Thursday, October 25, 2012

Only The Almighty

I am so excited to introduce you to Jennie Torres, today's guest blogger. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Jennie at The Lighthouse Church. She is a woman who truly loves the Lord and has experienced His power and provision in great measures. When I prayed about who to approach to share this for this topic, Jennie immediately came to mind. I know it was God's leading for her to guest post. Be encouraged as she shares this powerful testimony... 

At the young age of 17, I was forced to grow up sooner than I should have.  My mom suddenly passed away of a heart attack and I was left at home with my dad and 15 year-old sister. My mother’s death was a shock to all of us, but years later I would realize that this was the beginning of a journey where God would reveal to me that he is El Shaddai – The Almighty! 

My mom passed away in February of 1987 and that June I would be graduating from high school.  Up until that point, my life had been planned.  I would graduate and go away to college.  But with this sudden event the course of my life changed.  I would now be staying home to take care of my family and so I went to a local college.  A short nine months after my mom passed away my dad broke the news that he would be remarrying.  What a blow!  I couldn’t breathe.  He’d be bringing someone else that was not my mother into our home.  Despite our objection and concerns he remarried and things in the home were not good.  I decided to just continue going to school, not talk to anyone and just do what I needed to do.  Well, that didn’t work out very well.  The tension along with the mourning of having lost my mom took a toll.  Anxiety along with health issues were kicking in, I had to move out.  I withdrew from school, found a job paying $15,000 a year, and moved out with a roommate.  I was officially on my own at the age of 19 without a clue about life.

Now I had an income and the credit card offers were coming.  Oh, the freedom of being able to go to a store and pick something up, swipe the plastic and go home!  Awesome!  And so it was Christmas gifts for everyone that year.  The bill came in and oh! To my surprise I only had to pay $50 a month.  That was definitely manageable.  The swiping continued.  In 1996 I married my high school boyfriend and the spending continued.  Two short years later we divorced and I was in $30,000 debt. With the loss of an income I had no choice but to claim bankruptcy.  The debt was WIPED CLEAN!  A fresh new start!  YES!! But a short while later, I found myself in debt again however this time I received a large sum of money from the sale of my dad’s home and was able to pay off that debt.  WHEW! Instantly wiped out again.  What a relief!

Fast forward a couple of years and I was now remarried with a son.  My husband and I came to the Lord and we were faithfully serving the Lord and tithing when one day I discovered that we could no longer tithe.  We were in $93,000 in debt.  How could this happen. I didn’t understand, we didn’t have anything to show for it.  I had chest pains and we were stressed.  I was like Lord, what are we going to do?  We can’t pay this back.  It’s more than I earn and in my heart, I knew the Lord wanted us to take responsibility for paying this back and I did not know how this would happen, It was impossible.  

We tried every other avenue for a quick fix but the Lord closed every door.  This needed to be different and we needed to learn some lessons here. In October of 2009 we pulled the equity out of our home and refinanced back to 30 years and lost the years we had already paid.  We were back to owing 30 years.  We folded $70,000 into our mortgage and were left with $24,000 still to be paid.  Our cash flow increased and we knew that we needed to be faithful with what belonged to the Lord even though in the natural it did not make sense to do so.  After all, the more we applied to the debt the sooner we would be out of debt, but we did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and decided to stand on his promise and not lean on our own limited understanding

Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, Deuteronomy 6:18

We created a very strict budget and we cut what needed to be cut.  We began to apply the disciplines that we so lacked.  Credit cards were cut and only cash was used.  We learned to distinguish between wants and needs.  We learned to plan and not buy impulsively.    We had 2 pairs of shoes instead of 10. We ate sandwiches for lunch instead of buying lunch every day.  So much so, that I can no longer eat another ham and cheese sandwich on sliced bread!  Really!!!  We denied ourselves vacations and just so many things so that we could reach this goal of being out of debt!  The Lord was so faithful and we never went without.  He was faithful to meet every need during this time and we never stopped tithing.  I am happy to say that in August of 2012, we wrote our last check to our credit card company and we are out of debt.  PRAISE THE LORD!  

But it gets better.  In April of 2012 it had been 10 years since we bought our home and so we should have been into year 10 of our mortgage.  With mortgage rates being as low as they are, we looked into refinancing once again, to lower the rate and to lower the term.  In August we refinanced once again at a lower rate which would save us $96,000 over the life of the loan and our term is now 20 years!!  The Lord completely restored us!  ONLY THE ALMIGHTY!  I cannot even begin to write how faithful the Lord has been throughout these 3 years.  I have sooooo many stories of how he has awed me!  He did what seemed impossible.  
Only MY ALMIGHTY GOD can defy the impossible.

I am so happy that the Lord has made our paths straight 
as He promised in these verses:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight

Jennie Torres is wife to Carmelo and mom to Michael. She lives in Queens, NYC, works for a publishing company in Manhattan and faithfully serves in ministry at The Lighthouse Church. Jennie is a leader, a friend, and a grateful recipient of 
God's love, grace, and mercy. 


Jonathan Vasquez said...

Awesome Post!

Betty said...

Jennie, wonderful testemony of God's faithfulness and mercy to His daughter. It is overwhelming to us when we get so deep in our sin but never to deep for our Lord to bring us out. Blessings.