Matt. Discovering Stability.

Romans 8:28“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

This quotation from the book of Romans in the Bible has served as my theme verse for my life. I am sure many people can identify with struggles, hardships, or pain and suffering. Yet I would suggest that one’s perspective of such circumstances will determine how they shape an individual’s outlook on life.

You can either view yourself as a victim of your circumstances or accept it as part of your purpose in life. This is said not to diminish anyone’s experience but rather to help in harnessing those experiences and turning them into positive influences for good.

My Story…

I grew up in a Christian home with two loving parents and five other awesome siblings. My father, a machinist by trade, owned his own business working on crankshafts for all kinds of vehicles. My mother, while holding a college degree in Music Education and is an accomplished pianist, having studied under renowned musicians, chose to be a stay at home mom who took care of the 6 of us – God bless her soul…

Life at a young age of 6 seemed so simple and pleasant. With little understanding of fear and sorrow, I only understood life and growth. But only in a matter of months from this age did everything turn upside down.

During that time of growth for me, other things were also playing out in my family. Life changing things.

My father, who was ‘the man’ to all of his kids in every way, was the main source of income that we lived on. So, when he began experiencing awful headaches and an incredibly weak memory, there was great concern. After visits to the doctor, the cold hard truth hit my family with gut-wrenching reality. My father was diagnosed with brain cancer. From the onset of his journey, he lived 15 months. The prognosis for the type of brain cancer he had was not encouraging; but our family had faith that all things would work together for good, even though we could not understand it all.

His death was a shock at the young age of 46. I still, to this day, cannot comprehend what my mother had to endure not only in his death, but the aftermath of it all.

When he passed, I was 7 years old without a clue what this would all mean. Although I was the youngest, I think we were all on the same page with that. I could go into great detail on how things unfolded from this point, but I’ll spare you, the reader, a few hours of your time.

After my father’s business was liquidated and debts paid, we were left with very little to support us financially. Before the time of my father’s diagnosis, his cancer caused him to forget many things, including the household bills. To make that long story short, we were left with nothing. Our family not only lost its head of the house, but we also lost the income that sustained our lives. His death left more holes than one.

Emotionally we were wrecked, financially we were wrecked, and spiritually we were broken. Growing up, it would have been easy for any of us to say ‘why me God?’, but that was never on the table.

My mother had to find work and start trying to provide for us. My older siblings quickly found employment opportunities from which they too attempted to contribute. Nonetheless, times were tough.

As I grew up, I saw the stress and pain of my mother. The uncertainty of survival was real. How long could we keep this boat afloat? This financial stress was difficult to understand at the time but it is something I would never wish upon someone. However, she was a prayer warrior and a woman of great faith. She would always say to us “the Lord will provide” and repeat Romans 8:28 with utmost faith.

It became increasingly clearer to me the truth of the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Thus, in our weakness, God provided tremendous grace through the Church.

The power and aid from our Church family was unlike anything. Many people stepped in to help our family financially, spiritually and emotionally. God, in His great grace, blessed us in our weakness and honored the faith of our family. He didn’t do it by sending a check from heaven for a million dollars; He did it through the demonstration of Christian love and kindness of others.

Among the people who have helped us was one family in particular, who to this day is practically family. Had it not been for their God-guided intervention, we would not be the same people. My family was blessed to have another godly family enter our lives and endure the pain with us, instilling love and kindness within us and lighting the way.

The grace we experienced in our times of weakness was liberating. However, the financial pain that was endured inspired me to help others alter that reality. This is why I created A personal finance blog dedicated to helping others manage financial stress and struggle through financial literacy and education.

It is my goal in life, first and foremost, to direct others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ so that they too can enjoy the grace and liberation in having a relationship with God. For me, life is all about loving others in the same way God first loved us. Personal finance is merely an outlet for that, as it is something I am passionate about and an area I seem to be gravitating toward when it comes to helping others.

My circumstances in life could have been a lot worse, where the sorrow and pain I witnessed might have led me in another direction. However, through a relationship with God, I’ve realized that all things have a purpose and that we are to view our circumstances and experiences in light of the fact we can use them in a way that accomplishes God’s agenda. Therefore perspective matters, hope matters, faith matters and love matters. My prayer and hope is that others in similar experiences could be blessed by a community of people who love one another and come alongside one another to help us grow and prosper, even in at our lowest points.

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