On the morning that my husband, Tom, died, I asked to be alone with him before they told anyone else. I went in to him and I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know how I will make it without Tom, but would You please show me each morning as I am waking up what You want me to do that day…”
Before he would leave for work, Tom would always tell me what he needed me to do for him that day and then he would wrap his arms around me and pray for me! After Tom’s death, I asked Christ to be my husband and the father to our children so I needed the Lord to tell me each morning what he wanted me to do.
On the Monday morning after Tom’s death, when I was waking up, I knew what I was to do. After breakfast, I called Duke Power and made a change to a program where we pay a set amount for electricity for 11 months. On the 12th month, either I pay Duke or they pay me depending on how much I am under or over the amount. Then, I had the cable and internet shut off and changed our phone plan to just a house phone with no caller ID or call waiting and a block on long distance.
I let our cell plan go and I changed it to a cell plan with only $10 monthly usage and no contract. Then I only gave the number to my children. It was turned off except when I was in the car so they could reach me.
Three months later after I had gone through our emergency fund, I got my first check from Tom’s retirement with the State. I understood why God had prompted me to take the actions before. There was a delay–the check should have come in 4-6 weeks, but it came after 3 months. That’s when I realized that my income had dropped by 70% over what we had received in September before my husband died.
The biggest blessing was that Tom died with no debt! Because he not only believed in living the economics that he taught, he was very careful with the resources God put in his hands. He always obeyed Titus 2 and we lived it out as a family.
We decided that I would come home after Josh was born. Every year since we were married, he told me what I was to do if he died. The first time he talked to me about this was just weeks after we were married and it scared me to death. I called long distance to my mom. When I told her what he told me, she said, “Mary Beth, he is an economist and he will do this every year of your marriage. He is a planner. So honor him and reassure him that you will do as he wishes. Then, he will be able not to worry!”
Two days before Tom died, he told me I was not supposed to go back to work if anything happened to him. Like every year, I promised that I would obey his wishes so for the three years since his death I have been home. The blessing of no debt helped me be able to do what I promised. I cut back our living 70% and there were wonderful things the Lord has taught me and our children during this time.
Tom had other things in place so that it wouldn’t have been such a drastic drop, but my age, the losses in the economy and other things that he trusted would be there, weren’t.
But Christ had a different plan, one to teach me about greater trust–that now Christ was our provider, protector and defender. We would see His mercies anew every day!!
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
-Judson W. Van DeVenter