Be warned! This is THE longest post that I’ve ever typed and certainly not an easy one to write. These words have been on my heart for quite awhile and I know the time has come to share exactly how we began to Live the Adventure. I hope that you can stay with me as I remember back to the very beginning…
Last week I shared that my husband dropped a bomb shell when he calmly asked me what I thought about moving once again. Deep Breaths. Deep Breaths. I really didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. We just moved into our house in July. Sold our camper in August and retrieved some of our long-lost treasures out of our storage unit in Ohio last week. Just when I thought I could let my guard down and begin to settle in. BAM!
His question reminded me of where the name of my blog came from…Live the Adventure. I didn’t choose this name because life was all smooth, wonderful and hunky dory (is that even a word?)…more likely it was because it wasn’t picture perfect. Somehow…Life’s an Adventure became a mantra for our family when things didn’t go right. When something was hard we’d mark it up to another adventure in a series of adventures. Some pleasant. Many that were not, but somehow the thought that we were ‘living an adventure’ allowed us to cope when life just didn’t turn out how we’d planned.
As I’ve mentioned before, we began traveling with my husband’s job five years ago. At the time we were really between a rock and a hard place because of poor decisions we’d made in the past. It was January, the slowest month of the year for my husband’s job. We were out of money and he found himself out of work. We didn’t know what to do. When the opportunity arose to work in Tennessee, we jumped at the chance.
We weren’t there long, about a week when another opportunity presented itself. My husband could go to Virginia Beach and work with his brother. We weren’t sure. Virginia Beach was a long way from home and the kids and I wouldn’t be able to travel with him. We did know that working in Tennessee was only temporary and that though he was making enough money to pay the mortgage and feed us, we were quickly getting in over our heads with our other monthly bills which totaled thousands of dollars as a result of years of accumulated credit card use. We drove back to Ohio and my husband headed to Virginia. Without us.
It wasn’t long before the kids and I joined my husband, only because my job allowed us to get steep discounts at area hotels. We rode to Virginia squished in my husband’s truck because we couldn’t afford to take both vehicles but we were together and the Atlantic Ocean was steps away from our hotel room.
Life in a hotel room was not easy. Sometimes I just wanted to run away. Literally. But I’d remind myself that we had always wanted to travel more and I had wanted to spend more quality time with my family. I also knew that I was getting what I prayed for. I had prayed earnestly for a closer walk with the Lord and my prayer was answered, just not the way I’d expected.
My husband had quite a bit of work, more than he’d had in a long time and we were able to begin catching up on things that we’d let slide. We tried to pay things off but found that though we weren’t really making a dent in our debt, we weren’t accumulating any more debt and praised God that we were able to buy tires for our vehicles and pay cash, something we’d never done.
After several months, I woke up in the middle of the night scared because of a scuffle that was going on outside our hotel room. I prayed that if we were going to be in Virginia any length of time that we’d be able to find something more accommodating and safer than the hotel room that we currently called home.
The next morning, my husband called me from work. How did I feel about staying in an apartment for the next six weeks? A girl in his office had moved out of her apartment but had miscalculated when her lease was up. If we moved in for six weeks and paid the rent, she’d pay the utilities. Well, you didn’t have to tell me twice!
We moved in to our one room apartment with air mattresses, folding chairs and plastic dishes. We still didn’t have my vehicle so during the day the kids and I were pretty much stuck unless we walked or rented a car, which we did once in awhile just to get us out of the apartment.
As the weather got nicer, I found it harder and harder to get a hotel room with my employee discount (my employer’s were amazing and allowed me to continue working when we were in town); as a result we had to go further and further from my husband’s office. Our expenses were increasing, but my husband was making more money than he’d ever made.
We began to think about moving to Virginia, permanently. I found a really cute apartment and a church that we liked, we were finally making friends, but my husband wasn’t convinced that moving was the thing to do so we prayed that our path would be made clear.
Hours before I was supposed to meet the landlord and sign a lease, my husband got a call from a company in Ohio. Did we want to go home? We packed up and headed home within days.
The funny thing is, when we got home, it didn’t feel like home anymore. I knew the company wouldn’t be able to keep him busy in the winter and so I began biding my time until we left again.
And we did. Back to Virginia we went and whether we wanted it or not, that’s how our life went. Back and forth. Back and forth. Finally the company in Virginia began to run out of work too and we traveled to other places, back to Tennessee, to Kentucky and to Alabama. He even interviewed with a company in Mississippi that wanted him to work a three state area that he turned down.
At this point, my husband was making less money and we weren’t able to go with him because it just wasn’t in the budget. Finally, my husband came home really frustrated. It had been a hard trip on him and on us and he didn’t want to be gone anymore. I had been sending resumes for months and we hadn’t gotten a single phone call!
Things were really tight at home. My husband’s income had dropped by 20% and then 30% and then 40% . We were juggling our bills and getting further and further behind.
My husband came home from Virginia for a promising interview at company an hour from our home, sadly, the manager hadn’t even bothered to show up! My husband was about as discouraged as I’d ever seen him. He didn’t want to return to Virginia without us, we had $40 to our name and no prospects. Or so we thought. My husband asked me if I’d been praying and I told him that I had and I knew the Lord would provide for us. Even as the words left my mouth, I wondered if I really believed them. And then, the phone rang. Never underestimate what the Lord can do. A company that I had sent a resume to was on the line. They had already checked my husband’s references and wanted him to start work the next day.
Armed with our last $40 and our two remaining free hotel room vouchers, I watched my husband drive away, thanking Jesus for provision and wondering what would come next. We discovered that my aunt had a camper at a state park located within an easy commute from the office my husband would be working at and though it was up for sale, we were welcome to stay there until it sold. The Lord had worked out all the details.
This job provided the money to pay our mortgage and for groceries, but not enough to pay our massive mountain of bills. When things looked really bleak, the company in Ohio got busy so we headed home. We were ready and this time we didn’t plan on going anywhere else. We were tired and just wanted to be home. We told the kids we weren’t traveling anywhere, adopted a puppy, began making plans for the winter and began paying off our debt with a vengeance.
It was the week before Thanksgiving when my husband was told that the company would not keep him busy for the winter as they’d promised and we’d have to go somewhere until spring. First, my husband was promised he’d have two more weeks of work only to have it shortened to one. Since my husband is self–employed we weren’t eligible for unemployment. We’d also been so busy paying off debt and closing our credit card accounts that we’d neglected to save money. We only had $3000 dollars, not enough money to pay a month’s worth of bills.
Yet, we weren’t worried because we knew that the Lord would provide and he has, in incredible ways. Just not ever the way I’d have imagined. That $3,000 ran out and though my husband and I were both applying for minimum wage jobs- we didn’t find anything. Not one offer and not even one call for an interview. We finally understood what the Lord had been trying to show us for so long…our home was not going to be in Ohio. We now knew it, a little too late.
Stay tuned for part 2….