God is always there and will walk with us through any storm
When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, I (Melanie) basically waved goodbye to my maternity leave (snuggling at home alone with baby), and Dan waved goodbye to months worth of upcoming music workshop bookings in schools.
Providing music workshops in Primary schools across our region is Dan's 'bread and butter' income; supplemented by income earned from gigging himself and also working for rock band Thunder as their guitar technician. All of Dan's and Thunder's gigs, tours and recording sessions were also cancelled, so there would be no income from those work roles either.
Self Employed Musician/Music Teacher/Luthier
Once supported McFly at a festival and played to 30,000 people.
I speak Spanish.
Fortunately lockdown did not affect my maternity pay from the Primary school that I work at, although of course maternity pay decreases as you move through your leave, and there was no way that we could pay all of our bills on income from statutory maternity pay alone. Dan had to start going through our accounts and begin calculating how long we could last on money we had saved.
1 Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”.
We didn't panic, we knew that everything would be ok, and felt confident that we would financially get through this impending storm, because we trust in God and his promises.
Thankfully, before we had to start eating too much into our savings, Rishi Sunak announced the support that would be available to the self employed. Dan has been registered as self employed for 20 years, so we were able to benefit from the relief offered by the government from May 2020 onwards.
Dan has seen opportunity within this extended length of time where he has not been able to work in the ways that he is used to, and has branched out into making acoustic guitars as an apprentice with Lakestone. He has seen positive possibility in a time where it would also be easy to feel negative and pessimistic about the future.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
In mentioning the financial challenges of 2020 as a storm I am reminded of the gospel account of Jesus and Peter walking together on the stormy waters of Galilee. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm he began to sink under the weight of his circumstances.
We don't know what challenges 2021 will bring our way, financial or otherwise, but we are certain that God is always there, and will walk with us through any storm, all we have to do is reach out our hand to him.