Change can be a terrifying thing for numerous reasons. Whether it be the fear of the unknown or the work involved with change, change can be challenging. Today on the podcast, guest Cami shares her story of learning how to trust God in whatever happens. It’s in these moments that she realized God can be trusted and that He often provides in ways we don’t see.
Cami: I can’t control it. Like I have no control over the situation. God has complete control. So whatever happens, I just have to trust whatever God brings with it.
Announcer: Your life, your journey, starts now.
Annie: Welcome to the journey podcast, where we care deeply about real and authentic relationships. Today we have with us Cami. We’re going to talk today a little bit about family stressors in the midst of this worldwide pandemic that we have going on. How we’re handling them, how we’re handling them as a family, how we’re navigating through them.
We hope that it’s encouraging and uplifting to each one of our listeners.
So I wanted to introduce who I have with me today. I have Cami with me, Terry and then myself, Annie. And so Cami, do you just want to tell us a little bit about yourself?
Cami: Yeah. My name is Cami. I have three kids, 10, seven, and four.
I am a stay at home mom and, yeah, that’s kind of our life.
Annie: So what do you like to do for fun?
Cami: Oh, for fun. We enjoy, we really enjoy warm weather, which is kind of hard with where we live. We love being outside when it’s warm. My kids love riding their bikes. We love taking bike rides together. We like even just going to the baseball fields and playing catch with each other and doing a little baseball games as a family. We love swimming. We love vacations together.
Annie: It’s all around American family. So I wanted to ask you a little bit about your initial reaction to this global pandemic.
Like what, how did you initially react and were there changes that you made or, different ways of thinking about it and how did you help your family during this time?
Cami: When it first started coming up, I was very leery, of what actually was the truth behind all of it. Just cause it seemed kind of odd and strange and, like, I had some people on my Facebook feed saying, Oh, I’ve been seeing this coming for months and I’ve been prepared and we’ve been stocking up then, then others, it was kind of like a huge shock.
So I was, I was kind of, I guess, in the middle of that and in between the two of those. That was kind of one of those things trying to like figure out like, okay, I don’t want to be silly and like, stock up like crazy, but if that’s what I’m supposed to do then I don’t want to be, you know, on the other side of not being wise and not having what my family needs as well.
I definitely would say I played more on the side of, I didn’t really prepare like a huge, huge amount. I didn’t stock up on things immensely. I just kinda took it day by day as the news came out of what things were closing, what was happening. As far as school closures go again, just kind of took it day by day and see.
Annie: Did you see an increase in your family’s stress level?
Cami: Yeah, the first week when schools were canceled, I remember it was very stressful and it was just trying to get in that routine of like, okay, what does this look like? And the unknown, the fear of the unknown, I think was a lot for me. And trying to navigate that of, okay, like, if this is now our reality for the rest of the year, cause people are already talking about that at that time.
What does that look like for a family? How do I do that with teaching the kids cause, I quickly realized I’m not a teacher for a reason. My kids really missed their teacher, as far as being at school, not so much. But they would joke that I wasn’t a very good teacher.
So yeah, just trying to navigate all the time that we’re spending together.
Making all the kids get along, and myself get along with everyone. My husband was still working his normal 60 plus hours a week, and so then he would come home and the kids were going crazy. So that made him go a little bit more crazy than normal. And I was like, no, no, no. It’s okay. Like they’re children, like it’s okay.
They can be wild and crazy in the house for awhile because we’re all just trying to get through this.
Annie: Was there any, I mean, you touched a little bit about having a good routine, but was there anything in particular you did to be, I guess, less stressed or more calmed or having a new normal, was there something that you remember thinking or doing?
Cami: I remember one night. Cause we had like, I kind of tried to make a routine of like, okay, let’s still go to bed at a decent time and wake up and do school and do it this way. And that just didn’t really work for our family.
I remember one night I posted a Facebook status or something about, or maybe it was on Instagram, I don’t remember that it was 11 o’clock and my four year old and seven year old were still awake, giggling like crazy with each other. That same morning, earlier, my seven-year-old didn’t wake up til 10 o’clock in the morning that day. And so I was like, you know what? Like for our family, with my husband’s schedule, cause like I said, he was still working normal hours.
He doesn’t get home a lot of nights till 8:30pm at the earliest. And so for my kids, they still wanted to see him. Cause typically on school nights they don’t see him. And so I just decided, you know what, we’re just going to kind of make it more of a summer schedule for right now for what it is.
And if they go to bed 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock, then that’s okay. And my kids sleep in, so that works for us. So we just definitely, I tried definitely to be more laid back about it.
And if we, in a lot of times we didn’t start school, like “school”, if you want to call it that, until 10 or later every morning, and that’s what worked for us.
So I just kind of tried to go with what worked for our family and not try to make such a strict schedule that it made everyone cranky with each other.
Annie: So how did you figure out, like, what works for your family?
Cami: The opposite. I would probably say the opposition that I would get from my kids, of trying to go to bed early and trying to have such a strict schedule and that it just made everyone irritable with each other. So I just decided to go with the flow, I guess, more. The flow of what my kids were needing and wanting during this time. And I kept seeing the, you know, I wanted my kids to remember this time as a funner time and not a stressful time.
Annie: Have you always been like that?
Where you’re a go with the flow kind of person. Where it’s like, You take on new challenges or new stressors and you figure out like, well, we’ll just figure out a flow.
Cami: I would probably say so. I enjoy change. So I think maybe that goes with it, too. Like I’m okay with change. And so I kind of, in our family, has always kind of been. Because of my husband’s job, we’ve always kind of stayed up later. We’ve kind of just. He, we never know what time he’s getting off at night. And so we’ve kind of always, because we’ve always had to go with the flow.
And if I don’t, if I have a very strict schedule and like, okay, we’re eating at this time and this is happening at this time, it’s just, it doesn’t work with our family because of his schedule.
Annie: Can you remember a time in your life that was particularly super stressful to you?
Cami: Yeah, early in our marriage there was a situation where my husband had not told me the truth about finances in our life. And so, I found out, and that was, yeah, I would say that was the most stressful thing.
And in that time we had had our first son and he had like, huge eating issues as a baby. He wouldn’t eat, he wouldn’t gain weight. The doctors were constantly telling me he wasn’t thriving. So I literally thought as a first time, mom, I was only 22, I was killing my son because every time I took him to the doctor, they would tell me he wasn’t thriving, he wasn’t gaining weight.
And then on top of that, then that’s when I found out about our financial situation. And so I just kind of took it head on, the financial situation. And I fixed it. I guess that’s just kind of how I do it. The same thing with my son. I tried thing after thing, we went to doctor after doctor, until we finally got an answer to the problem.
Annie: So you were able to handle the situation, by when you say, “take it head on”, what do you mean?
Cami: I didn’t, I did mope in it, but at the same time, I didn’t. I was like, you know what? This is what it is. This is what’s happening in my life right now. And I’m going to fix it. And I’m going to fix it, honestly, like I fixed it through the word, through being in the word. I mean, it’s not like it was all easy by doing that at all. There were so many times it was really hard. But I just constantly went back to the Bible and same thing with my son. And it doesn’t mean that like I always did it right.
There were so many times I would call my husband, when I dealt with my son, I would call my husband at work and I’d just be bawling. And I was like, I’m not fit to be a stay at home mom. Like I need to go to work. This is so hard. Like I just want to get a job. I just want to send him to someone else and not take care of him, cause it’s just so hard.
I remember many days doing that, just calling him, bawling my eyes out to him. But I just, it was my life and I couldn’t wallow in the stress either because that didn’t do anything. Like I did that at times and it just, it didn’t go anywhere. And so I just always tried to find a resolution, I guess you would say.
Annie: Did you ever have a fear of like, what if I can’t fix this? What if I can’t make this better? Or what if there’s nothing I can do?
Cami: Yes, in the back in my mind, I always felt like there was something that could fix it. And there was something that could change it.
I mean, even as a baby we were worried about even sending him to kindergarten because he didn’t eat. Like he just, he wouldn’t to eat. He was two, and he wouldn’t eat, he wouldn’t chew his food.
So I remember thinking that like, what is he going to? What happens when he goes to kindergarten? And I was like, well, you know what? Like, I can’t control it. Like I have no control over the situation. God has complete control. So whatever happens, I just have to trust whatever God brings with it.
Annie: Did you ever think, okay, I trust God that he’ll fix this, but what if it’s not the way I want him to, or not the way I would?
Cami: I’m trying to think how to answer that. Cause at that time I was strong in my faith, but I don’t think I was strong enough in my faith yet at that point, to, not fathom that, but like that I thought of that. I was very like, I guess do it.
Like now talking about it. I’m like, gosh, I really, in this way, like, I was just very strong willed that like, no, we’re going to find a solution to this. We’re going to get through this. And so I guess I never thought, and it still is a struggle. So I guess, yeah, answer to that could be like, yeah, God didn’t fully answer it the way I wanted them to, because we still deal with issues with it. He’s still very small. But just trusting God, okay, every step of it.
So now I am stronger in my faith and I have seen things where God hasn’t answered my prayers the way I want them to is just trusting every single step of the way.
Annie: I just lost my train of thought. That was good. I wasn’t gonna ask a question and then I can’t remember what I was gonna ask.
I was asking because a lot of times in my life, I think of times where I know God is great. Like my head knows he’s great. My head knows he can do all the things. My head knows that he’s mighty and he’s strong.
But my heart says, but what if he doesn’t or what if he won’t like, or what of his good is not good that I see.
And I know like, you know, I know the Bible says that God works all things together for good, for those who love him. So I know that. It will be good. Quote, unquote good. But what if I don’t see it that way?
Or what if it doesn’t feel like that?
Because those are questions like I’ve wrestled in my own life. What can I, how do I have a different perspective or a different view? And I guess that’s been challenging for me because I haven’t always been, I guess strong-willed, should I say, or like, I know I believe that God’s good. And I, and I trust his goodness, but sometimes in the moment, it’s very hard to see.
Terry: I guess one of the questions that I have is you said that you found a solution eventually. So can I ask what the solution was and how you found it?
Cami: Yep. So we had taken him to multiple GI doctors, and he saw speech therapists, occupational therapists, and they had him on Prevacid every day.
And I was just like, I just don’t like the idea of him being on a medicine every day. And I felt like it was just masking the problem. And I was like, there’s an underlying thing. And all along, I thought of trying chiropractors, but I thought it was super wonky. And I was like, this is weird, but like why?
And I guess it was the Holy spirit, like now thinking back on it, it was the holy spirit. I always had this like yearning in my heart, like Cami, try a chiropractor, try a chiropractic. I was like, that’s so weird. And finally was just like, okay, we will try a chiropractor. And so, we took him to a chiropractor.
We took him to this one in her house. It was super, like kind of sketchy, but, cause like at that point we also were, our financial issues were that we had a lot of debt that I didn’t know about. And so, we were trying to get out of debt. We had insurance, but like, we were just trying to find the, I hate to say the cheapest way possible, but we were, and so this gal just kind of took cash.
And so we went to her. Anyways, and so she adjusted him and that same night, he sat down at dinner and he just starts eating his food, like crazy. Mowing it in his mouth and chewing and eating, and we’re like what in the world is going on? And he goes, mom, it doesn’t hurt my stomach anymore. And we’re like, Ugh.
So that was the start of it. And then we found, we found a better, not a better chiropractor, but a more reputable chiropractor that like started him on a plan. And that was another fear. He was, we had to take him three times a week for six weeks, I think at $25 a pop, when we were trying to get out of debt and my husband, wasn’t making a lot of money.
And that’s part of our story. And that’s part of our testimony is that like, I honestly, I have no clue where that money came from. I don’t, but we like, part of our testimony is that like right when we found out about our debt, we started tithing faithfully. And, the money for my son to go to the chiropractor, it was just always there. And plus we were still able to pay on debt every month.
And so we took him to a more reputable chiropractor, and she eventually, she kept him on the Prevacid because she said, we need to know if it really is the chiropractic care that’s working. And then we slowly weaned him off of Prevacid.
Annie: Do you like, hold on to that, I guess like, so this happened years ago. I mean, your son’s how old now?
Cami: He’s 11. Yeah. Yep. So it happened almost 10 years ago.
Annie: Okay, so is that a story that makes you hold on to God’s goodness. So even like, even if a time happens, you know, I shouldn’t say I’m referring to that time back 10 years ago, but in between 10 years ago and now, there were times that you maybe didn’t have the answer to something or you weren’t sure of something, but you were reminded that God can be trusted. He’s good. And he’s faithful. And I can remember this time where, like you needed to take, you know, your son into the chiropractor and the money just came in, like God was providing in the way that you didn’t know where it was coming from.
So in the oncoming times where, you know, you were faced with circumstances in your life where you didn’t have an answer. Like you could refer back to that time and say, God’s good. He can be trusted. Like I remember this time.
Cami: Definitely. That’s what, we go back to that.
Me and my husband talk about it all the time, all the time, when things come up. We talked about that. Another thing like with it is, towards the end of like trying to get out of debt, we were not on the last leg, cause we still had quite a bit to pay off, but like we had been faithfully tithing for 18 months trying to get out of debt and do all this. And we just came to a point, cause he’s in sales, and we came to a point where we were living paycheck to paycheck. It’s only happened for maybe two months where we were living paycheck to paycheck and not really able to pay on more debt and things.
We got to a point where we just sat down and prayed one night and we’re like, okay, God, like, what do we do? Do I go, you know, do I start going back to work? I’m not going start going back to work, but what do I do with this? And the next day he got a call from a friend who had tried to get him to come work for him in the past, and it just wasn’t ever the right time.
And so this friend called him and asked him if he would be willing to come work for him again. I mean, my husband hadn’t reached out to him at all. His friend just happened to call him the next day after we had prayed and said, God, you know, we’re at a fork in the road, like what do we do? Because something needs to change.
And so, he went to work with his friend, and then within his first paycheck, we were able to pay off the complete remainder of all of our debt.
Annie: Wow. That’s cool. So, were there any people that you remember in your life like, along the way encouraging you, and like encouraging you in your walk with God, encouraging you in your growth, encouraging you and whatever. Do you remember people in your life that just definitely came alongside you?
Cami: Yup, I would say my parents for one thing, they knew our situation. They knew what had happened.
And so I remember one time our, I think it was our air conditioner, was going out or something and we just, we didn’t have the extra. We could’ve had the extra money to pay for it kind of, but like, then that would have meant we weren’t paying on our debt for that, you know, for that little bit of time.
And there was flooding going on in our area where we lived. It was really strange. Anyways, and so my parents actually like thought they were going to have to come live with us for a while because they were going to have to be evacuated from their house because of the flooding, whatever,
anyways, and they gave us the money to pay for the air conditioner and they didn’t ask us to pay them back. My parents have always been very giving to people like that.
I remember family members, my parents would always thithe faithfully, too. Then I remember anytime family members were struggling or, I remember one time someone going through a divorce and my parents giving the wife money and things. Cause she was going to be on her own, things like that.
That just spoke a lot to me, of that. And then also met with our pastor’s wife for awhile, just kind of, for some counseling of how to deal with some things with the trust issues and things like that.
Terry: Can I ask, Cami, you talk a lot about getting out of debt. Clearly, that’s something that’s incredibly important for you is to get out and stay out of debt for people who are listening, who may think, you know, debt is just a way of life. It’s just how we live in this world. You can’t live without debt.
Can you kind of shed some light on why it’s important to you and your family that you be out of debt?
Cami: Being out of debt is very freeing.
Tithing and giving, it says in the Bible that it’s better to give than to receive, which seems so opposite, but it’s true. It really is.It just sheds light on a different, just everything in your life. It sheds a different light on what is most important in your life. And at least for us, it’s, you know, it showed us what really is important in life and where to spend our time, our energy, our money, everything like that.
Terry: How does stress play into that? Do you feel more streseds when you have more debt? How does being out of debt help with the stress?
Cami: Oh, having, having the debt felt like a black cloud over my head at all times until it was finally gone, I felt like I walked around with this cloud over my head, every single day, all the time. And I just, I wanted it to go away so bad.
Terry: So now that the debt is in a better situation for you, it’s gone, you said, what does that feel like from a stress perspective?
Cami: I mean, there’s still definitely stresses with money, especially because my husband is in sales and so his income varries significantly month to month.
So there’s definitely stresses, but we, seeing how, when we started faithfully tithing, like it was only 18 months and we were completely out of debt. And like I said, we were seeing so many doctors and chiropractors and that we still had money for all of that. Plus in his income, the numbers just don’t add up to how that would work. And so just seeing God’s faithfulness in that, through tithing, has been a huge part of our life.
Annie: So is there anything that you do for maybe family or friends that you can help them navigate through their own stress. Is there something that you’ve taken from your experience and are like, Hey, I want to share this with like my family and friends, because I feel like this could encourage them.
Cami: Um, yeah, I’ve had a friend sit down with me and we talked about more the financial side of it. I have a lot of friends that will talk to me about financial stuff. I had a friend ask me, just some, not straight, I have had friends ask me straight out financial stuff, but a friend that was talking about, you know, they had tithed and then they kind of stopped for a while. And so I just encouraged her to get back into tithing. To hear her testimony of how it alleviated stress in a different way. If that makes sense. She would just say that like, they were constantly trying to catch up when they weren’t tithing, and then when they were tithing, it was just, it was like a weight is lifted off of you almost.
Annie: So what would you say to people that say, well, that seems counterintuitive. If I’m going to give more to God or the local church, how am I going to have more? It doesn’t add up to me. So what would you say to people that would say that?
Cami: It doesn’t make sense.
But I always go back to the verse that talks about like God’s ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. You just have to trust.
I’m actually going through the Bible right now, learning about tithing, and every time that tithing is mentioned in the old Testament, joy is mentioned right next with it.
And so tithing brings joy
Terry: With this pandemic that we’ve had a lot of people are going to be gaining a lot of debt right now. People who’ve got someone out of work, that sort of thing.
And so helping them to understand that it is possible to get out of debt, and what was this like. I guess I’d like to paint a picture, maybe, of what this was like for you guys to go through the pandemic without the debt?
Did that change how the financial stress was during what we’ve been through the last couple of months?
Cami: Oh yeah, definitely. Just more ease and like you’re comfortable and we have, we have savings.
I mean, but I guess with that too, during this time, we also had a prayer that was kind of answered. Not the way we wanted it. We had been saving up for a pool, you know, cause we are out of debt and so we try to pay cash for everything. So we’ve been saving up for a pool and a deck and we had enough money to do all of it.
During all this, we’ve been kind of going through the steps of doing it. And one day I was just praying. I was just on, I was on my knees, literally, in my closet praying. And I’m like, okay, God, like things just, weren’t kind of coming together for it. And I was like, okay, God, like if this isn’t supposed to happen, please just close all doors and show us that this isn’t supposed to happen. That we’re not supposed to get this pool for whatever reason. We have the money, but for whatever reason, it’s not supposed to happen. And that same afternoon, my husband texted me. And he said, because like I said, he’s in sales, he said my pay plan is changing, no pool. And I was like, okay, God, thank you.
Thank you that we didn’t go through with it. Do I still know why? No. Are, you know, is there still a little bit of, I guess you could say sadness over and like questioning of it? Yeah, because it’s like, why God, like we’ve said, like we’ve given more than we ever, we actually just in the last year upped our tithing even more and it’s like, why? Why can’t we do this for our family?
But again, I trust that God knows the future and I don’t. I have no clue what the future holds, but God does. And I still, I go back to those times of when, like that when my son finally got, you know, an answer to prayer with the chiropractor and then also with my husband’s job.
You know, that his job changed where we could get out of our debt, that God knows the future, and I don’t.
Annie: So, I just wanted to start wrapping this up. One thing I wanted to ask as we are ending is, do you have any fears as you’re going back in reentering the world, a lot of the States are opening up now, do you have any fears that you, I don’t want to say you’re taking with you. That’s not the right
language to use. But, any fears as you enter into the world or anything as you enter back into the world as things open up or anything that you’re taking along with you?
Cami: No, I mean, I’m not going store to store and taking my kids to store, to store. I’m still trying to be wise. But yet, I guess it all goes back to just trusting God.
If one of us would get it, I’m trusting God with the outcome because his ways are higher than ours. He knows what we need for that season and that time. So just trusting that.
Annie: That’s good.
Terry: Well, thank you. This has been a conversation with Cami and Annie and myself on the topic of stress and family stress.
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Annie: Well, thank you. Thank you ladies for being here today and thank you for sharing openly and thank you for sharing your story.
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