Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blessings in Trials

By Christine Thackeray

I've missed my last few times blogging here, but I have a good excuse. Lately, my life has taken some unexpected curves. In September my husband was laid off. It wasn't a horrible thing, and you would agree if you met his supervisor, but with a son on a mission, another ready to go and a senior in High School, it was bad timing. Three months went by with lots of resumes and interviews but no hard offers. Then a few weeks before Christmas a family in our ward approached us about buying our house. (We hadn't even thought about putting it on the market until we knew where we were going.)

At first we simply let the idea go, but it worked on us and most of the jobs Greg was applying for were out of state. The family needed a place by December fourteenth and on that December fast Sunday I woke up with a strange idea. I knew my sister had a little mobile home at the corner of her property that she had put up for her married children to stay in from time to time. My sister is on a mission with her family, and I wondered if the trailer might be empty. I cried all day both from the humiliation of asking and the worse humilation of having to live there, but it felt in my heart that this was the right thing to do. At last I sent the email and got a reply almost immediately that she would be fine with us using it.

We made the move from my beautiful seven-bedroom home to the little three-bedroom trailer in the woods in less than a week. Interestingly, it was the same week our severance pay ended. We only brought air mattresses and pads because I was determined this was a short-term thing. We cut down our tree, had a great Christmas together, took my senior daughter to BYU (she decided last minute to graduate early) and my son to the MTC. Meanwhile, Greg's job search was not going well. Two jobs we were sure he would be offered ended up drying up. Consulting positions he was promised haven't come through and so he started his next semester of his master's program.

Last week I finally put the kids in school, swallowed my pride and accepted that we will be here for a while. The location is beautiful- it's in Redmond. We live a remote grove of trees not unlike a scene from the new Avatar movie but sans the strange blue creatures. Looking around, I have to wake up and count my blessings.

1. I have a sister that would give us this great opportunity to live rent free. With no house payment and unemployment checks we are doing as well as we were before.

2. My fourteen-year-old son's classes didn't transition well to the new school so homeschool looks like the best option. One-on-one time in a big family is rare and it is a wonderful little season for us to learn and grow together before he starts moving towards independence.

3. The youth program here is incredibly valiant. Camron's participating in a musical production with over 200 youth, seminary is of the highest caliber and Sarah's beehive class have been truly encompassing.

4. My sweet husband who spent the last two years in almost an abusive relationship is returning to his normal self. I can't imagine going to work every day, being constantly undermined and mistreated. One day he told me he wished his car would lose control and hit a tree so he wouldn't have to go back to work. That's when it's time to quit. At least he was laid off so we get a year of help.

5. No debt and food storage. If we had bills hanging over our heads, this would not be nearly as stress-free, but we don't. Although things are tight, we have a kitchen full of food (too much wheat) and except for tuition and monthly missionary payments, we have no monthly payments to anybody (but both of those things are another blessing in and of themselves.)

So I guess we've been greatly blessed but not in the way I'd choose. As far as writing, I don't have the heart of my days to devote to it any longer and I was upset. I prayed about it one night and the next morning realized that during seminary I could write. So now I've got an hour a day from 6-7 and another hour when Camron's older brother takes him out for PE from 8-9. Two focused hours is pretty good so I'm not going to complain anymore.

It's funny when God says my ways are not your ways. I'm curious to see what the end of this part of my story is. I have no idea when or where a job will come through but my faith muscle is sure getting a workout and so far, I can't complain.


Rebecca Irvine said...

Funny how when life seems to be moving along heavenly Father throws us a curve ball and everything gets turned upside down. Best wishes for your husband finding work. Keep up the positive attitude!

Anne Bradshaw said...

My goodness, Christine, you are going through an upheaval and that's for sure. Love your attitude! Let's hope 2010 brings good things into your life.

Marsha Ward said...

You are my hero as a survivor, Christine. I echo Rebecca's and Anne's wishes for employment and good things in 2010.