Then he said to Him, “If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15)
As a divorced woman after 25 years of marriage, one of the toughest things I’ve found about being a single woman is making financial decisions. That’s not to say that I’ve never been involved in financial affairs. In my marriage, I paid all the bills, negotiated with the car dealers when we bought cars, instigated the idea to buy a cabin and rent it out, and have been the go-to girl for the vacation rental management company. Nonetheless, my husband was always there to give me his feedback, and his perspective, which was always very different from mine. He would always come up with questions about things I hadn’t even considered.
But things are really different now. I’m living mostly on the child support and maintenance my husband is supplying for the next 5 years, as I try to build up a freelance copywriting business. But I’m not sure how quickly the freelance copywriting will get to a point where it will support me–if ever–and at 54, I don’t want to have to do that forever.
I have some money to invest, so I’ve been going to Him earnestly to ask how to invest it as wisely as possible, so that I can have an income in retirement. It seems like no matter what I choose, everything comes with risk. And with no idea as to whether or not God will bless me with another husband, I have to make plans assuming I will be single for the rest of my life. This is not necessarily a bad future–I am loving my freedom from the pain and heartache of my marriage. But it means that my decisions must be sound.
Because I have a comfort level with real estate, I’ve been looking at short sales with the intent to rent them out. Of course, the risk inherent in being a landlord is that there are a lot of flakey people who have bad credit, and after moving in and getting comfortable, they simply decide to stop paying their rent. But, moving forward in faith, I recently put an offer on a townhouse.
This afternoon, as I was driving somewhere, I went to God about it…again. “Lord God,” I said, “I don’t want to do this without you. Please go with me in this. Keep me from doing something stupid. If this is not Your will, then block it, make them come back with a much higher counter offer. And if it is Your will, bring a good tenant, someone who is responsible and long-term.”
I reminded Him about Moses, who, when God said He would not accompany the Israelites to the Promised Land, started to panic. “If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here,” Moses said. I can SO relate. Never in my life have I clung to God so tightly, or strained my ears so hard to hear His voice. I often say to Him, “Lord, speak loudly enough so I can hear you. I don’t want to miss it…”
This is precisely what thrills the heart of God. He loves when His children look to Him for provision, direction, counsel and wisdom. And when we go to Him earnestly, He always answers. A little more than a month ago, I had put an offer down on another house that was in a short sale. I had prayed over it extensively. About a month later, the bank came back with a counter offer of about $25,000 more than what the realtor had placed as a price, and I had offered. I couldn’t afford it, and I was absolutely at peace about walking away from it. “OK, Lord,” I said. “I’ll take that as a ‘no.'”
But as I began to query Him about it more, asking Him for wisdom, He began to speak to me. He suggested that I look for condos and townhomes, instead of regular houses. I researched real estate in my town, and saw that, right then and there, there were a townhome and a condo, both being short sold, and the amount of the two added up to the amount of the one property I had just walked away from. Wow. Yep, there are positives and negatives on both sides–HOA dues among the negatives–but after I penciled it out, it looked like I could make more if I rented the two, rather than one.
One of my favorite verses–which I repeat to God literally on a daily basis–is this:
I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go. (Isaiah 48:17)
I trust Him to do that in my life. And I know He will, because He is faithful. He will lead me, because He delights in me, in taking care of me, and in helping me to prosper. Praise to our marvelous God.