Once upon a time, many years ago a boy and a girl began dating.(okay, so it was only about 15 years ago) Their favorite way to spend time? Walking and talking. They would walk around the neighborhood. They would go for hikes. And while they walked they talked about the future. They both wanted to travel, to see all of the United States, to visit Europe and all of the amazing architecture there. They wanted adventure, to simply get away from where they had always been. Years went by and they got married and still, they wanted to travel. More years pass and they have a beautiful little girl, and still they want to travel… but not quite as much as before. Now they were seeing the value of having loved ones so close by. Not so very long later, they found out that they were expecting another child. They also found out that the company the boy worked at was closing its doors.
After a decade together, and 7 years of marriage, Rusty and Julie faced their first big trial as a family. Rusty’s job was gone. Julie’s job was going away. There was a child to care for and one on the way. They tried everything that they could do to find work. It soon became obvious that there wasn’t any way out of this situation without God’s help. Which, is about when work calls started coming in for Rusty. He opened the doors of his own architecture business and for months there was steady work. Bills were paid and their anxiety eased. Only a few months later, though, the calls started to dry up and they were once again left to wait for God to open a door. And He did. Out of no where a call came: “We have a position that needs filled now and your name came up as a possible candidate. Are you interested?” It was a contract position that promised to turn into permanent work. And so, Rusty moved to Virginia, leaving his wife with a 2 year old and a 2 month old in North Carolina to wait for their house to sell. Their home in NC hit the market after several months of prep work and had an accepted offer in under a week. The purchaser’s requested close date was within weeks of the end of the lease on Rusty’s apartment. Six months later they found themselves once again together under the same roof, in a small rental house in Virginia. And so began their search for a permanent home. They searched and searched, spending hours on Realtor.com and Zillow.com filtering through houses. They drove through neighborhood after neighborhood. Went through almost a dozen homes with their agent. Their lease on the rental was almost up and they hadn’t found a house to buy. Then one day this cute little house hit the market. It was in the neighborhood that they liked, near Rusty’s work, and was priced well below the other homes in that neighborhood. It was a short sale, which their agent had been hesitant to look at, but for some reason, this time, she was supportive. They were the first people to see the house. They walked through, not saying a word to each other. They went outside and looked around the yard. And, from opposite ends of the yard they made eye contact. Rusty turned to the agent and said, “Let’s make an offer.” The offer was accepted and the sellers requested a very quick close date, an unusual situation for a short sale. They purchased a cute little house and moved in just weeks before the lease was up on their rental. They were happy. Things were looking good. They missed their family, but they were on that long awaited adventure and they were going to make the best of it.
Just a few short months after purchasing their home, they found out two things. They were expecting another child and Rusty’s contract was not going to be renewed. Anxiety set in. This job wasn’t the permanent financial stability that they had expected. The bills in their city of choice were much larger than anticipated and there wasn’t a job out there to apply for. Until there was. Just a few weeks before the end of his contract another offer came. It was another contract, but again, it promised to be long term and to offer stability. It wasn’t. In fact, it turned out to be less financially stabilizing than the previous contract. Over the next few months, they struggled to stay above water, a task that was made more difficult by the mysterious illness their dog contracted and eventually died from. Less money coming in and more bills arriving and again the end of a contract in site, and the arrival of a third baby made for another few anxious months.
The baby arrived, looking perfect as can be. But, just hours before he was to go home to his family, it was discovered that he was dangerously ill. Again this boy and girl found themselves feeling like they were in the middle of the ocean in a tiny little boat with no compass. There was nothing for them to do. They found themselves with their newest baby, their precious boy, in ICU at the local children’s hospital. As they walked into the hospital to meet with some doctors that first day, they looked at each other and said “I hate this town. We’ve had nothing but trouble since we moved here!” They met with the doctors and left. While waiting at the crosswalk, though, something became clear to them. If Rusty’s boss hadn’t closed up shop and moved to Virginia, he wouldn’t have been in that meeting to say “I know a guy who would be perfect for that job”. If their house hadn’t hit the market when it did, and sold when it did, if their new home hadn’t been available for purchase when it was, then they wouldn’t have found themselves in a house just minutes from the best children’s hospital in the area, making it easy to visit their little boy twice a day during his 34 days in the hospital. He wouldn’t have had the doctors that he did; doctors that happened to be familiar with his condition, doctors that happened to be close to the specialists in DC. In all likelihood, if they had given up or not endured all of the ‘bad’ things, if they hadn’t been diligent to pray and be faithful and patient, to wait for God’s direction, their son’s condition would not have been recognized and he would have died.
Recognizing the dominos that got them to where they are makes all of those bad things, not quite so bad.
PS. The second contract did end, but a new job, one that is actually permanent, appeared out of no where (another one of those, ‘I think you should apply for this unlisted job’ situations) and Rusty was accepted for the position with only a week of being unemployed passing between the end of his contract and the start of his new job.