By Cyndi Moor Jones:
How can we avoid feeling shame when experiencing serious financial trouble and even potential foreclosure?
On “60 Minutes” I saw stories of foreclosures, followed by evictions of families from homes not worth what was owed on them. Families became homeless while houses they were evicted from stood empty. Many of those houses are even abandoned by banks that own them, then torn down to prevent vandalism!
How much of this suffering could be alleviated if instead of putting families on the streets, banks adjusted mortgage payments to allow people to stay in their own homes? Sometimes banks do have this system in place, but people get lost in the paperwork shuffle.
Many people in financial trouble feel shame. Shame that they’ve lost their jobs. Shame for cars repossessed. Shame in foreclosure, not being able to afford Christmas gifts, and for dependence on food banks. Shame. Undeserved shame.
If you are in similar circumstances, my story may help you.
My husband has had multiple back and neck surgeries, so receives disability income. I’ve owned a business for more than nineteen years–yet “life” has affected my income.
I was diagnosed six years ago with breast cancer. I received aggressive chemotherapy for seven months, then seven weeks of daily radiation. It took more than six months to regain strength enough to resume a full schedule, so I missed a full year of work.
I returned to a nearly completely failed business, which I worked hard to rebuild. Then reimbursement from insurance companies were cut in half.
I’ve struggled financially from month to month. When my father passed away earlier this year, I took time off to be with family, so couldn’t draw income from my own business for several weeks. Our car was repossessed. We faced bankruptcy and nearly lost our home to foreclosure.
Then a few months ago I fell and injured my knees, so with no income, I’ve been unable to pay my insurance premiums. Without insurance, I can’t get treatment to help me return to work.
Yet I know that everything I own is temporary. Anything we might lose is still more than what the vast majority of the people in this world have ever had. Yes, I’ve gone through a few tough things in life. But I’ve always known that I am still so blessed. I wasn’t born in a third world country. I was raised in a good home, by loving parents. Blessings in my life still FAR outweigh the difficult times, including the blessing of having many friends.
I share my story not to evoke pity, but because I understand what it is like to live in shame.
I lived for twenty-two years with the shame of childhood abuse from a family acquaintance. I have now lived–after help from others–for fifteen years in freedom from that shame.
I know the destructive power of shame. I also know freedom and healing. It has been in the telling of that story that the “shame chains” dropped away. I refuse now to live in shame because of financial struggles. We need to share our stories with one another, to know we’re not alone. Sin, shame, hides in darkness. Sharing our stories brings them out of darkness, out of shame, and we learn we’re not alone.
I don’t know how everything will work out. I don’t know if we’ll lose our home. I don’t know if my business will fail. I do know I won’t live in shame. I do know there are things worse.
I share our story to offer hope to a world that seems to be on the brink of hopelessness. Jesus said:
In this world you will face trials, but be encouraged, I overcame the world for you. John 16:33, and:
I go to prepare a place for you. In my FATHER’S house are many mansions. If this wasn’t true I would tell you. I will come back for you one day, and you will live Me there.” John 14 1-3.
I live with powerful faith in an amazing God. He has brought me through the “valley of the shadow of death” and he has “restored my soul”.