Family Problems Despite a Good Business

Our family went to church consistently. We seldom missed a Sunday mass. We often heard the words of God in church, but we didn’t remember what the priest taught. Going to church was merely a routine, an obligation to fulfil. But despite our “religiosity,” life wasn’t peaceful. My children often quarrelled; my husband and I often argued.

We decided to venture into a small pastry business, and thankfully, our business peaked in 2016. We had enough profit to build our own house. We began living worry-free because our financial status improved, and we were able to buy what we wanted. In 2017, we expanded by opening a new store in another location. It flourished and brought us more profit, but it slowly stole our family time and bonding. My husband woke up every day at 3:00 a.m. while we were still asleep, and he returned home at 10:00 p.m.  when everyone was asleep again. We rarely saw and talked to each other.

We used Sundays to keep the shop open and to earn more money. While we were physically in church for mass, we were not focused but distracted because our minds were on the business. We just waited for the priest to finish preaching as part of our routine.

On the outside, we had a good life. But on the inside, there was an emptiness that I couldn’t explain. I wanted to escape and leave for a far place. There were times when I wanted to go abroad and just vanish. Despite things getting better financially, I remained empty. I said to myself, “What else do I want?”

When Business Tested the Family

There came a time when my husband complained about having low income. He grumbled about the low profit and the increasing expenses. My husband and I ended up arguing every day. I didn’t like listening to his complaints because I also had my own problems to solve. Our  conversations always revolved around money, and our disagreements remained unsettled. As a part-time employee in our store, I also had a part to play to keep the business going.

Then my husband stopped complaining. I had my salary with me, and he had the earnings from our business. I thought his silence meant that our problems were solved. We were still doing well. Yet my feeling of emptiness worsened. I still felt lost and without purpose. I was losing motivation to work as unsettling anxiety and heaviness filled me.

The Lowest Point in my Family

At that time, a friend sent me a link to an online sermon. I did not listen to it right away, but when I had time for myself, I finally listened.

The preaching was from a series by Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) entitled, Life Goals: Succeed in Balancing Life. The speaker’s opening statement was, “Ang taong walang goal ay parang naglalaro ng basketball na walang bola, you cannot even know whether you are scoring or not. And ang ibig sabihin nyan at the end of the day: Parang walang nangyayari sa buhay mo.” (A person without goals is like one who plays basketball without a ball. He cannot even know whether he scores or not. At the end of the day, nothing simply happens in his life.)

Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

The sermon woke me up. I realized that we relied on our own ways and left God out of the picture.

I couldn’t explain my feelings as I listened to the sermon. I burst into tears without fully realizing why. I decided to listen to more online messages. I read my Bible during my free time, not wanting to put it down.

At this point, my life should’ve started getting better, but it didn’t.

We planned to have a small party for my father’s 60th birthday. My sisters and I agreed to divide the expenses, but a day before the event, when I was about to withdraw the money, I was so shocked.

All our money in the bank had been withdrawn!

My husband withdrew it all without telling me. He said he took it because our store wasn’t making enough profit, and we needed to cover the rent, the bills, and the expenses. I felt betrayed, as if I were slapped in the face.

And the situation worsened when I realized my husband owed a lot of debt.

We had a huge argument that almost separated us. Thankfully, my husband didn’t leave the family even if I told him to.

Still, I dealt with feelings of pain and betrayal. I experienced unfathomable anger. My husband and I didn’t talk to each other- to the point that our children noticed. The saddest part was that there was no one with whom I could confide my problems to because I didn’t want people to judge my husband and my family. So for two months, my husband and I didn’t communicate.

My husband didn’t give up the business right away in hopes that it would recover. But that decision worsened the situation. For four months, we were not able to pay the rent. Finally, he closed the store.

Hope for My Family

In those difficult months, I met Jesus. As I was always alone in my room, I listened to online preachings. I read the Bible, listened to testimonies, and prayed. Slowly, I realized that there were people facing worse problems than my family’s. As I got over my anger, I invited my family—especially my husband—to listen to preachings online. We listened to Christian songs and the testimonies together. This became the family’s bonding time. We started going to another church, one where “church” was not merely a physical building, but so much more. It became a Body of believers to me, united in the love and mercy of Christ. It was the safest place where I found the love of God.

Fulfilment as a Family Through Christ

God found my family. All of us dedicated our lives to Jesus.We learned that true Christianity is when you devote yourself to Christ. Christian living is concerned with growing in holiness, and “justification,” which means to be made righteous before God. Christianity is being saved and being transformed in the light of Christ’s salvation.

My husband, son, and I were baptized. My daughter and son are now ministering in the music team as a pianist and a guitarist, while my husband sings during worship services.

Joy filled our lives since we decided to follow Jesus!

Looking back on our experiences, I asked God why our business failed. His answer was so clear in my mind. He said, “Because you didn’t have time for Me anymore.”

God was always with us, but we were distracted by earthly things. His love was always there for my family, but He was just waiting for us to seek Him above our business. He allowed all of our circumstances to bring us closer to Him.

At present, I can say that my family has been truly changed by God.

My husband and I are on really good terms. We may have disagreements at times, but we are able to resolve them better. My husband is now even more loving and understanding. God has put His love between us

At present, God has been providing for our daily needs through another small business and through my salary as a public school teacher. Yes, His ways are better than our ways. As long as we have God, we are complete. We have fulfilment. He is never going to leave us, and He is the Provider for all our needs.

The emptiness I once felt is now gone, and the joy and peace I experience from God is amazing. He has taken all my anxieties and my anger, filling up my emptiness and making me whole.

Indeed, happiness in the home happens when it is founded upon the teachings and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no turning back to our old lives; we are now happy and content to be with God. Despite challenges, we will stay strong because God is with us. As it has been said in Joshua 24:15, As for me and my house. We will serve the Lord.

Glory to God alone.

Suzette Guevarra

Suzette is a 36 years old public school teacher, a mother of three, a wife, and a
devoted Christian.