I haven't blogged in a ridiculously long time, but I really feel like God is urging me to write a post today. Even as I am starting to type this, I am not completely sure exactly what I am supposed to say through this.
As most of you know, we just recently opened our new business, Alpha Fitness, and as I look back over the events of the last few months, God's hand in it is UNDENIABLE! It began years ago, really. A few months before we got married (in early 2006) Jerry was looking for some part-time work and found out his gym was hiring. So he picked up a few hours a week working the front desk there. Even as he graduated college and got his first teaching job, he continued to work there every Saturday. As a wife, I am so blessed by his work ethic and his willingness to work long hours and do whatever it takes for us. He has always done that. And anytime we had a few more days than dollars left, he would pick up a few more hours in the evenings to make sure we had food. Despite some incredibly difficult times over the past few years, God has always provided for our needs.
I have not always seen it that way. There have been points in our lives where I was furious with God because my life wasn't where I had always envisioned it. When we bought our townhouse in 2005, I was convinced it was my 3-5 year plan and once we had children we would be in our new house with a 2 car garage and fenced in yard..... In 2007, before we ever had our first child, we found that house that I thought would make me happy. We put an offer on it, and listed our townhouse for sale - convinced it would sell in no time. Well that didn't happen! And the house that I wanted so badly sold to someone else. Finally, we pulled our house off the market and shortly after the value of houses in our area decline dramatically. So now we were stuck in this house and I was pissed! In 2009, Miah was born and when I went to go back to work as she was 6 weeks old, I was told that my position was no longer needed. I remember being terrified of how we were going to survive, yet happy for the time I would get to spend with my little girl! I had also started selling real estate around that same time. I can honestly say that I haven't had a single day since she was born that I have felt the "financial security" we used to have. But once I got past being angry with God, I realized that he has been using this time to show me his power in my life and develop my character. He has ALWAYS provided what I need. And in 4 1/2 years of ups and downs, we have never gone without. Even when I have made some incredibly stupid decisions, He hasn't given up on me. He continues to provide and show me that I should be placing my trust in Him. But despite all of that, I continued to be completely blind to His wonder all around me.
Back to the story of Jerry and his job at the gym..... things were starting to go downhill with the gym and it was becoming clear to everyone. We all just kept waiting for the day the gym would close it's doors. But it didn't happen that way. We always joked around that we would love to own it. But considering our current financial state, there was absolutely no way we would be able to open a business - or so we thought!
God opened some incredible doors for this to be possible. We started realizing it could possibly happen in the early part of this year and to be perfectly honest, I prayed everyday that God would please take this idea out of our heads! I did not want us to get excited about the possibility, to find out there was no way we could ever come up with the funds needed to open it. But with each prayer I prayed, He made it more clear that this was going to happen and we were to follow His plan and trust Him.
So we opened this business, without a penny to our names - Literally! In the end of April 2013, we were already in the process of talking with some banks, and getting close to being able to purchase the equipment from his previous employer, and reopen the gym! But we literally ran out of money!! I hadn't had a real estate settlement in almost 3 months and we beyond strapped. But I was scheduled to have a real estate settlement on May 3, 2013 that would be close to a $5000 paycheck. So I knew we would be okay for another few months... But about 72 hours before settlement, I found out that there was an issue with the property and my clients were not able to buy it. So not only did I have to call and break this news to my clients leaving them basically homeless, but I was panicking about how it was going to affect my own life. So needless to say, I was not able to make my mortgage payment for May and again began to get angry at God. I remember having many sessions where I cried and yelled at Him. "Why would you give us this dream of opening a gym when I can't even pay my own bills!? I will never be able to get a bank loan now! This dream is ruined! Why would you plant this dream in our hearts to have it end like this??" Finally, I got over my toddler-like tantrum and decided I was going to hand everything over to Him for good. I was done with this half-hearted attempt at trusting him. If he was really going to take care of us, now was His time to show us! I was at my wits-end and decided I would test if He was really going to take care of me!
That's when life got really crazy! Within 30 days the gym was open and we were able to do it without any bank loans. It was truly miraculous! And real estate clients started coming at me from every angle. Between July 1st and September 1st, I had closed more real estate transactions than I had in the entire year previous! We were able to catch up and pay all of our personal bills, as well as fund the first few months that the gym was open with those settlements! It was truly miraculous! But we still were still at a spot where we were having to put money into the business each month to cover overhead costs, so when summer ended Jerry had to go back to his teaching job. It breaks my heart to see him leave for work every morning when I know his dream is to be at the gym. But God is continuing to teach us more about His faithfulness each day! Our faith has been tested in more ways than I ever imagined possible over these past few months. And every time I pray for Him to help me get through the day, He provides exactly what I need!! He is teaching me that it is not MY business, it's His! And we are to allow Him to work through us to do great things for Him!
The gym has now been open for a little over 100 days, and during that time we have each worked 70-80+ hours weeks each and every week. It has been exhausting to say the least. But God has always provided exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. And I know He will not give up on us now.
If I look at the future, I see the massive amount of bills I owe in the next few weeks and it can be beyond overwhelming. But I am learning that all the planning in the world does me no good. I can't control what will happen tomorrow. Only God has the ability. So instead of trying to figure out a business plan, I am trying my best to give it over the One who brought this business to life! Without Him, there would be no way Alpha Fitness could have opened!
Just this morning, I read something that was written by Austin Pryor. And his words just jumped off my screen and spoke such truth to me.
"God can absolutely be counted on to provide all the means necessary in order for us to obey His commands or carry out His plans. In other words, He knows exactly what resources we need to stay in His will, and He always makes them available."
(Taken from http://www.cbn.com/finance/Pryor_godprovides.aspx)
I have no idea how to make it through tomorrow, but God does and I am putting my trust in Him!!!
"A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps." -Proverbs 16:9