Thursday, October 31, 2013

Unfair... and Scared

My husband lost his job yesterday. And it started over a year ago with an argument over my allergies.

This is why I took a break from the blog. We were scrambling to keep our heads above water because a group of adults were bullying us. And the only thing I wanted to write about could have cost my husband his job.

He lost it anyway.

He fought battles, was bullied himself, and eventually lost his job because his spouse has a disability.

I mean, it eventually would have been something else, so I'll write more about the allergy bullying and being scapegoated in the next post. For now, I need someone to hear that how dysfunctional this church was. And I found out just yesterday that they hadn't bothered reading his profile closely before they called him - and apparently they disagree with the bulk of his theology. And in our year and a half here, we were fighting an uphill battle on several fronts.

We both poured our souls into this community just to have them actively hate us. I feel stupid. Personally, I pulled their children's Sunday school out of the disaster it had become. I wrote curriculum that was better suited for the kids they had. I recruited teachers that would work better with the kids. I did artwork, made props, wall hangings, bought furniture and supplies, set up and cleaned up every week, taught half the weeks, led meetings, and single-handedly organized, set up, and ran both the annual community Easter Egg Hunt and the Birthday Party for Jesus.

On top of that, I built this church a website. And then I maintained it for the duration. They didn't have one at all, and if they really want to attract the younger people they say they want, they need a functional, regularly-updated website.

When they were in financial crisis, I ran an Easter fund raiser by myself. I donated the proceeds from an entire 2 day craft sale to the church's general fund. That sale went well. I wish I had kept that money now.

And I was also single-handedly running a comfort ministry. Every visitiation my husband did involving a severe illness, injury, hospital stay, surgery, family death, or other hard time, I sent him with one of my hand-made stuffed animals.

Not to mention, I attended every event, even when I disagreed with what they were doing or how they were doing it. I helped in every way I could.

In all, I put in an average of 20 hours a week, completely unpaid. And they never bothered saying thank you, let alone taking it into consideration when they tossed us aside.

I let them take advantage of me. In return, they talked about me and my husband behind our backs and ran a whisper campaign, actively trying to get my husband fired.

And once again, we're facing the horrible reality - clergy don't qualify for unemployment benefits. The government treats and taxes them as if they are self employed. But they can be fired. And the process for finding a new church, especially the right church, can take years. Unless there's a miracle, we will be homeless by the new year.

We had an expert from the conference trying to negotiate a severance package on our behalf. They drew out the process for days and we got worse than our worst case scenario - they just plain fired him instead. This church, one that claims to be doing the work of Christ, one that has given a lot of money in the past to families needing help with housing payments, this church failed to take care of the two people who have dedicated the last two years of their lives to helping them. I have never felt so hated. And I don't know if I'll ever be able to trust anyone new again.

It took a year for us to find this call. In the meantime, we were newlyweds left with no choice but to move in with my in-laws for nine months of that year. This time, we're looking at similar options, except we bought a house when we moved here. And we met with the realtor yesterday - the market has gone down again and the house is worth $40,000 less than we paid for it. We still owe more than its currently worth. Our best bet is to do a short sale and lose everything we put into it. Worst case, we have to walk away and take the hit to our credit for a foreclosure. We don't have enough time to do anything else.

And I hate asking for things, I rarely do. But if anyone reading this is able to throw anything our way, even pennies, to help us stay in the house long enough to sell it before we lose it to foreclosure (and to help me continue to be able to pay for my life-sustaining medication), please click on the donate button in the right sidebar of this blog. If money is tight for you too, please pray we find a way out before things get even worse. I promise, when we are on our feet again, we will pay it all forward.

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