Monday, November 9, 2009

Providence and other thoughts...

I really need to get a little better about this whole blogging thing! You wouldn't believe how many times I start thinking about something and say to myself "I should blog about this!"...and look where that gets me, considering my last post was in August!

A lot has happened since then; in fact, within a couple of days of that post, our life got a little flipped upside down! Jim also worked for CSS, but in a different section of it. With the new company starting, the 2 sections were kind of splitting and gradually are becoming 2 completely separate entities. We had a lot of late night discussions those last few days in August, but we finally both came to the agreement that Jim wasn't supposed to stay with the bakery. We were back and forth with it a lot, as he didn't have any job prospects on the horizon, but God used a specific incident for us to say, 'OK, this is it, time to look for a new job'. It was hard: hard on him because he had grown to love his job there; hard on me because there was a lot of tension in the company already; hard on us because this meant we were down to living on one income for who knew how long.

Jim was able to meet with a good friend, Russell Darnell, who had been through this same experience about 1 year prior. His insight was beyond valuable, and really helped Jim learn how to use the time to grow and learn some more about himself. The first month wasn't too bad, financially speaking, as we had his last paycheck from CSS and were able to bank some of his unemployment for the following month. He got into a good routine and was kind of enjoying being able to help out family and friends, exercise, and read. After about 3 weeks, it started getting a little harder on him. He had no prospects for a job, and everything was telling him he would have to go back to school to get the job he wanted. He didn't want to go get just "a job" as we have started talking about starting a family and didn't want to go through this again in a few months, when he needed more income. I know it was a huge growing experience for him during this time, as he had to depend on God completely, not knowing when or where this job would come into play; as a man that is extremely difficult! We had a lot of open conversations about how we both were feeling (more from my side later on); he did have a hard time knowing the pressure of paying the bills all fell on me, and his hands were kind of tied.

Praise the Lord, however, He provided work in so many different ways. Jim was able to remodel his sister's nursery for her soon-to-be born daughter, he did a lot of renovations for our dear friends the Deals, and had quite a few cake orders! Between that, his very measly-sized unemployment checks (there was a little bit of a weird situation resulting in his getting only about 30% of his previous income), and a little bit of downsizing and being creative in our budget, along with some generous gifts God graciously provided through friends...we made it! Not only did we make it, but we still have our emergency fund intact: how crazy is that?! Jim has now started a job with the Lynchburg League of Therapists; to say he loves it so far is an understatement...I have never seen him so excited to go into work!! Even from the financial end, this job provides us with the realistic prospect of starting a family where I can be at home most of the time.

We both learned a lot about dependence during that time...which, if you know me, is a huge deal, because I am very independent! I'll have another post soon hopefully about my perspective during this whole season; I just wanted to share a little of what we went through, and give glory to God for His provision. We always hear of people's stories of provision, but it's such an amazing thing when you experience it for yourself. As an example, we had some friends who were also struggling financially (due to circumstances, not because of a lack of frugality), and we really felt that we were to help them out. I'm not usually the one to say 'yes! let's give away money!', but it was something Jim and I agreed upon, and was honestly something that we had to completely depend on the Lord for, as it wasn't extra money that we had. (I say this to say, I'm not bragging, because of my own will, this would not have happened)

That same evening, we were given a gift of DOUBLE the amount we had just given away. If that doesn't humble you, I don't know what will. I still tear up thinking about it, as I tend to doubt God so much in even the small things in life, yet He has never not provided for not only our basic needs, but we live a very comfortable life! Shame on me for my lack of faith, but praise to God that He provides all the faith I need, exactly when I need it!