In my heart of hearts, I knew my comfortable life wouldn’t last forever.
It started with the introduction of a new member to our family that wasn’t my choice (click here). It went on to challenge my ability to successfully function in my writing and speaking career.
It continued with a devastating job loss—my husband’s—that turned our world as we knew it upside down.
When my husband was let go as one of the casualties of a corporate merger, I initially chose to look at it as an opportunity. Would we finally be able to fulfill our dream of being in full-time ministry together? At the time of his layoff, my husband was only two courses short of getting his Bachelor of Theology. Here was the chance for him to wrap up four years of school unhindered by work commitments.
Further, his presence at home would lessen my burden of being the primary caregiver of our new puppy. Finally I could get some work done!
My husband’s severance allowed us to pay off some debt, put some money aside for RRSPs, and have a comfortable income for at least six months. My husband was confident he would get another job fairly quickly.
Always one to err on the side of caution, I started reviewing our finances to identify where to cut expenses—and then started to implement it.
I took on a few more trade shows than normal to bring more money into the house.
And I started to dream.
As the weeks ticked on by, it dawned on me that, in fact, my husband wasn’t quite ready to give up his professional career and move on to another adventure.
Several months after being laid off, my husband jumped at the opportunity to work part-time for a consulting company. Although serving the same industry, the work was out of his comfort zone and his gifting. Self-doubt crept in. The longer he worked, the more miserable he felt. And the more miserable he felt, the more immobilized he became. My hope of him quickly finishing his degree faded away.
In the meantime, an unexpectedly large tax bill hijacked the remaining money we had set aside for living expenses. With cash resources gone, we were now forced to live on a fraction of what my husband had been making at the peak of his career.
After several months surviving on limited funds, downsizing (“sizing down”), which was initially just a tiny blip on my radar, now seemed inevitable.
Although in many ways, this crisis drew us together, there was one thing we both were struggling with. How were we going to manage to keep our faith strong—“looking up”—when so much in our life was falling apart?
Next week: Sizing down possessions.