Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Job security . . .?

Katie 13 months - Mike 1 month
As I traveled my path as a single mother I was often subject to worry. Things are difficult when you are a single mom with two kids and when one is given the label “handicapped” (not my label but the one given with the diagnosis of CF at the time) – well, you can only imagine.

I was very blessed to be working at Air Wisconsin when my oldest two were born. I stopped working after Mikey’s diagnosis of CF and cleaned houses, bar tended and babysat to help make ends meet. Young children have lots of needs and the added expense of CF was worrisome.

Psalm 37:25 I was young and now I am old, 
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken 
or their children begging bread.

When I decided to go back to work full time I set my sights on the best company in the area – KC. It took a few weeks but I was hired. God blessed my efforts as I was promoted 5 times in 2.5 years. But it appeared that while I worked full time Mike’s health would decline. I took the money I had saved in my 401K and decided I could make it until Mike was in first grade if I was given Social Security due to Mike’s special needs. Lots of other CF families received the extra help – I was told it would be no problem. WRONG. I was denied. I cleaned more houses and did what was needed to make ends meet.

I was completely out of the job market for 7 years. I figured my skills were probably out dated but I needed a job so I studied up and applied. I was once again blessed to get a job that paid the bills. I was hired full time at Oshkosh Truck Corporation where I had worked right out of High School. Amazing that God would bless me with steady work. At all three places, Air Wisconsin, KC and Oshkosh Truck, I was always given the time I needed to spend every minute with Mike in the hospital. He was never left alone as a child. If I wasn't with him his father was. Never alone.

I left the job market again to go to College. I went after a business degree. My hope was that I could increase my earning potential to be able to afford the increasing expenses of CF and a future transplant. I was sure that with a degree I wouldn't have to worry so much. I had over 2 years under my belt when I decided to marry Paul and shortly thereafter was expecting little Richie. Having a new baby, I went into a completely different career that would meet our needs but was a huge stretch from my IT background – childcare. There was no reason I should have been any good at running a child care center. But God continued to bless my efforts and Jesus’ Little Lambs prospered despite my lack of education and experience.

Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who works in you 
to will and to act according to his good purpose."

After 10 years of working at the church/child care God blessed us with our David. The hours got to be too much and I left the job market once again. Being an older mom was tough. I stayed home and did child care in my home until David was old enough for school.

I thought for sure my earning potential would be close to nothing but God stepped in once again and allowed me to work at one of the best employers in Fond du Lac – J. F. Ahern. Again, there was never a question as to where my first priority lied. I was able to leave when needed to take Mike back and forth to Madison. I was blessed. But with CF, full time work and two young kids I started to falter under the stress. I couldn't do that kind of work and deal with all that was going on as CF started to take my Mikey from me.

I have to say, that as I left that job I wondered if I would ever work in the business world again. God stepped in again and through many friends and family members I was encouraged to continue to try. "There are other business without the high stress levels of project management and construction," they encouraged me. God blessed me again and the first job I applied for resulted in a job offer. Divine intervention. Again, I was given the time that I needed to take Mike to the hospital. As Mike got sicker others stepped in and helped give him rides back and forth. The rest you can see in past blog posts.

What is the moral of this story?

I might not have job security . . .

I might not get Social Security . . .

But I will always have - God security

Given only through God’s amazing grace.
Amen to that.

We pray – give us today our daily bread – but we really usually don’t mean that. We really want job security, a nice padded bank account and a sizable 401K or else we worry. But God is always there working things out for our good just like he promised. God security. Yes, I have been homeless with two kids and I have lived in what many would consider a mansion. That is amazing grace.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to 
have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content 
in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, 
whether living in plenty or in want. 
I can do all things through Christ who 
strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

People have said to me, “You’re so lucky! You always land the good jobs!” or “You’re so techno geeky – you’ll always have job security!” When I hear these remarks I pause and take inventory . . . if left to my own devices I probably wouldn't have a job at all. To God be the glory. He has and always will give me God security. I trust Him completely. Forgive me Lord for the times I have doubted and worried.

The night seems darkest before the dawn. For those of you looking for work – hang in there. Trust. Yes, I worked hard and studied. God did the rest. Trust. I wish I wouldn't have worried so much. So much of the sin in my life was a result of that awful thing called worry. Trust Him.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each 
day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Blessings to you! Love, love, love.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

God's Perfect Timing

God’s timing is always perfect.

Sometimes that is hard for us to see.

Sometimes we have to wait to see it. Looking back it seems so clear.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

One could say that having babies less than 13 months apart isn't good timing. But looking back, having Katie and Mikey so close was a blessing. They were like twins. They loved and cherished each other even after they grew individual personalities.

If you have ever danced you know how important timing is. When a couple like Julie Wilson and Mike danced it was beautiful. They danced as one. If one of them had even been a second off it would have been less than desirable to watch (and probably wouldn’t have gotten them a State championship).

Mikey told many of his peeps that he didn't want to die in a hospital bed. That was part of his decision to come home on Hospice. He even refused the bed that Hospice brought when he first arrived. But after a few days his back started to hurt. He needed to be propped up to be comfortable and that was hard to do in a regular bed. I finally talked Mike into using the bed that was downstairs. “It just allows for you to raise the head up and down, Mike,” I bartered. He agreed. But now how was that going to happen? Mike was getting weaker. The bed that was in that small room was full size. This wasn't going to be easy. Timing would be everything.

His father and I met in the hall and I said, “I think . . .”
“I’ve got this,” He interrupted.
“But . . .”
“I’ve got this.”
“But you know we can . . .”
“I’ve got this!” Big Mike interjected again.

I relaxed. I said, “OK.” I sat back and watched Big Mike’s perfect timing play out.

This needed to be orchestrated. I’m sure Mikey is proud watching the choreography of his father that went on behind the scenes, as he watches the replay on that big screen TV up in heaven. Big Mike rallied the troops that were here. One quick call to Mikey’s friends and family members and everyone was ready to go.

Aunt Cathy cradled Mikey ever so gently in her arms while Amy held the morphine drip. As they sat Mikey down in a chair in the room someone set off a timer.

A group came in and disassembled the bed and rushed it out the door and down the hall. Scott, Bryon, Bear and others led by Big Mike came in and assembled the Hospice bed and plugged it in. Sheets and blankets were already on it and within 6 minutes from the time Mikey got up he was back in bed.

It’s amazing what love can do. So honored that all these people were part of Mikey’s life.

Looking back, I see God’s perfect timing for Mikey’s departure to heaven. We had anticipated many months of dependence on oxygen. Being tethered to a tank. Mike didn't want that. We talked about it a few times and I could not get him out of that mindset. Mike was always so giving. He gave until there was no more left to give. I would tell him that this would be our time to give back to him. But he would get agitated about it.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
I have said to people, “If there were ever such a thing as a beautiful death, my son was granted it.” All of his loved ones there to support him. He was able to speak up until the very end. He said his goodbyes and I’ll see you laters. Never alone.

I am so thankful for God’s perfect timing for Mike. For me. For you.

‘O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’
Psalm 139

Blessings to you. Love, love, love.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finding My Voice

It's been a long time . . .

I just stopped . . .

It felt like I lost my voice . . .

I know up in the corner of my blog it says why I started this blog. And it is why I started it. . . .

But then it slowly evolved. Sometimes I didn't know whose voice I was speaking . . . mine or Mikes. Truthfully, sometimes it was mine and sometimes it was Mike's. Once in a while he totally hijacked my blog completely and told me what he wanted me to say. I didn't mind at all. This became the place where people could go to find out how Mikey was doing. I promised to be real and I feel like I kept that promise :)

So, I guess it's not unusual that I would stumble about a bit. Not sure how I want to move forward . . , or if I even do.

I was at the dentist and JoBeth said she liked to read about Mikey's stories. Others have shared that they do too. Others said they enjoyed reading my blog and somehow it brought them comfort or peace.

Well, we all know that has nothing to do with me now don't we.

But I feel like I am finding my voice again. So much that I still want to share about the road I traveled with my Mikey. And then there are still all the reasons I started this blog to begin with.

I am one blessed mamma that is for sure. Blessed to still have such peace. Blessed to have a Father who continues to comfort and bring me joy. Blessed with a loving family. Blessed by all of you and your continued support and prayers.

There have been a few rough patches . . but none without God's comfort, love and forgiveness. I am learning how to trust completely . . . and it feels really good. I know there is an end to grief, because there is no end to grace. God is so good.

And look how God blessed us this week:

This young man lettered as a Freshman in Wrestling. We are so proud of him. A lot of hard work paid off for him. It is amazing what he can do when he puts his mind to something! To God be the glory!

And this little guy has a new special friend:

Thank you Zaria for taking such good care of Eva so David could have her :) He sure does love her.

Katie, Gage and Amy are all doing well also.

I am so blessed.

Hubby gave the sermon this week at school. He puts so much into those sermons and devotions. We are blessed by his Divine Call.

It is Lent. It reassures me that I will one day be going to heaven to meet my Savior just like my son did.

All good stuff folks, all good stuff.

Peace and blessings to each of you.

Many prayers going up for Rusty and Laura. May God continue to comfort and uphold you during this trying time. I admire the strength of these women.

Love, love, love.