It is funny to me how much clearer things always seem once they are in hindsight. And if not clearer, they at least seem to be able to take on some deeper sense of purpose and meaning at least. It’s like looking back on a puzzle whose pieces have all come together and you finally see how the the seemingly out of place middle piece(s) that at one point along the way you were certain must not actually belong to this puzzle really do fit in to the grand scheme of things.
And I’m convinced one of the reasons we are even allowed to see these mini-segments of life, these seasons that wane and wax, is so that we will have an ever-expanding catalog of completed puzzles to which, when we find ourselves frustrated and stuck in the middle of the seemingly most complex and mysterious season of our lives , we can point back and say, “See there, and there. It really did all work together somehow in the end; and he who faithfully started and completed that good work in me will surely do the same again now!”
Mike and I are putting the finishing touches on one such puzzle as we speak. It started sometime in late 2010 and is now ending somewhere in the middle of 2012. It started with us realizing we were worse than broke. We had to move in with another family (which actually was quite a blessing). Mike worked a job he did not enjoy for wages that were not quite enough. And we lost our second baby at 14 weeks gestational age, which, in addition to the emotional trauma, set us back quite a ways in our quest to pay off our debt.
And is quickly as it all seemed to start, it seems it is all coming to an end. This is one of the reasons I will never cease to believe in God: whenever the tunnel seems darkest the next curve bursts us out into glorious sunlight. I don’t even understand how he does it!
About 2 months ago, Mike was very unexpectedly promoted, given a bonus, and given a raise at his job, the job he has performed faithfully but without much enjoyment for 2 years. Out of the blue he went from warehouse worker to doing inside sales and designing a catalog and an online store for the company. The pay raise wasn’t much, but it was a step in the right direction and a pleasant surprise after a pretty difficult winter. The first signs of spring.
Then some circumstances changed (again, rather unexpectedly) and we began looking for a new place to live. Looking for a new place was both exciting (our own stuff! our own space!), and terrifying (how will we pay for it? how do we decide? how do we finish paying off debt?). We literally had to step out on faith and follow the Lord’s leading on this one. It made NO sense for us to sign a lease for a new apartment, but we did it because we knew in our heart that it was the right decision to make. We were able to look back at some previous chapters of our lives where we had to make other seemingly ridiculous faith steps in which God came through and made the rest of the way smooth. Our faith had been strengthened and helped us make this next step (leap) of faith.
Within a week or so of signing our lease, then, Mike got an email from a friend who asked Mike to apply for a junior designer position opening up at our friend’s company. Mike decided it was certainly worth a shot, and within a week he had secured (and nailed) his first two interviews.
We went on vacation (which is interesting to me because the last time Mike got a new job out of the blue we had just been on vacation as well…) and when we came back Mike had a mini project (again, he blew it out of the water!) and a third and final interview. Five weeks after the first email in which he heard about the position, Mike was offered a job, his first salaried with benefits position doing something he literally LOVES.
Oh and did I mention he gets to work from home now too? And that he is now making annually what we made COMBINED and INCLUDING his side jobs last year? Which means that even though we are now paying quite a sizeable amount more for rent, utilities, and internet we will still net the same amount of “extra” income that can go toward paying off debt that we did while we were living rent/utility/internet free! Which MEANS that we will in all likelihood have the student loan paid off within 20 months of our start date which was our original goal! What??
How’s THAT for tying it all together? (Can you tell I’m excited???)
We were not looking for a new job. We were not looking to move. And boom, all within a couple of months here we are.
And do you want to know my favorite part?
When we first moved in with our friends last year to make ends meet it was right around Mother’s Day. Olivia picked out a desert rose for me for my gift (literally, that was the plant she pointed to when asked). It has lived the last year with us at our friends’ house, and it didn’t bloom once while we lived there.
Around the time that we started to look for an apartment and Mike started the process of applying for his new job, though, it started to start to grow little buds. Then, the day after we moved and the week Mike heard he had gotten the position, it bloomed for the first time. And not just one bloom but FOUR beautiful desert rose blooms.
Isn’t God good?