Last year around this time Chris and I were talking a lot about big changes we might need to make soon. We had many scenarios to consider and it was all surrounding Chris finishing his BA. He had been working on it off and on for some time, but it was time for him to finish it so we could move forward. We decided we would need to take it in the teeth and have him take a leap of absence from work for two semesters so he could make a big dent in it. We arranged it and then went for it.
It was scary.
I am terrified of debt…I mean really terrified. So this was a big deal for me, because I knew we would be accumulating a lot of the dreaded D word.
Now I sit on the other side of those early conversation as a year has gone by and we have accomplished something we set out to accomplish. Today is Chris’s last day of full-time school. He worked his little butt off and we are now one giant leap closer to him finishing school. I am so proud of him!
The last eight months have brought on some major ups and downs. So I thought I would write about them. I am going to start with the downs, so I can end on a high note.
No dental, health care, and of course an income. We had to think very carefully before we spent money (which is a good lesson to learn anyway). It was difficult to know what was absolutely necessary and what was completely frivolous. Sometimes we succeeded and sometimes we failed at discerning this.
Owning our house was particularly hard, because our basement suite flooded and there was no one to pass the buck too. The buck was up to us. And it required a lot of bucks. The stress alone over all of it almost made me go completely insane. It was costly both in our non-existent bank account and on our health. Also things like dish washers breaking and roof’s leaking had to almost be completely ignored or temporarily “patched up”.
Owning a car was pretty difficult too as ours kept breaking down. At least twice we had it at the mechanic’s and even after paying through the nose to get it fixed, I’m pretty sure it is still not fully fixed. There is a lot of rattling and shaking going on.
Time together. Chris and I have always felt that date nights should be a priority. We made a pact early on in our marriage that we wouldn’t let it slide. But life of course sometimes makes it slide away, even when you don’t want it to. Dates and certainly any kind of holiday took a back seat.
Stress and Anxiety. I am a stress-case by nature, so this did not help things. I struggled a lot with sleep. Anxiety was (and is) a close and personal friend of mine. I believe Chris has also begun to understand what stress is, as this year has made him experience it, probably for the first time in his entire life. It was hard to manage it at times.
With that said lets move on to the pros…
By faith we have seen His hand!
God proved His goodness to us.
He didn’t have to prove anything, but He did anyway. Chris and I learned what faith amidst real uncertainty is. Don’t get me wrong, it was a struggle. But we learned how to get through it together. Although mine and Chris’s quality time was limited, we still pulled through together. When frustration came up about *fill in the blank* we saw it through as a team. Bearing each other’s burdens. This is a concept I understand so much more now.
God provided. Boy did He provide! I think I can count at least three times that we were given a gift of money by an anonymous giver in this short period of time. That floored me! I know that kind of thing happens to other people, but not us! I hardly know how to speak about it, as it is such a humbling thing to experience. Chris and I were overwhelmed by the support of friends and family to help us out where ever we might need. We are so loved.
Church! We have had the most wonderful time being able to go to church together as a family. It will be hard to go back to the way it was. I know in time I will get used to it, but what a joy it was to experience church together regularly.
We feel more ready. It is amazing to me how God can change a heart. I have always described myself as someone who is careful and not free-spirited. This has generally made me rather timid about moving away and doing something outside of my comfort zone. I feel myself changing. We have no plans to move away. But I do wonder if God is preparing us for a big change. I feel the very strong ties of my heart to this place loosening. Again, I don’t know what that means yet, but I feel it is for our good.
In the end, God has been with us. He has been holding our hands, guiding us through the thickets and the swamps. He has never let us go, even when we thought He had. God has guided the ship of our family, and I trust that He will continue.
I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned. I anticipate that this new season will continue to have its real challenges and I am trying to prepare my heart for what those might be. But I look back on these last eight months with humble and grateful fondness.
So tonight Chris and I will celebrate this feat with a kid-free night and a kid-free day tomorrow. We will rest, talk, explore Vancouver and enjoy each other’s company!
Moving and looking forward!