Just a seemingly ordinary day.
Aaron was in Indianapolis for a meeting. Emma was at gymnastics. Austin, Brynn and I were at Tharp Sixth Grade school, standing in line, in the library, preparing to turn in some paperwork.
And my cell phone rang.
It was Aaron. I could hear the wind from his car windows and his voice was cheery as he greeted me.
Then, I was second in line, and I hear, “Good news, I’m coming home early.”
Then, I was first in line, “Hold on, one second…”
“Okay, what did you say?”
“I got let go today. I’m coming home.”
And I thought he was kidding. Or rather, I hoped he was kidding.
“No I’m not kidding.”
Pause. Really long pause. Really, really long pause.
And Aaron fills in the gap with confident words of “we’re good till the end of the year, full benefits, we’ll be fine.”
And I feel dizzy.
And I think I tell him to drive home safely, and I press the “end” button.
And I look at my children.
And I instruct them to sit down at one of the library tables. In a matter of about 20 seconds, the time it took me to end the call and walk to the table, I experienced shock, denial, anger, and depression. And then, I had to do the next…
By the expression on their faces, the children knew something was amiss. My mind was spinning in a million different directions, so I did they only thing that came to mind first.
I wanted to pray. I needed to pray.
So right there, in the middle of all the commotion, the kids and I bowed our heads, and this gentle voice that seemingly resided from someone else next to me, spoke words,
Lord. We trust you. We don’t understand, but we trust you. You tell us not to worry and so we want to leave our worry at this table. You tell us you will provide, and we believe you. Please keep our Daddy safe on his way home. We love you.
And I look up, and our son has quiet tears that have slipped down his cheeks. And my heart melts. I whisper words of details that I do know, and I reassure him that God knew this was going to happen today, and that He promises to never leave us. And he takes a deep breath, and I do as well.
And I look to my right, and Brynn is staring at me with round-saucer-deer-in-headlights eyes, and she says, “Mommy will we have to move?” And my heart sinks, and my mind recognizes her mindset. She is desperate for security. I say, “Honey, no, I don’t think so. We’ll be praying about this every day. God will show us.”
And now Austin has wiped his tears, and we move onto the next. We walk to the cafeteria to take school pictures (we’ll always remember THIS one), we walk to the gym and receive his schedule, and we pick up his first-time-ever locker combination and we head down to the hall to locker #470. (Yes, there are 635 sixth grade students in this building, crazy I know).
And I have this insane sense of peace. And then we stop and talk to a few families that we know. And then we leave.
It was so surreal. I wanted to scream. I wanted to crawl into bed. I wanted to have a group call with my close friends. I wanted to ignore what just happened. But instead, we went bowling, like we planned. And we stopped at Staples to buy school supplies. And we awaited the arrival of Aaron. And I prayed.
Here we are, four weeks later. And my God has shown up and shown off in some mighty ways, already. Along with the daily surprises, He has literally opened a double-wide door for me. Back in July, before leaving for Honduras, Aaron and I had a date night. I sat across the table at Cheesecake factory, and I passionately poured forth my heart about my desire to start working again, and even more specifically, to get back to education. But I couldn’t see how, and up to this point, doors had only been shut. My license had expired (something I clearly felt the Lord asked me to let go of at the time), public substitute teaching options were simply not an option, and the logistics of the family needs all did not connect. I was very confused.
And then, one morning I went for a run. Soon after leaving, I had a thought. School for the Deaf. And it wasn’t something I had thought of previously. It wasn’t of me. And I knew. While obeying Him in “training” for a marathon, he met me on the road. And I had instant peace.
So, I applied for a substitute teaching position at my previous place of employment. I walked to school with a neighbor and learned of a class I can take, right here in Hilliard, and in just two weekends, one written paper, I can fulfill the credits needed to renew my license and be ready for a full-time position by December. And then I meet the principal. And then I have a second interview, the most causal, comfortable interview I’ve ever experienced, and she tells me there is an immediate need for a teacher that was already placed on bed rest. Oh, and by the way, she teaches math (my favorite subject). And I left stunned.
And now I simply wait for the state to clear my paperwork. And until then, I’ve stepped into each day, ready to greet the marvelous opportunities that time has afforded to Aaron and I. We served together this week. We actually tore down walls of a house in an impoverished neighborhood in conjunction with Rock City Church. The plan is to renovate a home for a family who doesn’t have a home. We literally had an opportunity to tear down the old, and make it new. And God illustrates the state of our hearts.
My heart is undergoing some tearing down. And it hurts. And it’s brought about so much freedom. Just as Paul says,
Philippians 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
We enjoyed a wonderful season of “plenty” as he provided through Aaron’s employer. And now we’re in a new season. Most days I am filled with joy and wonder. I understand that peace and joy aren’t elusive until… Aaron is employed again. He offers peace, joy, and love to me right now, right where I am. And other days, the reality that neither of us are currently working and we have an end date for our funds slaps me silly. And therein lies my choice. Do I choose to stand on the truth of his words, or do I succumb to the stress?
And through it all, Aaron and I talk. And we talk. And we talk. And we grow closer as we share all parts of our hearts, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we look at change, and we remind each other to open our fists to palms up, and we simply take the next step that comes along, and we choose to trust, and we pray.
And Aaron looks at a clean slate. Does God have a place for him back in Corporate America? Does he have a place for him in ministry? He presses forward, making connections, listening to the Spirit about who to meet with, and he has a second interview with a well-supported business about a ten minute drive from our home. Will this be the place for him? Will the temptation be strong for jump-in decision, or will God direct us in a different direction?
I’ve been quiet about the ministry decision. Too quiet. I ran yesterday. For 3 hours and 20 minutes. And I listened to 5 podcasts. 5 preachers/teachers. And He arrested me. He had my full attention. I literally couldn’t run away from it. I had been praying about this. And He answered.
I had gotten stuck. Stuck in my limited vision. I couldn’t “see” how this ministry option for him (for us), was going to work. And because I couldn’t see, I was not believing. I proclaim that my God provides, but did it need to be under my terms? I can say that money doesn’t matter, but at the end of the day, I’ve managed the bills. It does. I can say that I will support Aaron in whatever he decides, and then I have thoughts about not signing-up to handle the “mess” that comes along with the position.
And the Bible says,
And without faith it is impossible to please God
And what is faith?
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Truth. And I know this. And I was wrong. Let’s just call out the sin for what it is – pride. Pride in claiming control. Pride in believing my way is better. Pride in proclaiming my sovereignty over His. I was stuck. Stuck in my head. Stuck in my logic. Stuck in the familiarity of seeing my husband using his gifts and talents in the business world. Perhaps even standing on a strange and false sense of security (which is illogical since this is the reason we are here in the first place).
Change takes me a bit to get adjusted to. Always has. Thus, I believe, the reason He is allowing me time now before I begin teaching. Yet, I do know one thing. Without change, no growth occurs. And I want growth. I want to learn more and more about my God. I want to get closer and closer to knowing His heart that I simply reflect it without realizing it. I want to live with less. Less of me and more of Him. And I know, in order to do that, I have to look at my “ugly”. I have to walk through the process of refinement. I have to choose to let Him sift my heart like wheat (Luke 22). I have to allow him to bring my selfishness and pride into the Light so that I can see it through His eyes, His perspective.
And then I do.
And it’s a beautiful sight.
And I don’t deserve it, but I receive it.
And all else doesn’t matter.
And I am free.
Free to have an open hand, an open heart, an open mind, and an open soul. I can take the next step with peace. And I can live in the moment, right where I am. And I can remember His faithfulness, because I will veer, and I can know that He will once again, gently guide me back to where I want to be again. And I breathe. I breath in life.
To be continued…