Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
On July 14th, 2011 my world was rocked in a way that it had never been rocked before. It started off as a typical Thursday. I had a 22 month old and a six week old. My day was consumed with diaper changes, nursing, nap times, and household chores. As I do everyday, I took in all the joys (I really do mean joys) of being a stay at home mom. My parents were over for a short visit with the kids and while they were at the house Matt arrived home from work about an hour earlier than I expected. A very pleasant surprise. I absolutely love it when I have all four of us at home together. My parents quickly said their goodbyes so that I could get dinner started and we could have some family time. As I closed the door after my last hug, I turned around to see Matt sitting in the chair facing me. He had a look on his face that immediately brought me to tears. He proceeded to tell me that his law firm was making some cuts since business had been so slow and he had received a six week notice. August 26th would be his last day at the firm. Shock, fear and sadness hit me so hard in my chest, it was difficult to breathe. I was heartbroken for my husband who was carrying the burden of being the bread winner in our family. He looked defeated. All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and tell him how much I loved him. I was filled with anger. How could his firm do this to us? They knew I stayed home. They knew we had just had a baby. Harper was only six weeks old and the thought of having to leave her and go back to work was more than devastating.
I wish that I had reacted differently, but at the time all that I knew to do was cry. I was scared....I did not know what the future had in store for our family. If I am being completely honest with you, I cried. I cried so hard I gave myself a headache and I went to bed. In bed, I prayed. And prayed and prayed and prayed. I questioned God, why would he allow this to happen to my family. Even though I wanted to be upset, I kept thinking that God must have something better in store for our family. The next morning I woke up with a song stuck in my head. As I sipped my coffee, I kept hearing the words from a song I knew from my childhood...."He will make a way, when there seems to be no way. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way". Again, I prayed. I realized from the headache that was still hovering from the night before that I was not meant to handle this kind of stress. So I decided right then, at my kitchen table, only 16 hours after hearing that awful news, that I was going to give it to God. This was bigger than me. I knew that God loved me. I knew that he loved my family. I knew that he loved Matt and that he wanted great things for my husband as well. He loved my babies. He was going to provide for us. I knew it. Even though I didn't know how, I knew that he would provide. "He will make a way, when there seems to be no way".
I reminded myself of our life 2 years prior. I was pregnant with Harrison and was desperately hoping to stay home with my baby. Matt had just sat for the bar and his time was consumed with job hunting but much to our dismay, nothing was looking promising. September 2009 rolled around and it was baby time, but there was still no job lined up for Matt. Harrison was born on a Tuesday and our hospital stay was filled with visits from family and friends and not once did Matt and I allow the stress of his job search to interfere with our blissful first moments as parents. It was Friday afternoon, our last day in the hospital, and we were visiting with our parents when Matt's cell phone rang. It was the law firm that he had clerked at through law school. They had new large client and even though they had previously told him that they would not be hiring, they were now in a position to offer him a full time job as an associate. God provided. He made a way.
(Ok. Here is where I fill you in on a lot of things from the past year and hope that I don't lose you!)
For the last year Matt had been unhappy with his job. He was bored and knew he did not want to stay at his job long term. To say he was bored is an understatement. He was miserable. About a year ago, he started looking for other jobs. Cover letters were being drafted and I was helping to address envelopes, but after about 6 months of no signs of interest he started feeling discouraged. So discouraged that he even contemplated changing careers. He was unhappy and I knew that. It broke my heart to know how much he dreaded going into work, but it was a job and it paid the bills. I stopped praying for specific jobs to be offered to Matt, and I started to pray that God would be clear in what he wanted for our family. I knew that God could see the big picture, and I wanted God to provide a job that fit the big picture. I didn't want a band aid job offer. I wanted what God wanted for my family.
In March, Matt came home from work after attending a continuing education course and asked me what I would think of him opening up his own office. As cruel and mean as this sounds, I laughed. What was he thinking?!? We had a toddler and a baby on the way and we both wanted for me to stay home for a few years. How in the world would that be possible if he was incurring the start up costs of a business. And there were too many questions. Where would he open an office? What kind of law would he focus on? How would he know how to run an office? Could we raise a family with no steady pay check? There were too many questions. So many questions, that I assumed it was a closed case. I made my opinion very well known, but that did not stop Matt from "exploring". We have a friend that graduated law school a year before Matt and had opened his own office in Louisville. Matt asked Jason to lunch to pick his brain, and over the course of March to July Matt met with Jason several times to learn more about the art of running a business. On a Thursday in July, Matt and Jason met for lunch. Once again, Matt was picking Jason's brain about having his own office. During the lunch Jason asked Matt, "Is this something you are really serious about? Have you and Danielle been praying about it?" Matt replied....AND I QUOTE "Yeah, I am really serious, and yes I have been praying a lot about it. I guess right now I am waiting on a sign from God". After lunch Matt returned to his job and two hours later learned that he would not be employed there in six weeks.
(End of filling in )
Sunday July 16th rolled around and our family went to church. It was hard for me to keep my composure as I sat through worship and the sermon. I had so many emotions running through my head, but I kept repeating to myself...Give it to God. That afternoon, Matt and the two babies went down for naps. I had too much going on in my little brain to sleep, so I did what my generation does in times of need....I got on Facebook. I went through my list of friends and decided to message every person I knew of that may be able to help in Matt's search for a job. After reading, rereading and finally sending the message I puttered around the cyber social world praying for a quick response. About 20 minutes after my message was sent, I had a reply from an attorney in town. In his message he said he was moving to New York City and was going to be closing down his practice and didn't know if Matt would have any interest in taking over his office. He left his cell phone number and told me to have Matt call him.
Could this be real? Was this one of those "too good to be true" situations? Matt take over an existing office in Shelbyville? Matt be out on his own, just like he had been talking about for the last several months? This was our dream scenario, but it had to be too good to be true, right?!? I ran into our bedroom and jumped on the bed, waking up my napping husband. I quickly summarized what just happened and he did his best to calm me down. It was probably too good to be true. I made him promise me he would call on Monday morning just to look into it. I mean, What if? What is this was a God thing? What if this was God's plan all along? I think Matt agreed to make the call just so that I would shut up.
Much to my surprise, Matt seemed the slightest bit hopeful after the initial phone conversation. He decided he was going to go in and talk to Darby. Too many big questions needed to be answered, and we knew the answers we needed in order for this to really work for us. I sat down with Matt and we made out a list of every question we could think of. Matt took that list with him and jotted down the answers. Harrison and I were waiting at the front window when Matt finally came home. The meeting seemed like it lasted a lot longer than it really did. I could not read the emotion on his face as he got out of his car and walked up to the house. He sat down on the couch and said, "Well, I can't believe I am saying this....but this seems really promising".
What? Really? Four short days after receiving such horrible news, there was already more hope than we had seen in the last year. Over the last year, Matt had sent out countless resumes and over the course of four days he had not sent out a single resume. He started going through the list of questions we had made. Darby did not want money from Matt for his business (Hallelujah!). Matt would be taking over rent for the office space, no binding lease was required. Just month to month (Hallelujah!). Matt would be taking over an existing furnished office, in a fantastic location in downtown Shelbyville, with existing phone numbers, fax numbers, copy machines, an assistant who knew everything Matt needed to know, not to mention the already good name behind the office that had been there for the last 14 years (Hallelujah!). Darby's business was largely made up of real estate law, which meant there was no book of business to take over, but there were existing relationships with real estate agents and loan officers and Darby made it clear he would do everything in his power to introduce Matt to each of these individuals (Hallelujah!).
As much as this felt "too goo to be true", I also had an overwhelming peace about the whole situation. Every question that we had was answered the way we needed it to be answered. God was clearly opening doors and closing others. If I told you every single detail, all of the tiny pieces that came together to make this situation perfectly complete, this already ginormous blog post would become the length of a novel. Let me just say this, God made it very clear to both Matt and I that this was His plan for us in this season of our lives.
This story still gives me goosebumps every time I tell it. It is incredible to see God acting so clearly in our lives. To feel his peace is a comfort like no other. To know that we are in the middle of his plan for us is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. I have already learned one of the biggest lessons of my life from this experience and I plan to share that with you in a post later this week. I have been meaning to share this story for some time, but as you can tell it is a long one, and it took some time to organize the many hundreds of thoughts that I wanted to include. I wanted to write this down so that I never forget how this all came together. I don't want any of the small details to begin to blur. I don't want to forget how clearly God moved in this situation. So this post is more for me than for you. I wanted to document this experience, but for those of you who stuck around long enough to read the entire post, Thank You! And say a little prayer for us as we are now a family that is self employed. It is scary. Sometimes, the uncertainty is overwhelming. But I quickly remind myself that God will provide. He will make a way when there seems to be no way.