Friday, May 27, 2011

A Story of God's Provision

When Jim and I reconnected over Easter of 2007, he lived in North Carolina, and I lived in Virginia.  He had been working for his company for almost seven years and had transferred from his home town in Tennessee to South Carolina and subsequently to North Carolina, where he had been living for less than two years. He didn't care for North Carolina and had attempted 10-15 times to transfer yet again: preferably back to Tennessee, or to Georgia. The only opportunity he'd been afforded would have required him to train help-desk employees in Mumbia, India for 8-9 months. Many of Jim's co-workers were trying to transfer from North Carolina, as well, and most weren't having any luck.

Leaving Virginia wasn't, and isn't, really an option for me because I share custody of my son with my ex-husband, who also lives here.  So, when Jim and I decided that we wanted to spend our lives together, we started praying. Hard. It was clear that Jim would have to move to Virginia, but that meant his finding new employment. Almost unbelievably, he found an opening with his company about forty minutes down the road.  He applied, and he was offered the position at an increase in salary. Jim and I married on July 15, 2007: three months after reconnecting. He started his new position days later.

But, in August of last year, Jim was given two options: to lose his job, or to return to North Carolina (at his own expense) and keep his job. There were no openings, here, with his company; however, Jim could have taken a new position with his company had he been willing to transfer to one of four locations at some distance from where we live. The only way for Jim to keep our family [of four with Clementine's arrival] together was for him to leave his company. His last day was December 29th of last year. We learned that I was pregnant a week or so later.

The next seven months were frustrating, to say the least. We prayed earnestly and often and asked others to pray with us. We told ourselves, and one another, that God had not made a way for us to be together only to divide or leave us. We also told ourselves, and one another, that God had a plan for my son to be raised by his dad and me, and for Jim's and my children to be raised by Jim and, in Virginia. And, to complicate matters, we knew that my remaining a stay-at-home mom was a priority. In this economy, all of it seemed like a complicated and tall order.

As the months passed, the balance in our bank account diminished bit by bit, the rejection letters arrived steadily, and the phone sat cradled, mostly silently, in its charger. We were snowed in for long periods at a time last winter, and the transmission in our minivan went out.

We both had moments of doubt.

Jim wondered if he should have relocated to North Carolina with his company and come home on weekends. Additionally, he wondered if he had made the right decision in turning down a poor offer (very early in his unemployment) from a small company nearby. 

I struggled, mostly, with feeling trapped here by my joint-custodial relationship with my ex-husband. That's a difficult thing to admit, but I'm not trying to be ugly in any way; the fact of the matter is that Jim, Cade, Clementine, and I are here (7-8 hours from Jim's and my parents in Tennessee) because my ex-husband has a job, here.  And during those long months that Jim did NOT have a job (while there were plenty of jobs available to him in other places), I asked myself: what about Clementine? Should Clementine have to move from our log cabin into my bitty house, or go into daycare, because we are trapped in this place, where Jim cannot find a job? Am I somehow favoring one of my children over the other?

I kept praying prayers that are so familiar to me at this point: Father, forgive me for being angry, bitter, and resentful, and help me to do better. Also: Father, help me to remember that You love my children even more than I do, and that you have perfect plans for them. And I prayed a new prayer: Father, forgive me for having moments of doubt when You have always taken care of me. Meanwhile, Jim and I continued to attend church regularly and to do God's work as we felt led.

This past Friday evening, just like that, everything changed. Jim was extended a solid offer to pursue a new career beginning August 16th. Our family will remain intact. Cade will continue to divide his time between my ex-husband and me. I will remain a stay-at-home mom. Almost unbelievably--thanks to Jim's severance package from his previous company and the unemployment he has received since December--we are no worse off than the day he lost his position seven months ago. Meanwhile, he has spent the past seven months bonding with Clementine and caring for me throughout this latest pregnancy.

I overheard Jim talking to our pastor, earlier, saying: "I think I'm supposed to learn something from this." Indeed, both of us are supposed to take things from our recent experience, namely: God had a plan all along. Negative thoughts and feelings didn't help. And all of the better, more positive things that we thought and said were true: God had not made a way for us to be together only to divide or leave us; God had a plan for my son to be raised by his dad and me, and for Jim's and my children to be raised by Jim and, in Virginia, and God wanted me to remain a stay-at-home mom.

I know that some of my friends are in a place similar to the one from which Jim and I have just come. Seek God's face, and hold on a little while longer.

Charleigh Evangeline, born 08/30/10.
(Approx. 2 wks. after Jim started his new job.)

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