The miracle of the bicycle provided an anchor. Up and until that point I actually felt somewhat lost and overwhelmed at trying to build a business with so many obstacles in my path. This one event showed me that God really cared, it gave me the courage, emotional strength, and will to press on. Deep within I knew that somehow and in some way, everything would work out and we would be OK. This was something I could not explain but just felt.
As It turned out this was just a moment of calm before the next storm. But it was a moment that I desperately needed. Now I was energized and ready to meet the next challenge.
I did not have to wait long. Once again there was a sudden course of events that turned sideways. And I had no idea at this point, not even a clue what to do or even how to resolve the problem.
My three girls needed some new clothes for school. Not that unusual or unexpected. However, we were depending on our state income tax refund (slightly more than $200.00 dollars) to buy their clothes. In 1980 that amount was barely enough to get the job done. While this might seem like a small amount, if you don’t have it, which we didn’t, it was a huge amount. So we were looking forward to our refund.
When it finally arrived instead of a refund there was a letter notifying us that the state was keeping the refund and applying it to taxes owed. And that took the sparkle out of our eyes.
Why did they keep the refund? Well, my former partner in our previous business did not pay the state or federal taxes for our employees. Even though I was not technically liable the state took our refund anyway. That part of the story is much more complex. Maybe sometime I will write about it because it is fascinating.
Needless to say that losing that $200.00 refund really hurt. It was time for another miracle. But how would it come? And how would it change our current circumstance?
I was not naive, I didn’t think clothes would magically appear. But I did know we were powerless to do anything about the situation. What was to follow in the days to come surprised and awed me.
Once again a cloud of despair began to overshadow me. Once again the situation looks bleak, no, actually it was bleak! But remembering the bicycle and the miracle, somehow I knew we would be OK. I did not have a clue about what to do next. So I did what I could, I waited, watched and prayed, and went about the daily task of building a business.
It seems like it was only a few days or maybe a week later when a call came in from the Emporium Clothing store. They were having a serious flea problem in their fur coat section that was beginning to spread to other parts of the store. That was a highly unusual and unlikely problem. For all fur coats were by law at that time fumigated by the manufacturer before they were shipped to various retail outlets. So yes, it was unusual for the Emporium to be having such an influx of fleas.
Barb was sitting at her desk doing her usual paperwork when a call came in from the Emporiums’ VP of operations. Since we were a very small and insignificant company we were both surprised by the call. He explained what the specific problem was, fleas, lots of fleas! Once he was sure we understood the problem he asked if I would be interested in submitting a bid to take care of their pest problem. He also let me know that we would be one of four companies to submit a bid
Knowing who my competitors were, I knew I did not have a chance to win the bid. I say that because my competitors all had the right business connections, they belonged to the right clubs and organizations, and we did not. So why he even called me was puzzling because in the business community here I was unknown, a virtual nobody. Now that is not negative, it is realistic. I had not been in business long enough to establish myself. So his calling was in itself very unusual.
Then a thought came to mind, so I asked him if he would be interested in doing a trade, pest control service for a store credit? There was a rather long and uncomfortable pause.
His reply, he thought it was an excellent idea. A trade would work out very well. So I told him the charge would be $800.00 and that would include servicing once a month for a year. I told him I could start the service the next evening after they closed. He said he would immediately contact the manager and let them know when I would be there. He also said he would set up a credit account with the store in the amount of $800.00. I thanked him for his business and the call ended.
I sat there for the longest time, not quite sure what had just taken place. At first, it was almost as if I were stunned. Then I realized what had just happened.
WOW! Now that was awesome! As it turned out we not only had enough credit to buy our three girls clothes, we were also able to help out some other families that needed similar assistance.
Miracles are really cool! In this case, I think it was meant to be shared. So that is what we did.
Most commercial stores like the Emporium have a huge influx of new clothing and goods so having a pest control service is quite normal. Because of that at the end of the year and our service agreement, I called the VP to see if he would like to renew for another year.
His reply somewhat stunned me, he said, absolutely not! So I asked him if I did something wrong. No, on the contrary, we are very pleased with your service and the results you obtained. But we are not going to renew for another year. So I thanked him for his business and told him I would be available if they had a need for a service in the future. The call was ended graciously and in a positive way.
After I ended the call, I sat at my desk, and once again pondered what had just taken place. To begin with, a year earlier we desperately needed help, we needed a miracle. God through His abundant graciousness provided what we needed and so much more. A battle we could not fight and a victory we could not win. He was there and intervened on our behalf.
There was absolutely no reason for them not to renew. But they chose not to. To me, that was very puzzling. Especially since they were very satisfied with the work I had done. I truly believe that at this point God wanted to make it clear, so there would be no doubt, it was He that provided for us. Getting the job was not because of my good salesmanship, or anything that I said or did. It was because of His power and might, and love that we were blessed.
With the third miracle, He made abundantly clear that He was there for us. This third miracle gave us the financial boost and the stability that we needed.
Next month the job from hell, with divine results.