Saturday, November 8, 2008

Surrender

This post is really more for my own personal journal's sake. It is a time in our life that needed to be written down for therapeutic reasons. My intent is not to complain or bring anyone else down, but sometimes writing down my feelings helps me sort them out. This is lengthy.

Chris and I got married almost 9 years ago. This is the song we picked to be 'our song' and danced to at our wedding. That day I dreamed of seems so long ago. It seems like I was a totally different girl. Full of hope, wonder, dreams, and excited for what experiences would lie ahead for us as we began our life together. I had no idea what lay ahead or what we would go through up until this point. I just knew that this was a life I wanted to choose to have with my best friend. I knew I had nothing to fear in facing the life ahead with the man I had chosen to lift me, inspire me, and encourage me through the good, the bad and the ugly. And although nine years doesn't mean much in comparison to our parents and grandparents, that is our reality up to this point, and I am not here to compare myself to another.

It has been a rough year for us. 2 years ago we started our lives over. 2 years ago we left Washington with a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and a new baby. We threw all reason to the wind and left a comfy job, a home we loved, and family and friends behind to follow an feeling of inspiration we strongly had that there was more to our life we were missing. That the possibility of having the family life we so desperately wanted was out there, and was not going to happen in the career we had started. We received some great support by those that love us, but also some strong opposition by others that love us, which was and has been very painful. I am a girl who has always hated change, and has always liked to have a plan for it all, has always liked to have it all under control. It was hard enough then to give up control and follow an inspired feeling bigger than myself. But I did. We both did. We went with it, and although it was hard, we know it was right. I had the opportunity for the first time in my life to face my past, and deal with hard things. I didn't realize how much wounds of the past are truly weights we carry on our backs daily. I didn't realize how much that weight made me so tired. How much it affected my marriage and children and relationships with others. It is so amazing to be free of that. If we had changed our life completely just for my sanity's sake, it would have all been worth it. But it has been more than that; even though it has 100% not been what we had planned or expected!

It's no secret that our business failed. And although that is a HUGE relief to be out of, it is a mess in itself that we are still dealing with. We thought no biggie, let's follow plan B. Chris has a background in law enforcement, a degree and 5 years experience. We tested with Mesa PD back in April, and we were just informed that he passed all of the testing and his background investigation and is qualified for hire. However, it is very competitive, they pick the best candidates to fill positions, and due to the economic situation they aren't hiring a set number anymore. We also just found out the January academy is already full, but they are putting through 30 more officers in March. If Chris doesn't get offered a job by then he will have to go back through the entire testing and background process again because you are only eligible for 1 year from your first testing date - which was yes, April.

We have been praying for the past 3-4 years for direction and inspiration in the choices we make with career so that we can have the family life we so desperately want. We finally decided to have an attitude of asking in faith for the things we want, but only according to his will, not ours. This is something I have always believed, but never really had experience in having things turn out in such a desperate hour completely opposite of what I really thought would fix our problems. Logically, this job in Arizona would completely take care of our financial needs and have a pretty secure future. Deep down, I don't want to live there. It is hot there. I hate 85 degrees, let alone 120 degrees. All my family is in Washington and Utah. I have made great friends here in Idaho, but would love to eventually end up in Utah with most of my family. I am however willing to go wherever my husband can be happy in his job and support us. It has been an excruciatingly lonely and painful year having Chris gone the majority of it, drowning in the leftover mess of our business, flailing with the lack of control over any of the attempts to find other employment, sell our home, make a plan for some security for our children, and oh, did I mention I was on my death bed for 5 months because we are having a surprise baby? We also, by the way don't have any medical insurance this time around, and no doctor really has wanted to care for me without a financial plan in place. It really feels overwhelming some days. Okay, not gonna lie, I ball my guts out a lot of days.

We are now considering plan C. Chris is in his 3rd year as an electrical apprentice, and needs one more year to get his journeyman's license, but that is not really what he wants to do. Unless you own your own business, my feeling is that the job pretty much sucks here in Idaho because you are underpaid and traveling away from your family most of the time. Not to mention benefits suck. We stumbled across this 'Electrical Instrumentation' program at Idaho State University that is a 1 year program, and starts in January (Actually 2 year program but Chris can skip a year because of his previous degree and the electrical experience he has now) but the program is from 8-3 every day. Meaning we have to try to sell our house and find a job that would give him 30 hours a week that can still support 4 kids while he is going to school. And how the heck are we going to pay for school? We then would have an additional year after that to get his journeyman's license because he is so close, and we like to finish what we start. Even though this is obviously a much harder road in the beginning, it has the potential to give us a career with normal work hours, good pay, and options to work and be valuable in his acquired skills pretty much at plants and factories all over the place. Long term, it seems like the right choice to make. Where as a career in law enforcement has great pay and a great retirement and benefits, we are pretty much guaranteed Chris will be gone for every holiday, most Sunday's, and have crappy hours for a good 10 years. It seems like an easy choice to make. But the thought right now of leaving our ward where I have made such good friends, and living in a tiny cooped-up place with 4 children, a husband who will inevitably be absent most of the time for another 2 years, (and having to try and form some sort of support system again) seems a little daunting. I know I can do anything for 2 years, and I know I can surely support my good husband in all his hard work to provide for our little family. I just feel a little overwhelmed right now, it all feels so impossible right now.

This last time Chris left (won't be back until thanksgiving) I pretty much crumbled. I felt completely depleted. For the first time in my life I started to question something I had always known deep in my heart. That my Heavenly Father knows me personally. That my heavenly father loves me. I started to feel so isolated and alone in circumstances we now face, and in the fact that we have absolutely no control in what is happening to us presently. Being out of control is a little hard for me, and seems to be a recurring theme. I have spent a lot of time in my bed. I have spent a lot of time mopping up my own tears and blowing my nose. I have spent a lot of time eating bags of famous amos chocolate chip cookies from Costco. I even ate a whole loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread. After a serious headache from weeping, and a serious tummy ache from 7 months of humongous baby belly and too many goodies masking my woes, I decided it was time to spend some time on my knees. After some time on my knees I read Alma 32 in the book of mormon, and realized that in order to make a garden grow and bring forth delicious fruit, we have to tend to it. My own testimony has not been tended to for quite some time, and my faith and hope in a father who loves me and has a plan for my life was withering away just as it speaks of a tree that will bring forth delicious fruit:

in verse 37 "as the tree beginnith to grow, ye will say: let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye will nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit."

38: " But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out."

This morning I was forced out of bed by the sounds of my sweet 6 year old trying to sweep up the sugar mess that was strewn across the entire kitchen and dining room. I emerged to find popcorn popped and crumbled everywhere, cereal and milk poured and spilled about, sticky handfuls of sugar trailed amidst it all, and a 2 year old covered in chunks of sugar looking all the more guilty as I strode quickly to him. I think I washed him off, swept up the dry spots and hand mopped up the sticky spots, put in a movie and got back in bed. The obvious chaos in the living room was just too much to bear, because that is how I felt inside. Swimming with chaos. I told myself that at 9 am I was going to go downstairs and workout on our treadmill, take a shower, and then clean the house and spend some time with the kids today. Today, I was going to set aside the lack of control and be a present mother, be present in the life that I was living. At 9:15 Chris called to see how things were going, and after the usual cry-fest about what the heck are we going to do, and this is so hard to live with right now, I rolled out of bed and onto my knees and asked for strength to surrender all of the burdens of what I could not control, so that I could try to find joy in the life I was living right now. And you know what? I went downstairs for a work-out, took a shower and put on clean clothes, fed my kids their lunch, and after putting Carter down for a nap, Bailey and Jacob helped me clean up the whole house. They didn't even complain. Bailey asked to organize 3 of my cupboards and did an incredible job. She then learned how to unpack and pack the dishwasher (all of her own asking) and Jacob helped me sweep and mop the floor. We even made sock puppets as a reward for all of their willing help. And although I still ate quite a few bags of chocolate chip cookies, things are looking up. I will try to continue to turn my burdens over to one who has already suffered for them, one who does know me and loves me.

13 comments:

Heidi said...

Jenny,
I think that you are absolutely amazing! You are the greatest mom and I can tell that by how happy your kids are. Your attitude is amazing and I know things will work out. If you ever need a day out let me know, I will either watch your kids or I might just come with you!
Heidi

apyknowzitall said...

Wow what an entry. When you talked about the Journeyman Electrician thing I had massive flashbacks of my childhood in Idaho. My dad was a JE and there was no work in Idaho so he traveled alot when I was growing up. Wyoming, Hawaii, California etc. Granted this was almost over 20 years ago (GASP!) That's how we ended up in Seattle. He thought he finally found a permanent job but after a year of relocating he was laid off. Only now can I imagine the stress my mom was under raising all of us.

Anyway, Alma 32 is one of those chapters that you can always go to if you have troubles. Kind of like chocolate. Hmmm... You're in my prayers. Hang in there:)

tricki_nicki said...

Oh, Jenny girl! I'm so sorry sweetie. No words that I can write will make this better - but you're so strong. I'm so inspired by you!

Jennalee said...

snif snif, wow! I wanna send you a hug! you are a strong girl and mom and wife...I know Heavenly Father knows you and loves you too...and I do too!

Shelby said...

I know you hear this all the time, but it's so true--you are so STRONG! Hang in there!

I just realized that it's Amy's birthday tomorrow--maybe we can go out to celebrate this weekend.

Mrs. B said...

I wish I could make it all better, but I know after 8 weeks of looking at the floor, that the floor looks better from on my knees. You know I love you, maybe there is one thing you can do for me, come and get me so I can look at YOUR floor.

Jen and Dave said...

Jenny please please don't hesitate to call us for anything. you are our family, we love you and we want to help out in anyway we can. Dave and I could come up for a weekend and help out with the kids or something? let me know.

lefty said...

Jenny, you have amazing spiritual reflexes to help you out in dark times. You are strong because of that. I'm sure it doesn't feel like it always; but it takes an enormous amount of strength to get on your knees and have faith that acts, not just believes. He will guide you. It will feel right. Just as it was right to be exactly where you are right now.

Muriel said...

If you come to Pocatello you can call me for anything, even though you don't know me, I would love to help you with whatever you need. You can drop your kids off to play. I know that sounds weird but April can vouch for me. E-mail her she'll get you in touch with me.

Katie said...

I know that it is hard. I've been there and I think I'm still there. I'm constantly worrying and wondering what I should be doing. Remember that Hevenly Father is always there and we are all there. You are a wonderful person.

Joti said...

"fear not, litle flock"
Is it weird that I'm want to hop in the car and come see you at midnight? ha Get a good nights rest and I'll come bug you when the sun is actually shining! See you soon.

apyknowzitall said...

Yeah if I lived that close to Muriel, I would be taking advantage of... oh I mean hanging out with her big time;)

emily said...

jenny ... i am totally crying as i read this post and feel like the worst friend for not having read this sooner than today!! i feel like i need to jump in my van and high-tail it to Idaho to rescue you! you know that i would do it in a heart beat - you just say the word! i love you and after reading your 'thank you' post, i have to say that you do have an awesome bunch of friends and we all love you!! take care and call me when you need to talk! love you BIG!