April 10, 2010

Getting Settled

I am getting things settled, and feeling more and more comfortable about these plans. I feel very certain now that the best path to take is the one right in front of my nose (VBG!) I have been looking at homes in my target location (No. IL) and know now that for this to come to pass, I will have to have a very good income and a substantial down payment, just to get into a very basic home (about the level I have now). Without either, it is virtually impossible to follow that path.

I have applied for a couple positions that would fit those requirements, but have not heard back on either one. I am feeling that this path is blocked, which is a good indicator of what to do next. I am settled here in Phoenix, presently living in a home I own (with my DH). Up until now, we have been trying to figure out how to solve our marriage issues (does he stay in the home or do I?) We are settled on sharing it for the time being, as that is the most practical solution. It is weird, but in this day and age, many couples who choose to separate or divorce ACTUALLY choose this route. It is easiest on the children, most cost efficient, and provides stability and security for both individuals. It is not the best thing personally, and makes it very difficult to accept, simply on a mental/emotional level. However, the Lord has Graciously helped me in both areas and so far it has been OK for me.

The real negative of this arrangement is space. Our home is small (about 1000 SQ with an enclosed carport that is setup as an office). Though we have 3 bedrooms, two are used for sleeping and the third, a very small room (about 9x10) is used for our extensive book collection and all our son's musical instruments (2 pianos, 3 guitars, 2 cellos, a computer that hooks to the pianos, etc.) The office is a large room (almost 400 SQ) but it has desks installed around the perimeter, and is filled with mostly my husband's business materials (many file cabinets, copiers, printers -- things left over from our old promotional products business). It also has all our computers (3 - one for each of us). Trying to divide up this space is difficult. How would it work? Where would be put our son's music equipment? His room is about 10x10 and our bedroom, perhaps 10x13. Little room is left to move a computer or piano or anything.

The Lord has really pressed it on my heart that for this to work, amicably, we need to be separated from one another physically. This would mean that one of us needs to find a new home. I cannot tell you how difficult this process has been for me. I am tied to my home, always have been, as it is a source of my security. I am willing to move to another home, but I have so many issues (I know...at some point I have to let something go). Yes, I know. I have 3 cats, whom I take care of (1 is almost 20 years of age). Moving with cats is difficult, though it can be done. My elderly cat has moved 5 times over the course of his life, once even from CA to AZ. He is very frail now, but I know he could handle moving from one place to the next, so long as it was not too far a ride in the car. My others have only been in this home, but they should do just fine (they are kept indoors, so it is OK). However, getting someone to let you rent with pets is a challenge. Many rental owners will allow dogs, but not cats. Cats are a difficult aspect of renting. Some say perhaps, and then charge you a huge fee for deposit. UGH! The entire prospect of moving is upsetting to me.

My DH has been looking for another home, but with his limited income right now, that is not a realistic thing. I just don't see him being able to move out and then be able to continue to support me or his son.

I have been looking for work, but have not found any jobs locally. I have applied to 7-8 positions since January, and have not heard anything on them. What gives? I know the economy is bad, but my credentials are good. My skills are good. I am a good worker. I just cannot get a job.

So to make a long story shorter, here is where I am at now. Perhaps it is not the Lord's intention to have me work. I cannot think it any other way because I am in this predicament, yet there has been no easy solution. I have asked if the Lord wants us to reconcile, to remain married to one another. This is not an option right now (due to on-going issues). Yet, divorce is not an option either. I am stuck, once again, right in the middle of my life. Not moving forward, not going backwards.

It would be completely different if I had been working already, if I had a good job with income. Then at least I could have moved out at the point when I knew it was best to do it. It would have been better had my DH had a job that paid a salary (and not consultant fees that may or may not materialize). At the outset, there would have been some financial resources there to lean on, to plan with, and to utilize. Instead, we are stuck in our life, our limited and so bounded life. This is the life we made for ourselves so many years ago. We chose to keep on in a business that couldn't provide for us. We chose to keep on working and living so close to the poverty line JUST to have the freedom to do what we wanted. We chose a life of irresponsibility because we wanted to be free. In essence, we chose a life of living as we wanted, without any thought to the future, and what might happen IF the economy went south, IF illness struck, IF marital problems arose. In our case, all of the above happened, and here we are -- barely making ends meet, barely able to survive, and barely able to see above the water level.

My life is part and parcel to my husbands because although this was his choice for an occupation, I didn't really do anything to stop him or take matters into my own hand (for example, not home school and get a full-time job THAT would have paid the bills and had benefits). I chose instead to allow my DH to make those decisions and to home school our son. I believed I was doing the Lord's will for home schooling. I tried to work part-time, but none of these jobs were of the Lord. I started them, gave 100%, but they were poor fits for me. They simply caused far more confusion and difficulty (upset everything schedule-wise, family-wise, and time-wise) to offset the small amount of money I brought in each month. I worked from home, nearly destroying my eyesight and placing a huge burden on my body (physically). It did help us, but again, barely providing any income to make it worth all the pain and discomfort it caused.

In looking back over my life, I see choices that I made because I felt that I had to make them. I never wanted to be irresponsible. I never wanted to default on credit cards and other loans. I never wanted to be anything BUT responsible. It just never worked out that way. No matter how I tried to be responsible, nothing I did seemed to work. I tried so many jobs when my son was small, only to find that it upset him and caused him great stress (and a whole passel of psychological problems -- tics, vocalizations, behavioral -- in some ways OCD and Asperger-like). I cried and cried and cried every time I had to leave him at home. I cried and cried and cried whenever I picked him up from child care (seeing him stressed out or having the care giver tell me what my son did that day -- every day was another major ordeal).

I am sure that parents who have a challenging child know exactly what I mean. It is heart wrenching to know that your child cannot function well in society. It is tiring and so difficult to hear of all the problems they are causing to the other children (at school or in group settings). You take it personally, you try your best to deal with it, but deep down you think it is all your fault. It is not, but that is how you feel about it.

Now I am at this weird crossroad in life, ready to step out in faith, ready to take back the responsibility for my life...yet I am not permitted to do it. I try, but cannot take it back. I ask for it, pray for it, long for it, yet I cannot have it. I want to work. I want to home school. I want to move. I want to stay. I want anything that will make this bad situation go away. I want to have my old life back, but I don't want it the way it was. I don't want to go back into that way of living. I don't want to stay in the way of living right now. I want something, I want something to liberate me from all this mess. I want to climb out of the hole I am in and breathe the fresh, clean air. I want a life where I can be in charge, in control, totally responsible for the bills and upkeep on the home (and not have to watch as the roof is blown to bits, knowing that there is no money to repair it). I want to take the cats to the vet when they need to go, and not watch them suffer needlessly. I want so much for all this trouble to go away, and I know how to do that. It is really quite a simple solution, if you think about it. What do I need most right now? I need money.

I have never been one to seek wealth or prosperity. I have been very content to live with little, and make the most of it. I am frugal (to an extreme), but I really don't mind being that way. I like to reuse things, recycle and make something new from them. I like to garden and can vegies. I like to sew. I like to build things with junk and make a usable item. I really like being handy, being simple, and being able to do without much extra. I just don't like being irresponsible to the legitimate debts we have created. I don't like letting bills go unpaid (regularly). I don't like having to call and make excuses why the bill cannot be paid (true emergencies are just that, but a consistent putting off of a bill is irresponsible to me.) It causes me to gag, to suffer internally (stress) and to feel so worthless, such a failure.

In my mind, you don't take on a debt UNLESS you can pay for it. You just don't do that EVER. If you are really in a bind, you make payments. You don't use credit and then default. You don't make plans without thinking them through and carefully considering the cost (all costs.) You don't live with the "wind philosophy" which is like tossing a coin up to see how it will land (heads we pay, tails we don't). I cannot live this way anymore. I will not live this way anymore.

But...how do I go from where I am now to where I THINK I need to be. How do I get a job in this economy and start taking responsibility for myself and my son. How do I go from being a person who defaults on bills (not purposely but by extension -- my name is on that bill, so I am liable for the debt) to a person who pays each and every one on time. How do I do this now?

I pray for this thing, this responsibility; I ask the Lord to let me be responsible for these debts. He tells me not to worry about them now, but the thought doesn't go away. I know He is not saying to me: "Carol, just let this go and don't worry about paying these things." No, this would be unBiblical ("render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's"). These debts belong to this world's system, and that means they belong to "Caesar." I must be responsible to pay all my debt. I cannot wash it away, though I have considered bankruptcy as an option.

I believe (after all my wailing) that this is something critical to my being, it is something that the Lord has drilled into my head. It is not just that I want these things to go away, but that I am driven to be a person of good stead, a person of character, and that means being honorable to what is legitimately mine. It is Biblical, it is Right, and it is what I long for in my heart of hearts. I want to be honorable (as much as possible as Paul commands) before all men.

Dear Lord,

Help me to be honorable before all men. Help me to be a Peace, and to live in such a way that I am giving good testimony to you. I know that the world sees me and thinks I am a hypocrite because I am called to a higher standard (your Word) and yet I live like everyone else in this world. I live like people who have no standard at all. How can this be? May it not be any longer. Please, Lord, bring me the answer, the solution to my problems, and help me do the right thing. Help me to live my life in a worthy manner, so that your Name will not be shamed or blemished. I ask this in Jesus' Name and pray for your will and blessing to fall on me. Amen.


Pam said...

So sorry to hear that you are struggling so and are not receiving clear direction on how to proceed. It is hard to just wait, just trust, just rest and be still. It is nearly impossible. I've been praying for you daily for a long time. Know that God hears and cares deeply for you.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Sister, I saw on another blog you wished to try making a kapp. It really isn't hard. I made a video on making your own. Not the world's best video but it may help you.

Carol Hepburn said...

Thanks, Pam! I really do appreciate your prayers. Making decisions has never been easy for me. I have not made any "life" choices in nearly 30 years! It is very difficult for me, and now, of course, I am so afraid of making mistakes.

My faith is in the Lord and in His provision for me. Once I see some movement, one way or another, then I will know what to do. I have great peace right where I am, and know that the time is not right to do anything other than just "be." Until He moves, I need to be content (which I am). I am just trying to plan and look ahead and that is where everything seems to be confusing.

Perhaps, I am supposed to just "be still and rest in the knowledge that He is God." He does know what is best for me. Sometimes I wonder how He puts up with me I am SO GRATEFUL that He does...for where would I be without His Mercy and Tender Loving Care?

Thanks again for the encouragement!