Tonight I was blog stalking on one of my "regulars" and she was encouraging other women to write about their stories of hope and how God has blessed their lives. She was asking us to link to her friend's blog who started the idea. You can read other people's stories of hope here. I am going to get real here. I have thought about blogging our story for a while now - and tonight God has put it on my heart to do so. I hope that our story can encourage someone else who is in a tough place.
One year ago this week Kevin lost his job in Fort Worth. He had worked so hard for his company and put in so many stressful, long hours. His unhappiness with the situation had come between us, and the stress of an impending loss of income had haunted us for almost 6 months before it happened. But that's not where our troubles had started.
Kevin and I are two strong willed people. We are very much alike, but very different at the same time. This has always been a positive and a negative in our relationship, as we have learned to build our life together. The first few years of our marriage were, at times, the best moments of my life. At times, they were also some of the worst. There was a time where I could not see myself growing old with him, and all my dreams of us were falling apart. The job loss was when we hit rock bottom.
I believe that God knew we needed to have everything stripped away in order to rebuild our marriage and focus on Him, as it should have been all along. That's exactly what He did. As Kevin began looking for a job, we worked together to make ends meet with a mortgage and two car payments on a teacher's salary.
We were blessed when Kevin found a job only a few months later, but it was in Houston. It was a huge leap of faith, especially for me, to commit to leaving the job that I loved in Richardson and moving to Houston with our relationship hanging in the balance. However, I knew that it was what I needed to do, and I felt that God was leading me to do so. That's when everything started falling into place so quickly.
We put our house on the market (at a rough time), and it sold for asking price in just two days. We closed on it in 3 weeks and moved into Kevin's mom's house for a short time. Kevin began his new job here in Houston in February, and the plan was for me to finish the school year in RISD and then join him in the summer. We began building a house in Cypress.
As I began applying to school districts in the Houston area, I found an immediate opening at one of the most desirable schools in one of the most affluent districts around here. I felt compelled to look into it, and it turned out to be a third grade reading and language arts position - my favorite subjects to teach. I interviewed, along with 13 other candidates (so I've been told), and was offered the job. I started less than 3 weeks later. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do to say goodbye to my sweet students and walk out on them in February.
Kevin and I got a tiny, cheap apartment in Cypress as we waited for our home to be built, and we lived in that 500 square feet with our two dogs for three months. Surprisingly, I cherished that time. We found a new joy in our relationship as we took on these new challenges and exciting experiences together. Every evening after we got home from work we would go and look at the progress on our new home.
When I started my new teaching job with only 63 payroll days left, I took a pay cut by 1/3 through September. This put our chances of getting the loan for our home (in this tight market) in jeopardy. We prayed and we saved, and we did everything we could to make it work. Kevin even sold his truck. Everything came together with what can only be explained as God's help, and we closed on our home on May 21st.
We moved that weekend, and then on Monday we were blessed once again. I found out that we were pregnant! Right away we decided that if it was a boy, his name would be Jaxon. Jaxon means "God has been gracious." What could be more fitting for this time in our lives? And, as most of you know, Jaxon will be joining us on February 7th, 2011.
God looked into our lives and saw that we were headed for disaster. He slapped us with a huge wake-up call when we needed it the most. He saved our marriage, moved us to a place where we could call home forever, tied up all of the loose ends, and blessed us with a baby boy. And He did all of this in less than a year.
I learned that I am not in control, but that God is. Everything is according to His timing, not mine. I am forever grateful for the changes that He brought to us, no matter how stressful and crazy, because they saved us in more ways than I probably even comprehend.
We both now agree that we are happier than we have ever been - we have truly reached a new level in our relationship. And we are anxiously awaiting our little Jaxon's arrival early next year. We are close to friends, family, and the church where Kevin was baptized so many years ago. We have truly been blessed.
God has been gracious.