2.17.2014

Patience, Grasshopper.

So many things have happened in the past 9-ish months, I don't even know where to start.

So, I'll start at the very beginning... According to Mary Poppins, it's a very good place to start.

My husband had been working at a company for around 4.5 years when things started to go a little south in our opinions.  He was what they describe as "salary non-exempt" which simply means he had a base pay, but had overtime as well.  Working the hours that he worked, he would have overtime in every paycheck kind of "hap-hazardly" and then he could work extra whenever he desired on projects they had going on in the company.  Because of multiple reasons, the big one being the company tried to expand too quickly and didn't have the funds to keep it all up, cuts were made, and overtime was eliminated.  This cut a pretty large chunk out of our monthly income.  When one is pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck (but never in need, so not complaining in that aspect, please understand) this was a huge blow.  Now, instead of being paycheck-to-paycheck, we were dipping into savings bi-monthly to handle our bills.  As far as finances go, I'll leave it at that and not go into much more.

This began our search for a new job, not announced, but quietly searching.  God was preparing us, we just didn't know it.

October rolled around and my husband's company announced that 100 people would be laid off throughout the corporation.  With plants in multiple states across the USA, this wasn't that many people, truthfully.  To be perfectly honest, I was never worried.  His position was in quality assurance, there was only one of them per shift, so how could they cut him.  The plant legally cannot run without him there.

October 25th, a Sunday, he got home early (which doesn't happen, ever.) and I knew then what had happened.  No warning, no notice, nothing.  Pack your things, bye.

I'm sure most of you reading this realize that I am a stay-at-home mommy, so we had no income to fall back on.  The severance he received was very minimal, and in case you didn't know, they tax severance almost 50%.  According to a new legislation, you cannot apply for unemployment until the period of your severance pay is complete. (no matter how much money after taxes you actually receive)  So, if you get 2 weeks worth of severance, you cannot apply until the 2 weeks are up, 6 months severance, you have to wait 6 months, and so on...

At the beginning of November, he applied for a job, was called with in two days to come in for an immediate interview.  They loved his resume and after two or three interviews in the next couple of weeks was told it was between him and another candidate.  There was another facet to this job though... a career path.  The person in this position would be hired to be directly in line for the head of the department when he retired with in a year.  The "retiree" if you will, a HUGE name in the NC State Food Science department... where my husband graduated from.  Coincidence?  There are none.  All of this is part of the plan.  This brought in a personal element to this relationship, one that no other applicant had.

Though we thought this was a sure thing, we didn't wait.  We couldn't afford to wait.  Mind you unemployment had yet to come through.

The day he came in that Sunday to tell me he had lost his job, I thought about many things, but one of them, on the materialistic side.... CHRISTMAS.  What about Christmas?

November 19th, I get a call to head to Walmart, I had been chosen to be in a commercial, something I had auditioned for at least 6 months earlier and thought was a lost cause.  Pick 40 items, up to $250, in groceries, do a commercial shoot, spend the day getting make-up done and doing take after take after take... I can do that.  Oh yeah, and you can keep the groceries.  Oh, and another thing, we're giving you a $250 gift-card to Walmart.  Thanks, God.  Groceries and Christmas.  Coincidence?  Nope.

December comes along, the company was still "deciding" and we were still hopeful, yet growing impatient.  "He could have been hired and done with training by now!"

The One that I bring my prayer requests to, my questions about life, my concerns, my worries, of course is my Lord and Savior.  The second in line?  My Nana.  :)
"God is going to teach you both something through this, Heather, you watch."
All this time, I knew what it was... PATIENCE.  This is one of my HUGE downfalls, among many others... but one of the roots of many of them, patience.

Okay God, okay Nana.  We'll wait.  But it would be nice if unemployment came in, right?

Many companies showed interest, but nothing panned out.  January comes around and this company calls and lets us know they have "chosen someone from inside the company."  Okay, shut that door.  But it's okay, because something else has come along... quickly.

Application received, call received, interview scheduled... all within the same day.  Two days later, an interview.  The next week, an offer.  Along with that offer, a call from the PREVIOUS company that we thought was a sure thing... "I know you have received an offer, but we want to keep the door open for a future position, is that okay?"  Ok God, what in the world.

Reading the offer, we knew already that this company desired us to move.  We live around 50 minutes from the company right now, and they wanted us to be within 20 minutes for "on call" situations.  Okay, we'll move.  I want to move anyways, thanks God, you're giving me an excuse!  :)
What we didn't expect?  The offer said we had to move by March 15th.  It's the end of January.  OH, and we will terminate you if you're not 20 minutes away from the company by March 15th... and we're not going to help you move on the financial front.

Our house is not on the market.
The market is not in the position for people to move quickly.
We would have to put up quite a bit of money to sell our house, especially at a competitive price for a quicker sell.

We put in a counter offer that stated we wanted the wording changed to "we will be in the PROCESS of moving before March 15th."  Meaning, we will do our best, we have already contacted our agent, we will put our house on the market as soon as possible, I have researched schools, found possible houses... but past that, I can do no more!  We absolutely will not have 2 mortgages.

Now, most people in our lives saw this situation as a HUGE red flag, but when you're going on 4 months with no income (oh yes, and unemployment STILL has not come in by this point - January 30th), those red flags look a little pink-ish... we'll work with it.  We can do this.

The day they were supposed to let us know about the counter offer, my mom and I took the kids to run some errands while my husband stayed home.  Before we left, we talked about a game plan:  What is it going to take for you to immediately take the offer and not call me first?  What is going to take for you to say you will call them back after you discuss it with your wife?  He interjected, "...and what it's going to take for me to walk away?"  Walk away?  Why would you do that?  We NEED a job.  NEEEEEED a job.  He says, "I feel like if they are completely unwilling to work with me, I need to walk away."  Okay, babe, I trust you.


(sitting in Pablanos with the kids and my mom)
::ring, ring, ring::
"They pulled the offer."

Really, God?  Seriously?
Anger ensues.  How could they do this?  What do they expect from us?

Call Daddy, Text Veronica, Text Nana.
::ring ring ring::
"Heather, are you okay?"
"ehhh... I will be Nana."
Then the wisdom flows, the Godly insight that she has more than anyone I've ever met.  My voice of reason.  My "it's going to be okay, God's got this."
And through the tears in the middle of a mexican restaurant, "but we needed this, we don't even have unemployment!"

I've always wondered what it truly felt like for God to give you insight and wisdom of understanding.  I suppose he has, but never so clearly as he did with in a couple of hours that Friday.  I went from angry, to understanding, to having complete peace about this whole situation.  Complete. Peace.  I talked to my husband.  God was preparing his heart that morning before I left.  He said he would walk away if they were unwilling to work with him.  I prayed for something different that morning.  I prayed for God to clearly shut that door if it wasn't where we needed to be.  Careful what you pray for. :)

I know for a fact that if my husband had made the CHOICE to walk away (first of all, I'm not sure he would have), he would have second-guessed himself.  He wouldn't be able to think straight because all he wants to do is provide for us.  That's all he EVER wanted to do.  So instead of him fighting that battle, feeling that guilt, God slammed that door.  Truly, we really dodged a bullet, a missile really.

That next Monday, he called back the FIRST company, the one we thought was a sure thing, just to let them know that it did not work out and he still wanted to keep all lines open with them.  The guy he had been in contact with the whole time gave him a contact at NC State to see if there were any opportunities they knew about.  Oh yeah, the person "within the company" that they hired?  Oh, that fell through.  Coincidence?  Nope.

The next week, our unemployment came for the VERY first time since this whole ordeal started.  Almost 4 months in.

"I got a call today babe, from THEM... They want me to come in on Thursday.  They say it's not an interview.  I also got 2 email contacts today... oh, and two other calls from major prospects that want me to come in."

Really, God?  Nothing, then something gets taken away very clearly, then FIVE in one day?  FIVE?
Okay, well You've shown us so far, we trust You.
Oh, and one more thing, God... Snow?  Now????  We're in North Carolina for goodness sakes, and you want to send what may be a FOOT of snow on Wednesday?  Won't that make it difficult to get to this "not interview" on Thursday?

"Not interview" gets changed to Friday.  Really?
Patience, Grasshopper.  Remember... this is what I'm teaching you.

Thursday night, we come home from playing in the snow at my parent's house, the ground covered in snow, which has now turned to quite a bit of ice.  We made it home fine, but couldn't get up in the drive way.  Due to other neighbors parking on the street and the way our driveway is shaped, we HAD to get to the top of the driveway so that our other car had room to get out the next morning.  I walked to the neighbors and asked if they had a shovel, we needed to dig out a place to get up in the driveway.  They didn't have one, but insisted on coming out and PUSHING the van up.   Our neighbor, his oldest boy, and my husband pushed the van up on the first try.  We thanked them and I mentioned the reason he needed to get out Friday morning.  With in seconds, our neighbor grabbed the both of us, we stood in a circle in my snow covered drive way at 9:00 that night, and he prayed over us... I mean REALLY prayed over us.  He claimed this job for us.  Prayed for our hearts, for peace, and for the hearts of his -hopefully- future employer.  Coincidence that we got stuck in the snow?  Not to me.

11:00 he arrives, 11:22 he calls.
"They have given me an offer.  I want to take it."
Being the voice of reason, I go through the offer with him, tell him I trust him, and if this is what he wants, go for it.  Meanwhile, dying of happiness inside.
The offer is for the VERY first position that he interviewed for.  The one that was a "sure thing" back in November.  The one that we have waited for... not so patiently, but in the process learned the virtue that is exactly that... patience.
"Oh, and I'll be doing some training... some in Alabama, some in Minneapolis, some in Charlotte, and a couple of days at NC State."
Guess who that's with?  Yep, the contact that was made the month before to see what was available in the job realm.  Coincidence?  Nope.  A relationship built.

That afternoon, I called Nana.
"I just want to tell you, when they pulled that offer 2 weeks ago (to the day), I CLAIMED this job for him.  I prayed and I claimed it.  Not any of these other prospects, this one."

It's no coincidence that God has given me, a very "passionate" (to put a nice spin on it) person, a very worrisome person, a very anxious person, an incredible amount of peace through out this whole process.
For some reason, from the first interview with this company, I have felt that it was going to work out.  Actually, I do know the reason. :)

We have had so many people praying for us, it's mind-blowing.  It's amazing to see how many people in our lives truly care about us, or truly care about us because they care about our parents, who are hurting on behalf of us.

There have been people in our life these past couple of months that we quite literally could not have lived without.  I mean, literally.  Because it took almost 4 months for the first drop of unemployment to grace our bank account, we would have lost our house... if we didn't lose our house quite yet, we wouldn't have had power, or a phone for companies to call on, or internet for emails to be sent or resume's to be filed.  When I say no income, I mean NONE.

God has truly had His hand in this whole process, and for the first time in my life, I have seen it.  I have witnessed it first hand... not looked back on it years later and said "Oh, I get it now."  I know already.  He showed me at the beginning what He was going to teach me, what I needed to work on.

Our pastor has always said there are no coincidences.  It's true.

We had this contact immediately so his foot would be in the door.  Taught patience by nothing happening for a couple of months... let down because they picked someone else.  Brought back up because an offer was given, but made sure to tell the other company we would be totally willing in the future and to keep "that door open."  If we wouldn't have said that, they would have moved on.  Devastated because one offer fell through, but given peace very quickly as to why that happened.  Called by multiple companies, but only one making a true meeting, the one we had all wanted.  THE POSITION.  The one we had claimed.  The one that has a career path and a future before he walks in the door as an employee on Day 1.

No coincidences.  It was ALL a part of the plan.  A part of HIS plan.

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If you made it to the end of this, I applaud you.  I needed to write this for me.  I need to remember this... the times that I was taught patience... the times we were given peace.