Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A year ago today...

...I posted my first entry on this blog:o)

I hope you don't mind if I celebrate my "blogiversary" by recounting what God has done in Micah's and my life together in the past year. He has been so good to us...despite us!

A year ago, Micah and I were just beginning to come out of a very difficult period in our lives. Several months before, we had moved away from our friends, church and apartment in Dallas because Micah couldn't find a job that paid enough there, we were deeply in debt (mostly school moral of this story is: do NOT finance your education with loans!), and we weren't really making it financially. We had no specific prospects for work here, either, but my parents offered to let us stay with them while we searched and tried to get settled. I absolutely love my parents! But when what was supposed to be a matter of weeks turned into six, seven, eight months...I was beginning to despair.

We felt like such failures. Friends and aquaintances of ours were graduating from college and smoothly transitioning straight into great jobs, buying homes, doing well financially, and then there was us: we were living with my parents, Micah was working at a hardware store while he searched for a "real job", and I was working odd jobs to try to help out. I was also feeling depressed. All I wanted was to not to have to worry about money anymore, and to make a home for my husband and me. Yet I felt obligated to find some job I didn't want to do to help get us out of this mess we were in. I felt very sorry for myself. I kept thinking: I've always been the "responsible one", the one who did well in school, the one who succeeded at most of what I tried to do. So why me? Why am I in this situation? Why do Micah and I have to be the losers that everyone else pities and looks down upon?

In April of last year, God sent us a connection for a better job for Micah: a friend and neighbor of my parent's told us that his company was looking for more people. Micah has always been interested in construction and real estate, and this job was in that field. The pay potential was greater than Micah had expected to find! The downside, however, was that Micah would be working as a private contractor for the company, and it would take a while to accumulate the needed certifications and training to have a regular work-load. As a contractor, Micah would not be paid a salary, but only for the work he accomplished. We knew it would be difficult to make it through the training/certification period. But, we also felt that this job would be a big step in the right direction. Micah went on his interview, while I waited nervously in the car. In my pity-party mood, I fully expected to be disappointed, so I almost couldn't believe it when Micah came out and told me that he had the job!

Fast-forward to one year ago: now that Micah had his new job, we were seriously looking for an apartment or a home to rent and trying to get back on our feet. I was substituting at a preschool/daycare, and looking for a full-time position. But I was feeling very discouraged. My heart was at home, and I REALLY wanted to work at and from home. I had already done the whole office-job thing many times over. It's difficult to go to job interviews and act enthusiastic about a position you don't really want! I tried, but I'm not sure how successful I was;o) My heart just wasn't there, and I just didn't care for having a career away from my home and little family.

I had recently discovered the "Homemaker's blogosphere" ;o) It was a refreshing escape from my reality. These women had the lives I wanted, and I suppose I enjoyed living vicariously. When I began reading blogs, I never intended to start my own! But I soon began wanting a connection to this world of home-centered women. I needed an outlet where I could write (a sort of compulsion with me!) about the things I truly cared about. So my life wasn't perfect. I had to get a job in an office and spend my days doing work I didn't truly care about. But my blog would reflect what I did care about. Maybe someday my life could come to reflect that as well.

So I got my little office job. I didn't really think I had any other choice! With Micah and I both working our new jobs, we were able to sign a lease on a rental home. Though it wasn't funny at the time, it kind-of is now: we had our home for almost a month before we could afford to turn on the electricity, gas and water and actually move in! But finally, we did!

Life went on. Micah worked on his certifications and training, and I sat in my office and in the car (for my 2-3 hr. commutes every day!) and dreamed about working at home. Blogging and reading others' blogs continued to be a source of inspiration and motivation for me. Though on some discouraging days, reading about other women loving their jobs at home just made me feel worse about my situation, more often it planted seeds of hope that maybe I could get there too.

In December, we lost our little puppy. Though I could never compare it to losing a human child, it was still one of the hardest losses I have ever had. Since we had no human children, she was our baby. We had her since the very first months of our marriage. Through all the rough times in her two years with us, she was a faithful and cheerful little companion. She could always make us laugh with her antics:o)

Also in December, we made the decision for me to quit my job. We had been talking about and trying to plan toward this for a couple of months, but to be honest, we were still not exactly sure if it would really work out! If a financially-minded person looked at our budget and at Micah's job situation, they would have probably told us not to do it. But we both felt that if we were going to make the leap for me to be at home, there would never be a "perfect" time. We just had to do it and trust that God would work out the details.

Well, I'm not sure how much I actually trusted! In fact, I'm fairly certain that there was a large amount of doubt and anxiety on my part! But God truly DID work out the details. He is faithful, even when I am faithless. For the first couple of months, I LOVED BEING HOME (!), but we still didn't know how or if things would work out. Somehow, we squeaked by through the early part of this year without missing rent or getting our utilities cut off. We didn't go hungry. Though some people thought we were being crazy and irresponsible, we forged ahead with our crazy and irresponsible scheme to have a home business:o)

Now it's July. Our business is still in the start-up stage, but through God's grace it's already way more productive than I ever expected! At this point, we're better off financially than when I was working full-time away from home. Oh...and we have a new little puppy friend:o) Life isn't won't ever be outside of Heaven. We still have all that crazy debt to pay off. Something could happen tomorrow, causing another another crisis, financial or otherwise, for us to fight through. I don't know. But I do know that God has poured His blessings out on us, even through difficult times, throughout the past year and throughout our lives. He is in control. All He asks is that Micah and I let Him be our Guide forward. I can't wait to see what I'll have to reflect back on a year from today!

My first post, a year ago, was a poem. I think I'll post another poem can be a yearly tradition!:o) This is one our pastor read in church on Sunday. It was written by William Cowper in 1774:

God Moves in a Mysterious Way
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.


Blogger Amy said...

Erin - thanks so much for sharing your story! I just started reading here a couple months ago so I didn't know all of your history. Congratulations on your "blogiversary"!

6:16 PM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

*clears throat to sing* ~~Happy Blogiversary to you! Happy Blogiversary to you! Happy Blogiversary dear Erin, Happy Blogiversary to you!~~ (o;

7:07 PM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Amy, I haven't shared ALL of that history before:o) Thanks!

Mrs. B...thanks for the song! (I'm glad you specified that you cleared your throat, or else I might have imagined you singing it croakingly...hehe;o)

10:49 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

Thanks so much for this post! It's extremely encouraging to me, being six days away from being home full time myself (and not sure how we're going to "make it")!

I'd love to read "day in the life" posts from you about how you structure your time during the day.

10:55 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Sharon said...

Happy blogoversary!
And I also thank you for your post. You mentioned how reading other homemakers' blogs inspired you and gave you hope- that's what your post is for me. I feel like my dh and I are where you and your dh were a year ago. Maybe not in all cases, but very similar.
Congrats on your successes, and I hope things continue to go well for you in the home business!

11:29 AM, July 13, 2006  
Anonymous Janet W. said...

This was a blessing to me... especially the poem. I know I look like a loser to others, but I would not trade anything for being home with my daughters, even though I am single. God is to be praised in both our lives! :)

Janet W.

1:23 PM, July 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post Erin, cant wait to hear more of your adventures.

7:59 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Yay, Becky! I'm so excited for you!!! I know you're going to "make it":o) If we can, anybody can...seriously! I'll try to do a couple "day in the life posts". That sounds kind of fun, actually:o)

Thanks, Sharon! I hope my story can be an encouragement to ladies who are where I was such a short time ago (not that we're out of the woods yet...we still have a ways to go!) Keep that hope, pray a lot, and start getting creative! God bless you and your family as you go forward.

Janet, Amen! That's amazing and wonderful that you're able to be home with your children as a single woman! You're definitely not a're doing one of the MOST important jobs in the world! I'm glad the post and poem were an encouragement to you.

Thanks, Tania! I appreciate that encouragement:o)

1:17 PM, July 14, 2006  

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