It’s been a while, but do you remember back when I was running a series of posts on Tender Mercies?
Maybe you’re not a millionaire. Maybe you haven’t yet realized that big vision for your life. Maybe your relationships aren’t what you want them to be. Maybe you’re still waiting for that breakthrough that never seems to come. Maybe you struggle with your health, or maybe you’re caring for someone else who is.
But even so…
Have you seen God’s hand in your life, sustaining you from day to day?
Have you been given just what you needed, when you needed it, even if it was small and simple? Think: a tiny droplet on a blade of grass. It might not be full-on rainfall, but as the dew distills from heaven, have you noticed what God has done for you today?
Read what happened to her in her own words and see how simple and ever present the Lord’s hand is in each of our lives, when we stop to really pay attention and try to live in harmony with the Rare Faith principles:
October 9, 2019:
It’s kind of crazy how much time I can allow to go by before writing in here again. Especially with all of the miraculous events and happenings over the last few months, which really need to be shared. But unfortunately, I tend to come here to this journal in my times of great need….that is when I remember to write about my gratitude and tender mercies. Maybe…just maybe…if I could be more consistent I wouldn’t need to come back with desperate pleas for help! All I know is that sharing my gratitude and keeping in that mindset is what keeps me going when times get tough and I know it helps in so many ways.
I will say that I have really made an effort to put myself out there in ways to serve those around me though, and give back, through all of this. I volunteered my time and talents to an Alzheimer’s caregiver fundraiser…and recently took the time to speak to my mom’s ward about all of these principles.
Some amazing things happened this summer. Beginning with being able to travel to NYC to perform in Carnegie hall with Kate and the things that took place there. I would never have guessed this would be possible. Followed by two trips to Utah and a new Cavalia horse basically landing in my lap. I wasn’t looking for another horse…but the way things transpire, I know they were meant to be. I will try to take some time to sit down and write about these experiences here this week!
I just wrote down in a little journal about 10 things that I need – well about 8 things I really NEED and 2 things I really WANT… The needed things are things like – money for electricity and gas, rent, car payment, etc. The things I want are continuing education to help build my businesses. All are good and worthy endeavors. To bring them to pass will take about $8000 in the next couple of weeks. Pretty overwhelming really…but with God anything is possible. My goal for right now? Not to let fear and doubt creep in!
November 3 2019
So, writing things down and then having faith has been an interesting exercise. I ended up thinking of another half a dozen things I really needed and adding them to my list. Then I got to work, waited for inspiration, and trusted that these things would arrive when needed. A lot of things have arrived. I had no idea how any of it would happen at the time…no foreseeable way…but hard work and perseverance pays off – and so do the tender mercies of the Lord. Here are some of the very unexpected things that took place in the last couple of weeks – all the new notebook entries are below:
10/6/2019 – I need a new slow feeder for my horses – cost @ $250…Same day 10/6/19 – Desiree (a friend with horses) sends me a text and asks if I could use her large, nearly brand new and unused feed bin and would I be willing to trade a couple of photos for it? I could pick it up later that day. Boom.
10/9/19 – I need to pay my electricity and gas bills that are now past due – $300…had no money in my account. Utilities were going to be shut off as I had shut off warning notices….10/10/19- payment for IHHS (caregiver for Eric) shows up – not totally unexpected but just in the nick of time. $310
10/9/2019 – I need to get the horses feet/shoes done. They are way overdue. Lessees have already paid me and that money is already spent. ….10/19/2019 Terri was able to pay to have the horse’s feet done as I had already ordered hay.
10/9/2019 – I need a new cell phone for Audrey. Hers has been broken for over a month now and she needs it for school. Doesn’t have to be fancy, but does need to work. Looking to spend no more than $200. It’s what she wants most for her birthday. ….10/16/2019 – Audrey’s grandfather – her dad’s dad – unexpectedly announced he had an old cell phone he’s not using any more that he can give her.
10/9/2019 – Henry desperately needs a cytopoint injection. Costs about $200….
10/9/2019 – I need $250 to put towards paying Scott back for a personal loan. He really needs the money and I need to give him something…
10/9/2019 – I need $400 to place client orders – cards for Julia, Canvas for Eoff family, $ for replacing maintenance cartridge in printer …
10/9/2019 – I need $395 to make past due car payment…
All of these were fulfilled when I unexpectedly was let go from my barn job- which was really a mutual thing and probably good for me in the long run – but scary and upsetting at the time. He wanted more hours out of us than he was willing to pay us and we couldn’t agree on a fair price for the work we were doing. However, he did offer a severance check of $2000, which was totally unexpected and not needed on his part – but very needed on mine! That $2000 was already spent. But I would never have made it through the month without it.
10/9/2019 – $495 for workshop to pay for the Art of Selling Art – to learn how to capitalize on the art I already have and can sell… – I was able to get this program on a payment plan and only needed $95 to get started, which I was able to use from the money from Vance.
10/9/19 – Birthday party/presents for Audrey – I need to have something for Audrey for her birthday….was able to throw her a small party with only buying a few pumpkins, a pizza from Costco and a bit of paint – and she and her friends painted pumpkins. Cost me very little.
10/9/2019 – I need $4650 for rent. For the remainder of Sept’s rent and all of October.
That one still has me stumped. I have $2000 I was able to earn through photography sales this month…that I can put towards the rest of September. I asked my landlord if he could wait until Sunday. Today is Sunday. I am actually short of Sept now, but Debbie (who leases Nugget) says she can pay me early for Nugget. That should make up the rest of what I owe for Sept. But It’s already Nov and I have nothing to put towards Oct. and I promised it by today.
I’ve been working really hard at not letting fear and doubt creep in, and just trusting that some of what I WAS expecting would come through. I have lots of payments I WAS expecting that I haven’t gotten yet. Like child support from my ex. He owes me at least $2200 now for the last couple of months. I thought I would have that by the end of the month. Or orders from clients who have promised they are ordering – Lisa $500, Penny $250, Desiree $500, Dana – $500 and a couple others who weren’t certain yet but expressed interest. Then the Cameron family who placed an order for a mini session but can’t pay until this Friday. Or RDS who wanted me to do a shoot in OCT but their location fell through, now shooting for November.
All those orders alone are almost enough (and more) to cover October’s rent. But then I need to get going on November and I’m already partway into the month. Sometimes it feels so insurmountable – I work so many hours and it’s exhausting keeping up and knowing every month I need to make another like $7000 just to make ends meet and not get behind. But somehow the Lord makes things possible. I was listening to a conference talk today that was talking about the Jaredites and their journey being a metaphor for our lives. This stood out to me:
After the Lord worked with the brother of Jared to resolve each of his concerns, He then explained, “Ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare [a way for] you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come.”
The Lord made it clear that ultimately the Jaredites could not make it to the promised land without Him. They were not in control, and the only way they could make it across the great deep was to put their trust in Him. These experiences and tutoring from the Lord seemed to deepen the brother of Jared’s faith and strengthen his trust in the Lord.
Notice how his prayers changed from questions and concerns to expressions of faith and trust:
“I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; …
“Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.”
It is recorded that the Jaredites then “got aboard of their … barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.”
To commend means to entrust or to surrender. The Jaredites did not get into the barges because they knew exactly how things would work on their journey. They got aboard because they had learned to trust in the Lord’s power, goodness, and mercy, and they were therefore willing to surrender themselves and any doubts or fears they may have had to the Lord.
I love this. The Jaredites had to COMMEND their souls their very lives to the Lord and TRUST in him that He would see their way through. They did not get onto the barges because they knew and understood exactly what was ahead of them and how it would all work out – they got aboard because they had learned to trust in His power, goodness and mercy. Likewise, I don’t know how things are going to work out when I tell our landlord tomorrow that I only have September’s rent and not October (or November).
I don’t know if he’ll give me another week to come up with another $2650…or give me a 3 day pay or quit notice. I don’t know if we’ll be able to stay in our home or find another place to live – or how or where that could possibly be with the health and income and credit issues we have currently. I don’t know if my ex will actually pay his child support this coming month and/or make up for the last months of not paying – or if my clients who have promised to order will actually place their orders. I don’t know what funds will actually come through that I’m counting on – or what things may be in place that I’m not counting on at all that could show up.
But what I DO know is that whatever happens, the Lord will help me see a way through. I can trust that he knows of my journey and of my needs – like He knew the Jaredites needed a wind to blow them and light in their vessels – and provided those things for them – He knows my needs better than I do and He has always provided for me in the past. I just need to trust as the Jaredites did in his goodness, mercy and power. And be willing to listen to inspiration and to work my tail off at any ideas that come to me.
It’s been difficult not to allow myself to go there for very long – to imagine all the bad things that could happen when I don’t have rent by tomorrow morning. Sometimes the fear that accompanies those thoughts is just terrifying and immobilizing. But I am learning to put those feelings aside and allow faith and trust to take their place and accept that even if the worst happens, there is a reason for that too and who knows what good may come out of it eventually. Hopefully I have some more good news and mighty miracles to report in my next journal entry!
Boy, do I have an update. It’s been a bit of a stressful time around here, but I’ve really been putting into practice the idea of keeping calm, waiting for the miracles and doing everything in my power to help things along. When the fear creeps in I kick it out and focus on how wonderful it will feel when I’ve accomplished my goals!
But I’ve also had to really learn not to be married to an idea of exactly HOW things will work out, just that they will work out. For example, instead of writing down in my little notebook “I need to earn $8000 for the next 3 months of rent by the end of the month” – I just wrote down that rent needs to be paid.
So, I did lots of things – and thought I had some pretty great ideas to bring money in – in time to get my rent paid. I created a website for my horse-related business and created a craigslist ad to promote – got lots of interest and people wanting to sign up, but issues with the HOA and bad weather really got in the way of that. I ran my typical holiday family portrait promotions – put together mini sessions, sent an email, etc. I usually get a huge response from that this time of year. This time, it was a fraction of what I usually get.
As November was rolling quickly towards the end, I knew I was pushing my luck – I had promised OCT rent very soon in Nov and I was nowhere even close. And I knew I didn’t have anyone I could go to ask for help. I kept working at things and having faith, but my heart dropped when I got this text from my landlord: Vanessa, what happening with Oct & Nov. Rent?
I didn’t answer for a whole day. What could I say? I might have $10 I can put towards it…but that would be pushing it? And Nov is nearly over?
A little bit of panic set in and I wondered if there was someone else I could turn to for help but knew that there wasn’t. So I said and prayer and was told “explain everything to your landlord.” Even though he’s a really decent, nice guy, that was a really scary thought to me.
I knew he was looking for any excuse to sell the place, and had several people interested. This would probably be the last straw. But I dug myself out of the temporary panic and wrote this email:
First the bad news, then the good news.
So I honestly would have been in touch sooner…but all of the good things I was counting on have somehow fallen through (my scheduled $2000 job with RDS was put on hold until Dec or January, 2 other clients have cancelled last minute due to family or financial emergencies, etc – my ex hasn’t paid any child support in over 3 months, I’ve got shut off notices from all the utilities, etc.) So every time I thought I could give a good report about when I can pay, it’s fallen through at the last moment. Eric’s health has also been in serious decline in the last 2 months after a bit of an upswing over summer. I absolutely realize that none of this is your problem or responsibility, and you have been more than patient. So if you need us out by the end of the month, I’ll respect that and figure something out.
But if you can possibly be patient until the end of the month for OCT and part of NOV and the middle of DEC for the rest of NOV and the end of DEC for that month’s rent I am determined to make things up. My parents were able to give me an old car this summer that was supposed to be for Kate but they just gave me permission to sell it to pay our rent. So I just got that listed. I also talked with DCSS a couple of weeks ago and they had submitted to take away his driver’s license for non-payment and from what I’ve been told he just submitted a payment with current AND back pay to get it back (it’s not showing up on my online account yet so I don’t know how much, but hopefully it arrives this next week). And I did have a client just order a $2200 package – she just can’t pay me until her next paycheck on the 29th. I also am running some more promotions with my business, this is usually my best time of year for bringing in money with the holidays, I’ve just had more setbacks than usual this time around.
I know that we haven’t been the best tenants, and will be forever grateful for your patience with us, as I firmly believe we would have been homeless otherwise. I also, know that you’ve had offers to sell this place and am hoping if I can come up with the payments and get caught up by the end of the year (and keep paying going forward obviously) that maybe we can stay until Kate graduates from Early College High School in June. OR…my husband wanted me to ask what if you would consider selling to us and how much you would want (it might be kind of a long shot, but he does have a VA loan from his military service he hasn’t taken advantage of yet and they don’t require anything down). Please let me know your thoughts on that.
Again, thank you so so much for your patience. Please do know that I am doing the very best I can and am making paying you a #1 priority (after keeping the electricity on, because if that goes – and it’s been shut off a couple of times – I can’t work and earn money). Thank you for your consideration.
I couldn’t have been more surprised when I got this email in reply:
Vanessa, I can work with you thru these problems. Try to pay Oct rent by end of Nov. and pay Nov. by end of Dec. We can forget about Dec. rent altogether. Consider it a Xmas gift.
Thank You, Jeff
I mean who does stuff like this? It’s like something out of a Hallmark movie. And it’s not like we have a cheap $800 rent. (well, it’s way under market for our area- it should be closer to $4000) – but it’s $2650/month. So this is not an insignificant “Christmas gift.”
Things are still not perfect. I was able to (barely) pay October by the first week of November. And I’m working hard to come up with Nov rent by the end of this month. But yesterday I had a totally unexpected order from a client for $700 I was not counting on at all…and I think I had a bit of a genius idea that I’m working on that is in the works. But you know that meme that’s going around – goes like this?
Yeah, that’s funny because it’s so true. I know there are people who have asked in past years if they could help get something for the kids, etc. for Christmas. But really what I want to say is – don’t worry about gifts. That’s the least of my concerns. Anyways, I’m trucking along, and as always am certain it will all work out in the end. It always does!
Anyway, this is the woman who traveled with her assistant to Arizona to do a family photo shoot and business rebranding for me in 2019 in exchange for Genius Bootcamp tickets. I love spotlighting her for the way she applies herself to the principles, because she always inspires me.
I hope you’ll learn more about Vanessa and her art at www.vkayphoto.com. Hire her if you need a great photographer! She lives near the beach in California, so if you ever head there on vacation, hit her up and she’ll do a great job!
Check out Vanessa’s promotional fine arts giveaway HERE! (posted 1/9/2020)
Do YOU have something to say? Share YOUR tender mercy stories by contacting me HERE.
To get help using the principles to solve your biggest dilemma – the one right in front of you, join us for Genius Bootcamp.