Heels to Tractor Wheels

Thursday, November 24, 2016

An Unexpected Journey

As a child you dream the dreams of innocence, of love, of the happily Everafter, of your own beautiful fairytale and how your life will turn out the way you want it to, the way you've always dreamed it would. How could it otherwise? As a child anything is possible when you believe in it enough, even fairy tales. At what age do you lose that innocence? Is it a certain age or at your first broken heart or your first painful earth shattering moment when your faith and matter are tested? When did YOU lose that blind faith or did you?

My moment was around the age of 10. My earth shattering moment came out of left field, I never saw it coming. My Parent's split and then their divorce through not only me but my siblings for a loop. We were a happy Church going family one day and literally the next day instead of coming home to sleep in my bed I found myself sleeping in a motel bed, never to see my bed or bedroom again. It was a life changing moment for me, a time when my faith in GOD in all that was good was tested and I wavered, I doubted, I thought I no longer had that blind faith. My emotions were jagged, torn as I was disillusioned. It was years before I made peace with my past, years before I let go of the resentment, jealousy, frustration and anger. I just came to a point where it wasn't worth holding onto.  I looked up and found that GOD had been waiting for me, waiting for me to let it all go, to leave it all in HIS hands. HE'd been waiting years for me to call on HIM to handle it and when I finally let it all go, silently forgave then HIS peace abounded in me. I remember feeling so light, happy, peaceful and relaxed afterward. I kept thinking why didn't I do this years ago! The load was to much for me to bear but not GOD. It's funny how things in life shape us, how going through some bad times can teach us on how to be more dependent on GOD and less on ourselves.  I heartily believe that GOD uses the bad times, the worst of times we go through to try and make us more dependent on HIM. To teach us to let it all go and leave it all in HIS hands. To have that blind faith we once had as a child in HIM, to trust in HIM to bring us through it all. GOD doesn't cause bad things to happen to you, but for reasons all HIS own HE'LL allow them to happen and HE'LL see you through them if you allow HIM to.

Without this knowledge I wouldn't have stuck this journey out or have seen it through. GOD took the worst of times and allowed me to learn from them, to grow into the person I am today. Strong, full of faith, hope and love.

I'm going to take you on a journey, a journey that begun just shy of 9 years ago. It hasn't been an easy one by far, a lot of downhill skiing on a slope that seems never ending and on ski's you've never been on before. It's been a crazy adventure, not always fun but never boring that's for sure! This story I'm about to tell is very personal, one I don't really wish others to know about. I FEAR the pity, the gossipers, the whispers behind my back, the looks, the difference in how you treat me/my family. This is a story I never wanted to tell however, I've felt led to tell it (I've been putting this off for quite a few months if not more but with each passing day I feel more of an urgency to write my story, to tell of my/our families journey). In the end of I've come to the conclusion this is not my story to tell but HIS. If I don't tell it then how will you know what HE's done, the miracles he has wrought, the way HE has worked and seen us through? It's GOD that shines here, not me, not us. For I/we have done nothing but have faith and trusted in our LORD. HE has done it all! As I tell of our journey I can only pray you see GOD throughout it, that when you read this you don't see me/us but rather GOD shine through.

I first met my husband Robert on Eharmony (which by the way they are offering free communication through the Thanksgiving weekend for all you single people๐Ÿ˜‰) .http://www.eharmony.com/  I highly recommend them and the experience! I was 27 years old and had never been on a real date, never been kissed, hadn't had a boyfriend since the age of 15 and was still a virgin๐Ÿ‘€ . Never planned it that way, it just happened. All my friends were married and had kids. My older brother had been married, my younger sister was married with 3 incredible boys and even my younger brother had a girlfriend. I on the other hand was starting to feel as though I would live the rest of my life as a single person always feeling like the third wheel. Any of you other single ladies or men feel that way at times? It sucks, especially come Valentine's Day! Oh, on the outside I put up a good front, leading everyone to believe I didn't mind being single as I could do whatever I wanted without any ties or someone to hold me back. On the inside I dreamed of one day meeting Prince Charming, prayed for him every night in fact. A friend of mine where I worked at the time Elavon https://www.elavon.com/ (which by the way is a fantastic Credit Card Processing Company and was a great place to work with great advancement opportunities) had advised me to try http://www.eharmony.com/ as it's where she met her husband. Turned out I knew quite a few people who had met their spouse on an online dating site and I never knew! I always figured it was for desperate people and those looking for a "good time".๐Ÿ˜ Guess I was desperate as I decided to try it for myself.๐Ÿ˜œ A week into it I started talking to Robert. Only reason I started talking to him was because of his picture with this adorable dog otherwise I would have nixed him due to an over zealous tone to his profile when it came to GOD. I wasn't looking for my Father and the way he worded his profile had me worried he'd expect me to wear dresses all the time, act a certain way, and believe that woman's stuff was woman's and a man's was man's never the twain shall meet or mingle type of thing. However, he was far different then I had imagined him to be. A couple months went by and we decided to meet on July 4th, 2007 at Cracker Barrel https://www.crackerbarrel.com/ in Lenoir City, TN. It wasn't love at first sight (it was OH MY GOSH HE'S OLD & A COWBOY!) but it was all fireworks at the first kiss! Our first kiss shocked us both and from there (old looking or not - it's his glasses which added years to his look. Once off WOW! Hot diggity dog!) it led to a whirlwind wedding!

This is a picture of us when we first started dating and of course without his funky glasses on. ๐Ÿ˜

I had plans for our life, my life and when we got married it was all supposed to come together. Help run a farm, travel the world, open up a bakery and never have to worry much about finances. We were going to live the good life. It was going to be amazing, happy, wonderful and I'd finally get to see Ireland, the Emerald Isle!

Thanksgiving 2015 which was approximately 7 years and 2 1/2 kids into our marriage I found myself standing outside in the drizzly cold rain, freezing and thinking how much longer and I should have dressed warmer. I remember thinking "why am I here? I'm not like these people."  I was waiting outside The Food Pantry at Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, TN http://www.tnwesleyan.edu/student-life/service-and-leadership/love-thy-neighbor-project/community-members/tennessee-wesleyan-food-bank/ 
I stood out in that bone chilling cold rain for 2 hours waiting for the chance to possible get a free Turkey. Why you ask, because my husband and I had run out of funds to feed our family, we'd been denied by the Department of Human Services for food assistance (yes we applied for EBT) and according to them we made to much money and didn't qualify! I had been fighting with them for months urging them to base it on this years review and not last years taxes and still they denied us! I didn't get it if we had money there would be food on our table in our cupboards and we wouldn't be reduced to this! That day I stood there for my family, my boys and cringed on the inside all the while thanking the people who started this program and thanking the LORD above for them drawing my name for a Turkey (they only had so many so they had to draw names). That day I was able to get a turkey, 4 apples, 1 can of green beans and a overly expired and stale Starbucks packaged coffee cake. The apples and Starbucks coffee cake were devoured on the way home by us all. That next week we visited another Food Bank in which they required an unbelievable amount of information such as credit cards, amounts owed, social security number, drivers license number, debt owed and to who...ect! We almost walked away from that one as we didn't want our personal business out there and saw no reason why they needed all that information for a bit of food. However, when you have 2 kids you do what needs to be done to make sure they don't go hungry. You choke down that pride and pray it won't be like this for long. They gave us 2 bagfuls of canned goods and a big box of Russel Stover's candy. It lasted us a week and you couldn't go back to that same Food Bank for another month. I was an emotional pregnant basket case! I could be poorer than dirt and not feel poor as long as I have food in my fridge and stocked cupboards however, it's when I have no food in either that I feel poor, stressed and freak out! My husband was stressed, depressed, felt anxiety, was talking in his sleep and even sleepwalking (which only happens when he's really stressed out & boy could I tell you stories on that but that's for another day and time). We sold what we didn't need or could live without, picked up side jobs all to make ends meet.

Besides the food issue we couldn't pay our Electric Bill and it was due to be shut off in a matter of days. Our Utility Company Etowah Utilities http://www.eubnet.org/ suggested we try the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/lheap_assistance.html for assistance with paying our bill. After filling out the application and providing the needed documents we were approved however it took a month for it to be applied to our account. The Utility Company received the approval and waited for payment while keeping our electric on. Lheap helped pay our Utility bill for 3 months which was way more than we were expecting!! Truly a blessing from above which couldn't have come at a better time.

So many bills piling up, people going unpaid, foreclosure looking at us from around the corner. My mantra this isn't us, this isn't us, this can't be happening reverberating over and over in my head. Finally, acceptance. This is us, this is happening. We gave it all over to the LORD. What is is, what comes shall come and we shall overcome with HIM. The LORD has a plan for us we just cannot see at this time.

 Flash forward to today, Thanksgiving 2016. As I sit here and write this watching from the corner of my eye as my 2 boys toss 4 packages of diapers all over my living room floor and rolling around in them, listening to my 4 month old daughter babbling in her Pack N' Play I feel blessed and loved. We're not having a traditional Thanksgiving this year, no turkey, desserts or game time with family & friends. This year my kids and I are celebrating it without Daddy, without my husband. It's different, new, sad but happy as well for we really are blessed to still have a roof over are head, still own our farm for now, have a stocked pantry and fridge full of food, a vehicle to drive and clothes on are back as well as a bit of money in the bank. All of this came at the cost of Robert working 1000 miles away. Our first Thanksgiving apart since we've been together. It's not what we had planned for us but funny thing is our plans are not always the LORD'S plans.

What led us to this point? Are we out of the woods yet?

Stay Tuned...

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