Back in February, Jay was laid off from work. He had worked for this company for 11 years...it's the job that drew us to this wonderful town we've come to love so much. He was cut loose and escorted out of the building with about 25 other people. No severance package. No thank you. Nada. Suddenly, we were faced with countless unknowns. Would we stay? Would we go? Would we lose everything? Each month that passed, (and there were NINE of them), found us wondering and worrying.
I'm not going to lie...it was hell. Seriously. We fought, we cried, we were angry, confused and depressed. And we were scared. There is no way to sugar coat unemployment and the toil it takes on a family and a marriage. It's a humbling and degrading experience. The money stops coming in, but the bills and financial commitments do NOT. He and the kids lost their health insurance, and even though I could not afford to put them on mine, we didn't qualify for ANY other state help in that aspect. He applied for countless jobs and was rejected time and time again. We went through all of his state unemployment and then started on his federal unemployment. I have learned more about the "system" than I EVER cared to know, and quite frankly, I am very disappointed in it. But despite all of this, we prayed. All. The. Time. Our friends prayed. Our family prayed. Our pastor and staff prayed in their morning meetings. And God was listening and waiting to blow my mind.
In the 9 months where we only had my little salary and his unemployment, we didn't miss a single bill. It doesn't really feel like we went without a thing. Friends stepped up in ways I never imagined I would need them too. Some gave us money. Some gave us food. One paid for 6 months worth of Weight Watchers for me to keep going. Jacob's Boy Scout Troop gave him a scholarship so he could go to Tre Ritos and the other adult leaders paid for Jay to go, too. They have also awarded Jacob another scholarship to attend Philmont in June! My parents paid for Jacob to attend both out of state band trips, and they sent money for Michaela's cosmetology tuition. Michaela also received a scholarship for that program. My girlfriends paid for a scrapbook trip we all had planned LAST November. One friend gave Michaela money just to go shopping with. Jay's parents sent money "just in case we needed it". Both sets of our parents paid for M's prom dress and shoes. Friends treated me to several lunches/dinners just so I would feel "normal". My hairdresser refused my tips. And just this morning, she told me that someone I know, who wanted to remain anonymous, paid for my next hair appointment! I've lost count of all the hugs and encouraging words and emails from everyone we are in contact with. But I will NEVER forget them. And finally, God blessed Jay with a new job in a Christian environment that has SO much more to offer him than his old job did. We are excited to see what the future with this company holds for him. I truly believe it will be amazing!
With each thing that happened, my kids learned that God REALLY does provide, one way or another. Their faith has grown like never before, and mine has had a healthy boost! If those are the reasons we went through this, then every single second was worth it. So don't you EVER think for one SECOND that God isn't taking care of you. Because He is. And He want's to blow YOUR mind, too.
There will never be enough words to thank everyone for everything they have done for us. But just know this: we love you all more than you could possibly imagine and we are praying for you, too!