Journal Excerpt: October 23, 2013
“Tired. Worn. Heavy hearted. It’s a little bit of a roller coaster here. Some days I feel like we’ll be okay, like a year will fly by and it’ll be good. Other days I can hear the clock ticking slowly—and it’s really not a clock; it’s the dripping kitchen sink.”
Money had always been tight. That was a way of life for us. A one-income family of six trying to make it on a teacher’s salary was challenging to say the least. Add to that the fact that we only got paid once a month, and you have the makings of a very…let’s say… “adventurous” life. This is the story of just one of those adventures.
My husband, Sean, was no stranger to hard work. Having a second and sometimes third and fourth job was the norm for our family—it was how we survived. But 10 years of that was taking its toll. There had to be another way. And since it’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, an idea was born: Wylie Last Monday Trade Days. It wasn’t the first time we’d taken a risk, but this time, there was a lot more to lose. We’d use the land Sean and his brothers inherited when their mother passed away and create an outdoor market similar to First Monday Trade Days in Canton. After months of preparation, we were granted permission from the city of Wylie to try the market for 90 days. And so we did. Wylie Last Monday ran successfully in June, July, and August of 2013.
But times had gotten harder by the end of that summer, and we were for the first time behind on our mortgage. Since that summer was consumed with getting the business off the ground, there was no time for part-time jobs. Everything depended on this business now. If at the end of the 90-day trial, the city wouldn’t allow us to continue this business permanently, the plan was to put our house up for lease and take a year to get back on our feet. And that’s exactly what happened.
Within a matter of days after the city denied our request to continue operating, our house was on the market, leased, and we were out. It felt like I blinked and all of a sudden I was living in the country two hours away from life as I knew it. Plan B was this: we would live in my late father-in-law’s vacant, old (paid for) mobile home in Bogata, Texas rent-free for a year. Sean would commute to Garland daily where he taught, and I would “hold down the fort” with our four children who were being homeschooled at the time. It sounded like an okay plan, I guess. But for me, it was a worst-case scenario. I never really imagined we’d enact the plan. I thought for sure even if Wylie Last Monday didn’t work out that God would come through in some other way. He had to. He wouldn’t make me leave my house, my family, my friends, my church, right? But He did. And I was mad. And hurt. And scared. And mad.
I didn’t get it. My life was turned upside down, and I couldn’t understand why this was happening. We were in this situation because of an income problem, but it felt like we were being punished. Here we were in an old trailer that had been vacant for three years. To say we had some work to do to get this place move-in ready is an understatement. The first night we were there, I was up late unpacking when a mouse calmly made its way from the kitchen to the den where I was going through boxes. It stopped and looked at me as if to say, “Who are you?” I was definitely infringing on its territory. Another night soon after that, I was awakened to the sound of the mouse and his friends scurrying in the closet about a foot away from where I was sleeping. Why was this happening? What was I to learn from this experience? How would I survive a year here?
Life was tough in that place. It was lonely, isolated, two hours away from home in the middle of over 100 acres without a neighbor for miles. But if ever there was a time and place to be alone with God, it was there. He had my undivided attention. I dug deep into my Bible and begged God to teach me what I needed to learn. That time with him became my lifeline.
Webster defines the word cling in this way: to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously; to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence. It was that experience that taught me how to cling to the Lord. I learned there that He demanded my whole heart, not just the parts I assigned to Him. I learned how much I depended on a number in a checking account or an address that I called home. Those were the things I clung to before. But God in His mercy met me in that place and slowly but surely I learned to open my tightly clinched hand and give Him everything I thought I was controlling. I learned there was peace in surrender. And I learned to rest in His sovereignty.
As believers, we have the assurance that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). When faced with what feels like an impossible situation, try these things:
REST. Cease striving.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
HOPE. Know that no matter how long the night is, joy will come in the morning.
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
REMEMBER. God is in control.
“The Lord does whatever pleases Him in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” Psalm 135:6
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Kelly McGuire and her husband Sean have been married 18 years with an anniversary coming in April. They have four children, Madison, Cassidy, Sophie, and Lucas who keep them running. They are a creative family who are actively involved in the arts including music, drama, and art. As a family they love to take road trips, have regular game nights and most of all laugh together. We are blessed to have them as members of our Stonebriar community and are so thankful they were willing to share their story.