There was a period of time in my life when we owned four restaurants, and I was so in debt I really could not see my way out of the financial situation. It was fall of the year 1990. Our financial situation had literally brought us to the point of filing for bankruptcy. My attorney and CPA both said that it was the only choice we had because we were out of resources, out of money, and heavily in debt.
As a side note- If anyone ever wants to open their own restaurant, I have 3 words of advice: “Don’t do it.”
It was Thanksgiving that year, and we were at my mom and dad’s house in Virginia for the holiday weekend. My mom was working at the time for the Fredericksburg Bible Institute in Fredericksburg, Virginia. There was a gentleman that had passed away and left his book collection to the Bible Institute. My mom was looking through the collection and saw a very old book by George Muller printed in the 1870s. She wanted to look at the book a little closer and happened to bring it home the weekend we were there.
Listen to me here, God always has a plan for your life if you will just ask him and then trust him.
I was at the bottom and knew when we got back home, I had some terribly difficult decisions to make that would decide the financial future of my family. To say I was a little stressed would be an understatement. Financial devastation was more like it.
So Elaine, Lanie, Leslie, and I were in Virginia with my parents for that Thanksgiving weekend, and Mom shows me this old book she brought home. I had never heard of George Muller and knew nothing about his life, but I opened that book and was just going to skim a few pages and look it over. When I started reading, I understood the book was his story and also his daily and sometimes weekly memoirs. George Muller was called by God to open children’s homes for the homeless children and provide education for the children. As he tells his story, he didn’t want to do it and in fact, he told God he wasn’t going to do it. Finally, he agreed to do it with one stipulation.
Imagine right here, having a prayer life so strong that it is like having a dialogue or conversation with God. That is the way it was with George Muller.
The stipulation was that he would do his part if God provided all the resources and expenses for the children’s homes. Think of the audacity George Muller had to actually call God on his promise and put God to the test. He told God he would never borrow money for the children’s home and never put any amount on credit. He told God he would literally trust him to provide every dollar because he never wanted to have any individual or banks get the credit instead of God. The book was his periodic diary of how much money they had and what they needed for that day or that week to survive. How much he called on God to provide down to the dollars and cents. Without fail, God did his part in George’s life. By the time George Muller died, he founded many children’s homes that looked like college campuses. The homes served as an example to a country ravished by poverty of what God could do though one man.
The book literally changed my life.
I went back home and began to imitate what George did; I wrote a daily diary of the debts, payments due, and how much money I needed for that day, that week or that month. My deal with God was that I would title every dollar he allowed me to make, and I would always point to him as the source and the reason why we got out of debt and salvaged our financial life without filing for bankruptcy. Long story short, I began to sell hotels and pay back the debts. We did not file for bankruptcy, but rather we chose to pay all the money back. I met with all the creditors and told them my plan; it took us eight years, but we paid it all back. God saved us from financial disaster.
Every situation is different and every cause is different. It was that decision that I believed God wanted me to make at that time.
Many years have passed since this period in my life, but even today, I can pick up that diary I wrote during that period and I cannot read it without crying because it takes me right back to those moments when I didn’t know how we would survive. When I read it, the emotions rise within me, and I know it was God that did it all.
Mom got the Bible Institute to sell her that book and she gave it to me. I still have that book today in a very safe place. Should our home ever catch fire, after all the ones I love are safely out of the house, I will be going back into the house to get that book. KT