Monday, October 5, 2009

Observations from the passenger seat. . .

Well, it's been a really long time since my last blog. So much has happened during that time, things that I yearned to blog about, but lacked the time, energy, or words to express them. The title of this blog kind of says a lot. If I hadn't learned this lesson before now, Jesus has certainly made me learn it in the last couple of months. Let me start at the beginning.

At the end of last year, around Christmas time, I really, truly felt the Lord tell me that we would not be in Wichita by the end of 2009. I did not doubt Him, however I did wonder just how he would accomplish what seemed to me to be one huge feat. While I may have been open to a change in geographical location, I thought my husband may be a little less open. At about the same time Paul was hearing the word "change," which I mentioned in my last entry. Boy, when the Lord speaks sometimes he REALLY speaks!!

December of '08 Cessna started talking layoffs. Big, deep layoffs. It didn't take long for Paul to be affected, even after nearly 12 years on the job. By the end of June he was officially unemployed.

Let me state that during the same first six months of 2009 I was completely and utterly miserable at the job I had just started. I had applied for other jobs, had a couple of interviews and even been offered a position somewhere else, but the pay wasn't great and I knew that once Paul was laid off I was stuck. Stuck. I have to be honest and tell you that during my entire adult life I was spoiled by my husband when it came to work. I was able to stay at home with the kids when they were little, and Paul always gave me the luxury of doing whatever made me happy career-wise, as long as I did something to help us out financially. So to suddenly be stuck was something my whole self rebelled against. I knew it was for the good of my family that I stay where I was, which did help to know (at least a little). But even knowing that could not stop the crushing depression that followed.

So to recap, by the end of June we had lost seventy percent of our household income, I hated my job, and worry consumed me about how we would survive financially. I came to grips with the realization that we could be in real danger of losing some pretty substantial material goods. I went to work everyday knowing that not only did I completely hate my job, but that the money I earned from said hated job was not nearly enough to cover our expenses.

The other huge part of Paul losing his job was that we also lost our health insurance. Sure, COBRA benefits were available, but they were so expensive that it wasn't even an option. With Paul's arthritis needing not only costly daily medications but also the $8,000. injections that he receives every six to eight weeks, you can see where the despair comes into play.

I spent every morning commute either in tears or close to them. My depression soon became desperation.

I had been on my knees for months begging and pleading and praying to the Lord to spare Paul's job and to get me out of my current one. So it was disappointing to feel like the Lord had answered in a way that was contrary to my desires. I wasn't bitter with God, I just wondered what He was doing. I held tight to Jeremiah 29:11, which says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." But there was a big part of me that felt like maybe we were being punished for something. I didn't have to look far to know that we don't always do the right thing, so maybe he was disciplining us??

I'll never forget the morning that I was driving to work and a vision came to me of my hands being wrapped tightly around the bars of the gates of Heaven. I was shaking the gates with all my might screaming to the Lord "Why don't you care?? Why won't you do something? Lord, DO SOMETHING!"

God is so good. And so faithful. And so holy. A week after that vision Paul was contacted for a job interview from an aircraft company in Texas. He flew out at the beginning of August.

And then we waited. One week. Two weeks. Three weeks.

On August 26th he was offered a position. On August 26th I gave my two week's notice. My last day was September 9th.

We listed our house on September 10th. We had a contract on it on September 16th. We moved to Texas on September 19th. Paul's first day was September 28th.

Suddenly not only was God moving, but he was moving quickly! After months of feeling like there was no movement, it came in like a huge wave crashing to the shore.

So, some of the observations from the passenger's seat include. . .

  • That we really are in the passenger seat. God is in control, which means he's the one driving. I have no steering wheel, I have no accelerator or brakes. And you know what? I prefer it that way. You sure see a lot more out the passenger window then you do the windshield!

  • I saw God's hands in so many different ways during this journey. We didn't go hungry. We didn't lose the house or the cars. He provided for us financially. Completely and totally.

  • He provided for our health. No one has gotten seriously ill. God even led Paul into a situation where he was able to get his injection medication (Remicade) for FREE during the time that we are without insurance. For FREE. What is normally $8,000. a pop --free!!

  • His hand was in our friendships. We had so many people surround us during this time. Great people. Friends that pitched in to help us get the house ready for sale. Friends that picked up our kids and worried about our meals. Friends that threw us a going away party. People that we will forever be connected to -- whether it's in this life or in heaven!

  • His hands were definitely in the sale of our house. It still astounds me and stops me in my tracks to know that in a housing market as bleak as Wichita, where over 10,000 people are without jobs, our house was under contract in 6 days. God even sweetened the deal when he brought us buyers that we personally know!! The couple that is buying our house is a couple that we went to church with!

  • God's hand was even in our move. Paul's new company paid our moving expenses and hired movers to come in and pack us, put our stuff on a truck, drive it to Texas and then help us unpack everything. I almost started laughing when the movers came and introduced themselves to me. One of them stuck out his hand and said, "Hi, my name is Jesus, and I'll be the one driving your things to your new home." No, seriously. His name was Jesus. A wonderful Christian man whom I got the honor of knowing for a couple of days. He told me his favorite Christian artist was Toby Mac. Every time I hear Toby on the radio I think of Jesus.

The best observation I can make for now is that we're still traveling. That is, the car is still moving. Our journey is not over. I know that God has a plan for each one of us here in Texas. He has purposed us to be here, in this location, at this specific time.

And if I needed proof, I think I got it.