If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 of my story please do.
After college, I got my dream job, paid off all my debt in the first year and life has been awesome traveling, seeing the world, and all my dreams of success came true…
I know someone just wanted to slap me. Well, none of that is true. I graduated, moved home, and could not find a job. Until I got one for minimum wage. In just paid off my student loan last year (14 years later). Although plan A didn’t happen. Plan G has worked out pretty good. God has blessed me with an amazing husband for almost 14 years, two kids who I love like crazy even though they drive me crazy. A career I’ve loved and now a new career that I love even better.
My biggest struggle in life has been my battle with faith and money. Josh and I decided to faithfully tithe when we were extremely broke, buried in debt, working 2 jobs to make ends meet, and still getting overdrafts. We put out tithe with the belief God would provide and correct of finances. In return we received our car being hit by an uninsured which added to our debt, I got laid off was paid a severance pay then asked to repay it after we paid bills with it, our transmission died on our car, and there was more. We stopped tithing. Satan won we hid in the foxhole. Every time we got ahead with finances some set us 10 steps back for years this has gone on. We made a commitment to get out of debt. 2 years ago and then taking baby steps in tithing again. My husband’s analogy on tithing has really benefited us. When he was in the Army he had the opportunity to throw grenades. As soldiers for the kingdom tithe portion is a grenade and if we hold it tight in our hand were going to blow up, but if we throw that grenade or money right when we receive it and just keep throwing without thinking about it the enemy (satan) will be too busy dodging to throw anything our way. It makes sense to me. Instead of hiding in the foxhole only poking out once in awhile it opens us up to be seen giving our opponent time, opportunity, and the ability to take us out. While tithing on the go…grenade throwing style like a client payment comes on the same day the tithe goes to the church. We’ve paid off my student loan, both cars (not fancy cars), 2 credit cards, and some medical bills. We are not 100% debt free, but a hope that has never been there with finances is. EVERY DAY is a balance between faith and struggle still.
My biggest struggles have turned into my fondest memories of connection with God. Right after my husband and I had been married for 2 years he joined the Army and we went from working at the same job and working our own business at night – together all the time to complete separation. No phone calls only good old fashion snail mail. It was so painful to be separated from Josh, but it drew me closer to God. During that 6 months, I had an opportunity to travel to visit my college friends and go on a mission trip to Morraco. Josh came home from training and we moved across the country to North Carolina we quickly got pregnant and then found out Josh was leaving for a 6 month deployment and I was more alone then I’d ever been in my life on top of being away from my family, I was pregnant, knew no one, and my husband was going to the other side of the world. God provided me with connections though through Navigators it was great to jump into Bible study and made some cherished relationships with Godly women. Josh made it home 2 weeks before Kaiden was born. My heart rejoiced.
My biggest struggle in life though came a year after Kaiden was born. I couldn’t function anymore I was sleeping at least 12 hours a night, having to take naps, and some days it was all I could do just to care for Kaiden. I actually don’t have any memories for about 5 months of my life, except through pictures. My hair started falling out in chunks. I gained close to 40 lbs in 3 months. I felt out of control and like I was dying. I went to the doctor and she did every test in the book I had a urine test, blood work, you name it. I’m so grateful to her. I got the results I have no function in my thyroid and she said I had Hashimoto’ s which is an autoimmune disease. I got on medication that day and it, by all means, was not an overnight success. It really wasn’t until a year later that I felt like I was out of the fog. My health became a huge focus of my life. I change my diet, I started working out, and made sure I slept. (Still a work in progress).
My 6 years in NC, provided me with a lot of alone time to really seek God. We attended an awesome church Manna there which is where I learned about freedom in Christ. The Christian life was not about rules but about doing right. I was free to sing, dance, and worship. I can’t live without worshiping God now there is something about music that God uses to speak to me and I can speak to him.
Josh was deployed 2 more times after Kaiden was born. While he was home we tried and tried to get pregnant again but it never happened. It was hard to go through and it was something we kept very private. Come to find out having Hashimoto’s can make it harder to conceive. I learned to be content with being a one and done family.
Our last year a half in Fayetteville, I went from working part time to full time with my job. Josh wanted to use his GI bill and felt I needed to take over the finances of being the main provider for our household. The manager in training program I was in was hard, long hours, lots of physical labor, but I loved it. I love the clothes, I love my success, I loved the guests. I was going to do this come hell or high water. This is where the struggle comes in Josh and I was on opposite sides of the world when I made the decision to focus on my career. I had a plan and ability to make it happen. I stopped trusting in my husband and I also stopped trusting in God to provide. I was going to provide. God and Josh let me go for it. I got my own store and managed for 3 years. All the promises of a flexible schedule, high-income bonus, and all I dreamed of my career were false. I put my faith, trust, and hope for a company rather than God. I can say though for 7 of my 8 years I worked there I loved what I did. During my 2nd year managing, we had a big surprise happen, I finally got pregnant again, with our daughter Adia. I worked during the whole pregnancy 50 to 60 hours a week. Pushing myself every day. One day at 9 months pregnant 3 weeks before Adia was born my love for my job ended when my area manager asked if I could do more hours the next week since I only did 55. At 9 months pregnant! That’s the first time I thought to myself wow I feel like I am just being used. I didn’t work more hours the next week, but I still did about 50. My water actually broke at work while folding a denim wall. I was that crazy dedicated. It was a joy to bring Adia into the world, but her birth turned my world upside down. What I thought we’d receive for finances while on mat leave was 3rd of what I actually receive due to a miscommunication on short-term and long-term disability. Panic mode set in and my husband really changed and took over our families leadership at that moment. He moved us we left our house and moved across the state to live with my parents. Josh, Kaiden, Adia, our dog Molly, 3 fish, and I moved into my parents’ room at 3 weeks post-partum. I have never felt like such a failure. The depression I went through was unbearable. I had so many thoughts suicide. It breaks my heart my baby needed me nonstop she was a very unpleasant baby. Her first 3 months of life were the darkest I’ve ever been through. God got me through it though. He provided for us during that time and we went from thinking about bankruptcy and being homeless to buying a house 6 months later. Only God can do that. I had no choice but to go back to work when my mat leave was up. Adia and I went back across the state to live with my in-laws and I started work while Josh and Kaiden were still with my parents. I had no clue how God was going to provide. I had no plan just taking it day by day. Then one week after getting back I got a phone call from my area and district manager that the store in Spokane had opened up that day and they knew my parents lived there so, I could have first go at taking it over if I was interested. Again only God. 2 weeks after being back at work I was “moving” to Spokane. I still marvel at it. I spent 1 year and 1 month in the new store. It was the hardest year the theft issues, teammate issues, lack of sales. I felt like no matter how much a sacrificed my family, I could not get the business to turn around. My husband encouraged me to threw it the towel it was clear that I needed to move on. I was so hard for me to give up, but my family meant more, my relationship with God meant more. I left feeling humbled, broken, weak, and afraid of the future.
God made it clear to me that I can plan my life on my own, but his plan is better. I was given 2 opportunities when I left my 8-year job. I went with the one my husband thought was best for our family and me. It hasn’t been great and it’s been a huge learning curve, but what is great is I’m back in church every Sunday. I see my kids every day. I now homeschool and work full-time. I’ve had time to focus on my health again. Having Adia threw me out of wack again with my Hashimoto’s. I’ve lost weight, I sleep better, have more energy again and most days I feel normal.
I struggle a lot with trusting in God to provide and some days when it seems like everything is falling apart I struggle with the fact that God cares about me or loves me. However, when I sit back and look through my life and see how God has invested in me, protected me, let me fail and learn, let me succeed, let me search for him on my terms. Blessing me with an amazing selfless husband and two crazy wonderful sweet kids, a home, cars, food on our table for every meal, an amazing church family, a supportive extended family, health, wisdom, talents, and abilities we can bless others with and more. When I think about how my life could be without God it makes me want God more because He has made my life radiant.