So, this past Monday marked 10 months since Mark got laid off from the job we moved to Wichita to pursue. He's been laid off longer than he had the job. How have we made it this 10, long months? But for the grace of God go I...WE. God has been gracious. He has been sufficient. He has provided. He has been faithful. He has been abundantly free with His blessings each and every day.
The day that Mark was told not to come in to work and then the next day when they laid him off were days of fear, disbelief, and a sense of loss of purpose for both of us. In the days, weeks, and months that have followed, we have learned the true meaning of God's providence. When we weren't sure how we were going to pay the bills, a side job (or 2 or 3 or 10) would come up and be just the right amount to cover our expenses. There were times when anonymous gifts of Dillon's or Target giftcards came in the mail and it eased the burden. Once, we got a $200 Visa card out of the blue. If any of those were from any of you, we thank you deeply for blessing us.
The spring, summer, and fall were rough times with Mark working a lot in KC for his brother and the kids and I staying here and learning to survive on our own. I know that sounds dramatic, but I am NOT an alone kind of person! I have learned that I CAN survive him being gone (for SHORT periods of time, Lord...not permanently!) and that I am a stronger person that I thought. God has granted me sweet sleep on many a night when I was edgy. Mark got a renewed appreciation for the kids and I as he was away from us and missing all of the things they were doing. He had been home soooo much and now was gone soooo much that it really changed his perspective in a positive way. We struggled in our marriage last summer and overcame the struggles triumphantly as we learned to draw nearer to each other and to God as we travelled this unknown and uncertain journey. Our marriage has truly never been better than following that rough, unhappy time. Sometimes we must be in the fire where we're unhappy and uncomfortable in order to be molded to His liking and to His likeness.
We are looking ahead at another spring, summer, and fall wondering if that schedule might not be in our future once again. We'll have to see what God has in His plans for us. If that is what he decides, we will follow His lead.
I really cannot fully explain what an improvement this year has had on our individual lives, our marriage, and our sense of family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all of you that have prayed us through all of the mountains and valleys that we've faced. If you would have told me last May that Mark would not have a job come March, I might have had an emotional breakdown. Now, I just kind of laugh and say, "SO WHAT!" God has had other plans for us and that has been sufficient...