Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Graduation and MI

This Memorial Day weekend was quite the big event in my extended family.  My second youngest sister, aka #8, graduated from high school.  It was such a great ceremony and we're all so proud of her :)

She's a beautiful young woman and I'm selfishly glad she's staying in the area a little while longer for her college.

The morning after graduation, I headed off with my mom, Little Bean and two of my sisters for a trip to Michigan to visit family.  My grandfather's birthday was over the Memorial Day holiday, so we visited a veteran for Memorial Day and his birthday.  The trip included lots of extended family and even a trip to the beach, which despite the cold water, LB got in and waded for hours!

My husband is supposed to be getting a call-back for an interview in his area of expertise this week - as always - prayers welcome :)  I've got all the intentions I've been forwarded on my list, but if anyone has any other intentions, please send them my way. 

"I'll pray for you, and you'll pray for me and together we can reach...."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Waiting on Providence

If you've been following along - you heard my husband was laid off on April 28th. The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity and many outcries of frustration and prayer. It's amazing the number of people who have shared their similar struggles with unemployment. Yet again, I think perhaps God is calling me to deeper compassion. I had been so oblivious to this all-too-common struggle. I had been comfortable and smug in my little stay-at-home bubble. Grateful for the chance to stay home, but with no real appreciation for the difficulty so many mothers face in walking out the door everyday without their children in order to provide for them.

I've always been under the impression that if you're willing to sacrifice, living on one income is possible. I never really considered what happens when that income dries up.

Now I find myself at a crossroads. A couple hours ago, I completed my first application for full-time employment in a decade. My nearly 6 y/o hates the thought of me returning to work. I'm not entirely sure what my feelings would be if I got this job either. Returning to full-time employment would mean a sugnificant lifestyle change from volunteering, homeschooling, stay at home mom to business professional.

At the same time, my husband is actively seeking employment and I reuse that God will provide. I just don't know if God is calling me to provide. My prayer remains, "God help me to be obedient to Your will". This time is becoming not only a lesson in compassion, but a lesson in full surrender. The job I appliedfor would be a good fit for me, Little Bean could survive 1st grade in a private school, despite her misgivings and blessings would be found in following God's plan. The difficulty lies in knowing the will of God. Should you spare a prayer for us this week, discernment would be appreciated!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Long Way Home

Whew!  What a week.  Last Saturday saw us in Texas visiting my brother's family for my godson's First Holy Communion.  The drive is long and the road is pretty mundane....but the people at the end of the path are priceless :)

Once we were home and recovering from a serious lack of sleep on vacation, it was back to business as usual.  That means my husband is sending out resumes, and also, that I'll be starting to look for work soon too.

Many of my husband's possibilities in the job market will lead us somewhere far from family across the country.  While we will follow where we are led, it's hard to know what we should be doing.  I'm really looking for signs from God that I shouldn't be entering the workforce again.  So far, the signs aren't pointing that way.  My husband was laid off on the feast of St. Gianna Molla, patron saint of working mothers, and I happened across a job posting this week in our area that I am qualified for and would actually really enjoy......not promising signs on the staying home front! 

So, I'll be pursuing this job lead and praying that God's will be done and that our family follows the path we should. 

This past weekend's drive to Texas and back may have just been a preview of the travels our family will be called to.  Depending on where my husband finds employment, we may find ourselves taking the long way home.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Unpaid Vacation

Something that I never really considered happening happened this week.  My husband was laid off.  It was a total shock, and I'd never really thought about it ever happening to us.  From all we knew, his job was very secure and we never had any evidence to the contrary.  So, last Thursday when my husband was laid off indefinitely, we were surprised to say the least.  My husband has referred to it as his unpaid vacation, as he dusts off his resume and sets about the work of applying for new positions, filing with government agencies and the like.

I think it's kind of like going through the stages of grieving.....first there's denial, then anger, anxiety, frustration and then a grim acceptance as problem-solving mode kicks in.  The first couple days were really tough.  It still vacillates between a calm reassurance that God will provide and a frustrated plea to let this time of uncertainty end soon. 

Our family will weather this storm, as so many families before us have.  In many of the hardships we've faced in life (infertility, loss of pregnancy, now a lay-off), I've seen God's plan to make more compassionate, obedient servants out of us.  A line from a song keeps running through my head when I think about what we're facing and how our family will come through this, "I will praise you in the storm".  In this trial, I have seen the definite hand of God shielding us from what could have been a much harsher reality.  Our finances are not dire and even the gift of a full freezer of meat recently given to us, I see as God preparing us and giving us some comfort in this time.

It is my hope that my husband is able to improve his career through this lay-off.  The evening it happened, I was quite distraught.  As I sat trying to read a book and calm myself, I closed my eyes and an image appeared in my mind.  God's hand reached out and picked the three of us up and cradled us in His hand and carried us to where we are supposed to be.  It was not an image I conjured up to self-soothe, it was a response from God when I cried out to Him in our need. 

Another great comfort has been the prayers of so many faithful friends.  In our homeschooling group, prayer intentions are lifted up regularly and I have felt the grace of so many praying friends like a cloak around me to shelter me from the anxieties that could overrun this time.  Two friends sent the same bible verse to me within minutes of each other:

Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future." 

That's why I believe something better will come of this, even though I have no idea what that looks like or where it will come from.  God is faithful and is the ultimate promise-keeper.  I will praise Him in the storm.