’t happen.

…that miracles don’t always come…at least not when you think they might.

…how easy life was 4 years ago.

…that everything would fall apart.

We didn’t know.  But now we do.

The Good and The Bad

All that’s missing is Ugly to make  a great cliche.

The good.  The silver car that came to my house was not taking pictures with plans to take over my house.  He was from our new homeowner’s insurance company doing an inspection.  OK.  Good.

The bad.

We’ve waited and waited for news from our mortgage company on our home modification process.  We got it today.

We were denied.  I will not type the stream of expletives that are currently running through my head.  They shouldn’t be there anyway, so they don’t get published.

Reason?  Insufficient income.

Really?  REALLY?  I could have saved you a year of your time and told you that when we started.  THAT IS WHY WE NEED HELP!  If we had plenty of income we would not be 10 payments behind on our mortgage.  I don’t understand their logic here.

So this is where we are.  We’re waiting for miracles.  We’re waiting for MORE income.  No, not waiting.  Jeff is working his ass off.  We’re waiting for the ass-working-off to start paying off.

I am waiting on this couch.  For some motivation to get up and go on with my day.  But I feel like if I move I may very well crack or dissolve or just lose it.  I just couldn’t imagine them denying us.  I thought that if anyone deserved help, it was us.

Whatever, so I’m ending this post.  It’s nothing but stream-of-consciousness nonsense and anger.  If I were the type of person to throw things, I would.  I’m not.