For the past month I have had something looming over my head. Back in November we bought airfare to go see my extended family in Sacramento. We got a killer deal on Cyber Monday and even though Brett hadn't officially requested the time off, we knew that it wouldn't be a problem. We bought tickets for the first of March. Last year we went to Hawaii during the same week so again, it didn't seem like getting the time off would be a problem. Also, Brett's manager had never denied a vacation request....why should she?
Well, when Brett went to officially ask for the time off after the first of the year his manager said no. I could go into a lot more ugly details but basically she had decided to deny his request for vacation for no good reason. (I'm hesitant to share more in case somehow she finds my blog!!) Brett was extremely upset and then through a series of other conflicts at work, he found himself feeling discouraged and defeated. Ever been there?
Brett called me back in early January to tell me that he wasn't going to be able to go on this vacation and I was sick to my stomach. This vacation was very important to me because this side of my family hasn't met Everett yet and my grandpa is having kidney problems and you just never know how long our loved ones have left on this earth. I didn't want to go by myself at all. Traveling alone with kids is stressful. I told Brett that he should just let his manager cool off, keep doing a good job and honoring God at work, and then he could ask her to reconsider. We decided that he would ask her to reconsider in February.
If you know me, you know I am a planner. I was day dreaming about my kids first birthday parties long before they were ever even in my womb. In my perfect world, all holidays would already be planned out as to where they will be spent and with whom, what is going to be served, what special touches to celebrate the holidays will be done, etc. My calender on my iPhone is my trusty side kick and it failed me once, causing me to fah-reak out. The thought of not knowing whether or not my Sacramento trip was going to happen for a MONTH was enough to drive me crazy with worry and anxiety. It seems silly I know, but it meant a lot to me. Our airfare was non-refundable and to change the ticket would cost more then the ticket itself did.
During this season of not knowing (and other stresses that related to Brett's job), Brett and I have been really pressing into the Lord. And not because we wanted this trip to happen so bad, but because this whole situation was obviously the Lord's way of trying to get my attention and Brett's too. I have learned during this season that my husband needs my encouragement, needs me to spur him on to walk closer with the Lord, and needs me to be strong for him when he is feeling weak and defeated. I've been doing the 30 Day Shred again and one of the things that Jillian Michaels said really struck me. She said that in order for change to occur, you have to inflict stress on your body which is why the Shred is so stinkin' hard. But I got to thinking about our lives lately and realized that this stress is the Lord's way of stirring up some change in our lives and I'm grateful for that. We've gone through far more stressful times in life and I'm always grateful for the lessons that have come out of them. I know that I am truly a better person for the truths that I have learned as a result of trials.
I have a prayer journal that I have been writing in for the past couple of years. I go through phases of being more consistent then others. As I've been writing in it again for this past month I realize that it is more of a crisis journal. I have tended to only write in it when I'm stressed or praying for something. The pages of this journal read, "Lord, please give Brett that promotion"..."Lord, please allow me to stay home with my kids"...."Lord, restore my friends marriage"..."Lord, heal my friends mom with cancer".."Lord please don't let me be pregnant when I just had a baby two months ago" (ha ha).....and while those prayers aren't bad by any means, there needs to be more written in there then just specific requests....there should be praises, thought of gratitude and thankfulness.
Out of my desperation for this trip to happen (I feel like I'm sounding crazier and crazier but this trip just meant a lot to me and I wanted Brett to have the time off), I found myself taking time of out my mornings to write in my journal and have truly enjoyed the refreshment that is found in God's presence. I've been so challenged by this stress in my life to seek God more on my behalf and on the behalf of friends who are going through challenges.
After a short time, I was able to have a peace about this whole thing and even kind of mentally gave up hope regarding Brett's manager reconsidering. I had decided that I would just take Everett and we would just forsake the other two airline tickets. I contemplated taking Emersyn too but decided it would be just too much. She's in this delightfully
whinychallenging age and I just didn't think I had the energy to deal with the two kids on my own. Then Emersyn got a sweet Valentine's Day card from my Grandma that said "we're looking forward to lots of hugs and kisses in March" and I had this pit in my stomach and felt TERRIBLE. I started to get all worked up again but instead, channeled those fears into prayers. I also found myself on my best behavior. You know, like when you were a kid and really wanted to go to your friends house so you made sure your room was clean and took the extra time to do an additional chore or two so that your mom would say yes? I feel like I have subconsciously been doing that, making more dinners at home, not going to Starbucks as much *sniff sniff*, working out, etc.
I had to come to the realization though that despite my best intentions for this trip, sometimes God says no. I have a friend whose husband left her and her two small children and she and hundreds of people including myself were in prayer to God for weeks and months about his heart changing but now the divorce proceedings are underway. Surely if my friend can stand tall despite the verdict in this situation, so can I if I can't do something as insignificant as take a trip with my husband.
The end of the story is that Brett does get to go to California. His manager reconsidered and now we can breathe easier. The weather is supposed to be nice and I cannot wait to introduce Everett to our extended family who already love him so much. I cannot wait to see Emersyn run around the paradise that is my grandparents back yard, that is a dream come true for me. I have such fond memories of exploring my grandparents backyard and playing at their house. It is going to be a great family trip.
Still though, I'm grateful for the growth that occurred in this past month and believe that God is calling us to a new season of trusting Him in our lives.