We are all so accustomed to that old phrase, “Home is where the Heart is” that I doubt many of us consider it deeply. I believe it is true, that home IS anywhere where those you love reside. My heart is with my kids and my husband and so my home is anywhere where they are. As long as we are together, we are home.
Where we reside is about to change but home will not.
In February, Greg took an unexpected pay cut at work. It hit us hard but we adjusted. We had just paid off two debts and that helped smooth things out. But in April, we were blindsided when his boss decided to downsize and laid him off of work completely. We expected severance because of the extremely short notice, and we hoped for a new job quickly but it just hasn’t happened. Needless to say, the main provider of a family of 6, without work is not a great recipe for peace.
The other part of that story is that Greg has been laid off of work three times in the last six years. In his area of work this isn’t uncommon but it has sucked us dry, financially and emotionally. Any savings we have had have been wiped out multiple times over. Any strides we make toward homeownership, debt-free life, and emergency funds are constantly started and stopped and begun and emptied. Last time he was laid off, it was eight months of hardships before he had full-time work again. That wasn’t very long ago and truthfully, we are just tired. Tired of the struggle, of the pain, of the pattern.
A few months ago I would have lamented and cried and begged to understand why God was doing this to us again- where was the hidden reason and what had we done to deserve this over and over. But a very significant and life-giving message given this year at our fantastic church on the life of Job has given me much hope and peace. This isn’t a punishment. I truly believe there is a greater reason- but not one of punishment or pain….a greater design. I have days of doubt and frustration and even anger but I know He has us and so I choose to trust.
There has been much wrestling this last month; do we stay, in this position and search in this same career path, and hope that next time it’ll last a couple years longer? Do we find a bigger purpose, the calling Greg felt years ago and burnt us out and try to jump back in? Can we fit into that again? Do we search for bigger areas, bigger job markets?
Oh my, if I could tell the truth of the tears and fears and hopes shared in this last month. But it has come down to this: we have no income. There is nothing coming in. Unemployment is helpful but if you’ve ever had it before, you know it’s not enough to live on. Without the severance that was expected and then not given, we don’t have enough to float us through a few months of waiting, or at this point, even one month. The truth is, we have done this before. We do not want to do it again. The tiny savings account is long wiped and yes, theres a lot of Ramen in this house right now (do you have any idea what it takes to feed a family of 6?) and we’ve been eating a lot of (gluten-free) pasta and sandwiches. Thankful for a good friend who brought groceries last week and the couple who have given us grocery money. It’s no joke, ya’ll, and I’m doing my best to keep in line with all our credit-improving work we have done after the last two layoffs caused repossessed cars and score destruction. When things happen like this, you have to choose to buy food or pay bills. Trust me, I could teach a class.
I don’t know how long we could last on our own.
And so when Greg’s family offered us a place to stay for a time, we took them up on it. Trust me, I know how hard it is to live with someone else. Remember, I’ve done this before. I also know much it takes to keep my family on it’s feet. And so the offer is perhaps the most heady thing I’ve experienced in a long time.
And so as I write this, my family is bringing in boxes. More and more and more boxes. I should honestly be a professional packer at this point.
We are moving.
We are currently living in our dream house (literally)- but you know what? It’s isn’t our’s. Our time in this old farmhouse was always temporary. We can’t make our decision based on it, or the incredible views around us. We are praying the owners will find the perfect family to care for the farmhouse for them this next year. It is truly my dream house and it has been an honor and a blessing to be able to live here for the last five months.
We are currently living in an area with our people….
For me, a lifetime of connections. My precious Momo who is walking through a great war with cancer. Countless people who I’ve known all my life. My dad. Family. Ministries I’ve loved and served. People I’ve invested in and who have invested in me. My entire life has been lived in these mountains.
For Greg, his entire adulthood. He has lived in East Tennessee for nineteen years, longer than he even lived at his family’s home. He grew into a man here. We met here. We have built a family here. There are members of my family we will struggle to leave behind. Even while you’re reading this, say a prayer for my Momo. There are more friends than can be listed here that we will miss every single day. Our kids are already concerned about several of your kids and how they’ll survive without them. Just know we want to keep up on media outlets as much as possible, we will come visit (and some of you will come visit us, I know it!) and that we love you. There are some of you who have been a part of “us” since day one. Knowing you’ll be far is hard but we also believe you’ll be a part of “us” no matter the distance.
We are going to miss our church family more than we ever imagined. Our time at TCBC is the first time many years that we have felt such a deep connection to a church. We will be watching and following along from afar- we are already hurting to be leaving you all. We pray that we will find a church in Indy even half as healthy and authentic as you have been. We love you.
And for days we have cried and searched and begged and let me just tell you, applied for a zillion jobs…doing anything- flipping burgers and unloading trucks and whatever is out there isn’t calling back.
Then this weekend, our hearts took a turn.
We are ready.
I am believing, even, that this was part of an unexpected design. I still have sorrow. But I am trusting.
We are ready for new adventures. New landscapes. New relationships. We are ready to build authentic and deep relationships with Greg’s family. We are ready for cousins and active grandparents and the tons and tons and tons of educational opportunities that await us around Indianapolis; there are so many amazing options for homeschoolers- museums and interactive parks and just incredible educational opportunities that we can’t help but be excited about.
We celebrated 10 years married last week. Ten years here, in these mountains with each other and with this family we have made….and now onto the next ten….in Indy…Beginning in a new place, with some old faces and new friends. We are sad to leave you but know also that we are trusting the Lord with this, that it will be a time of growth and blessing.
So, pray. Pray for the kids, for a smooth trip (it’s long) and a happy transition (they are excited so far). Pray for the packing and the moving days themselves for I loathe them. Pray for jobs to open up before us as we move. Pray for Momo (and Alexa). Pray for the owners of the farmhouse to find replacements for us while they travel overseas (they could not have been more gracious and loving than they were- we were blown away). Pray for the time we will be living in the same house as family members- it’s a trying thing for anyone. Pray we will be able to have stability. Pray we will allow this to grow us closer together as so many trials have in the past. Just…pray. And know we love you beyond words.