Thursday, January 28, 2010

The job, Great is HIS Faithfulness

*Please imagine that we are now entering a dream sequence. The likes of Mr. Rogers entering the Land Of Make-believe, as the chime-y music plays and the present fades out, as we step into a vague place of what was*

Sorry, I’m in a goofy mood!

Well, one time, I absolutely knew that I was supposed to *not* do something. I was, however, scared to *not* do that thing. I believe that God had instructed my conscience to be wired in such a way so as to know I was not doing what I ought to be doing. You follow? Good.

I was being disobedient to my creator. He loves me, and respects my wishes, so He allowed me to continue to be disobedient. And I carried on in my disobedience because I was scared. Not knowing that my maker had good things planned for me and by not obeying, I was holding those blessings at bay. Fear and obedience is a funny combo. One I don’t recommend.

Finally, I came to a place where I could trust Jesus enough to just obey, and things worked out pretty good. No, that is a terribly under-exaggerated statement. Life as I know it would not be as wonderful and delightful as it is now, had I not obeyed. Lets just say, I’m glad I finally gave in!

*Chime-y music begins again, as we make our way back to the present…*

So, here we are. I need to tell about Marks job situation.

We’ve been learning and growing so much in the past 2 years. We’ve received greater direction for our lives and very clear ideals that we wish to live by. The new line of thought is very multi-faceted, and we know we’re just on the brink of a lifetime of discovering what God has for us and how He wants us to live. Part of this revelation included an avoidance of being patrons of large corporations and a self employed non-dependant-on-any-particular-company kind of lifestyle. So, it seemed sort of funny, for example, to not shop at Walmart, while Mark was selling phones for Verizon Wireless in order to earn money for us to live. You know? Well, it was probably in August of ‘09, when we both, separately felt that it was time for Mark to quite his job working for Verizon Wireless. Easy enough. No. We were scared. How can you just quit a good job when you have a family to take care of? So we waited. In other words, we were being disobedient to the one who has the very best for us. Because of fear.

Life was not very pretty in that time frame. I’m not saying that God went out of his way to make us miserable. I am saying that as we were increasingly, willingly moving outside of his perfect intentions for us, we were becoming less and less happy.

Finally, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we decided we had enough. Sitting in the nursing mothers room at our church, with no one around but us, we remembered how we had been disobedient before, and how we had conquered fear and submitted to the good things that God had in store for us (remember the dream sequence?) Having remembered this we fully realized that we could no longer, having any sort of a brain, continue being disobedient. So it was decided, in 5 days, following “black Friday,” Mark would put in his 2 weeks notice. It was settled and we began making a list of things we could sell, in order to help us get by until we knew what was next. (sorry for the run-on sentences. It’s been one of my biggest writing flaws for as long as I can remember. If you’re reading this dad, I’M SORRY!!!!)

The next day, Mark went into work and was feeling really good about starting the 5 day countdown, when he was called to the office and dismissed from his job, due to economic reasons. WOW!

So, even though the United States government is pretty much the largest corporation there is, we qualified for unemployment, because of being fired. We would not have had that, had he quit. We took this as a sign that we were, indeed, following the perfect will of our creator. That was very exciting for us!

On top of that, when Mark first started working at Verizon, it was a really good thing for our family. But he was having a very hard time adjusting to a corporation. (he worked as a “custodial engineer” for a private college before switching to VZW) Somewhere in the first few weeks on the new job, he was reminded of the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” That glorious hymn became an anthem of sorts for us, Mark especially. God had indeed provided this job for him, and He was faithful to help him along the way.

Upon being laid off from Verizon, Mark gathered up his belongings, bid his farewells and got in the car. Only to turn it on and hear the beginning notes of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” God was faithful to provide and faithful to take away. Great is His faithfulness indeed!

So what’s next?

Stay tuned. : )

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How to help on a budget.

Did I say I was going to tell you about Mark's job situation...? Oh yes about that... well... Yeah, I'll get to it. For now; read this!

Remember my series on "ethical consumerism" looks like I'm going 'round that mountain again.

There are people all over the world, who starve. Everyday. We know this. We understand the global crisis we are in. My hope is that each family commits to meeting the needs of the victims of this crisis on a regular basis. But sometimes, something happens. Something big enough to grab the whole worlds attention and inspire the more fortunate to help the less fortunate. Sometimes, it takes something as terrible as an earthquake, hitting a country so poor that every structure, barely standing in the first place, is reduced to nothing but rubble.

It is nearly unimaginable to think of a country as ill equipped as Haiti to deal with a natural disaster of this magnitude.

So, we step in.

If you live on more than $2.00 a day, you are among the worlds richest 20%.

When you put it that way, donating funds to humanitarian efforts in Haiti seems like an easy task.

But then you start paying bills…

And suddenly, you realize that you’re spent.

You want to help, but how?

I’ll start out by saying this, Haiti doesn’t need your old stuff. See the article affectionately called No one needs your old shoes, how not to help in Haiti

The only way to truly be of any help at all is by prayer and monetary donation. But if you’re like us, a young family with one income and a few little kids, you’ve got a pretty tight budget to adhere to.

So what do we do? We juggle. We give something up, because right now, in this instance, it means love.

Have you ever heard the stories about what people at home in the States did during the world wars? They did things like flatten their rolls of toilet paper so that they could fit more rolls in a box and save on shipping costs. They did things like eating fish instead of beef so that the government could ship more grain to the troops instead of using it to feed cattle. They had civilian rations. They gave something up, because everyone had to do something.

What can you give up?

We have started small and I have a feeling it’s going to grow. For now, we’ve halted all eating out, including the “grabbing a snack to eat at the grocery store” habit that I’ve been wanting to snub for a while now. (Like I said this is a small start because our idea of “eating out” is ordering a medium pizza 2 or 3 times a month.) Also, I’ve been slowly savoring the bag of chocolate chips in the pantry because I know, when that’s gone, the only time I’ll eat chocolate is when I’m offered it somewhere outside of our home. I’ve also pulled out all of my cheapest and longest penny stretching meal ideas that I’ve ever had. At the end of the month, we’ll see just how far these little changes have brought us. Any and all money that we’ve saved will then be donated to World Vision. We trust this charity and have been a part of their efforts for many, many years.

I encourage you to think about your spending habits. Look over your budget and see where you can juggle a little, choose something to give up for a while. And commit to actually donating the money you saved. You’ll be glad you did.