Mortgage Miracle Angel

A woman's prayers for mortgage money are answered by her guardian angel.

By Phyllis Swenson, Fairfax, Virginia

As appeared in

I could barely make out the keyhole in my front door through my tears as I fumbled with my keys.

What am I going to do? I thought.

I’d just been terminated, along with all of my coworkers. The family-owned car dealership where I worked was shutting down for good. In an instant, we’d all lost our jobs. Now I had to face the future alone.

It was times like this I missed my husband most. Together we could beat anything, but Warren had been dead for 16 years. I still miss you, I thought. Warren, I wish you were here. Making it on one income had been hard enough. Now I was facing real financial peril.

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That night, I tossed and turned. When I woke up the next morning, I was determined to find another job fast. I could succeed. If I fought hard enough. I searched the internet, the newspaper, asked friends for leads.

But weeks went by with no luck. I was overqualified for one job, too inexperienced for another. I tried to keep busy volunteering with my church group.

“Don’t worry, Phyllis,” a friend in the group said after a meeting. “You’ll find something sooner or later.”

I nodded, but I was starting to have grave doubts. My unemployment wouldn’t last forever and I was already struggling to keep up with my bills. I barely had enough to live on, much less stay on top of my mortgage. I fell behind on my payments.

Then the moment I dreaded came. I stood in my kitchen holding a foreclosure notice in one hand and my bank statement in the other. In just a few weeks I was going to lose my house, the house Warren and I had purchased together in 1992.

We’d loved one another in this house, celebrated joy and family, and he’d died in my arms within these walls.

It was like losing the last tie we shared. I no longer had possession of Warren’s car or his clothes. But our house was one thing I never planned to lose. I’d fought so hard to keep it, but I was defeated. I’ll never find the money before the due date, I thought. I’m sorry, Warren! I hung my head and cried.

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I went outside for a long walk, hoping to find an answer. I sat on the ground by the small lake near my home. But even the majestic trees and the white billowy clouds couldn’t lift my spirits. I am a failure, I thought. I’ve tried everything and I’ll still lose the house.

I just couldn’t win. Not on my own. I ran my hands through my hair. I’d never felt so defeated.

A small voice welled up inside, as quiet as the breeze through the trees: There is victory in Christ.

I lifted my head and looked at God’s world all around me. I’d tried so hard to fight this battle alone. I’d thought without Warren I was alone. But I’d forgotten the most powerful ally of all. “Help me, God,” I said. “I know you can.”

The next few days I attacked the want ads again, trusting that God would show me a way out of this. Time was running out on my foreclosure. I’d need a bona fide miracle to find the money to pay the mortgage.

Driving home from a church meeting I saw signs advertising a community yard sale. I had never participated in one before. Maybe God was giving me a sign. I wouldn’t be able to make enough to cover the mortgage, but any money at all would be helpful.

A few days short of the foreclosure date, I flipped on the light in the garage and looked for stuff to sell. A couple of old vases. Some hats. Some of Warren’s things. Oh, I thought, that reminds me.

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Warren used to keep an old cashbox by his worktable. He filled it with odds and ends, but it would be the perfect place to store cash at the yard sale. It felt good to use it, as if Warren were right there in my corner, helping me to fight.

I found the box under the table. Just seeing it again brought up memories of Warren at his worktable fixing one thing or another. Wish you could fix things now, I thought. I imagined Warren giving me an encouraging smile. You can do it, Phyllis, I could almost hear him say.