It’s time for our monthly blog circle, and I started to just share some fun pictures of us at the beach and keep things really light like I normally do. But it just didn’t feel right to say “Oh hey! This is what our March looks like!” when it’s not a true representation of our world right now. Also, this is a good way for me to share with some of our friends, because I certainly can’t talk about it face to face without crying. Basically, I’m in a constant state of getting ready to cry, crying, or finishing up a good cry. So I’m going to unload a bit of heavy stuff. You can just skip down to the fun pictures if you prefer. :) And make sure you check out Wynne Elder’s blog, “Glorious Ruined” after you read this to make your way through the blog circle. She’s an amazing woman who shares her faith and has been a huge encouragement to me!
I mentioned in a few previous posts that February was a tough month, and that sentiment has continued into March. I really wanted to wait and share this story with you when we had some resolution, but I’ll just have to write about it in chapters. We will call this first one “Holy crap. Now what?” We’ve known that Anderson’s job was a bit unstable for a while. Working for a government contractor has a lot of uncertainties tied with it. But one thing is certain: when government budgets are cut, you’re one of the first on the chopping block. Anyway, he worked for the same company for a bout 5 years, and during that time we had some close calls. A few “hold your breath that this bill passes” moments. So when I first heard about the sequestration I wasn’t surprised. But towards the end of February it became pretty clear to us that this time was for real. Budgets were going to be cut drastically. We got the official news on February 28th that Anderson, along with 180,00 other people in Florida, had no job. Just like that. We were at dinner with some friends that night, and our cell phones immediately started buzzing with friends and family reaching out to offer support. And the friends we just happened to be with that night shared an encouraging story about a rough time they went through a few years ago. It was amazing listening to how God took care of them every step of the way and now they can look back and see how it played into his plan for their lives. We had set the date to be with them that night long before we knew what was going to happen, but God knew exactly where we needed to be.
Until this point we’ve lived a very comfortable life together and have never had to worry about finances. At all. And thankfully we were able to save a lot when we were first married and both working full-time jobs. But the uncertainty of not having our main source of income is still knock-the-breath-out-of-me scary. It’s weird because I have moments were I totally freak out. Totally. Hence the daily crying routine! But overall I feel a peace that I can’t explain. And an excitement, because I know that God allowed this to happen for a reason. That doesn’t make each day any easier though. And knowing lots of people involved in the lay off on a personal basis just makes the whole thing even messier. Lots of emotions involved. I have to remind myself multiple times every day that God is bigger than any person or any company, and he sees the whole picture. Part of my fear is wrapped up in not having any control over the situation. But the truth is, we never have control. Just the illusion of it.
Through this whole mess God has been so good to us. Of course he has! He promises to honor faithfulness, and he has in so many ways over the last three weeks. We decided to keep tithing like we always have (10% of our income) to our church, but the first week was scary. I usually get really excited about giving, but that day I DID NOT want to write the check. For the first time in our marriage we were giving totally based on faith; not convenience. But I did write the check, and God turned around and blew our minds. The same day a friend gave me a card with some money inside. It was EXACTLY the amount we had just tithed. Then the next week we gave again, and another friend (2 of them actually) gave us a huge bag of our favorite goodies and gift certificates to some of our favorite restaurants. And guess how much the certificates added up to? Yep, the exact amount we had tithed again! Can you believe that? Then on the third week we gave (and by this time I had no problem writing the check!), and the next day we got an anonymous card in the mail with more gift certificates. But this time they were more than we gave, so I guess we have to up our gift. :) And each person has said that they felt like God wanted them to do something for us. They had no way of knowing how much we were giving or how scared we were about it. Our God is amazing, and we know this is his way of giving us a big hug and reminding us that he’s got this. We have nothing to worry about. He didn’t have to. It should be enough that he promises to take care of us, but I needed a reminder and he gave me one. There are so many other ways he’s done this. Even my devotion every day has been about something I was desperate to hear from his Word. More crying! Our friends have been great too (one even dropped by our house one night with a Brazilian flan!), and of course my parents have been amazing.
I want to be totally honest though. This process sucks. God is amazing and good, but life is hard sometimes. It’s not an either/or thing. Sometimes it’s both. And it’s okay to admit that. Or to freak out or to ask questions. That doesn’t mean we don’t trust God. It just means we’re human. In the midst of all the job mania I’ve been going through some medical testing too. I spent yesterday morning at a neurologist office. Oh, and being in the middle of testing means insurance companies don’t want to accept you. So… yeah. This is tough. One thing after another. But God is writing this story, and for the first time in my life I’m willing to do anything he tells me to do. Same with Anderson. He’s molding us into the people he wants us to be. The family he wants us to be. Because he has a plan. And that’s where the excitement kicks in again.
We’re just along for the ride.