In the past several months, I've been going through an extremely rough period (hence not posting since May).
There's a few things I've been wanting to do, but they haven't worked out "my way." So now, after going through a bout of self-pity, depression, anger, frustration, confusion, and being completely lost, I've returned to the path that I knew was the best all along... but like I implied, I wanted to do it "my way." My way didn't work. Let me take you back a few months.
I have been doing contract work since 2004 and like any contract, there is an end. My last contract expired in July, 2015. Although the company continued to pay me for some time, I was essentially unemployed with a wife and three children to care for.
For three years prior, I had been working in Northern California where I found an awesome church, amazing friends, and a solid job that paid quite well. It was so comfortable that my wife and I often told each other that it felt like a rest stop for something... something less comfortable to come later in life?
So here we are, in one of the most comfortable places we could imagine with friends that would (and did) literally drop everything they were doing to come to our aid when I ended up jobless. Now my career field is more of a specialty that doesn't translate well to most communities-- so when the contract ended, we knew our comfortable, cozy rest stop was about to be interrupted by the rest of our life.
My sister and her family, full of compassion and love, offered up their home for us to stay in until I found a job (aka, a new contract). And since she was pretty much in the middle of the country (and we really wanted to see family for a week or so), we accepted her offer and took over her house (did I mention three kids?).
We thought we'd consider this our "summer vacation," but rather than packing up the car with suitcases, we packed up a 26' Penske truck with our entire house and shot across the country... yay.
Now we've got four adults, five kids, three dogs, and a fish living in a 3-bedroom house. We couldn't leave good 'ol Hank, our 100lb Labrador Retriever behind and there's no way we're flushing Fish down the toilet.
Now for weeks before this, I was searching for a job like it was nobody's business. I was applying for dozens of jobs every week, but like I said, my job is more of a specialty field and there's not a whole lot out there for me. I'd apply for jobs and get rejection letter after rejection letter.
When you get rejection letters as often as I did, even though you're really trying to fit your skills into places they don't belong, you get to feeling a bit... well... rejected. And depressed.
It was taking a toll on my emotional state, but I had to stay strong for my family. Sure, I had bad days where I probably yelled at the kiddo's more than I should have or didn't give my wife the quality time she needed, but I tried pushing through with every ounce of "my" strength.
Fast forward a bit to my sister's house (the drive was simple and enjoyable, but telling the details won't make you feel sorry for me, so I'm skipping it).
I'm thinking a week or maybe two at the most and I'd have my family out of my sister's hair and they could get their life back on track. It didn't work like that. I kept applying for jobs and I kept getting rejected... rejection sucks!
My sister, in amazing wisdom, told me I needed to fall on my face and pray. And I did... kind of. Remember, I want to do it "my" way. You know, the manly way where you grit your teeth and push through.
As much as I wanted to simply escape and pray, and I mean REALLY pray, it's tough in a 3-bedroom house with 4 adults, 5 kids, 3 dogs, and a fish.
I could feel the burden weighing on my shoulders. I could feel depression pushing me down. I could feel myself getting weaker. But I really wanted to enjoy my summer vacation with my sister and her family. I wanted my kids to have a summer they'd never forget with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. I wanted to have a good time and nothing was going to stop me.
Finally, a month later, a call came in with a job offer. It was a huge salary reduction (less than I made when I started contracting in 2004). It was in a state I never thought I live in (Louisiana). Oh, and they wanted me to start in just a few days.
With hundreds of rejection letters (literally) in my inbox, a month with 4 adults, 5 kids, 3 dogs, and fish in a 3-bedroom house, and no light at the end of the tunnel, I accepted the offer.
My amazing sister and her family came through for me again (and again and again), and allowed my wife and I to drive 12 hours to Louisiana on a quick house-hunting trip.
Now if you've ever used Craigslist, you know there's a lot of things on there. One of the things they offer is housing rental advertisements. There are some amazing houses in Louisiana for quite cheap. My wife and I were getting really excited about this house hunting trip... so we tucked the kids in bed and left that very night!
The next day, we arrived in Louisiana and started looking for all the amazing deals Craigslist offered.
Did you know that Craigslist is also a site where there are A LOT of scams?
All those amazing houses for relatively cheap didn't exist. The rental market was nearly identical to Northern California as far as price was concerned. Still, my wife and I toured the city, the surrounding area, and several Chick-fil-A's.
I wish I could convey the let down we felt learning that all the amazing houses didn't exist. I accepted the offer with the idea that we could actually afford to live in Louisiana even with lower pay. We just drove 12 hours across the country planning on being able to pick and choose which house would be perfect for our family and now, we had to consider the idea that with a reduction in salary, we couldn't afford safe housing for our children.
We had all but decided that I couldn't take the job with the pay cut... we were going to drive back to my sister's house and I would call and deny the job.
Once again, we felt lost... rejected... hopeless. Where was God in all of this?