Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reaching Out for Help

I was hoping that the next time I blogged, I would have good news to share. Instead, it seems, I am asking for more help.

The following is an email I wrote to a friend this morning asking for advice and explaining our sticky financial situation. I have decided to share it on my blog (and in a facebook note).

Jermaine and I have been going through some financial trauma recently. We thought it might be good to ask a guru for advice. Here's the short version:

We have been living on Unemployment (and school loans that are now used up) and living with some amazing friends. We've been making it, miraculously. And we were told that unemployment would last until September - so we felt I had until then to secure a job.

I've also been trying to raise money for my trip to India this August. And getting a little frantic, because I still have to raise all of the money for my plane ticket (roughly $1600 if I can buy it in the next week - before prices go up).

We have been hoping that I could get a job in the very near future. Some friends of ours are subletting a very affordable house in Silver Spring. It would be good for us for many many different reasons - a couple examples: putting Sadie back in Montgomery County Public Schools, allowing us to live with our dog again (who has been staying with Jermaine's parents because our housemate is very allergic), and moving us very close to my seminary and the DC area (where at least one of us is bound to find work).

However, the bottom dropped out of Unemployment this week. Some bill didn't pass in Congress - leaving us (and probably a lot of other people) completely sans an income.

Additionally, our bank did some shady stuff yesterday, moving withdrawals and deposits around so they could charge us $175 in Overdraft fees. We have bills due and no way to pay them.

I had a very substantial job lead yesterday that didn't pan out. I was desperately clinging to the hope that with everything else going so badly awry, this job opp was bound to come through. Alas, it didn't. And the emotional stress of dealing with all that is happening has left me feeling a little crazy.

Last of all, I'm worried about India. I don't have the luxury anymore of turning down a job that won't let me go. I still need to raise money, but I don't know if that even makes sense now (if I didn't go, I would pay back all of the people who donated money for my trip and let Made By Survivors keep the money I have given them).

I have been thinking about attempting to find a loan for about $5000. I think that will take care of all of our immediate needs and wants (paying the bills, India, first month's rent of the new place). It is the amount that Jermaine was supposed to have left in Unemployment. But I don't know if a bank would lend that kind of money to folks who are unemployed. And I don't know if the ultimate goal is to take care of all of our needs and wants.

This is all particularly frustrating because I actually have a few potential job leads - and in all likelihood will probably have a job really soon. It's so close but so far away.

Also (I'm not sure where to add this to the email, so I'll just stick it here), Jermaine was planning to return to school in the fall. He has two years to go. So, the plan was - I can get a full time job and we can make it with my income and his school loans (the reverse of what we did while I was in school). Once he's out, he'll be able to get a much better job (he's been frustratingly spinning his wheels and not getting anywhere in this job market). We figured, since I just graduated, I had a much better chance to get a job right now.

Thanks for reading this! Ha, aren't you glad I gave you the short version? ;) Any advice you can offer would be warmly welcomed.

That's basically the gist of our current situation. One of the most frustrating things about the whole Unemployment thing is that originally they told us it would end in June - and we developed a plan for what to do when it ran out. But then they called and told us that because of some new bill in Congress, we now had until September. Either would have been fine if we had had some advance notification!!

I'm writing this mostly because I don't know what else to do. I feel that we're being pulled in all these directions - I don't know which way to go! I feel the urge to just go out and get ANY job that will hire me. But even if we just had a little bit of a cushion, that route wouldn't make sense. Oy.

Well, here it is. If you're new to reading my blog then you just discovered what my friends and family know all too well. I have a definite knack for sharing way too much.

I'm tired. I feel like I've been in crisis mode for 10+ years. I finished college so I could move past all that! And I have a feeling that it won't always be this way. But it's hard to really see that at this very moment.

I guess the point of this blog is to ask for help. A job. Information on a reputable loan. Non-cliche advice. All of that's welcome. Thank you for letting me share.


JMS said...

"I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord's work and thinking how to please him.
But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.
I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible." (1Cor. 7:32-35)

Brandy, I think that much of what you and Jermaine are going through is why Paul was so content with being single in ministry. The reality is that with marriage and family come very real obligations that limit ministry opportunities (though in their place one receives the joy and blessing of a spouse and family...something many of us in ministry who are single would gladly trade for!).
I don't think you need to wonder if God is calling you to India, or seminary or anything else right now, for where He calls He makes a way. What He HAS called you and Jermaine to do is to support, bless, love and provide for one another and your family. This is the non-negotiable in the equation. All other concerns are secondary to this for those who have entered into marriage and family life.
You may long for India; you may long for seminary. And God may very well bring both! But my only word of insight, from someone who was raised in ministry from birth (literally), would be this: don't put ministry goals or a sense of calling before the day-to-day provision of matter how unexciting or "unspiritual" it may seem. (And remember, this is coming from someone who spent time washing dishes and cooking french fries to make ends meet--all while having THREE degrees in higher education!--so I feel your frustration and dissatisfaction!)

Love you and praying for you guys!

Andrea said...

Well said JM. Also, I think that is just wonderful advice for many people to follow. Brandy, you know I love and admire you and your dreams, but you also know I'm a practical person (except when it comes to Twilight/HP stuff), so it's pretty obvious that I agree with JM. :)