"I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten," promises the Bible in the book of Joel. I am grateful for an experience that taught me the true meaning of restoration—showing me that what is really "restored" is the true, spiritual concept of being. This true concept can never be "eaten," or taken away.
At one time when the United States was suffering from a severe recession, my husband suddenly found himself without employment or income. Shortly before this he had begun his own company, but because of the recession, his clients were unable to pay him. We had exhausted all of our personal savings in an effort to keep things afloat, but he finally had to close the company. So, here we were with children enrolled in private schools with large tuitions, a new home and property with a large mortgage, and I had just become listed in the Journal as a Christian Science practitioner!
We placed our home up for sale, but the real estate market was very soft at that time, and the house did not sell. We quickly fell behind in mortgage payments as well as all other financial obligations. My husband continued to look for new employment, but many people were being laid off at that time, and there seemed to be no positions available. He began to collect unemployment compensation, and we did our best to maintain a standard of living. But it soon became clear that our only alternative was to declare bankruptcy.
Throughout this time, we were both very active in our branch church. This church work gave us strength and support. We prayed continually to gain a higher sense of home, employment, and supply. The children got part-time jobs and contributed their earnings toward groceries. We drew closer as a family as we worked and prayed together. And I felt buoyed by witnessing so many beautiful healings of others through the practice work.
We saw evidence of God's care throughout this period. We had to sell our only car, but then a friend offered the loan of a car. This friend had known nothing of our situation. When we were one day away from having our telephone and electricity disconnected for lack of payment, another friend from our branch church gave us a check that more than covered the telephone and electricity bills. Even though we had absolutely no idea what was in store for us, harmony and joy prevailed in our home.
There was much healing taking place. Feelings of failure, fear, anxiety, shame, and pride all were replaced with gratitude and love. We felt a spiritual, inward joy. Because of the law requirement, our bankruptcy was published in our local newspaper. It ran for eight weeks with our name in bold black letters. We prayed for humility.
Our deep study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings saw us through our day in court. It was surprising to see hundreds of people in bankruptcy court, and as we waited all day for our name to be called, I enlarged my tent of prayer to include everyone. By the time it was our turn to take the stand, I felt we weren't even "in" the situation but rather just going through the motions. Our case went smoothly and quickly, and it wasn't contested by creditors as were most of the others. When outside the courtroom, I was able to comfort a man who was having a physical difficulty.
The bank had repossessed our house and property, and we had one month to move out. We continued our prayerful work and church activities. Money came in regularly from my work as a Christian Science practitioner, people sometimes paying more than required out of gratitude. Pretty soon my husband was offered a job in his line of work; this offer included the use of a company car. But as we searched for a home to rent, we found that we weren't accepted because of the bankruptcy on our credit report. One day we saw an advertisement for a house for rent, and felt we should pursue it. Much to my surprise, the questions on the application weren't at all like the others. The owner wanted to know if we were happily married, had any mental disturbances, and if we were well adjusted. He wasn't interested in our income, credit rating, or employment at all. It was pure joy for me to answer his questions. I just loved the house and felt free to tell him so. We talked for quite a while, and suddenly he said that he felt we were the right ones and asked when we would like to move in. Another consideration was that we had a dog and four cats. But he said he loved animals and that wasn't a problem.
We clearly felt God's hand, every step of the way; His nearness and His love were evident each day. The children were able to stay in their schools without interruption, and supply for their needs came in beautiful ways. During the next ten years, which is how long the bankruptcy status stayed on our credit report, our progress was rapid and unobstructed. My husband started another company of his own that unfolded almost effortlessly and proved to be fruitful. We were able to buy a home, put the children through college, and even travel. Each member of the family remembers this time fondly and acknowledges the spiritual lessons learned. Truly, this was proof that Joel's promise was more than fulfilled for us!
Among so very many lessons, a big one that has strengthened me the most is that no matter what the problem seems to be—no matter how great—I know there is absolutely nothing that is too great for God, and that we cannot ever possibly be destroyed. As Paul so appropriately says in Romans, "We are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
Long Beach, California
It is with much gratitude that I endorse my wife's testimony. The Bible narration of Joseph in the book of Genesis inspired me to be about my Father's business as He directed each day. I saw that seeking a higher understanding of God was the true gain that met all our human needs.
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