Countin’ on a Miracle to Save My Fall in This God-Nudged Leap of Faith (Like a Whirlwind)

The next two and a half weeks determine the future of my entire family’s life… especially my son Jack’s.

*While this entry is actually an pivotal entry from my baby blog “dad from day one”, it is just as relevant to this “God-Nudged Leap of Faith” series as well. Therefore, I consider it a cross-over chapter.

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.

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dad from day one: Clip Show

Week 16.

What is a “clip show”, you ask? Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“A clip show is an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes. Most clip shows feature the format of a frame story in which cast members recall past events from past installments of the show, depicted with a clip of the event presented as a flashback.”

Lifeway publishes a monthly magazine called “Homelife”.  In the March 2011 issue, there is an invitation for readers to submit a 600-word story telling how God is working in their own home life.  And they pay $75 for each submission that is printed.  So I thought I might as well throw this into the “dad from day one” canon in the event that “Homelife” magazine decides not to publish it.

This clip episode doesn’t reveal anything particularly new to regular readers of my blogs “dad from day one” or “God-Nudged Leap of Faith”, but I see how it could be a good thing for newer readers who are just now jumping in.  For some reason, over the past couple of weeks, I have been drawing in between 40 and 100 new “dad from day one” readers each day.  So to you new readers, now you can get a better background perspective.  And for my faithful readers of nearly one year of “dad from day one”, thank you for hanging around.

Here is the story I submitted to Lifeway’s “homelife” magazine today:

“God-Nudged Leap of Faith”

It would be one thing if my wife and I had lost our jobs.  That would make more sense to some people.  Instead, we actually chose to leave behind our enjoyable and financially stable jobs in Nashville to move to my small hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama.  Yes, in this economy, we did the unthinkable.  Oh, and I should mention, we moved only two weeks after our son was born.

Why?  I guess it boils down to the universally familiar concept that when people have a near death experience, their life flashes before their eyes.  I could look back on my life twenty years from now, feeling much more secure in my finances, but my kids would not grow up truly knowing their grandparents, aunts, and uncles the way they would if we all lived in the same city together.

So we took a God-nudged leap of faith.  Since our move three months ago, we have made full time jobs out of looking for full time jobs. Granted, we both have college degrees (my wife even has a Master’s), impressive resumes, solid experience, and great personalities; but we are either under-qualified or over-qualified for the few jobs available.

In this home life of ours, time is standing still as I watch a constant slideshow in mind of my past, present, and future.  I struggle daily not to play the “what if?” game.  But at this point, it is not about the decisions that led me to this difficult place.  It is about what God can do with this situation now and how He can be seen by others because of it.  Not to mention, I know that this event will either enhance my faith through discipline and patience, or it will cause me to foolishly put faith in men who may or may not provide a job for me.

Fortunately, it is not people who provide jobs anyway.  It is not them who help me provide for my family.  It is completely God.  That is something I have begun reminding myself daily.  And in the process, I have been directed to one of God’s Hebrew names: Jehovah Jireh.  It means “The Lord will provide.”  I have been getting into the habit of praying to Jehovah Jireh, as His name specifically declares His providence.

I am not hopeless.  Yet I will personally admit that as a man who is designed to care and provide for his family, not having a job though I am fully capable and qualified, is quickly taking away my dignity.  But really, is dignity what I am after? No.

Seeking after God and only trusting in Him, instead of men or corporations or even myself, is a humiliating process.  The word “humiliating” has such a negative connotation to it, yet being humbled (another form of the word “humility”) is a necessary process in order to mature. As for my pride- it is to be damned, literally.  It only gets in the way of what God can do.

In the mean time, I get to spend plenty of time with my wife and our new son. Not every new dad has that ability.  And since I happen to be the author of a baby blog called “dad from day one,” I catch every minute of my son’s amazing and hilarious new baby tricks, so I never run out of writing material.  You know, I can see already I am going to miss this stage of my life.

Thank God for the good times and for the bad.  Sometimes it is not until you look back on them both to know which was which.


Taking a God-Nudged Leap of Faith (Like a Guinea Pig)

And hoping not to fall like an idiot in the process.

Thinking back on the lyrics of the popular traditional song, I’ve never really understood or wanted to understand why ten lords were ever leaping in the first place.  But after much thought, I perhaps have come to the realization that I have been one of those lords a leaping the entire time.  Needless to say, I’m not cool with wearing tights.

Desperately trying to avoid imagined images of myself wearing tights, yet still needing to get a grasp on my way of thinking, I’ve always been a bit of a Peter Pan.  (You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.) People like me never really grow out of that 1980’s propaganda mindset for kids that taught us we could do anything dream of if we put our mind to it.  Then we graduate college and realize that with this many people graduating college, having a college degree is less of a major advantage and more of a basic necessity.

On paper, my life looks pretty normal and planned out and even typical.  But behind the scenes, my life is series of leaps of faith that always got me where I wanted to be.  And I think by now, I’m just used to it.  My life plans are often void of much practical reason, instead, they are intertwined with my lofty dreams which I interpret as God’s will for my life.

I realized a while back that God tends to use me as the Guinea pig.  He already knows the plan will work but I become the human example to show others.  This is a fate I have accepted with surprisingly little fuss.  One of out 20,000 people in America has dyshidrosis, a vicious form of eczema that consumes a person’s hands and much of their body.  I was one of those 20,000 people.  But after several years of devastating torture embedded with anxiety and some depression, my skin problem has now 100% left me.  But God wouldn’t instantly heal me like I prayed for Him to do about 30 times a day.

Instead, He spoke through the wisdom of soft-spoken people in my life.  As well as random websites.  I now know the cure for dyshidrosis and eczema.  I proudly serve as God’s spokesman on how to overcome the skin condition, refusing any monetary compensation.

I feel honored to give out  this information.  Read The Cure for Eczema. Also, my e-mail address is listed on the upper right side of the screen for my more info.

That being said, I had prayed that God would get me around or over the problem, instead He took me through the problem to the other side.  And that is a classic (yet annoying) truth about life.  God doesn’t often use instant magic to fix our problems, He enables us to solve them ourselves.

But ultimately, even after God equips us with the wisdom and direction we need to solve the current problem; the ultimate issue is whether or not we give God the credit for it.  I remind myself that life is ultimately a spiritual war, and we can either say “God is good” or “look what I figured out” when we move from “tragedy” status back to “normal”.

Like the game between Jacob and The Man in Black on LOST, we serve as islanders who prove to the spiritual audience what’s really inside of us. It’s true that physically spoken words here in the physical world play a major part in the spiritual world.  That’s why I take these words of King Solomon so seriously in Proverbs:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, but in all things, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (3:5-6).

So whatever leap of faith that is required of me from God (or that I throw myself into), I have to ask myself, “what’s the worst that can happen?”  If it is of God, or God finds favor in my plan, I’m not convinced that God will allow me to simply make a fool of myself when I am completely focused on finding a way to honor Him through it.

“Something good coming, there has to be… And I’m in it for the long run, wherever it goes, riding the river.” –Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (“Something Good Coming”)

Read the sequel to this blog, by clicking right here.

For a related post by the same author, read Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People ?

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on faith, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one