May 19, 2007

The Post I Have to Write

This is the post that I have to write before I can get back to blogging. It is not going to be an eloquent post; I just have some things that I need to say before I can get back to the blog world. It might be a little long, I am not sure yet, I just sat down to type it. So, bear with me, if you like.

This last year has been a hard year. I have had other hard years in my life, none of which I have discussed on my blog. In fact, I started this blog at the beginning of one of those tough years, but I am not discussing those years now. I need to talk about this year.

It all started around Christmas of 2005. I had decided to leave my job at Shannon Forest Christian School (for reasons that I will not discuss right now, because they have little to do with this post), and I was now in the market for a new job.

I began the job search, the first of many job searches, and was coming up short. I almost went to another Christian School, but decided against it at the last minute. I even had the contract in my hands but decided that it would be best not to do this (also for reasons that I will not discuss right now...).

I ended up deciding to stick with my summer job at the moving company, because it paid very well most of the time. In fact, it paid so well that I could make in a week what I was making in a month at the school. I took this job and felt so confident that I bought a house and took a vacation.

When I got back from the vacation, that is when things started to slide. They were having trouble finding moving jobs for me to do over the road, so I spent some time doing some local moves. It was ok at first, but not enough to pay the bills. This began my second job search. A job search that I had never completely abandoned from the first time.

I began to have a whole new compassion for the jobless. Oh, there are plenty of jobs out there, if you want to make $10/hr. and have no benefits. Oh yeah, there are a hundred jobs like that, but that just won't cut it if you are trying to take care of a family and pay a mortgage.

I was getting desperate. I was coming up with all kinds of ways that I could take two of those mediocre jobs and just work all of the time. I told my boss at the moving company that I needed work. Lots of it, but it was one of the slowest winters that they had experienced in 15 years or so. There just weren't any jobs, and the ones that they found had been discounted so much that by the time I paid for fuel and labor (and slept in the cab of my truck to save on hotel expenses), I was not getting any money. Once I got back from Buffalo, NY, moving someone up there and picking someone up and taking them back down south, and my paycheck was only about $100. More than a week's worth of hard labor, 15 to 20 hour days, sleeping in the cab of a truck at rest stops, and all I got was $100. Not worth it.

It is very challenging as a man to not be able to provide for your family. I was in the middle of a third job hunt in December. We had not missed any bills, but our savings was trickling down to nothing. I had already gone for two weeks of December with no paycheck, but it was looking like I might get one the Friday before Christmas. I had just gotten back from a trip that took me from home to Wilmington, NC to New Jersey to a town near Boston, Massachusetts to New Paltz, NY and then back to North Carolina. I had spent most of the time working and sleeping in my truck. I had not wasted any money, so I thought for sure I would make something on this one. The moving company had made an error on my insurance though, and had not been taking enough out of each paycheck. They decided to take the rest out the Friday before Christmas. My paycheck that week... $0.

I knew I had to do whatever it took to survive, but before I started selling my blood or one of my kidneys, I decided to try the Public School System. They gave me a job right away. And after a full semester here, I know why. (I won't go into my public school experiences right now, because it also doesn't have a lot to do with the story.)

Anyway, if you are still with me, I took the job and started January 3rd. Unfortunately, if things weren't bad enough already, it just so happens that the way payroll worked out, I wouldn't get my first paycheck from the school until the end of January. Frustrating.

Now, here I am. Last month I took a job at the Christian School that I almost went to last year. I just replaced my septic system. (Which was an absolute miracle how we got the money for that one. We were able to pay in cash, and I would love to tell the donor, but I don't think that they want to be mentioned.) and my wife is going in for surgery next week.

I have told you all of this to tell you that through it all, God has been good. I have seen Him work in many ways to provide for us, but more importantly I have seen Him grow me and my wife in faith.

That is what this is really all about anyway. And when I say "this" what I really mean is all of this. The whole thing, not just my situation or my post. In the book of Romans, we get a glimpse of what God's goal is in everything. It says, "we know that God works all things together for good ... (for those of us who are truly Christians) to be conformed to the image of His son." Everything that God does (or allows) is all to be worked towards making you like Jesus.