Friday, July 31, 2009

God's amazing timing and providence...

As most of you know, I lost my most recent job on the last day of August, 2008, and have been unemployed ever since. This happened to be just under 2 months before our first child was to be born. When I first got laid off, we didn't realize how bad the economy was quite yet. The bailout hadn't even happened yet, at least not for another month. And even when the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" - aka, bailout - was finally passed almost a month after I lost my job, us common people still didn't realize how bad the economy was and that it was getting worse quick. But it would soon become apparent just how bad things were getting.

I've lost count as to how many jobs I have applied for, or companies I have sent resumes to during these past eleven months. The first couple of months, I would actually find job postings on job websites and send my resume or application in to them, but soon most job listings (at least for my area of "expertise", construction) would soon all but disappear. I actually had an interview back in late October that went pretty well. But when I checked in with that company every week or two until I found out that they had to eliminate the position I had interviewed for, and that they were actually doing layoffs - one of the guys that interviewed me (there were two guys) was actually laid off. I soon began to realize why I was not getting responses from the numerous jobs I applied for and was very qualified for, it was mainly because the jobs didn't actually exist, or at least not anymore. I would start to go in to companies to submit a resume in response to a job they had posted, just to be told "we actually are on a hiring freeze, that job is no longer available". It has been crazy... and it has been hard to see the end when no end was in sight.

Ok, ok... so I am sure you are thinking by now "what the heck does any of this have to do with 'God's amazing timing and providence...'?" Well, I'm getting there, just keep reading, trust me it's worth it.

It has been amazing throughout my life, to see how God has always provided what I needed, and usually in just the right - or rather nick of time. This has especially been evident since I have been "on my own" outside of college, and especially since Michelle and I got married back in 2003. Here are some examples.

Michelle and I graduated from college in December of 2002, we applied for and got accepted to head down to Florida in January to take part in the Walt Disney World College Program. So right away out of college, we had a job. Of course, this job did not pay great, or even good, but it provided us with enough to meet our needs while down in Florida - barely. Once our contracted time was up in May, we made the long drive back home to Colorado. We got engaged while on our internship at Disney, and were planning our wedding for October. This meant that I had around 5 months to look for employment before being married. I searched, and searched, and searched during those months. Fortunately I was living at my mom and step-dad's house during that summer, and did not have to worry about many expenses at all (which I see as God providing for my needs at that time). But as the wedding date fast approached, Michelle and I needed to find a place for us to live after we were to be married. It was the end of July, we were planning to go on a vacation to Lake Powell with Michelle's mom and family, and I still had not found anything... But right before we left for Lake Powell, just in time, God provided. I actually found a job as a Structural Engineer (the field I was looking in), in Boulder, and it "just so happened" that of the three employees that worked at this company, one was a friend I had lost touch with from college. I got the job in August, we were married in October and the timing was perfect. Michelle also found a job that she started right when we got married as well, to definitely help our situation and provide us with health insurance which my job did not provide.

Time moved on, I finally decided that I would listen to the "ache" in my heart that said "engineering is not for me". I was fighting that feeling all through college, but fought it off thinking I would be ok once I worked in the field full time, without having school and homework to worry about. Unfortunately, I was wrong and engineering was just not the right place for me to be. So I decided to quit engineering, and try to pursue areas I had more interest in. I actually started looking for jobs in Project Management at this time, but had a very hard time finding anything. So I settled on a "backup" plan of trying to do my own video production business. I have continued to operate this business part time to this day, and it has been great. It never provided enough financially to warrant keeping at it full time, but it was enjoyable most of the time, and provided a little money here and there.

About a year into our marriage, I was technically self employed, but not really bringing in any "real" income, so we almost completely relied on Michelle's employment. Well, Michelle's job was fast approaching her one year anniversary of employment. It seemed as though things were going just fine. Then, on a Friday afternoon at about 5:00 PM, Michelle's boss came by her office to ask her to come in for a meeting. They terminated her on the spot, saying they did not want to renew her contract and were changing the position... we were definitely not expecting that because she had just had a review that said she was doing great. They ended up paying her through the end of that month (September), which also meant we still had insurance, etc. We were freaked out to say the least. Group insurance is a necessity for me, since I typically cannot get personal insurance due to "pre-existing" conditions of JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) as a child. So knowing that coming up on October 1st, we would either lose insurance, or pay COBRA prices with no real income to speak of between the two of us. We had just decided to move out of our "nicer" apartment and head over to the other side of town to an apartment that we paid about 60-70% of the rent compared to the previous apartment... This turned out to be a huge blessing. Michelle and I were frantically looking for jobs at this point. Then, the last week of October, Michelle was refereed to look into a job working for the American Cancer Society. They hired her, WITH BENEFITS (after the first month of course), starting the first week of November! We only had to get "catastrophic" insurance for the first month of her job, but God totally provided for the timing of all of it and we were just fine.

There are more, but I think you get the point. There has been many times where we did not know what to do, and honestly, we freaked out thinking things wouldn't work out on many occasions. But time and time again, God has demonstrated that he meant it when he spoke about not worrying like he did in Matthew 6:25-34... he specifically addresses our needs to not worry about, because God DOES provide for them when you are seeking Him - and sometimes even graciously when you aren't seeking Him.

Well, this time is no exception. We have been able to make it through these 11 or so months of unemployment just fine financially. Of course it has been VERY tight and we have had to cut out quite a bit, but some unemployment insurance benefits and a few side jobs here and there through my business has provided for everything we have needed. But lately we have started to wonder what next. My unemployment benefits will run up in the next month or so - and we won't have that extra $1000 or so a month to supplement Michelle's income...

So, back in late September, when I first was in my "hitting the pavement and looking hard for a job" mode I was referred by one of my good friends to talk to his brother-in-law about a company he used to be a Project Manager for (the exact position I am looking for jobs as). Through him I was put in touch with a company and submitted my resume. They actually had a job posted on their website at the time for a Project Manager, but when I went in to drop off my resume in person, they said that they were actually not hiring... just like I was hearing everywhere! Fast-forward to April, I was still applying for jobs, still doing a lot of the same old thing all while watching Samuel. This company got back in touch with me to ask me to resubmit a resume to them. So I did...

Even more time later, actually just at the beginning of July, I received another email saying that they wanted me to come in for an interview. After a second interview a week after that... I have officially been offered a job!

What amazing timing and providence! My unemployment benefits will be done here in the next month or so, and I needed to find something. So what came up, not a new company I was just applying for, but a company I applied for 9 months ago comes back to give me a job. And the job sounds great! It is with a great, I mean great company, that believes in integrity being the top priority. The company builds the nicest of nice homes in the Phoenix area... we're talking 10,000 to 45,000 square foot homes... that is HUGE! If you want to know more about the company, check out their website here:

Thank you everyone for all your support, prayers, and referrals/connections that you have sent my way during this time. Michelle and I (and Samuel) are SO grateful to you all. Most of all, we thank God. Not just for this new job, but all the amazing ways He has always provided for our needs, and then some. I am also especially thankful for how His timing has worked out. Yes, I have been unemployed for the first 9 months of my first child's life, but that has only been a blessing. Of course we haven't been able to save any money in that time or get "ahead" on life... but I have been able to invest some PRICELESS time into my first child, my first son! I have also had some amazing time with God, growing more with Him and getting to know Him better! Even if it was difficult at times, I would not trade it for anything.

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