**** Disclaimer - This is a long post ****
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...
Almost 5 years ago to the day I quit my job! Only to take on the task of being a stay-at-home mom & wife on a FULL TIME basis. It has proven to be the very best decision we could have ever made for our marriage and our family. We are stronger for it.
Being a stay-at-home mom requires sacrifice (for most) in the budgetary area and it has been no different for us. I researched and learned how to make nearly everything from scratch to lower our grocery budget. During the first 2-1/2 years, I made a $300/mo grocery budget (this includes all food, toiletries, cleaning, etc) stretch as far as I could. I drove my poor car until the wheels fell off - btw, if you were in the school parking lot and I honked at you I'm sorry! On it's way to the auto-grave my car horn went crazy! Every time I turned the wheel the horn honked! :)
The Coach wasn't so sure about the idea of me becoming a sahm. I know he had his doubts, so it became my mission to make sure he never felt the pinch. I would have sacrificed just about anything to be sure he was happy during this season of our life. I also felt very strongly about the kids never realizing we didn't have the money for "fill-in-the-blank". The kids and I have built many memories making cookies in the kitchen or checking on our homemade popsicles. We'd have themed "restaurant night" dinners - at home. Olive Garden was a favorite of our son, mexican is a winner any day of the week and pizza has been a Friday standard!
We have received God's blessings in abundance during the last 5 years. The Coach got his dream job after 10 years of working towards it. Whereas it included a nice raise, we were excited to have some extra. We bought a house into his second year and finally got a new car.
...a time to tear down...a time to weep...
But, last March we had to deal with some job issues and we weren't sure what the future would hold. It seemed God worked it out and we sighed a collective breath of relief only to have the air knocked out of us in May. The same man who said he wanted to start fresh, "reassigned" my husband the day after his all-sport athletic banquet. This basically meant he fired The Coach, but because we have a contract (which right now doesn't seem to be worth the paper it's printed on) we are "safe" for one year. The Coach was devastated. He has never been reprimanded during this career, never received a 'below expectation' review, etc. This man just didn't like my husband. The principal was in the wrong on several aspects...he never gave him an evaluation for the year (still hasn't), wanted him to sign a Growth Plan in June that the principal dated in February, etc., etc. Even though it felt like the darkest time, I know God was with us. We have both grown spiritually in the last 9 mo's.
The school year has been the hardest of his career. The principal assigned him to In-School Suspension. So he sits behind a desk all day and babysits kids who can't behave. He was volunteer coaching for his best friend at another high school in the same district, but his gem-of-a-principal found out and told him it was a conflict of interest (even though he has NO athletic responsibilities at his school). So, my Coach, a man who is usually so busy this time of year that we rarely see him, has been home by 4:30p everyday (any coach's wives reading this will know that this is NOT fun for anyone involved)!! God continues to stretch him in ways he didn't know he could go.
Ecclesiates 3:12, 13
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God.
Late in the summer, God showed us his grace again. A neighboring city (about 5 miles away) has grown exponentially in the last few years and will be opening a second high school next fall. They have already hired an Athletic Coordinator/Head Football coach and several other positions...but the have room for my Coach! The AC and my Coach had dinner and talked for a couple of hours. The Coach has gone to many of their freshman games this season (since he has nothing but time on his hands :)) and they are regularly emailing one another. The district isn't beginning the paperwork process for all the new hires until the spring semester but the AC has all but made it official. (trust me though, I know....until you sign the dotted line...keep praying) This new school will be 7.5 miles from the house!! The Coach has never worked that close to home. He is so excited about being part of a program from the ground up. The AC puts a high priority on character and integrity of the athletes and his staff. So refreshing!
The downside, you ask? Compensation. We will be taking a sizable cut for him to go into this district, but I know he wants it and deserves it (esp after the last year!). We just have to get through this year.
Knowing about this pay cut and loving my home (neighborhood, friends, church), it became clear that I was going to have to go back to work. I prayed about this and was even a little resentful (just being honest, friends) of the idea. Reluctantly I began applying for jobs in the kids school district and in the district The Coach will be in. Nothing. So I put my resume on monster.com and within 4 days I had an interview. Turns out it was NOT part of God's plan that I work for that company (I received many signs after asking God to show them to me....you see, I'm a little slow at hearing God's voice. I need the giant marquis that says "THIS IS IT" or "NO!") but the interview sparked a conversation with a man from church. This man is the same age as me, is married to the absolute sweetest woman you could ever know and they have two precious boys. He just bought a 30-yr old family business from his grandfather and wanted to talk to me about working for him. I start a week from Monday.
This will mean a little change for the kids...Daddy will take them to school and expedite the "morning routine" and one of our families dearest friends will pick them up in the afternoon. Daddy will be home by 4:30 and I will follow shortly thereafter. I guess the biggest change will come on school holidays - when I'm schlepping myself out the door to work while my family sleeps...but, to everything there is a season, right?
Stranger-Friends, I will end this by saying, God is Faithful. Even when you think it's the end of the road, He shows you another way.