Friday, April 5, 2013

Mountaintop View

2013 has been quite a year already. I've been meaning to write about this but haven't been sure how or when or even what to say. We've walked valleys before and this year has been no different.

So far God has carried us through:

And now we get to add to our testimony/list:

job loss

And God has saved us from Satan and from ourselves during each season. He has proved trustworthy. It's crazy how I read that list and realize how I've always thought we were immune to any of these issues. Oh how naïve I was/am.

In January Steve lost his job. I'm not going to share all the details because it's painful and it's not my story to tell. Long story made short: After 20 years of volunteer/part-time/full-time service to the fire department his employment was terminated.

If you know much or even very little about life in a firehouse then you know it's a brotherhood. These men and women live 1/3 of their lives together (24 hours on/48 hours off). Eating, sleeping, playing, working, and at times, holding each other's lives in their hands. The 'boys' that Steve worked with were family. Addie has been close to some of them her entire life. We've known some of them since before we were married. We've welcomed their wives and babies into the 'family'. They were there when Steve had to step away for a while to take care of me. It really is a family.

Steve's words were, "I feel like I've been kicked out of my home." It was heartbreaking to say the least. He was crushed. Identity shouldn't be found in a badge but it's hard to separate oneself from a uniform you've worn for 20 years. Cleaning out closets of shirts never to be worn again, turning in badges that no longer belong on your chest. I was there and watched and my heart broke along with Steve's and yet I still can't imagine the pain he went through.

I prayed like I hadn't prayed in a long time. Crying out through tears to God for comfort and peace. It was my turn to be the caregiving spouse. Steve needed me just like I've needed him. And God gave me the strength to lift him up. I can only use one word to tell you how it felt to be by Steve's side during that season: HONORED. I was honored to serve him. Proud to be with him. I can only compare it to riding along side a prince in a carriage for all the world to see. Even though we weren't in a carriage, we weren't dressed in pretty clothes with flowers being flung at our feet. We were kneeling in the darkness of our bedroom. Alone but in perfect unity with our Heavenly Father. It was sad and it was hard and it was beautiful.

In March an amazing opportunity arose that I still have a hard time believing. Do you ever look back and see God's hand in every part of your life leading you step by step to one point?? This was that moment. A sales position as a manufacturer's rep came available after the company owner met Steve and knew that he would be a perfect fit in the position. It is a very different job of course - public safety to sales - but it is the same arena that Steve has been in for years and years and working with a product that he knows inside and out. Steve has the knowledge, experience, and his network of relationships is just icing on the cake. It's a transition and we're still settling in and we're still praying for strength and comfort and peace. And God is still giving us the strength we need and the peace we enjoy.

We can look back at yet another valley and see the beauty that God created. He has walked this path with us and we have praised Him each step of the way. The climb is tough but this mountaintop experience is oh so sweet!!!!

Thank you, God, for having a purpose for our lives. Your plans really are to prosper us and not to harm us. We trust in Your goodness and the eternal view that you have rather than looking to what seems like reality in the circumstances we face.
For the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth
in order to strengthen those
whose hearts are fully committed to him.
2 Chronicles 16:9

I pray that you will be encouraged through this post. I write it only to honor Him and in hopes that it will be a blessing in someway to you!