This Just In…And Today God Gave Me What I Needed!!!

So…yesterday I sulked that I didn’t get a full-time job at UNK. I convinced myself that all classes were likely going to be taken from me; by doing that, I prepared myself for disappointment. It won’t hurt as much if I just believe nothing is changing and I’m not getting any job. But it still hurt. By the end of the day, I was emotionally spent, but I did set my sights on what is important. I remembered that there is good in everything and I held my babies tight. I praised God while watching my boys in their Bible School concert and I prayed for strength and understanding. I prayed that God’s will be done. I prayed that I would be able to help take care of my family financially somehow.

And today, God gave me what I needed, not what I wanted yesterday.

Hi, I’m Bailey Koch, official instructor for the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

I'm a Loper again! But this time, I'm an instructor and no longer the student!

I’m a Loper again! But this time, I’m an instructor and no longer the student!

I just got off the phone with the Dean; he called me this morning. He offered me a part-time job teaching 6 credit hours in the Teacher Education and Teacher Education/Special Education Departments of UNK. I have an office. I have a computer. I only have to drive two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) as they moved around schedules to accommodate my drive time; that’s why they didn’t call me yesterday. I’m not making a lot, but I’m making enough to help support our family financially. It’s exactly what our family needs, and I feel like my hours spent on this degree are finally beginning to help.

Hi, I’m Bailey Koch. And God just slapped me across the face…again. I love it when He does that to me. He gets me every time! God is good all the time. Trust that tomorrow, something more will come. It’s okay to be told “NO” by God sometimes. Because the “YES” feels oh so good.

When God Says “No” and I wanted “Yes”

Well, my pride is hurt. My feelings are hurt. I’m all out just bummed right now. I’m kind of on a pity party. I know I’ll get over it but I don’t really want to yet. I just want to be mad right now. Thankfully, I know how to not take this out on my husband and kids (mistakes made in the past have helped me move past that aspect of my pity party), but I still just need to be mad.

You see, here’s the deal. Let’s go back in time to August of 2013…

I knew I needed to leave my job and secure paycheck as a public education teacher; I knew it because God made it obvious. I was terrified to go to Jeremy and tell him that this is what I felt I needed to do for our family. To my surprise, Jeremy had no hesitations. None. Sure, honey. We are small business owners who often rely on your paycheck during the winter when we can’t always pay me, but quit your job. I understand and support you completely. I believe in you and what we are trying to do together for our family.

That’s awesome. My husband is amazing. So when am I going to start believing in me the way he believes in me?

So I did it. I quit my job. I left with stellar recommendations from my administrators and co-teachers. I was working on my doctoral degree and holding fast to a 4.0 GPA. Everyone I knew said to me, “Oh you’ll find a job immediately. Anyone would be lucky to have you.” You can likely tell that I didn’t only leave with these qualifications and amazing references, I also left with a giant I’m awesome attitude.

Well, God has a way of humbling us when we try to take on the glory ourselves rather than giving it to Him. I’ve learned my lesson…and am still learning it.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good has come from me leaving my job. Like…a lot. God has provided for us when we needed it, and I know He will continue to. We have even had family members who believe in us so deeply that they give and give of themselves. Do you have any idea how hard it is to accept financial gifts from family? Holy cow…there’s a lesson I didn’t ever think I’d have to learn. But now I know how God works; He is teaching me how He wants me to be for my future generations. I am working my butt off right now to set up our family financially for the future. And will I give as best I can to my kids, grandkids, parents, etc. when I am able? You bet your butt I will…because I know what it feels like to need it.

Our retirement is draining because we have been living off of that, but one day it will fill up again. We are learning to live without truly knowing how God is going to provide. I do love our life, but sometimes hearing “No” from God when I wanted “Yes” is hard.

So here is what has happened since I left my job. I had applied for over 70 positions without even getting a call-back. When I finally did get an interview, the entire thing was in Spanish. Yep…the entire interview. While I do have a degree in Spanish, teaching the alphabet to 7th graders for 7 years has its way of limiting higher-level conversational skills. I felt so stupid. I immediately started reading my old Spanish textbooks to brush up…but I wasn’t shocked when they never called me again. Lol…actually we got a good laugh out of it and I stopped applying for any Spanish teaching positions where I would have to converse face-to-face. Reading…great. Writing…good. Speaking…well, crap.

But I did get to be home with our youngest son during his last year before starting Kindergarten and be there 100% for my husband as we learned how to more effectively manage his depression. I got to finish up our book and get it published. “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” became a reality in March and is our life story. I know that is the main reason I was supposed to leave my job, because we focused on that and our story has helped many understand the reality of mental illness. I know that I will have more time now to help our book reach more people who may be struggling with truly understanding what it is like to either live with severe depression and suicidal thoughts (or another unseen illness) or to be the primary support person for someone suffering. I cannot even begin to explain the joy we feel when we realize that God has used us, yet again, to help somebody accept help with mental illness. It is so humbling and has truly helped us understand that God is in control and we are not. We wrote because God told us to. We shared because God put it on our hearts. And we receiving healing, understanding, and support as a result of sharing. God is so good.

I also got to focus on my doctoral degree being unemployed. As I type, I literally have three assignments left before I am in complete dissertation mode. And yes, I’m still holding onto my 4.0 GPA. Don’t be impressed, it’s freaking hard. I am up most nights until midnight or later just praying for the strength and knowledge to complete my assignments correctly. I sit at my desk and try to concentrate while also trying to balance my life as a small business owner, writer, wife, and mom of two young boys. I spend around 45 hours a week on homework alone. Now that I realize it’s not me, it’s God, it has become easier. I won’t lie. God made me passionate about special education, about students, and about writing. He gave me talents and I am putting them to use for this degree. I do believe He will make the work worth it because I believe I have the power to do good for future educators and students, but I’m ready now. Apparently He’s not.

I do get to start at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in August as an adjunct instructor. While I thought the possibility of full-time employment was there right now, it’s not. And I just found out today. So I’m bummed. But even writing has helped me practice what I preach. God is in control and I am not. While my plan is wrecked, I have to focus on the good. God has opened a door; I’m still getting to teach. It’s just not full-time. I’m still being given an amazing opportunity to begin my new career. Someday, it will be more. But right now, God says no. He has something more planned for me in the present moment that I don’t yet know about.

So I’ll begin my new career slowly, enthusiastically, and gratefully. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. Because if it’s anything like what He did for us since I left that comfortable life, bring it on. We may have little money, but we have more love and understanding than we ever have; and you can’t put a price on that.

Advice to My Boys: 12 Non-Negotiables

Hello boys. This is your mother. A few things in the media have recently caught my attention, and as a mother and a teacher, I will tell you that I am absolutely disgusted by parenting anymore. I know what happens as a result of parents believing their children are perfect; I have seen it in my classroom. And I refuse to be the mother who ever allows this to happen.

So here is my news flash to you, you are not perfect. And when you mess up, I will back you up, but only to take your biscuits to jail if that’s what needs to be done.

When you were very young, screaming in a restaurant resulted in my hauling you to the bathroom to wash your mouth out with soap or standing outside with you in the heat for 30 minutes while you kicked and screamed. I’m not sorry. Because those people sitting with friends and family in the restaurant deserve to not listen to my child scream. When you smacked your brother, I smacked your butt. I’m not sorry. Feeling exactly how it feels when you hit him helps you grow empathy for others and learn to control your anger. When you slammed your door so many times that it broke the trim, I took your door until you learned how to count to ten rather than breaking my house. I’m not sorry. That lesson helped you learn respect for property. When you tore parts of the city’s snow fence from across the street to use as weapons, I stood behind the local policeman who caught you and we came up with a plan for how you would pay for the fence. I’m not sorry. And watching you about crap your pants as our extremely intimidating police officer walked toward you was payment enough for me…actually, it was freaking hilarious. Then I truly enjoyed watching you pick up trash in local city parks as more punishment to be sure you understood respect for property. Again, I’m not sorry.

I love being mom of boys, but the responsibility of raising respectful young men comes with a lot of pressure.

I love being mom of boys, but the responsibility of raising respectful young men comes with a lot of pressure.

I get it, you are exactly like your mother. We tend to be hot-headed and quick to react. But the best part is, being your mother and teaching you how to control that part of you has helped me learn to control that part of me. There is a lot of danger in any parent believing we are done learning. I know I’m messing up every day, but I’m trying my hardest to help you understand that we are all human. You will mess up. So will I. And we will back each other up because we are navigating this life together.

There is a lot of power in two words: acceptance and respect. Accept the fact that you are not perfect. You will make mistakes and you will fall on your face. I will ALWAYS be there to support you, but remember that my job is to help you LEARN. Respect the fact that I am older than you and I have done more than you can possibly imagine yet. That is why I will allow you to make mistakes and I will never pretend that I am perfect. But there is this whole other issue with respect that must be addressed, so I’m warning you now.

If you do not learn respect for yourself, for your friends and family, for property, and for strangers, you are in for an extremely sad life. But learn respect, and you will gain that respect from others. You will be a happy and contributing member of society who treats others with kindness and empathy; that is my prayer for you.

Our boys are 9 and 6 this year.

Our boys are 9 and 6 this year.

So here is my advice (a warning, perhaps) to you, my boys, as you are growing older. And it all has to do with how I plan to help you learn respect:

1. I repeated “NO MEANS NO” to you millions of times for a reason. It doesn’t only apply to me, it applies to every female you will ever come in contact with. If I hear you disrespected that, I will dress up like a fairy princess and show up at Homecoming or your work place to visit you.

2. If I hear that you were at all involved in any type of bullying, I will escort you to the home of the person whom was feeling victimized and personally ensure that you ARE SORRY and that you will NEVER make another human being feel less important than you again. This goes for standing and doing nothing while your friends are engaging in bullying; that is the same. You are just as much at fault.

3. Manners never become less important; in fact, it’s the opposite. When you are in my home, I expect you to say please and thank you and open doors. This becomes even more important when you are out of my home. One day, you will have a girlfriend. I want to see the sparkle in her eye when she sees that you naturally open doors for her without thinking. If you don’t, I will come out and do it for her to show her that I taught you better than that.

4. Girls are not “hot”, they are beautiful. Girls are breathtaking and are naturally self-conscious. You have watched me struggle with my own self-image for years. And you, my sweethearts, have helped me overcome it with your child-like innocence and your definition of beauty because you are looking at your mother, someone you know to love you unconditionally. Look at women like that; never lose that part of you that I love so dearly. Look at girls as the perfect beings they are. Tell her she is beautiful; don’t wait for her to ask for your approval.

5. Wait. Please, just wait. Do you want honesty? I tried to throw myself at your father when we began dating in high school because that is the only way I knew to get boys to like me. Know what he did? He said no to me; he told me he didn’t need that from me to show me he loves me. He saw my vulnerability, and he chose not to take advantage. Your daddy stole my heart that night. He hurt my pride (or what I thought to be pride at that point in my life), but he stole my heart, and he set the tone for our entire relationship. We didn’t wait before we found each other. But we learned from our mistakes and we waited for each other to be ready for that incredibly intimate part of life. Then, when daddy was ready, my self-worth had grown to the point where I understood I was worth the wait. So we waited more. We waited until our wedding night, and it was the best decision we ever made for our relationship. Please be like your daddy. Please. There is a reason God reserved that right for marriage, and I learned it first-hand.

Jeremy and I had been dating for a little over a month in this picture...I was 16 (junior in high school) and he was 18 (senior). :-)

This is your daddy and I about two hours before he told me no. I fell in love with him that night. I was 16 and he was 18. (February 2001)

6. When you make a mistake, own up. Attempting to cover your tracks only makes the situation worse. When you accept that you made a mistake and you genuinely apologize for it, learning and respect take place.

7. If you impregnate anyone, ever, know that you are now your own family. Do not ask me to raise your child for you. Do not ask me for the money to support your family. I will help you, but I will not be a man for you. At some point, we all need help. But at some point, we all have to learn how to ask for help without expecting it.

8. Nobody owes you anything…ever. Do good out of the goodness of your own heart and expect nothing in return. God will reward you in different ways. Do not expect that another person’s definition of doing good is the same as yours. Abide by the Golden Rule; one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

9. Pride is your biggest enemy. Your satisfaction should come in knowing that others love and respect you as a man of God, as a family man who puts his family’s needs before his own, and as a man who will always help someone in need. A man is not measured by his achievements. Give the glory to God. He is who made you who you are; follow Him and He will make your paths straight.

10. Understand that this life is not about you. This life is about doing good and sharing love with others. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will learn to let the little things go, to love God above all else, and to love your family above all things society tends to hold important.

11. When you become a husband, remember two things:

 (a). Your relationship with your wife is most important of all, but still just behind your relationship with Christ. You are the example being set in your home. Love her. Never stop flirting. Go on dates. Do not be candid about your love for her in front of your children. And support her in every way.

(b). Your children will learn how to treat others by your example. So refer to all advice above. On these things, I am right.

12. Your relationship with God is the most important of all of these, and that is why it is last on my list…because I want it to be the first thing you remember when reading this. You know what we have been through as a family, because you have lived it. We have hope in Christ, and all glory goes to God. He is why we are still a family today. He makes us strong.

Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is the first work by Jeremy and Bailey and is available for purchase in paperback from the authors directly or in eBook format on Amazon. Thank you for your support of our mission to help the world understand the reality of severe depression, suicide, and unseen illnesses.