No Longer Afraid Part 2: Provision During "The Year From Hell"
As often happens, it took a while for me to add part 2 to my last post. As I'm incredibly busy right now with work, it would have been even longer to write this, but just as I decided to go to the pool to work out this morning (something else I've been putting off), it started thundering. The pool I go to still has the winter season dome over it so the rain isn't an issue - but if there's lightning in the vicinity they clear the pool.
So... I have some extra time to finally finish the "No Longer Afraid" post. (Don't worry - it won't be as long as the other post.)
The same day "the incident" happened (which led to what I affectionately called "The Year from Hell"), I interviewed at Sylvan Learning for a part-time job. The director was a former student's parent and she loved me. She called me about the job and as soon as I sat down for the interview, she told me I had the job if I wanted it - the interview was to simply tell me what it would entail so I could decide.
I remember thinking, "For the first time since I became a single parent, I will finally not be struggling financially." (My ex-husband rarely paid child support and by this time, he hadn't been paying at all for years.)
It didn't happen that way, as it was only a couple of days later that I was suspended without pay.
Now the word "provision" in the title of this post doesn't mean I was completely provided for financially. I made it because I had great credit, a house with some equity, and the willingness to let go of a lot of my "stuff" by selling it. My parents also helped.
I maxed out my credit cards and hoped for the day that my ex-husband would finally pay the back child support. In fact, I was careful to keep my credit debt to less than the amount he owed.
However, I also had this new job. It wasn't much, as it was only part-time and the pay rate wasn't great.
But it was something to help with the financial battle I was facing until I got back to work (as I just knew I would at the beginning of this time).
Much, much more than the small financial boost that this job gave me was the confidence that I wasn't a horrible person - or a horrible teacher. In fact, I quickly became the favorite. Parents would request me to work with their children and the director would always put me with the students who had the most issues with learning.
It was really strange. As I mentioned in the other post, one of my biggest fears was that the incident would get into the news. Also, some of the teachers working there were in the same school system as me. Even if it didn't become public information, the rumor mill is huge within schools and I was always afraid I would be found out.
I never was.
It was a tremendous help to know that I was wanted, that I was productive, that I was making a little money, I was getting out of the house to a safe place, and that, as I said before, I wasn't a terrible teacher.
But this story doesn't end there. When my parents and I made the decision to buy a house where we could live together, it took a while to sell the house and fully move. I still had things I had to take care of at home and so I went back there every week or two.
Sylvan is a national company. I talked to the director of the branch near my new home and he was excited about hiring me. I quickly became one of his favorites and he even started training me to possibly take his place when he retired.
During that summer of housing limbo, I worked both places - I just had to let them know when I could work and it was never a big deal in either place to take off a week or more at a time.
I did so well in my local branch that eventually I went to another one on the other side of town to get extra hours. It wasn't enough to live on independently, but with my parents' help, I was able to make it and start paying towards some of my massive debt.
Speaking of debt, another provision was how I just happened to get a free consultation with a financial advisor whose office was part of the building where I worked as a receptionist. (This was later in the timeline.)
To my complete surprise, he suggested bankruptcy. I was the kind of person who always paid my debts and worked really hard to get and keep a great credit score. (In fact, it was part of my identity - that I'm good with finances.)
I told him that I simply needed to get the back child support I was owed, and I had enough to pay everything off.
Again, this is something I'll never forget: He told me that there was no shame in filing for bankruptcy. In fact, it was made for situations like mine.
And then he suggested an idea I never could have even dreamed about... He said, "Just think - what if you had all of your debts wiped clean AND you got the money he owed you?"
I was floored. I couldn't imagine getting ahead financially. I did take his advice and later, I did get most of that child support. (I'm still owed a good bit)
Even as the year from hell continued into the first two and then three years since the incident (now I call it the yearS from hell), God continued to provide. There were many times my anxiety overtook my mind and I forgot how faithful He had been. But then I would step back and remember that this provision was nothing short of amazing.
One day soon I'll try to post about all the other amazing things that have happened since the years from hell finally subsided. It's just wild how incredible my life is now when I thought it was over during that season.