We should have moved back fourteen months ago, when he retired from active duty service. That was our plan. But I got a job offer to stay in Texas, and after ten years as a stay-at-home mom, the idea of returning to my old career in federal civil service seemed interesting. We decided that a guaranteed income while figuring out the world of Veterans Affairs was the wise thing to do.
The fourteen months from that decision to today, were some of the hardest of our lives. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.
God was there throughout. The horrible tenants that moved in when we decided not to occupy our home, were kicked out for the lies they told and the destruction they caused. The money for repairs and to cover unpaid rent was there. The accident that could have killed my children only hurt the car. The procedure we were told my daughter needed to fix her intestines wasn't needed because Jesus fixed her intestines the night before the procedure. The intensity and animosity between me and my husband in a house with little to no domestic support because everyone was too busy didn't hurt as on the long run because we trusted God with the future of our relationship. Bullies at school that almost cost my son his school year, were stopped by a new principal. When hopelessness hit us hard, church staff came to the rescue.
But there were many sleepless nights as many of the above situations dragged for months with no obvious sign from above...
Looking back, I believe we looked at North Carolina fourteen months ago like most of Israel looked at Canaan when they first approached. We were afraid. We didn't go. And because of that, we roamed the wilderness going through test after test.
Canaan became viable again in my heart on July 12th, when something else went "wrong." By then we were trying to sell the home, and I got a late-night call in the middle of church service saying our front door in North Carolina was wide open.
I told my husband, "I just can't take it anymore. Let's just go home." I thought he was going to talk me out of it, but this time, he was ready too. Since we made that decision, it's been blessing and ease over blessing and ease.
But we had one moment this past week that took away my peace. Our "how much is enough?" moment.
I got a job offer to work in North Carolina. No brainer, right? What a blessing!
Then my husband got a job offer. Double blessing, right?
How about domestic support? Who will get the kids from school? Who will help with homework? Who will get groceries? Who will cook? Who will do laundry?
We would be changing zip codes but carrying half of our problems with us.
When I told my husband that I couldn't sleep and that I couldn't picture myself happy with a new job, he asked me, "How much is enough?" We totally have enough. We have more than enough. But we live in this culture of "more" and of what do you do for a living. It's so hard to break out of the pack sometimes.
But break out we will. Providentially, I had just come across a wonderful post from Ann Voskamp on this very theme. I highly recommend: How These 3 Words Can Stop What's Stealing Your Joy.
We have enough money, enough family, enough love, enough house, enough stuff.
Here's what God is trying to give me, but that I haven't had time to take in the past fourteen months: more time with my kids, more fun with my husband, time to walk and enjoy God's creation, time to write, time with Him.
I will stop the race to more stuff, and get back to the race to more God. I can't figure out how to do both at the same time. There.
I was incredibly blessed during my time at the Sergeants Major Academy in Texas. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with or a better boss. They truly loved and blessed my family.
But I really need to embrace North Carolina, the precious time I still have with my young children at home, my husband who tries so hard to please us, my calling to write more books, and my desire to spend more time with God. It's time to embrace being a creative. Being God's little girl. Being a mom. Being a wife. Being, being, being...
May you be in a blessed season of your life. And if you're not, be brave to change. Have you been going through major life changes too? What's up with you?
Peace and love and blessings. Love y'all.
Patricia Beal writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, is out now (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017). Order here!
She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Now, after a 10-year break in service, she is an Army editor. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.
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