Week 17 (4 months).
*While this entry is actually the 5th chapter of my series entitled “God-Nudged Leap of Faith”, it is just as relevant to “dad from day one” as well. Therefore, I consider it a cross-over episode.
A few weeks from now, on April 4th, it will be four months since my wife and I took our God-nudged leap of faith. We carefully planned and prayed over our decision to leave our secured careers behind in Nashville to live in a small blue collar town in Alabama where my family lives. Having our first child, a son named Jack who was born on November 16, 2010, was a big part of the motivation to move. It made sense to slow down our pace of life, not only for ourselves, but for him. We wanted Jack to be surrounded by his grandparents, aunt, and uncle.
My wife and I both were born in 1981. As children of the 1980’s, we were always told that you can do anything if you really believed in your dreams. Maybe that’s why we were brave enough to take this leap of faith. Maybe that’s what got us into this situation: Having almost depleted our savings and unable to land the right jobs back in my small hometown, we are now at a breaking point.
But in this moment, I don’t feel brave. Perhaps there’s a thin line between bravery and foolishness. The way I see it, that thin line in my case is actually having a steady job. It’s not a matter of the choice that we may have to move back to Nashville- it’s simply the only option if at least one of us doesn’t get a job within the next 2 and a half weeks. We need to make the most responsible decision at this point.
That 2 and a half week deadline is both how long our savings will last us as well as how long it should take to know if the most recent job I applied for will be mine or go to someone else. I can’t say that there were truly no job opportunities for me here. The first week we were here, I interviewed and was offered a job that was similar to my one in Nashville for the past five years- however, I found out during the interview that it meant working every Saturday and three nights a week. So I turned them down. Looking back, it’s easier to say I should have jumped at the chance. But at the time, I felt that it defeated the purpose of moving here if I couldn’t spend Saturday’s and many evenings with my family.
And the day I published the last chapter of this series, I interviewed and was offered a job as an account representative. It seemed like the perfect fit at first, but soon I realized I was the wrong guy for the job- like an accountant trying to do a computer administrator’s job or a forklift operator trying to work in a cubicle on the phone. I was very appreciative, and maybe too honest to not waste their time, but after a week and a half, I had to face the inevitable and re-entered the gloomy world of “much qualified but unemployed”.
My heart was set on raising my son in the same small town I loved while growing up. But it’s starting to seem like I’m playing Red Rover and I just can’t break through the other side. And while all of my family’s lives and futures will change if end up moving back to Nashville, I think of how Baby Jack’s life will be the most effected. Nashville is a wonderful city; after all, it’s where my wife and I met and got married. But his grandparents (my parents) had set their hearts on seeing him nearly every day (the house we live now in is barely a half a mile from them). And Jack won’t get to grow up with his cousin (my sister is due with her first child in July, who will be in the same school grade as him) as closely.
We chose love over money. We chose faith over security. I would love to believe that this story ends the way I intended. But unless God provides a miracle, because that’s the only saving option, then we have to count our losses (emotional, physical, and financial) and abandon our simple dream.
In Nashville, Jack will have to be raised by babysitters while my wife and I work. As compared to living in Alabama, my sister was going to babysit him since she is going on maternity leave for awhile. That’s hard for me to grasp. It makes me think of a divorce in that Jack will only see his family (other than my wife and I, of course) on most weekends. That’s not what I had my heart set on.
My intentions were good. My heart was right. My faith was real. My God can still intervene.
One of the main reasons I decided to write this God-nudged leap of faith series was to show how God would provide for my family. He has always provided for me before. I just can’t imagine this story ending with this all being for just character building experience. Not that God’s faithfulness and providence depends on my story. So to be fair, no matter how this story ends, I will continue writing it- even if we have to pack our lives back up and return to Nashville (where I could go back to my gracious former employer).
I realize that our willingness to move back to Nashville away from family could simply be like Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Maybe it’s simply a test of our faith. But I also fully realize that despite all it took to get here, we may be required to actually make the sacrifice. For the next two and a half weeks, I will be looking for that ram caught in the bushes, like Abraham was given. I’m counting on a miraculous whirlwind to catch me and carry me either to safety on the ground, or back up to where I leaped from in the first place.
Like Bruce Springsteen said in the first track of my favorite album of his, The Rising: “In God’s hands our fate is complete… I’m countin’ on a miracle to come through.”
It’s in God’s hands, where it’s always been.