NEVER LET ANYONE KILL YOUR DREAMS!

This is not one of my usual articles about ending the stigma. But then again, it might be considered that once you begin to read it.

Tonight, I come to you with my thoughts and to share my testimony. To express my gratefulness for God’s grace and tender mercies. It’s through some of my most greatest sufferings, that were not self-inflicted, yet they were imparted as pieces of my journey as I decided to walk with Christ and operate my faith that I have in Him and his written promises.

I don’t come to preach to you, nor do I come to try and convince you to believe in the God I serve, which is Jesus Christ. However, I come to share pieces of my journey and chapters from my life that have done nothing but help me to continue to believe in His promises and to continue to uphold His glory. God has been better than a shout of praise and so much better than a biblical character I read about inside the good book. He has shown himself to be very existent and invisibly real to me.

Now, here are just a few moments of reflection, that I am sitting here and meditated upon throughout today and how I’ve spent my day with my husband. As we drove into the neighborhood Chevron, gas station today to drive through their Brown Bear car wash, I could not help but remember a moment in time, nearly 20 years ago, before being pregnant with my 4th child, and living crammed inside of a tiny 2 BR apartment, only about 750 sq ft of living space total. I remember it like it was just yesterday, my husband had been the only one working at that time, because we kept popping out babies. So it wasn’t financially beneficial for me to work just to pay for daycare for 3 kids, which left me no choice but to become a stay home mom. Anyways, it was in this time period, that we were so broke! I mean after having paid our rent each month and our monthly essential bills along with grocery shopping to feed a family of 5, it was only by the grace of God that we were above water. You might be asking yourself by now, what does Chevron have anything to do with my reflection? Answer is this…. Back then I remember having to live off of a Chevron gas credit card. It was used to fuel our vehicle and to spend on grocery items or to purchase hot food items to feed our family. I just remember my being pregnant and always driving there in the late hours to get wonton soup, or a sandwich. Yep, the owners sold soup there from their hot foods. And I would always make the minimum payment so we could continue to use it. It became our lifeline for awhile.

There were moments in between, here and there, where I would try to work a full-time job, but it just never seemed to work out. I remember being so excited to finally land a permanent position for a company that was called US West Cellular back then, located up north and at that time the money was good for the economy. I was promised that I could work a shift that was going to be around my husbands hours. However, after I completed their orientation and training, that promise was broken and I had no other choice but to resign.

Some time had passed, and we became pregnant with our 4th child. We were still living in that tiny 2 BR apartment. We were well overdue the need for more living space, but how would that be even be possible? My husband was the only source of income. Also during this time, the church we were attending in Seattle, there had been an insurance representative that we learned of from a member. We were convinced somehow that we had a need for life insurance since we now had a growing family. I didn’t know much about life insurance in those days. Anyways, let me cut to the point here and shorten the details on this part. This sales rep from Primerica came into our apartment and brought all of his brochures, gave us a breakdown, asked us some very personal questions about our income and earnings and health questions. And within that discussion, we brought up that we plan to one day buy a home. And I will never forget, he laughed in our faces and told both my husband and myself, that there is no way that we would ever be able to afford buying a home with the little bit of income my husband has and the size of our household. He projected that with the cost of living rising in the years to come, that if I didn’t find a job or my husband didn’t find a second job or a better paying job, that we might wind up struggling worse than we already were. I just remember hearing all his negativity, yet he was still trying to sell us life insurance and made that the essential point of discussion.

Here is the end result, and point I’d like to share with anyone and everyone who actually takes the time to read this article. DON’T EVER ALLOW SOMEONE ELSE TO KILL YOUR DREAM. AND DON’T EVER LET ANYONE CONVINCE YOU WHAT YOU CANNOT DO! Because shortly thereafter, I began doing research for homebuying. My husband and I attended a seminar about first time homebuying. NO, we didn’t have the money, NO, we probably couldn’t afford it, NO our income to debt ratio wasn’t even close to being acceptable by any financial institutions, but two things we did have working on our side was good credit and our faith in GOD that HE would touch the hearts and minds of those in charge of the decision-making. And guess what, we were approved for our first home, no money down, and when I say no money down, I mean ZERO down, it was not even written in our loan or rolled into the closing costs as a debt that we would need to pay. Back then, this was before the housing market crashed and there was a program called Washington home grants. It was a program for first-time homebuyers that met certain criteria and the seller would pay the closing costs. The bank approved us for no money down, all we gave was earnest money of a thousand dollars to show the seller how serious we were. And that was even gifted to us from my husbands co-worker at that time. He is a fellow believer and he wanted to help us with this next step. Here’s where it really got odd, after closing on the home and signing day, the earnest money was refunded back to us from escrow. And it was not hidden anywhere in that loan to show we would be paying any interest on it, or added to our original purchase price.

So today, while we were driving around and spending time together, that was a memory that I began to reflect upon. And now some 18 years later, we’ve been blessed to own more than just one property, and in case your wondering, I’m still not working. And my husband is still at that same job, working for that same company. And, we have been blessed beyond measure. We moved from a tiny 2 BR apartment with 3 children and 1 on the way, to raising our kids in a 4 BR two-story home, to then purchasing a fixer upper of a 6BR, 3BA home and more investments are on the horizon! Here’s the back story , it isn’t all peaches and cream, it hasn’t been all sunshine, there’s been many storms in between, however, God and only GOD has made it ALL worth suffering for his sake. Material things don’t mean much, but the point of my sharing this, is to tell you, DON’T YOU EVER LET ANYBODY TELL YOU WHAT CAN’T BE DONE, OR SHATTER YOUR DREAMS OR GOALS. Just because they can’t see your vision doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be seen later on. And when you accomplish your goals or fulfill your dream(s), there will be no need to stick it to the man, because in my own experience, GOD has ALWAYS rewarded me and my family openly, and HE is the one who has ALWAYS chosen us to take a path that is less traveled, yet in the end, we always give him ALL glory and honor!

If you’re interested in learning more about what I’m referring to as some of the suffering we’ve had to endure, you can read my older articles and you can learn more about why I chose to believe in a GOD that is invisible, yet so relevant and so real to me. And then, maybe then you’ll understand why my faith in Him is essential and significant.

Thank you for reading this article to it’s entirety. I hope my experience will inspire someone else to have faith and hope in spite of what negativity may come against you. Don’t ever let anyone shift your thinking or taint your memory either. This is just one of several faith-responses that GOD has done for us. And if he did it for me, he can do it for you! YOU JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE!

Live your BLESSED life.

-Erika Brooks

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