Life is full of the unexpected. Some good. Some not so good. It's the not-so-good that really test us.
The bumps in the road. The plans that go awry. The dreams dashed. The personal cost seems more than bearable.
Bumps leave us feeling anxious. Fearful. Angry. Bitter.
Sometimes bumps are minor intrusions to our day. Sometimes they are major. All require us to refocus on what truly matters. Where our hope and trust truly are.
We've had a lot of bumps these past months. Most of them have been very minor in the scheme of things. It was just the number of coinciding bumps that has really tested my character. Truly tested where, with whom, I've put my faith.
When we first moved into our fixer-upper, things were going as expected. As I previously posted, moving is not easy, but we were here and things were going along just fine.
But then the bumps started. I'm not sure which came first, Tom's new job or the problem(s) with the dogs. We'll start with Tom's job.
At some point towards the end of the year, Tom switched from working at a nursing home to doing home health. Because he had worked years before doing home health, he thought the transition would be a piece of cake. He was excited about having more time at home for family and house work, freedom with his schedule, and even slightly better pay. Turns out, the adjustment period was a nightmare. He was so stressed. He was coming home later, sitting in our bedroom with the door shut (to keep out the noise of the kids) trying to schedule his next day, and then working until 10pm or later catching up on all his notes. Yuck!
While this was going on, Roman and Lucy, our sweet puppies that we were privileged to witness being born, figured out how to escape their pen. Their pen that Tom spent many hours installing when he was needed elsewhere. Not only did they figure out how to jump the fence, they discovered our neighbors had chickens. Roman and Lucy love chickens! They ate two of them costing us $50. Expensive chicken that we didn't even get to enjoy.
Each time they got out, Tom would spend more money to reinforce the fence. Each time they figured out a way to bust through.
When they were inside the house, they would look for any open-door opportunity. Kids, of course, are not the best at always shutting the door behind them, and shutting it quickly. Kids were also easy to push over when the pooches were hungry for chicken.
So, we had to make a very hard, very sad decision. We had to find new homes for our Roman and Lucy. The kids were so heart-broken. We second-guessed our decision for weeks.
Then we had some bumps with our two rental properties. In the Peaks house, the master bedroom window was leaking and needed to not only be repaired, but replaced, along with some drywall. The water-heater in the townhouse decided to leak, and then the tenants in the townhouse were having marital issues revealing a flaw in our lease agreement.
Being in the middle of winter, the snow fell. Not only did it fall, it fell in record amounts. We do not have 4-wheel drive vehicles. We have a very long driveway. Thankfully we have four hard-working kids who were able to do quite a bit of shoveling, but I got stuck twice. Requiring, you guessed it, Tom to come help dig and push me out, just when he was needed and had planned on getting some work done on the house.
All these bumps compounded the feeling that we had make the worst mistake in our lives when we bought this house. Why had we bought this smaller house with its gross walls, smoker-smell, leaky windows, drafty doors, etc. We felt way in over our heads. Things with the house were not getting done in the 6-8 week time-frame we had originally dreamed of. Things with the house came to a stand-still as we just tried to manage the daily requirements of life.
We've finally turned the corner and there seems to be a straighter, smoother road up ahead. All of those bumps have done their job of revealing character flaws. Rough edges that needed and still need to be sharpened. Where there had been anxiety and fear, God revealed that my trust was not solely on Him. Where there had been anger, God revealed that I was trying to serve my sinful, selfish self. Where there had been bitterness, God revealed my need to accept His forgiveness and extend grace to others.
I pray that the bumps, at least the big ones, are fewer and farther between. But, I'm grateful for the work that they've started in my life.
There has been a lot of work done of the house in the recent month. It's super fun to see!! I'll try to post about that soon.