The struggles in life are real but so is your personal testimony. And today I want to get personal while sharing our story about living our testimony while downsizing.
Our Downsizing Story
Remembering the fall of 2008 is just as clear to us as if it was yesterday. It was our move to a rental house after losing our home in a foreclosure.
The home we lost, was the house we thought we “arrived” in. The largest either of us owned, with a pool, basketball court, playground and much more. This was a big decision for us as a family, not to mention our biggest supporters, our children.
One night, we sat them down and explained to them that because we were self-employed in the real estate industry, our business wasn’t doing well. So we presented two options to them.
We could maintain our family lifestyle by one of us being home with them, if we downsized into a smaller home. As an alternative, we could keep our home, but both of us would have to get jobs as opposed to being self-employed, in which we would need to hire a babysitter. To our surprise, the kids said they would miss the pool but would rather move if that meant one of us could stay home.
As a result, the search was on for a rental!!
The Struggle Is Real
We have to admit, it was difficult trying to find a house that represented our home, but God provided the perfect place.
This house had all the upgrades our previous home had: custom paint, plantation shutters, granite counter tops, stainless steel refrigerator, and much more. So we decide to make that house our home until we could purchase another home.
Because we were moving from a 3200 sq ft home into a 1900 sq ft home, we had to get rid of a lot of furniture, and material possessions that simply wouldn’t fit. Since we became peaceful with downsizing, we walked through the house and saw potential instead of obstacles.
We remember walking through with a friend, who said… “I don’t think you guys are going to like it here; none of your stuff is going to fit.”
Love her dearly, but Timberley enthusiastically said…”Yes, it will. I can see it!”
Our Personal Testimony
As we moved into the home, we were blessed to have our church family help us. Although that was uncomfortable, it was the best experience of our life. It brought us to a place of humility, which we had never experienced.
In fact, it was in that move, when God spoke to us loudly for the first time in all of our trial; that He was in control, and He has a purpose in all of this.
After losing everything, you may be wondering how? Well, as our brother-in-law was moving furniture into our son’s room, he said…“Y’all don’t look like a family that is struggling.”
Our brother in-law will never know how much that helped our spiritual walk. How much that phrase, comment, remark, or whatever you want to call it, laid such a strong foundation in our hearts to; keep pushing through, keep having faith, keep seeking God, and never give up regardless of how difficult it may be.
Revelation Of Our Personal Testimony
In that moment, we realized, we weren’t waiting for a happy ending, or a grand testimony to this trial. That statement from him was our testimony!
It didn’t matter if we lost a home, if we lost a car, if we sold half of our possessions, or if we were making 25% of our previous income. How we walked through the challenges was our testimony!
And for us, that statement struck a chord so deep down in our soul, it changed our perspective on our situation from that day forward.
Count It All Joy
As a Christian, we are not exempt from trials, tribulations, or problems. In fact, we are told in James 1 to count it all joy when we fall into trials and tribulations.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
~ James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
The key word here is when, not if. Since we know we are going to face trials, we should make up in our mind that we’re going to count it all joy because of the one who lives inside of us.
The difference between a believer walking through a trial and a non-believer, is how one responds to the trial.
In The End
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that others will identify us by our fruit. Yet, too many times we get hung up on what our fruit is supposed to look like.
We have the ability through Jesus Christ, to bear good fruit even in the midst of challenges. Which means, you may ultimately be walking through a downgrade or struggle, yet others may see your fruit as a blessing. Therefore, while your struggles may be real, so is your testimony!
And with that said, I want to encourage you to… live your truth, and live your testimony!
~ Andre & Timberley Gray