Wednesday, April 16

Years ago when Annaliese was the only little one running around our small house on a double lot in the city, Sean worked as a programmer for an insurance company and went to college classes a few nights a week. I'd listen to Family Life Today broadcasts and Focus on the Family while washing dishes at the sink overlooking our driveway, happily waiting for him to come home, our Kaelin sound asleep up in her crib.

We lived happily on a little at that time and saw God provide for our small family in wonderful ways, making it possible for me to be a stay at home Mama. Suddenly, through a friend, Sean was presented with an incredible job offer as a programmer for a company who dealt with government contracts. The salary was about double what he was making and while the job came with a 45 minute commute to and from work, it seemed like a dream job.

We also found out we were expecting again about the time that Sean started the new job. As much as we saw God do miraculous things through Sean at that place of employment, like Sean discovering a million dollar error in billing in the company's favor, and a $10,000 Christmas bonus, about the time that Andrew was born, a new boss came to the company that made things extremely difficult for Sean. The day that Andrew was born, they called, wanting Sean to come in to work and routinely expected him to work a massive number of hours each week.


Sean took drives into the countryside on his lunch breaks, one day coming across a little white, unused country church. It's white steeple pointed heavenward, Sean found it to be a place of solace and prayerfulness in the midst of turmoil. He took us all there one day when we visited for lunch. Always loving small country churches, I was struck by the incredible view, hill upon hill upon hill laid out before us. Behind the church gravestones bleached white by the sun stood line upon line, some holding the bodies of men who died in our country's Revolutionary War. Abandoned by worshipers but obviously still cared for, the church was freshly painted white with its doors bolted and a massive bees nest lingering precariously above the front door. With our small family in tow, we picked raspberries out behind the graveyard, with prayerful hearts, wondering what exactly the future held for our family.

About that time, John Bevere came to our church and ministered on the subject of submission and having a Biblical and Christ-like attitude. Sean took the sermons to heart and even apologized to his boss for any negative attitudes he may have had toward him. The Hindu boss was shocked, to say the least, and I'm certain he was at least somewhat convicted in his own heart for his evil ways.

Shortly after, Sean was notified that he was being terminated. We didn't understand. My husband is a truly wonderful man. He had done more that asked for that company, saved their hide with the billing error and had been a light to his co-workers and a very diligent worker. Why would God let this happen? What purpose could it fullfill?
Today I know that sometimes you can do everything right, even have a heart completely submitted to God, and things just might not go the way you think they should by Divine command.

Through Sean leaving that company, he got his first independent contract to do programming for a company that worked with Johnson and Johnson, giving us our first taste of being self employed and working out the mechanics of that life. That job paid great for about a year and a half when suddenly the contact with the big Johnson and Johnson was lost, more and more programming jobs shipped overseas to India. Again, we wondered why.

I see God's hand in it all now. In that year and a half I figured out how to live on an income that isn't fixed and set, negotiate healthcare, and be flexible with the sometimes odd hours of work that being married to a self employed husband requires. Sean learned loads about running a business in the state of NY (not fun) and dealing with customers.

We still visited that little white church on a hill every so often, picnicking on it's mown lawn or picking raspberries in season, all the while recalling God's faithfulness over the two of our lives.
Sean worked some odd jobs after that programming contract ran dry. He flipped a house with a friend, helped another build one and began working a bit with my father, who is also self employed.

We bought part of my Dad's business a few years ago and Sean runs it with one part time employee. God has blessed us beyond what we ever thought possible with our limited formal educations, blessing Sean with God inspired business wisdom and favor beyond his years.

Tonight as we drove home from visiting Sean's grandparents, I spotted that little white steepled church on the hill and loads of memories came rushing back.
A lot of those times were uncertain and scary with rubber meets the road trusting in God for our basic needs, our faith being built in the midst of employment concerns, a sick child, and extended family issues. It certainly wouldn't be anything I would have chosen to go through but I'm glad for the fruit of it. I know, that I know, that I know that God is faithful and my provider and the establisher of our home. Sean and I have a strong marriage and a strong family home as the foundation on which to raise our family.

Tonight as we drove by, the white steeple held high against the sky reminded me of God's orchestration and plans. As the housing market and economy have slowed so has business. It is okay. We don't want to be business people forever. I know God knows what is coming and what is next. Isaiah 30:21 reminds me of this.

Through the ten years we have been married, no matter what season our financial circumstances have been, my heart has always felt blessed and full. I know that riches come from things other than money, things like a relationship with God, a husband to love and family to nurture and a home to cultivate. I love the reminders that little church called out to me tonight...


New Mom said...

Hi Hannah. Thanks for sharing your story. It really touched me, as I am in a similar situation right now. I was terminated with no notice after being an excellent nanny. My husband took a new job in a new state and is attending school as well. Part of our agreement was that I would find a job that I could take me son to work with me. After being free of the nanny position, I realized that working outside the home is just too hard for me. Some moms can do it but I can't. I was worn out all the time and with my husband at work until 8:30pm and soon to be at school in the a.m., I didn't have much help. So now, we're in a house that we can't afford for me to continue to be unemployed in a new state with very few connections. I struggle with this burden because in some ways I do not think it is mine to bear. Still, I am the one searching day in and day out for a job, constantly praying, and yes, some worrying about what I should do. It is a mixed blessing to have a husband that is not a worrier! Sometimes I wish he would worry a little more, instead of just thinking/saying it'll all work out! I want him to take responsibility for our provision, even though I know that me working is temporary I get a little angry that I'm in this situation. Whew, sorry for the long venting! I guess you just touched a nerve. It's kind of nice to know that others have been through similar situations and survived.

Ignore any typos, I'm typing in the same state of mind that I'm feeling :}

New Mom said...

Oh, I also have a bit of advice for young wives... Learn how to live off of just your husband's income, you never know when you might decide to decide to be a SAHM or SAHW. Even if you think you'll always work, still, at least you'll have the option to change your mind. I'm learning this lesson the hard way!

Diane said...

Hey "new mom".....I am a SAHM but with both kids in school. I was looking for a part time job in the "usual ways". After waiting and praying and waiting on God some more, someone from church APPROACHED ME about working for them from my home. It has been great! It is so out of the box for me and met every one of my requirements with the kids in school. It sounds like God is going to show you many things about yourself and your "ministry" to others during this time. He will even provide ways for you to save money during this difficult economic time. And BTW don't listen to the devil in your ear telling you his lies. You are an Esther in the place God wants you right now to fulfill His purposes. His grace is new every morning.....

New Mom said...

Thank you Diane.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, thanks for sharing a bit more about your life Hannah. I love to read how God has refined and blessed you. May He bless you in these next few weeks as you approach the birth of baby number 5!


Andrea said...

I so appreciate your testimony to God's faithfulness in your life. You don't know how much I needed to hear this tonight.

Trish said...

I followed a link here about sewing boys' clothes. Thank you so much for sharing your story.


Natasha said...

Hannah, thank you for that beautiful post of encouragement. It was a wonderful reminder that 'doing everything right' does not ensure smooth sailing. Instead, we are called to wholly trust in our Saviour, no matter the circumstance. I needed to hear that!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing how God has been faithful in your life. I am always encouraged at how God reminds me through others that He is still at work, even when I do not see it. Thanks for the reminder.