Wed - Dec 31, 2014 : 09:38 pm
New Years' (almost)
Approximately 4 years ago, sometime during the summer, from time to time I would go outside our back door and lay out on the concrete slab and look up at the stars. We had been in our home about 7 years and had no intention of moving, or changing, or doing anything but doing what we were doing. I was in love with my wife, trying my best to be the best daddy I could to my 4 children, and had enough coding skills to find a job pretty soon, should I lose the job I had at the moment. I went through jobs about every two years, and didn't think much of it. It felt stable, it felt comfortable, and it felt right.
While I was looking up at the stars, I found myself wondering where I would be in 5 years. What number of experiences could be waiting between now and then... Life felt good, comfortable, and ... just right.
It felt right until 2011 was almost over. That's when Sarah and I felt like we should take advantage of the housing prices at that time. We searched for about 6 months for a home that would suit our purpose. That purpose being to get serious about building a studio. We couldn't find any homes, so we ended up being led to a property that we thought would be way out of our price-range, but... all I can say is - when something is meant to happen, it's quite likely to happen. We had just enough savings from studio work to pay almost everything we needed to in order to get the home secured. ...and then when we ran out of money, money came and found us. It was kind of like a puzzle that was being put together before us, and we were just trying to make sure we were where we needed to be, doing what needed to be done.
After six months of living in my parents' basement (bless their hearts), we were elated to be able to move into our new home January 3rd of 2013.
The ride was over.... or so we mistakenly thought.
I continued to work on the studio, which at the time was about half-way built, and our first clients came in to record on Feburary 29th, 2013. I had just finished soldering the last wire needed to record a full drum kit about 2 hours before they came.
We settled in for about a month after the studio was in business, all the while I was working a full-time job which I generally enjoyed, at Blendtec (K-TEC, INC). It was about this time that I had a thought pop into my head. The thought was,
"If I get up and quit my job right now, God will take care of me."
I was a bit taken back, and it didn't happen that day, but about a week after that thought, I gave my two weeks to my boss. I can still remember it like it was happening just now. The anxiety, trepidation, and faith that was flowing through my veins that day was palpable. I'd say 95% of it was anxiety. I had no good reason to quit my job other than that one thought, and I knew I would be putting my co-workers in difficult positions if I left. ... But I couldn't brush it away, either. I had to do something about it. That was one seriously adrenaline-filled day, that's for sure.
Any way... I thought that, for sure, the trial of my faith was the act of quitting my job when prompted to do so.
...Oh little did I know...
Over the course of the next 4 months, I watched as our funds and savings disappeared completely. Completely.
The work coming in from the studio just wasn't enough to keep us afloat. All of our money went to bills and food... and after a few more months, toward the last quarter of 2013, we couldn't pay our mortgage anymore.
During this time, *sigh* ... It's hard for me to articulate.... *sigh*... nope.. it's impossible for me to articulate the ways in which my faith was tested. It's equally impossible for me to describe how my faith has grown. During this time, I was led to two talks given by Jeffrey R. Holland, which gave me, at the time, what was a badly needed spiritual adrenaline boost. It was almost as if these two talks were written just for me, for this time in my life. The first talk is entitled "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence". I watched it twice. It gave me chills. It caused me to weep with joy. It was as if he was speaking directly to me. The second talk is "Lessons Learned from Libery Jail". I found that one about a month after the first, and it shook my world. It describes the pain and hardships which sometimes come from following Christ. After watching it the first time, I just kind of sat there in shock. What an inspired speech.
Jumping back a bit... Right after that first prompting to quit my job, I was prompted again to write it all down, and I did. I've been keeping a journal of pretty much everything I went through from the beginning. It's still a bit too fresh for me to go back and digest it all, but I'm sure in the future, I'll be very, very glad I wrote down those trials I was having.
Anyway... The latter part of 2013 and the beginning quarter of 2014 were survived due to faith, a lot of prayer, fasting, and, again, to some money that found its way to us from a very, very loving individual. It wasn't a few hundred bucks, either. I was humbled to my core that someone would do that for me and my family.
So, ended up that, about half-way through 2014, I stumbled across a side-job programming opportunity which has proved to be nothing short of a miracle. Explaining it would be difficult at best, so suffice it to say, this programming job allows me full flexibility to work as much as I need, during times that I need, and to keep my studio going full-time. It sort of just fills in the gaps when the studio starts to lull, and at this point, my boss is thrilled at the relationship, and at the work getting done. It just couldn't have worked out any better.
...and for the next 5 months, that's what I did. Worked my tail off programming and creating the best recordings I possibly can for my studio clients, and enjoying the blessing of being able to provide for my family again.
So, what is the take away from all of this? I'm not quite sure. I've still got 2 hours before midnight, and I needed to kill some time. I also wanted to convey to whomever is reading this, the reality of God. I have felt His presence throughout this whole journey, and I'm getting the feeling it isn't over yet. The mornings when I wanted to stay in bed, and flood myself with self-pity, something inside me prompted me that hope was not lost. The months where I wondered how in the world I was to pay my mortgage, wondering why God would have led me here to be swallowed by a mountain of debt, and no way to pay it - especially when I had just been prompted to quit a good job that could have done more than that. The times when it made no sense for me to be where I was at the moment, only to fall, weeping, to my knees begging for the mercy of God to help me make sense of it all.
...it was during those moments of pain, of need, of confusion, when I was done ranting, and opened myself up to whatever God may or may not communicate to me...
It was those moments that found such solemnity... almost hallowed moments ... where God spoke peace to my soul. A peace that, at times, was just as overwhelming as my previous confusion. It was that peace which gave me strength to continue on. I had no idea when or where money was going to come to help us out, but I knew that God was with me. The peace of Christ gave me strength to continue on for another day, and when the confusion came again, when I had to find thousands of dollars to pay the next month's bill, I would fall to my knees again, and God, again, would speak clear peace to me.
At times, it was almost as if money wasn't important, because God wanted me to learn other things. And when the bills came due, sure enough, the money came as well. I hesitate to mention, but feel prompted to do so, that we never missed a mortgage payment. Due to the literal grace of God, whenever we needed the money, it came. and it's still coming.
It could be that tomorrow my boss will call me and let me know that I am no longer needed, and quite frankly, I've learned that such a thing is perfectly okay. I've been there, and God has let me know He is indeed powerful to save. Powerful to save from sin, powerful to save from death, and powerful to save from financial ruin. God's ways are certainly mysterious, and I've also learned that relegating control to Him is a good way to live. The more control I give Him, the better my life is, and the happier my family seems to be. I know I'm much happier this way. Plain and simple. I am doing what God wants me to do, and I am where God wants me to be. Man, I make some ridiculous mistakes, some bigger than others, but just like the job... It's okay. I repent, take advantage of Christ's atonement, try to do better, and keep on going.
If there is one thing I've learned while going through all this is this:
I need to do everything I can to keep the Spirit with me always. ... and while He's with me, I need to seek His counsel, and I need to follow it - unwaveringly.
At this point, I'm intrigued at what 2015 will bring. For now, I'm happy. Really and truly happy. My family is a bit crazy, but we're crazy together, and we're all striving our best to follow God's commandments.
God is real. His love is real. If you haven't found it, give it a try. It's a good way to live.