The Book of Genesis in the Bible is about the beginning of all creation. It’s the story of how God created something that didn’t exist before. I believe that came about because He had an idea and wanted to create something and give it life. He had a desire to build something from nothing and bring it into greatness. While I’m no expert I don’t think there was anyone else around to deter Him from bringing His vision into the light. He decided He wanted to do something…..and He did it. That’s how it is for me with The Micah Principle. When those three words came shooting into my head (which I believe was orchestrated by Him) I knew I wanted to make something out of nothing. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I knew it was what I was supposed to do. The Micah Principle is the idea that we all fall down in life but that we must rise back up and carry on, no matter what. I want this to be a place where people can share their stories of falling and getting back up. I want people to draw strength and inspiration from those stories. That being said these shared stories need a starting point and this is it. The first story shared here is from a woman I know very well. I’ve known her for a very long time. I’ve seen the struggles she’s been through over the years and I know the pain she’s felt with all of them. I’m going to tell her story here as she wrote it herself.
My whole life I had been a negative thinker. I felt like life was one big negative event with smaller positive ones sprinkled here and there. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and I anticipated the next bad thing happening in our lives. I think I was this way as a child because I can’t remember being too positive about many things. I don’t think it was anyone’s “fault”, I think it was just how I was. As I got older I felt like I had a black cloud following over my head. My husband felt the same way and we wondered many times when that black cloud was going to go away. Things were always a struggle for us. We never seemed to have enough money to pay bills with. There was always strife with someone on either side of the family. Work brought its own hassles. It just seemed like a never-ending negative pile. That wears you down over time much more than you realize.
After many years together, a wedding and two kids we were finally able to buy our own home. We were over the moon about it. Renting just sucks; there’s no other way to put it. You don’t feel like you have anything that belongs to you. Feeling that way for so many years made buying that first house all the sweeter for us. We lived there for 8 years. Our kids grew up in that house from toddlers. While we made many wonderful memories at that house we outgrew it and it was time to buy a bigger house. We decided to sell the smaller house and buy a bigger house right at the peak of the housing market 10 years ago. We made enough money on the first house to make a $100,000 down payment on the bigger house. Though we were scared of the big leap we were taking we went ahead and jumped in with both feet. Things had been going ok and we thought “What could go wrong?”. Well, plenty could go wrong and it did.
We lived in the new house for a few years and things were fine until the housing market started to slip. This affected my husband’s job in construction. He was still working but the jobs that he had didn’t pay as much as the ones before. We started to fall behind on things. The $624 per month health insurance was the first thing to go. The credit cards were next. That left the first and second mortgage payments. We skimmed by the best we could for a while but we eventually started to fall behind. Calls to the mortgage company for help fell on deaf ears. All those things you hear where you’re told to call the bank and tell them you’re struggling and they will help you is bullshit. At least that was the case for us. We did get caught up with a loan from a friend but it wasn’t too long after that we fell behind again. The money just wasn’t there and we could not make it appear no matter how hard we tried.
My husband’s work came to a crawl; not because of anything he did but because of the economy. He took every job he could but it still wasn’t enough for us to get caught up. My job did not pay that well and that made me feel awful. We slipped further and further behind and our mortgage company was of NO help to us, not once. They were happy to take our $100,000 cash down payment when we bought the house but when we fell behind they acted like we had the plague. We finally stopped paying both mortgages altogether. It was either not pay them and have money to pay the electric bill and buy groceries to feed our kids OR pay the mortgage payments and starve in a dark and cold house. We chose to feed our kids in a warm, lit house. We finally sought the help of a bankruptcy attorney. He suggested we file a Chapter 13 which reorganizes your debts and you make a monthly payment to the court that they disperse to your creditors. He said that was the only way to save the house. That payment was much more than we could manage and we told the lawyer that but he was indifferent to what we said. In retrospect I wish I’d sought out a better bankruptcy attorney because the one we had was awful. We struggled for several months making both the mortgage payments, the bankruptcy payment, utilities and groceries. Again, we were faced with the decision of what to pay and what not to pay. Again, we chose to feed our kids and stop paying the mortgage payments and bankruptcy payments.
I met with the lawyer by myself to sign the papers to convert the Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 which wipes out your debts. It also means that you have to surrender your house. He handed the papers to me across the desk and with tears as big as raindrops spilling on those papers I signed them. The tears came so fast and hard that I could barely see to sign my name. I remember seeing some of those tears falling right onto my signature and I wondered if they would smear the fresh ink. The lawyer took a tissue box and put it in front of me. He sat there with his arms crossed and looked at me, waiting for me to sign the papers. He looked at his watch. He looked out into the hallway. After I scrawled my name on them he gathered up the papers, told me he’d be in touch and yelled out into the hallway to the other lawyers to ask where they were all going for lunch. I’ll never forget that one thing….that I had just signed my house away in a bankruptcy and this douche lawyer was asking his buddy’s about lunch. He could have waited another two minutes for me to leave but he didn’t. He made an awful event into an even more awful one with his calloused attitude. I looked at him and said silently to myself “You have no idea what we are going through. You have no idea how painful this is. Unless this happens to you, you’ll never know what it felt like to have to do this. You’ll never know.” I walked out of his office without thanking him or speaking to him. I walked down the hallway with my head down so no one would see my tears and I slammed the door behind me. I went to the parking lot, got in my truck and sat there and cried and cried. I called my husband on his cell phone and told him “It’s done. It’s over”.
It was a few months before our bankruptcy hearing. Things were SO thin money wise but somehow we managed. Aside from the financial troubles we were going through I had another issue I was dealing with. It was my mother, who was suffering from dementia and then Alzheimer’s. We did not know her diagnosis initially (it was kept from us by another family member) but I knew something was wrong. Her living arrangements were not ideal for her condition and I fought with the family member who kept the diagnosis from us about Mom. I was rebuffed every time. I was angry and frustrated with it and felt like I was hitting a brick wall at every turn with this person. The issue with my mom was on the top of my pile of “stuff” and sometimes my plate would spill over. That manifested itself into feeling like I could no longer handle everything. This went on for a while until one night in October of 2009, two nights before one of our bankruptcy hearings. That was the night I fell down and didn’t want to ever get back up again.
My religious beliefs had waned over the years of my adult life to where I considered myself a borderline atheist. I never told anyone about this, not even my husband. I was ashamed of feeling that way but it’s something that just happened over time. It evolved from me feeling that there was no one listening when I did say prayers. They were just never answered. I surmised that this was because there wasn’t anyone listening to those prayers. I wasn’t 100% atheist; I was probably about 95%. That last 5% kept hanging on, maybe out of fear. On that night in October 2009 I was so distraught over everything we had gone through and were STILL going through. Our outlook was very bleak. We had no money and no future. We weren’t even sure how we’d pay for the next months electric bill and groceries. We felt like failures. I paced around the floor that night, wringing my hands together I was crying and crying and I could not stop. I was in THE PIT and I could not climb out no matter how hard I tried. I decided right then that I just could not go on another day on this earth with all this pain I was feeling. I sat down at my computer desk and took out a piece of paper and a pen. I was going to write down important information that my husband would need to know. The bank password, computer password and other pertinent information. I was also going to write other things….things I wanted him to know to keep doing, like washing the bed sheets every Friday like I had been doing for years. It was important to me that one thing be consistent for my kids. It seems silly thinking about that now but I wanted my kids to have clean bed sheets every week like they had been accustomed to. Just because I wasn’t there any longer was no reason for them to sleep on dirty sheets. I had in my head all the things I was going to write to him along with the usual “I’m sorry” part. My pen touched the paper but it never wrote a single word. Before I started to write I was compelled to get up from the chair and get on my knees on the floor. I clasped my hands together, bowed my head and started to pray for help. Through tears that wouldn’t stop I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed for God to hear me, for Him to help me and my family and to please, please, PLEASE help me out of THE PIT. I’m not sure how long I was there on the floor, crying and praying. What I do know, though, is that something, SOMEONE, whom I could not see but felt, picked me up off the floor and placed me back in front of the computer. I was guided to look up the church service for the next morning for the old Methodist church near my house. When I saw the church’s website and read the information about it a calm feeling washed over me that felt like relief. It felt like I had just been thrown a lifesaver seconds before I went under into the cold, dark water for good. In those few seconds from being picked up off the floor by unseen hands I went from a years long borderline atheist to full-blown devout believer in God. I’m not sure if it was Him that picked me up or someone He sent to do it but it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that help WAS sent. It was my time to be saved and I was saved. I had finally been lifted out of THE PIT and I was NEVER going back there again, not ever.
Life since that night has still been a struggle financially. But, it’s been easier for me to deal with it because of the unwavering faith I have that things WILL be ok for us. Having faith and belief in God has better equipped me to deal with what life throws at me. I sort of feel like I have a protective armor on now, one that I didn’t have before. I know that this armor of protection will keep me and my family safe. It’s an armor I wish I had put on before I did on that Saturday night in early October 2009 but really, all things come at the exact time they are needed. I may not appreciate that armor like I do now had I been wearing it all along. I can say one thing for certain……I’m never taking that armor off and I’m never going back into THE PIT ever again. Thank you, God, for picking me up after I fell down and helping me to rise up again.
So, that’s the first story to be shared here. It explains exactly what The Micah Principle is and how it works…..Though I fall I will rise again. I hope this story gives others the courage to step forth and share their own stories. It took an unbelievable amount of courage for the woman in this story to share hers. People draw strength from knowing that others have fallen but gotten back up again. It helps them to see that they are not the only ones struggling and if someone else can get through it then they can, too. I know the woman in the story above will be ok because her faith in God guarantees it. Her armor of protection shields her and she wears it proudly, battle scars and all. She should wear it proudly because she earned it that one night in October while she was down on her knees praying to God for help. She’ll wear that armor until the day she leaves this earth. I know all this because that woman is me.