Have you ever heard sayings like "bad things happen in 3's" or "that's just Murphy's Law."? Yeah, probably so..
Doesn't it seem like when something bad happens, EVERYTHING bad happens? You can never just have a flat tire, but you then also have to need a new battery the next week and a new engine by the month's end.
I have to say that over the past several months I felt like this was pretty much how life was going. Don't get me wrong, we had tons of joy and amazing blessings in these months - but they were some fairly dark days for me.
It started in November with Dad dying (which is still a huge struggle of mine) and it seemed like things went downhill from there. Clayton's transfer from being on the Highway to getting to be a Detective kept getting pushed back.. and pushed back. It seemed like it would never happen and we'd have to be stuck in this awful schedule and stress forever. Our fight against debt was moving more slowly than I was happy with even though my business is booming and we'd been making wise financial decisions. There were days that I'd think,
"How can things be so good.. and so bad.. all at the same time?"
Over the past two weeks, I've realized something else. When it rains.. it pours.. BLESSINGS.
Just as we trudged through so much yuck and muck over the past several months, now it seems like God has completely blown away those dark clouds to reveal huge and amazing things.
The first 'bad' thing.. Dad dying.. well, nothing has changed there of course. Dad's still dead.. I'm still sad.. family's still hurting. I am thankful that I no longer cry everyday - and that I can almost complete a thought or a memory about Dad without bursting into hysterical sobbing. I mean.. seriously.. when it's that bad you've got to give thanks to God for any amount of relief you feel!
The second hurdle - the transfer. It finally happened! The letter came - and I nearly cried when Clayton waved it in front of me and said, "It came!" (I'd have probably jumped up and down if he and I weren't both totally down with a stomach flu.. another post another day.) That was this Saturday - and I'm contemplating framing that letter and hanging it in place of my favorite framed art that we have in the house. He has a lot of training to make it through at first, but after that, we're looking at a more normal schedule (as in like 7am-4pm unless all hell breaks loose and someone decides to rape someone or kill someone..) and the ability to PLAN AHEAD. Someone wants to know if we can grill out in two weeks? Why YES WE CAN! I cannot even imagine a life like that - it's been so many years of living for his job and around his schedule. We'll get to go to things TOGETHER. He'll have the ability to coach a baseball team or pick the kids up from school from time to time. Wow... life changing!!
The third hurdle - the longest we've battled. DEBT. This has been something we've been seriously focused on for a long time. We hit it really hard about two years ago, and super hard over the past year. We made incredible progress - I am still shocked that God gave us the ability to pay off the cards we did and make it to where we are today. SHOCKED. As far as we've made it, it still felt like we'd never get these stupid cards paid off. They're really holding us back from a lot right now. (like building that big house with a lot of bedrooms to fill with kids... you know.. little things..)
Clayton's dad mentioned to us, as he was working on our taxes (he's a CPA... and everyone should be so blessed as to have one so readily available!) that we should look into refinancing our mortgage to wrap in the remaining debt. We had looked into this option a couple of years ago, but we had SO much debt that the mortgage payment would have been so high that we'd have been in no better of a situation. Plus, we really felt like we had spent years getting ourselves into that mess and it seemed right for us to spend a long while digging out of it.
Now, we've worked our booties off, we've learned invaluable lessons from this journey, and we're ready to move on. So, we contacted our current mortgage company (after comparing with our credit union and local banks) to talk about what we could make happen. To our amazing surprise, it looks like we can totally be credit card debt free. And, our mortgage payment will still be laughably low. Holy moly... is this really real? Really? It's like manna from heaven! Not to mention that we might be able to use our tax refund to pay off our van.. or mostly. A girl could get excited here... after dealing with this mess for so many years.. could this really be the end of it?
So, yes. Sometimes you feel like you are never going to get out of the dark place in which you are resting. Sometimes the sadness, the pain, the stress... it feels like it's just going to take you under. But then... it doesn't. And then God stays faithful. He stays true to his word that he won't leave you. He shows you he wants good things for you. Maybe he feels we "learned our lesson" on the financial front. Maybe he knows that with Clayton being home more often we can be a double blessing to our own children and other children that will need it. I don't know his reasons but I am thankful!
It starts with finding the small, hard to spot blessings in our life sometimes for God to be able to take us out of our current attitude and situation and bring us up and out of them. If you're in a dark place today, please know that you are not alone, no matter how alone you feel. Know that there IS a brighter day coming. You can never truly appreciate the sunlight without a lot of dark and gloomy days. I can testify to this today!