Friday, September 13, 2013

I’ve Changed My Mind

Some recent developments have filled me with a desire to re-visit my previous post from February, as seen below.

Our Home – Why we’re still in Maryland
I wanted to address this matter because I know my family strongly desires to see Daniel & I make our home in another state; however, we strongly believe that God has a different plan and purpose for us.

Boy, have times changed.  And it’s only been 7 months!  Almost 6 months of marriage, and I have spent approximately 5 of them having my eyes opened to the reality of our situation.  Man, was I ever blind!  It has not been an easy process…in fact, it has been quite painful…but I am confident that God intends it for our good.  I no longer believe that God wants us to stay in Maryland.  I believe that He wants us to do what is wise and practical.

God’s plan for us is to stay in Maryland.  Why? 
He has provided affordable living arrangements for us, good connections, networks, and friends who are encouraging and walking with us every step of the way, and a good new job for me (babysitting 4 children for a single mother, whom I met through my recent involvement in the Pro-Life ministry at church.  This job is a blessing because it came when my work hours were very few and this mother's need was very great.  I love being able to serve her and her children in this way and I hope to provide child-care for her as long as God would have me do so because I feel it is His plan for me to share His love with the people around me in Maryland - and isn't THAT what it's all about?).  We feel very connected in our ministries in church and our service is very much appreciated; on top of that, we are meeting new people and our existing friendships are growing.  He & I have very few friends apart from the ones in church, particularly friends with whom we are very close, and we feel the best way to grow those relationships is to walk beside our brothers and sisters on a daily basis here in Maryland.

I have watched in the past 5 months as everything I had was stripped away.  My connections, networks, friends, and church have crumbled beneath my feet.  I am no longer babysitting for the single mother.  My bouts with the county over the money they owed me for my childcare services lasted way longer than I could have ever anticipated and I have no intention of ever dealing with them again.  I am no longer a member of Covenant Life Church.  My spiritual scars from the past were re-opened and new ones were being formed right on top of them.  Removing myself from the pain was the only way to begin the healing process.

We don’t feel led to leave Maryland yet, and we’re not just going to “jump ship” without God’s leading.  Our life path is different than everyone else’s; what He has planned for one family is not what He has planned for another family.  I considered moving to NC with my family this past summer, but God quickly made it clear that that was not what He intended for me to do.  Looking back now I can see that, had I moved, Daniel would've suffered terribly on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level.  We went through some difficult trials together, pertaining in particular with his jobs.  That being said, I cannot nor do I want to imagine how much harder it would've been if we had been separated.  With no promise of employment elsewhere we feel that, in this season, God would have us stay in Maryland.  In another season, He may have us move but right now we can’t see the future or what it holds for us.

I cannot express how strongly I now feel led to leave Maryland.  I should have moved to NC/TN with my family last year.  The distress, longing, and burdens I feel within me have physically lifted every time we’ve gone down to visit my family this summer.  I have learned that employment elsewhere cannot be attained UNLESS you are elsewhere.  Very rarely are people able to get a job unless they are in that location.  And to be honest, we’ve tried to make it here, and it’s just not happening.  How could we have been so na├»ve to think that we, the poorest couple, could make it in one of the richest counties?  Our expenses are too high and the cost of living here is too high for our small little income.  We need to be in Tennessee, where it is cheaper and where we can make our money go farther.
Our God is bigger than the economy and the tyranny of the government. 
God has been faithful to prove His trustworthiness in the face of our great financial difficulties and I believe that, if it is God’s will for us to stay here, He will continue to bless us and provide for our every need.  I have seen Him provide me breakfast when I had nothing of my own to eat, and finances for car repairs, groceries, and medical supplies when I was short on money.  Honestly, the biggest issue should not be the money.  I’m not trying to downplay the severity of our state’s situation.  Maryland is a broken state, just like all the others.  Our country is a broken country, just like all the others.  But our God is bigger, more powerful, and more loving than our government.  If He were to send us to the poorest, sickest, most hostile place in the world, we would go.  His plans for us are for our good…He has nothing but our best interest in mind and we can go wherever He sends us with confidence because He is always with us.  That being said, we are very blessed to be where we are, surrounded by the people who care for and love us most, as we start this new season in our lives.  I would also like to say that I have felt my faith strengthen in these trying times and, through the faith-building I’ve received, I believe that God has used me to encourage Daniel in his own times of anxiety and doubt.  This is very encouraging because it means He is growing us into the husband and wife that He wants us to be.

While God is bigger than the economy, that does not mean He wants us to sit around where we are struggling to survive and wait for Him to drop a job in our lap.  As I said in my last post about stewardship, He gives us resources and trusts that we will use them wisely.  If we squander them, that’s our fault.  That’s why I believe that staying here is not a wise use of our money – what little we have to our names right now.  Staying in an expensive county with very little money and no good prospects of making enough to live on month-to-month is not putting faith in God to provide.  It is foolhardy and reckless.  I feel especially threatened when it comes to my health.  I am absolutely dependent on health insurance coverage for my doctor visits and prescription medications.  Without health insurance, my medicines would cost thousands of dollars and my doctor visits would cost hundreds.  We simply do not have the money to pay for all of those things out of pocket, and the price of my health insurance plan here has almost doubled.  It would be absolutely reckless to continue living where the cost of my health insurance hangs in the balance of our tight budget.  We can’t afford to not have it.  My life depends on it.
Daniel wants to stay close to his family in order to receive allergy shots from his mom (a registered nurse) when he needs them. 
My Diabetes and Celiac doctors are also nearby.  This is not to say that we couldn’t move elsewhere and receive the same care; it is just much more convenient for us right now.

Convenience is overrated.  Seriously.  We’ll find other doctors.

Because of these few reasons I am going to follow, cleave to, and respect him and his leadership in this decision.  After all, we are going to be starting our own family unit and family units have to do what is best for them, which is not always what is best for everyone else.  Because we are different people and a different family, we have a different path.

I will be honest.  We are a divided household.  We have different opinions and points of view.  We both realize that we cannot have it both ways – we cannot live in Maryland AND Tennessee.  One of us is going to have to give.  And I am scared.  I know that Satan is looking for a foothold, any chance he can get to drive a wedge between us (which it seems is already there), so that he can destroy what God has brought together.  I can feel him attacking but I can also sense God’s hand at work, albeit in the background.  I know He’s not going to let us go.  I know He is going to work all things for our good.  But that doesn’t change the fact that it has been difficult to follow Daniel down a path that looks like it ends in financial ruin.  I refuse to let us get to that point.  I have struggled enough in my life to know the pain and heartache of bankruptcy.  That is not what I want for us or for our future children, whenever we may have them.  If we are going to do what is best for our family, we need to be prepared to make decisions – hard decisions – that may or may not involve “hearing from God.”  There are some decisions WE just need to make.  And sometimes, those decisions require us to make a sacrifice for the greater good.  And you know what?  Sacrifices HURT!
I’d also like to point out that this isn’t a matter of me being discontent with where we are, or submitting and “obeying” my husband because he has the “final say,” because honestly, that’s NOT biblical.  This concept has been nagging at me for a while now and I wanted to make my stance perfectly clear.