I feel like I need to go back and just rehash what all has happened and get everyone up to speed. To be honest, I haven’t really taken the time (uh..HAD the time) to process how drastically things have changed. So let’s go back to August of last year.
In August of 2015 we were living in our dream home. This was the home that we would live in forever. We imagined welcoming our grandchildren into this home. This is the house that, for the first several months after we bought it, I would pull into the driveway and think “I can’t believe I get to live here.” Y’all. This house.
It would grow with us and was on a cul-de-sac in this wonderful little neighborhood with the sweetest neighbors. My big boys had this friend who lived just a few doors down and they would play together, trick-or-treat together, ride bikes together. It has a garden and a big back yard and beautiful trees. The view when I would drive home from working out in the mornings was breathtaking.
My husband worked FROM HOME as a software developer. I had a real, live actual grown-up in my house with me all day. When the kids made me bonkers and I needed to leave to run or get coffee or sit on the porch and just be quiet, I had my backup. Every morning I got up and went to this most wonderful gym where my instructors were Godly women and my friends were members and we would sweat and laugh and share our lives. My in-laws lived 5 minutes away and would watch the boys almost anytime I needed them. My mom was in an assisted living facility 20 minutes away and every Thursday the boys and I would take her lunch and spend the afternoon with her. We had found the most amazing church where we all had friends and longed for Sunday to come so we could go fellowship with this imperfectly perfect group of people.
Y’all. Life was good. So good. I had my friends and my family and this great church and my hubby right with me…we were so good.
Ok, so my husband hated his job. He was looking, though, and our prayer was that he would find something local or remote because we could never ever leave.
In August, when Lego Boy #4 was barely 8 weeks old, the hubs sat me down. He was being laid off. The developer jobs had been sent to Manilla and the position they created to keep him with the company was being eliminated. They were giving him severance, but in two weeks, our family of 6 would have no employment. I’d been out of college for nearly a decade and had never used my degree. Even if childcare wasn’t an issue, there aren’t a lot of jobs sitting around for philosophers who have been in the thick of child-rearing for the last 10 years.
Hubby was confident that this was an answer to prayer. He’d been so unhappy at work for so long, but couldn’t bring himself to give up that income with a family counting on him; it was like God said “here. I’ll do this for you.” He was calm. Cool. Collected. I was sobbing, wondering how we were going to buy Christmas presents.
Job after job fell through. Resume after resume went unanswered. A positive interview led to a family trip to Atlanta and a near-certain job offer, only to be turned down. Friends, this time nearly broke me. Its easy to praise God when you’ve got a nice house, great health insurance, and a fancy gym membership. Take that stuff away and I’m sorry to say that I became desperate and sour. Oh, I smiled and said “I’m just trusting the Lord has a plan!” but behind closed doors, I despaired.
Less than a week before the severance package ended, the hubs was introduced to a recruiter. Three days before his last paycheck, he was offered a job.
Three hours away.
We would put our house on the market (our beautiful, perfect, dream house). Hubs would stay in a hotel during the week and come home on weekends. I would be a single mom Monday-Friday, trying to sell a house in the dead of Winter. He took a pay cut, and would have to pay for the hotel and travel expenses out of pocket. We couldn’t afford a Christmas tree or presents.
On November 30, the hubs left at 5am and drove straight to a new job. My sweet, strong boys came to expect mama to break down and cry on the regular. The older two would take the littles and give me quiet time to just sob and pray. My fitness dreams were put on a back burner and I subsisted on poptarts and wine. My workouts involved cleaning, lifting heavy boxes, and holding on for dear life to my last bit of sanity. This was a dark time. From November 30, 2015 until March 4, 2016 I was in survival mode. “Don’t die, don’t damage the children, don’t be crazy.” That was just about all I could muster.
But that amazing church? They brought meals during the week. One sweet family, with two kids and one on the way, would let my boys come hang out so I could clean and pack. Our church community group came over and filled holes in the wall, showed up with coffee and wine, and we were given a Christmas tree. Someone bought my kids the exact things they wanted for Christmas and had them shipped to our house. People prayed and then showed up to help. Through those tough, tough months, I saw Jesus in the people around me. As I look back, those friends were light when all I could see was darkness.
When our house didn’t sell and our savings was gone, we decided to put our house up for rent. It was rented fairly quickly and with the help of some dear friends, I loaded a truck (ok, like three trucks and a couple of SUV’s) and moved to Chattanooga, TN. With my husband. Thank you Jesus.
We’ve now been here for 5 months and, although this life doesn’t look like the one I had (and lets be honest, that life was easy and awesome and I miss it), Chattanooga is an amazing city. I have met some great people and have so many new opportunities. I have the pleasure of babysitting for a little boy just a few months younger than my #4. I’m a member of a YMCA less than a mile from our house and I’m working on getting my group fitness certification so I can start teaching and sharing my love of health and fitness in a new and exciting way. I was just invited to write for the Chattanooga Moms Blog . The homeschooling opportunities here are off the charts, and James and Jonathan just started running Cross Country for the local homeschool team. There are museums and incredible restaurants, a vibrant downtown and an outdoors community like nothing I’ve ever seen. We hike and bike and run and explore and it is oh-so-very family friendly. It was a tough road, but I have no doubt God has great things in store for us in Chattanooga.