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.

The Benefits of a Bestie (especially one who lives 5 minutes away)

This is me right now…full belly (frozen pizza…well, I did cook it), glass of Sangria on ice (I have a fabulous box of it in my fridge…yes, I said box…”simplicity” should have been my middle name), and most importantly, a heart filled with hope and happiness.

Today was one of those days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very blessed. But my family and I took a huge leap of faith this year. I still know it was the right decision, but I don’t have a full-time job yet after leaving my job as a special educator. I know I’ll find one; God is amazing and I know that He has big plans for us. But the security of that lifestyle was hard to leave. It was a risk, but we knew (and still know) that it was the right decision. I’ll find a job to support my family. But I am REALLY good at not believing in myself.

Today, our boys were doing everything in their power to get on each others’ nerves. So when my mom arrived this morning and noticed that my nerves were on edge, she immediately volunteered (with a bit of coaching from Hudson I would assume) to take them both for a sleepover. Knowing what may happen to her blood pressure if I sent them both, we opted for her taking one and leaving one home. It was the best decision this week; not to mention, it allowed Asher to have a play date with his little friend, Bryna (my best friend’s daughter). It doesn’t matter what is going on, I can call Cara (bestie) and she will let me steal one or more of her children. Her second and our oldest are wonderful friends. And her third and our youngest are wonderful friends as well. It works wonderfully. I’m so blessed. She trusts me completely with the care of her kids; and that is the highest level of respect and honor that anyone can give another person, in my opinion.

So we had Bryna for a play date. Asher and Bryna play so well together, it’s just precious. They played in the sand under our shaded deck. They played in the pond in the back yard. They ran around in the front and rode bikes and scooters. Finally, they got tired and headed in to completely cover my living room with every tiny piece of every game we own while watching “Teen Beach Movie” on Disney. They melt my heart.

But while they were playing, I was preoccupied. I was sad. I was looking for jobs…and I haven’t found one yet.

When I left my job, and still to this day, everyone tells me, “With your qualifications and personality, you’ll get hired immediately!” Will I? Why is it not happening in my time frame? I have to find a job working from home so that I can support my family and pursue our dreams of helping others on a larger scale. I’m qualified. I’m enthusiastic. I’m an extremely dedicated and hard worker. I’m also unemployed. It’s hard to believe in myself right now.

So I was on a pity party. And guess what? Just like every other time I question myself, God reminded me of how I believed in God’s plan for our lives, in myself, and in what our family needs from me so much that I marched into my administrators’ offices at the beginning of the ’13-’14 school year and gave my notice. I could no longer handle what public education has become and I know that I am meant to help remedy the situation on a larger scale. I know God has big plans; it’s just beginning.

But I didn’t know all of this (or didn’t remember it today) until God smacked me up-side the head…again. No, He didn’t hit me with a brick, tree, or His literal hand (though I likely deserved it). He hit me with a visit from my bestie.

Cara runs an in-home daycare, getting away is not easy. So you can imagine my surprise when she walked in my front door at 4:30 in the afternoon and announced, “I have to set this down and then I’m coming to give you a huge hug. We’re celebrating.” I followed her, intrigued. “What are we celebrating?” I inquired. She embraced me in a hug so tight that I almost fell over. “I am just so proud of you!” she said out loud as she squeezed the air out of me. “I just read your post about why you left your job. God has such big plans for you. I am just so proud of you.”

And I lost it…

God sent Cara to me today. She had randomly been called to read my post two ahead of this one. It’s called, “This Is Why…” I had explained to her in the past why I left education, but I’m not as good at explaining myself when I don’t have time to really think about my words. This is why I love writing (see…just fixed that sentence and you didn’t even know it). Not to mention, Cara’s and my conversations (with six kids between the two of us) usually go something like this…

Cara… “Did you read that post about…Bryna! Give that back to him! You say sorry to your brother. Rogan! No! We do not hit!”

Bailey… “Oh you mean the post when you…Asher Lane! Quit kicking Hudson! Hudson, that does not mean you kick back!”

Cara… “Yeah the one where I mentioned…Did you seriously just say that to her?”

Bailey… “I think I know the one you are talking…Are you kidding me, child?!?!”

You laugh because you understand. We both know what we are talking about. We speak the same language. But it doesn’t always work the way it can when you write it. Texting helps! We should start texting when we are sitting next to each other…maybe then we will get a full sentence out.

So today Cara finally, truly understood. We hadn’t even spoken. But I truly believe that God put Cara and I on this earth together to support each other. Today, He called her to help Him reinforce His plan for my life. I cried so hard, hugged her tighter than I ever have, and explained to her how amazing it was that she read that post today and felt compelled to come to me. She explained that it was obviously God at work; she’s a planner, and she so strongly felt the need to come to my side and tell me how proud she is of me that she left a tray full of hash browns on her counter ready to go in the oven for supper. Instead, they came to our house and we celebrated our family’s new life with wine and frozen pizza while our kids belly-laughed and got covered in sand.

Cara has amazing faith and is the best prayer I have ever met. She has a heart of gold, is an unbelievably dedicated wife and mother, and does it all with such poise and positivity that the rest of us just watch in awe. Cara lost her mom when she was a teen; she could be bitter about it. But instead, she uses that pain that she had to fuel her desire to be there for her own kids in every way possible. She’s another rock in my life. I have God. I have Jeremy. I have my kids. I have my mother. But having my bestie is another type of love that I pray everyone has. Thank you, Cara. You are my sister from another mother. I love you.