To be honest, I struggle. It's been over two months now. I won't deny that panicked feeling whenever I have an extra expense come up or whenever a day goes by that he doesn't get a single phone call back or line up an interview somewhere. I give it to God every morning and feel such peace. Then I come inside, and it doesn't take long for the anxiety to creep back in.
God is reminding every day, though, just how much I have to be thankful for. Here are the things I'm thankful for regarding his unemployment.
- Time. We are all off for the summer. This has never happened before. We've been blessed with lots of lunches together, unhurried dinners, movies, trips to Six Flags, and even two spontaneous trips that weren't quite so close. With no school, work, or soccer schedules to work around, it's a gift.
- Rest. No one has to come up with a schedule of who takes which son where at what time. Who has to work late, who needs to start dinner, what meals have to planned for what days because of time crunches, etc. Sometimes we have to fight over who wants to take one of them somewhere because we are both free to do it.
- Miraculous provision. Two random, unexpected gifts paid for over half of our summer. We have not had to scrape for anything. If Mike still had his job, we would have missed out on witnessing that God really does work like that. He really does just drop money from the sky. Our sons would have missed that, too.
- Peace. Just like we learned last year with the camper situation. When God takes something away, it means He has something better in store. We know God's got this.
- Prayers. I can't tell you what it means to me to hear someone is praying for him to find a job. Even someone from my writer's group wrote a comment on my story last month saying, "Praying for you daily".
- Knowing there are people in our life that have our back. People who tell us, "I promise you, we won't let you go under. Please don't suffer in silence. If you ever have a need, let us know." (We haven't had a need to bring up and shouldn't for awhile, but it's nice to know we're surrounded by people like that.)
- We are a two-income household. We have money to live on. I am reminded of that when I hear of families who lost their only source of income.
- Faith in a God who always has our back, and who always goes before us. Faith that every loss has purpose. Faith in a God with a track record that's not about to change.
- We finished Juan David's recognition of adoption without the cost of a lawyer, saving us over $1500 that we can use now.
- A trip to the beach (one of my biggest desires for the summer) that only cost us gas and two nights on a campground. Taking a big trip to Florida would have cost us a whole lot more.
- Two opportunities to be trained in leadership. A women's intensive one-day leadership retreat in August, and then the Willow Creek Leadership Summit for two days at my church the following weekend (I get to go for free because I serve in a leadership role of some kind in the church). If all had gone according to my plans, I would have been on vacation during both of them.
- A chance to expose the boys to "reality" and the importance of stewardship and money management, as well as faith in a God to take care of us and meet all of our needs.
- We just came through a ReEngage program that helped us communicate so much better with each other and take each other's needs into consideration. Without those tools, I'm not sure our relationship would be standing as strong as it is at the moment.
- I'm teaching a Bible study right now. There is always a trial or struggle when I teach a Bible study, and we always come out with a blessing on the other side.
- Extra savings. We're living off the second year(and likely final year) of a larger than normal tax refund due to the Adoption Tax Credit. The extra expenses that come up (new tires, vet bills, computer issues, etc.) haven't hurt us or put us into any kind of debt.
- Julian went to Argentina before I could spend the money to buy tickets to go to Colombia with Juan David.
- I signed David up for his mission trip to Colorado just before Mike lost his job. I fully intended to pay for the entire amount, but instead we had to live by faith that God would provide the funds through other means. That in itself gave others the blessing to partner with the "mission" financially, and it keeps David more accountable to others, knowing that they supported him.
So, while I do prefer security and routine, and while I don't like not knowing how to plan very far into the future, I am thankful for all the ways God has shown Himself to us in this trial.