Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Where God Guides, God Provides (Complete)


My decision to stay home was not my own.  

I had always seen myself working outside the house.  Briefly when my company was bought out while I was still on maternity leave, my co-worker suggested we might receive severance packages.  For the first time the idea crossed my mind.  But when I went back to work, none was offered and my position continued.

Later, when a job opportunity became available I thought about moving within the company.  For the first time I wondered what God wanted me to do instead of what I wanted.  And so I decided to ‘test’ the idea out.  

After work one day I settled Justice down for a nap and decided to pray in a quiet place.  My walk in closet was perfect.  On the way I grabbed my Bible, but didn’t turn the light on so there was no way of reading it.  Instead I shut the door, laid on the floor with my head and hands resting on the open Bible.  

Now mind you, I wasn’t playing Bible roulette.  I didn’t plan on flipping through the tomb and randomly picking a passage and making it fit my situation.  But I did hope it would keep me focused and more open.  I was using the Bible as a physical reminder that I needed to be silent so I could hear the spiritual words.  And so I prayed.

I’ve forgotten much about that prayer, but I still vividly recall asking my question and getting a very clear; “Stay home.”  I remember laughing in the dark and thinking He must have heard me wrong.  I repeated my question and again I heard the same words.  I was convinced God didn’t know what He was suggesting.  I wasn’t interested in staying home.

So I didn’t.  I had told my husband the day I had heard the call to stay home, and though I knew we couldn’t make it financially with one income and our new house, he didn’t say no.  He said I had to decide and left it at that.  Which made the guilt of ignoring God even worse; I couldn’t use the excuse that my husband said no.  It was all laid at my feet… and what a mess.

The job I enjoyed for years was suddenly relocated out of state.  The new work was dull and unchallenging.  We quickly learned the company wanted us working more data entry when for years we had done research.  Policies at work were changing.  Bosses we loved were being demoted or moved.  Soon the only things I enjoyed were the friendships I had… and even those began to change. 

After 6-months of fighting it, but seeing no way we could manage without selling our house and losing money on it, I cried out to God.  “How on earth do you expect me to do this?  We can’t afford the house we live in if I leave.  Tommy doesn’t have insurance or retirement.  There are no benefits if I quit.  What you’re asking is financial suicide.”  And oh how we prided ourselves in being debt free.  We still had a house note, but our new cars were paid for.  We had no credit card debt, no student loans or medical bills.  And I had a nicely funded 401k and Pension through the bank.  I could only see disaster if I left.  

One morning during my hour commute, one of my favorite songs came on the radio.  As the chorus came on a tow truck pulled out in front of me.  At first I was frustrated because he slowed me down just one exit from work.  Then I noticed across the crossed shaped tow bar was an oversized rag in deep red.  And without thinking I sang the chorus along with the radio; 

So long status quo, I think I just let go
You make me wanna be brave
The way it always was is no longer good enough
You make me wanna be brave.”

The tears started to fall unchecked as I parked my car.  I sat there trying to compose myself as the songs meaning washed over me;

“The gate is wide, the road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You're safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been
'Cause it's been fear
That ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love
That cuts the strings
I am willing to risk it all
I say Your name, just Your name
And I'm ready to jump
Even ready to fall”

Nichole Nordeman - Brave

I walked to my desk and wrote out my resignation letter.  Though I don’t remember everything I typed, I do remember listing my cause for leaving as; “I was called to stay home and I’m tired of fighting God”.  I put the letter on my boss’s desk and walked back to mine.  I watched her read the letter through the office window and saw tears come to her eyes.  She came over to me.  “I want to talk you out of this, but there’s no way I can win.”

I stayed on a few more weeks and though I was sick to my stomach thinking I made the wrong decision, God blessed me with signs that I didn’t deserve but that showed me He would provide for me.  The first sign was unexpected money from a man I had a hard time forgiving.  Forgiveness comes easy to me with people who have hurt me, but when they hurt my loved ones I’m not as quick to forgive.   

This very man showed up at Tommy’s work with money the same week our septic started to back up.  I reminded God of what He was asking me to do if I left.  There was no way we could take care of this had I gone sooner.  But God showed me how He works.  And his way led to an unburdening of my heart.  My forgiveness didn’t come because of the money, but because when he handed Tommy the envelope he reached out to him and though the words forgive did not cross his lips… my husband knew and so did I.

Other amazing things happened, all love notes from God.  Some big like getting my pension even though the bank was shutting the program down.  As well as getting my full 401k balance when just weeks later the stocks would plummet and most who stayed on lost 50 to 75% of theirs.  The small ones were too many to count, but just as humbling.  

I saw all these things and knew that we’d be okay because for the first time in my life I was asking God’s will and listening.  There was no guarantee that things would always be as good as those first few years, but the initial leap of faith, though the scariest, was by far the most freeing.  I let God guide me and he provided.  And 10-years later I still see His hand in our lives because of that initial jump. 

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