I’ve been thinking about how I was going to write this post for a while. It’s not easy for me to think about the last 7 months and just fork out my feelings and thoughts on them. Beware, I am being real here: raw emotion coming out from 7 months of battle for our future.
For the sake of those reading my blog for the first time, I will start from the beginning. Back in May, my husband, (aka the man) Paul, was getting ready to take some paternity leave. He did this with Thing 1 and Thing 2. He would save all of his vacation time so he could be there to bond with each child when it was time. When he announced he would be doing the same with Thing 3, it was met with some resistance. “You will be the first guy in the history of the company to take this leave…”
“Do you really plan to stay completely unplugged during your leave…”
“Will you be available via email?”
The company he was with has a reputation for tearing apart families and turning married men into bachelors. I had been feeling in my heart for several months that it was time for him to leave. I kept asking him to pray about it with me. The man was SO wrapped up in his world at work, truthfully, he couldn’t see what I was talking about. Up until the day before he left for paternity leave his job came first. First, before God, first, before our family and first, before us. He had never been like this, but he got wrapped up in a job culture that led him to lead his life in fear. Fear of losing his job, fear of lack of respect, fear not being as “dedicated” to job as others. This fear ran so deep that he would work until 6:30-7:00pm in the office and it would take him anywhere between 30minutes-1hour to get home. Once home (the kids and I had already eaten dinner so I was putting kids to bed) he would pop in just in time to say good night or would have to wake sleeping children who insisted he come tell them goodnight the moment he walked through the door. He would eat dinner, alone. Talk to me for 20 minutes and plug back in via blackberry and laptop until 2-3am. There were nights he was on the phone at midnight with his boss’ boss. Trying to be the submissive wife was not easy for me. I can’t say that I did that great of a job doing it. Yep, I probably failed that test, it’s not my best characteristic. There were nights I wanted to smack him silly. Many nights I would just tell him “Wake up! Don’t you see what’s happening? Please pray about this.” I cried, I pleaded, and finally I prayed.
He was on paternity leave for 5 weeks. He committed to me that those 5 weeks were ours. In those 5 weeks we prayed together as a couple that God would restore our family, restore him and make it clear if he truly was supposed to leave his job. I saw him change in the first two weeks. He was devastated that he had become so “unplugged” with our family. We then changed our prayers to be that God would show us in the first week if he was supposed to leave his company. The 5 weeks of paternity leave flew by quickly.
The first week back was hard on us all. Hard on him because he had just reconnected with us. Hard on us because we missed him. Monday went by, nothing. Tuesday, nothing. Finally Wednesday comes and he has a meeting with his boss. Lots of things were said in that meeting, but the one thing that drew the line in the sand for us was,
“How much more of your time can you give us.”
“You need to be fully committed to us..”
“Your team isn’t going to be on board unless you give us more time.”
That was it. That was the sign. It couldn’t be any plainer than that. When your job DEMANDS to be number 1 in your life before everything else, OR ELSE, there’s a problem. At that point in the conversation, the man said, “Let’s talk about the other option.” With that he received a severance and was gone by Friday.
We spent the next 7 months waiting on God to act. We have been through many fires together. NOTHING beats this one. Going through a fire where it only affects myself or the man is EASY. Going through a fire where it affects your 3 children is not. Looking at their faces day in and day out, wondering what will happen to us-if their Christmas will be what they want it to be. Refusing your son MCD’s because you are trying to save where you can. Not buying winter clothes until you can’t go without anymore. Having your children ask for little things at a store and telling them no. I could go on. It sucked. Plain and simple, sucked. Every Monday I would wake up hopeful and ask God, “Please please let it be this week. I don’t think I can do this another week.” Every week would end with no offer and I would be sick to my stomach. God knew what I could and could not handle though and he would offer me hope. You are wondering what I mean.
Paul interviewed with a company for 6months. Yes, SIX MONTHS! God allowed this company to talk to him for 6 months so that we would continue to have faith and hope. If this company had not been the constant in our lives for the last 6 months I can not imagine what we would have been like. During this time we watched God supernaturally bat away company after company. Everyone seemed to be interested in the man, and he seemed to be “the perfect fit.” One by one, they would drop like flies for crazy reasons, someone got fired and they need to hire his boss first, the job has been placed on hold, we need to look internally first… on and on. It was neat to see, but still left me wanting it to be over. You can’t build your faith unless each fire is hotter than the last. We even taught a Sunday school lesson on faith before it happened, after coming out of the last fire (We thought we were having a miscarriage with Thing #3). So here we were, praying diligently that God would only open 1 door. At first, we thought this was a great idea. Our thought was, if it’s only 1 door, we can’t screw this up. Yep, you guessed it. As the weeks turned into months we thought, “What in the world were we thinking, forget 1 door, just open ANY door!” It was because of this one prayer that in the end we were able to determine God’s will for us.
The man had 4 opportunities. One of which would allow him to work from our home here in Texas. Another that would allow him to work here in an office, one in Oregon and the one in Orlando. We started getting very confused. From the moment Orlando entered the picture, I told the man I thought this was it. He pushed me off stating we weren’t moving. When we realized we were down to the final stages with all 4 companies he said, “I don’t understand, we asked for one door.” I reminded him that no door had been opened just yet.
We were expecting offers from any one of the companies that final week. Orlando told us that they needed one final interview on Friday. I was devastated. In my mind I knew that meant Tuesday before an offer letter could go out. I had just done the bills and realized we were down to the final 2 weeks of money. I was beat down, heart broken and on the edge of loosing all hope. His interview was at noon. I remember getting in the shower and just crying. I cried and cried and I prayed. I took the boys downstairs and got Thing 2 going on some play dough and Thing 3 was in his bouncer. I looked at Thing 2 and asked him if he would pray with me for daddy. He said yes and stopped and took my hands. I asked for a miracle and an open door. I cried and I kept praying. I realized that Thing 2 never let go of my hands and never cried out for me to stop so he could go back to playing. For him to pray with me for the length of time that I prayed was a miracle in itself. I guess he understood my need at the time. We prayed for about 10 minutes and I let it go. Ten minutes later, the man appears telling me the interview was over. I knew at that moment all hope was lost. I told him I needed to go lie down and I did. Twenty minutes later he comes to me with the baby telling me he just got a call from Florida and he needs to call them back. He does and it’s an offer.
Fearing we would just jump at the first door and it wouldn’t be THE door even though we had prayed for only ONE door, we asked God to shut all of the other doors He didn’t want us to walk through and to make it impossible for us to move forward on Florida if He didn’t want us to move. He shut every door except for Florida and here we are. He starts his first day today. God is faithful even when we are not. Praise God. I learned SO many things in the last 7 months. I am still shaken by the events. I heard God tell me repeatedly, “Not your time but Mine.” We may very well have been in this trial for so long because of me. I kept telling God I needed it now and He kept saying, “Not your time but Mine.” It’s hard for me to be completely vulnerable and without any sort of back up plan. It goes against my nature. I am a planner, I am organized, I am always prepared… but how do you stay prepared for God’s timing and God’s plan when there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Prayer and your spouse. It was my husband that was my crutch when I couldn’t stand because of fear. It was his prayers over me for strength when I didn’t think I could face another day. Ecclesiastes 4:10-12, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” We were able to balance each other out many times in the last couple of months and our faith kept us grounded when we wanted to spin out of control with emotions. When he couldn’t have faith, I had enough faith for both of us and visa versa. That is the role of a spouse, to be a help mate and to complete you where you need it. We saw that in each other and I am eternally grateful for the wonderful man that God created for me and for who he is. He is everything that I need, want and more. Thank you Lord for this experience and providing me with someone to help me get through it. Thank you to all of our friends that prayed with us and for us. Your prayers helped us through this fire.