Joan Reynolds

Real Faith, Real Life & Real Joy
Browsing Finances



It has a price. I don’t know anyone who has as much freedom as they would like to decide how to use their time, their day, even their money right now. It seems as if we are all trying to weigh one thing against another as there is little if anything left over at the end of the month!

It is causing me to think deeply about Christmas presents. What would really be appropriate and useful to the recipient, versus what hits me as a potential answer to the immediate ‘get something for somebody’ approach so I get it off my brain!

It seems to be one of the great benefits of this down economy. Everyone is realizing that time is as important as money, particularly when so many are picking up a second job just to try and equal the total they used to have with one income.

I don’t know about you, but I am really noticing when someone takes the time to help someone out, sacrificing their own time for another. No matter how much we have had our own reality affected by the economy, we don’t have to look far to find someone else who has been  hit worse.

May this be the year we all notice those ‘unnoticeables’, and do what we can to make it just a little easier for someone else. We all have the freedom to make a choice to help the persons we choose, to lift their spirits or, even if briefly, their experience to a higher level. The cost of compassion will be repaid to you ten times over. Believe it, and see if someone comes across your path this week with a problem for which you might just have the solution.

Bad News/Good News?


Seems like I just wrote about this, but I didn’t. Yesterday I got up early, got to work early, did all the pre-opening duties with a light heart, looking forward to a day of accomplishment. Our Regional Manager dropped in for a few hours, which was not unusual at all.

Somewhere around lunchtime she asked me to come into the managers office and close the door. Flag. Then she said she had good news and bad news. Red Flag. Which did I want first? The good news was like a joke (I no longer had to do ten craigslist postings a day), the bad news was that I was being laid off. Effective immediately, though they would pay me for today.

If they bought more properties they would bring me back. That was it. No good job, nice working with you, we will miss you, you really added something to the “team”….pack up and someone will take over where you left off.

I think my almost three months in corporate America has taught me more about why I love being self-employed than anything else could ever have done. Numbers game. Everyone is a cog in the wheel. Easily replaced by another cog.

They will deal with whatever they need to in order to keep everyone a nameless, faceless creature in the scheme of things. That’s how it works best. all the while every morning putting out senseless and endless emails and newsletters saying how important each one is. Sending you to classes, online or otherwise, to show you how individual and important people are and how ethics is key, the company’s true worth is its people.

There is no real concern as to what happens to that person or their family when the paycheck suddenly stops. No tears shed. Next?

As I drove home I called my Broker to say I am back and I can’t wait to see what God has in store! Within two hours I had phone calls from two pending sales that gave us the green light to close, sales that had been pending for over eight months.That’s the only sign I needed to know this was all planned out for me way before this happened.

But how sad for all the people who have to live in a corporate world, not knowing when they will be replaced. I can’t wait to get back to a world where I matter to the people I work for and with. My faith that the provision for my well being is from a far more abundant source than the name on my temporary paycheck has always given me more peace than this past three months of a safe and secure paycheck ever did. And that’s the real Good News!

Giving Credit Where It’s Due!


Today was a truly amazing day at the place where I have been struggling. Today God opened the door for three single Mom’s with jobs to get an opportunity to turn a corner in their lives. This was purely His doing, because it had a lot to do with incredible timing, the opening of a place the size they needed, and a credit review override by my regional manager which all fit together at the same time.

It was a boost in my heart to see  it brought one of them to tears,as  she was clearly on the verge of being homeless with her fifteen year old child. Even with unemployment benefits and food stamps, the loss of her job and her home have had devastating results in her life. To be a link in the chain to help her get back on her feet and back in a place where she can find a new job and pull herself back up and give her child a firm foundation was a blessing to my life.

It was so obvious that God made a way for her today that she just cried in relief and gratefulness and so did the rest of us.That made me really see how even though this has been a difficult place for me to be, that God has not stopped letting me see His hand in my life by seeing it in others who cross my path, where He can use me as a vessel. It is another “good tired” day!

Where Does An Encourager Go?


I am finding it more and more difficult to write lately. I seem to be on the verge of tears from morning til night. I can’t seem to get caught up on whatever is missing to make the tears stop. Nothing has happened recently. Nothing bad.

This morning I was thinking how important the good memories are to block out the ones I don’t want to revisit. Just somewhere to go in my head where there were other people and happy times around me, even if I felt a little like I was outside looking in.

I only seem to feel comfortable when I can cheer someone up, encourage them to see that things will get better. That seems to be what puts energy back into my system. But lately I have found that I am having trouble filling up. I seem to be down a few quarts!

It could be because I seem to have no time for anything but work, and I am so drained from that and my lack of contact with anything or anyone outside of it. I guess this is how so many people have gone through life. They have to find something for their time off that is so different than the daily grind.

I never had that situation before. I loved my work and all that went with it. I know that this time is just for a season, but why does it seem so much more difficult than losing my home, bankruptcy, and all the other things I seemed to bounce back from. I am asking God to help me understand this one, because it truly keeps me floored.

For the first time in a long time I know there is a paycheck at the end of a week worked, but there is no happiness to accompany it. I lived for thirty years not knowing when I would get paid for my work, but trusted that God would provide. This seems like I have somehow abandoned His provision, although everyone seems to think it is wonderful to know that I have a paycheck. It is a dilemma with which I continue to wrestle.

I need Him to send  the encourager to me. Perhaps that is why He wants me to see this. To see how important my “job” was when He sent me out to encourage others. To see myself as He sees me, the way He made me, and why.

Needing Each Other


I think many of us are noticing that we need others both to keep us grounded and to lift us up lately. Many of us are turning back to church are attending in a more committed and consistent way than we may have been in the past few years.

Among my older single friends, many of us are noticing a real need for community in our lives, that we have become somewhat isolated. Perhaps because of the tighter economy and the lack of easier part time employment, many are realizing how difficult living alone is going to be in the future.

Beyond that, I think we need to surround ourselves with others who can see God’s goodness in a world that increasingly seems turned inside out. Neither Christians, nor churches, are perfect, but at least we don’t seem crazy to each other when we put our trust in something and someone other than the Almighty dollar!

It will be interesting to notice going forward, how this does or does not impact society at large. I believe Christians are really seeing that they can no longer sit back and do nothing. While we were working and minding our own business, there was a movement afoot to take over so many of our liberties. We have to stay awake and read and take responsibility for our actions or lack of them, and we have to vote. Every time. With as much information as we can gather. Critical thinking is really important right now. We need to put our best brain forward!

Do Not Shrink Back!


I am pondering the situation in which I find myself  and wonder, am I practicing patience and long-suffering? Or am I just postponing the decision to go all out in what I believe God wants me to do. There are seasons in our journey, to be sure, but I am realizing how it will take some discernment to give up the safety of a paycheck to return to my certain faith that God will provide all that I need if I am doing what He wants me to do.

I think perhaps He knew I needed to see the value of that which He has put on my heart, but also to see the value of how He sees me. In a place where my strengths are really under utilized and almost become weaknesses, I am learning that there is a place where I am able to do much more than just live through the day.

I have always been available to be an advocate, an encourager to those who were getting weary. I now see Him sending the same kind of missionaries into my life to encourage me. There is a “job” that needs doing and sometimes when you feel you have no job you are doing perhaps the most important one of all.

I was speaking to a wife and mother today who also spends a great deal of time taking care of her aging parents and I told her, as I had told another friend just last week, that God has to have some missionaries that don’t have daily 9-5  jobs… so that they can be available to show up when everyone else is at work or so tired after work they can’t drag themselves out of the house. Most of us at work can’t even answer our phones  if we were to get a call, so our timetable means that others have to put their needs on hold.

This made me think that  I may be trying to operate on my own timetable and not on God’s. I believe when I am in sync with God’s plan for my life, it doesn’t feel sad when I wake up and go to work nor do I feel sad at the end of the day when I come home. While I often had bills I couldn’t pay on time and didn’t know where my next paycheck was coming from or when, I had joy in my life every day from the places God sent me and the people with whom  He connected me.

I miss that sense of doing daily what He instructed and being led by His spirit. I feel like when I check into work I check out of His plan for that length of time. At the end of the day I feel exhausted and sad. I have never felt that way in the past thirty years, even though I have been stressed by lots of circumstances, I have had such strong faith that God was in control. It is giving me strength to reexamine my circumstances, and come up with the courage to leave the safe for the uncertain, and once again be working with God.

I have, at the very least, more awareness of why it is so difficult for many to leave the certainty of a paycheck, no matter how much they may not like their job. I am grateful, however, that I learned to lean on God for provision a long time before I saw the temptation of leaning on a paycheck.

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