Miranda – Draft Written in Nov 2009

I really believe that the most amazing woman in the world has married me. We’re coming up on 6 years of marriage and I’m more and more amazed by her each day. Let me tell you about the her most recent extravagant efforts: As many of you know, we’re going through a tough time right now. I need to find a way to support my family by January due to some financial troubles in our church. (They’re making all full-time positions part-time – due to finances, not performance.) Anyway, God had been making it clear to me that He wants me to begin moving in some different directions. I chose not to say anything to Miranda for a couple of reasons. 1. I have come to understand that women need to feel secure. Stability and consistency are highly valued among them. 2. All my contacts and my reputation is in youth ministry. I could probably get a youth ministry job relatively easily. 3. The timing was horrible – I just lost my job and it would not have been smart to tell her that I was planning on seeking another position the hard way.

Here’s what’s so amazing about her though: I came home from work one day about a month ago and she sat me down saying that she had been praying and God had revealed something to her. She went on to explain that she would be willing to let go, even lose our house and sacrifice/scale back on our living expenses in order to wait for the “right” position. She knew that God was leading me elsewhere and wanted to give me the freedom to chase the lion that she knew I was being called to.

Whew!!. . . For me, this was incredible! I was feeling tons of pressure to “provide” for her and the kids in the same ways that I had been doing so for the past few years and yet I also knew that this new calling would probably mean we’d have to make some sacrifices. I have the most amazing bride!!! One who seeks God and who is willing to follow Him even when it’s hard to make sense of the things He’s calling us to do. She not only came to those decisions, but also recognized that out of my love for our family, I was in an awkward position – wanting to provide and wanting to follow God. So she took care of it. Before my stress grew too large to handle – even before I came to the place where I needed to find a way to tell her what I was feeling, she alleviated the stress. She is good. I love her more today than any other day. I know we’re probably going to see some hard times ahead, but I wouldn’t want to go into these uncertain times with anyone else. I’m so blessed to be able to walk through this life with her by my side.

Benefits of the Unemployment Experience

A an ex-church staff person I’m not eligible to receive any unemployment compensation, but the unemployment experience has still afforded me some new things. I don’t want to miss the blessings God has for me in the midst of what most would consider a bad situation. Maybe I should think of this as more of a “forced sabbatical.”

Anyway, here’s a list of the things the unemployment experience has afforded me:

1. Family time. We spend many hours playing together in the afternoons now. We go on bike rides, treasure hunts (geocaching), and walks. We go to the park and hang out with our neighbors. We’ll never get this time with our kids back so we’d better enjoy it now.

2. New friends. Our neighbors have been getting together for years and we just wave at them from our car on our way to the church. Now, we’re friends. We spend most afternoons with their kids hanging out together and sharing popsicles, conversations, and laughs – sharing life.

3. Financial freedom. Not really – we’re struggling financially, but we’ve also learned new ways to live and developed new habits. When I get a job, we’ll continue to live this lifestyle and should be able to save more and give more to the things we choose.

4. A happier bride. When she gets home from work now, I usually have the house picked up and vacuumed and dishes done. I really love seeing that smile on her face when she gets to come home and relax instead of gearing up to get a few more things done.

5. A new direction. I took some classes and am now eligible to begin a new career as a public school teacher. This will allow me to work with students again, to provide for my family, to be on a schedule similar to my extended family (they’re all teachers too), to attend church as a family and to choose how we want to be involved.

6. Time to think, study, reflect, and exercise.

7. I’m sure there is more, but this seems like a good stopping place for now. Maybe I’ll add some other things later.