Russ and mine's plans were totally different than God's. In the beginning, we thought we would move to Knoxville, Russ would finish school in three years, and then we would move back to Ooltewah where Russ would work in downtown Chattanooga. We had no idea that God would provide Russ with an amazing job opportunity (as well as myself), that we would meet such wonderful Christian people, and our three year journey would turn into something much bigger.
It has been an incredible experience. I have gotten to care for God's tiniest miracles for three years. I have always wanted to work with babies and help parents. I've always loved children and being a nurturer is who I am. It has been such a privilege to be a NICU nurse. Seeing babies as small as the palm of my hand grow into healthy babies and go home with their parents is something I never took for granted. It has made me so thankful for my sweet, healthy boy. I loved caring for babies (especially since I was trying to wait to have children) and truly making a difference in so many lives.
Russ' job allowed us to have so many unique, fun experiences. We have gotten to meet so many interesting people. (Dave Ramsey was probably my favorite). We have gotten to watch football games from the Chancellor's box and have front row seats to the basketball games. I am amazed at how this position was made for my husband. How he landed in it is only by God's grace. He is years younger than his coworkers, yet excels at what he does. I am one proud wife. It has helped us financially while Russ goes to school full-time, and we will always be grateful and humbled.
Right now, we feel like we are supposed to stay in Knoxville. I am so thankful we listened to God and had faith to make the move. It was scary leaving everything we knew. However, this place feels so right. We love the people, the culture, and being so close to everything we need. I do miss the country. I love where we came from. But I know Knoxville is where we are supposed to be for now, and I'm thankful our new home is a little closer to our old home where family is.
Another plan we had was for Russ to finish law school, buy a house, take a big trip, and then have a baby. I felt God pulling at my heart that I needed to trust Him with when for us to start our family. We still tried to put it off, but God's plans for us to go ahead and start a family won. We had already booked our Jamaica trip and it ended up coming at the perfect time in my pregnancy. I don't know if any vacation will ever top that one. And I continue to be amazed at God's perfect timing. Pierce came three weeks early on Thanksgiving day. Our plan was for him to come on his due date after Russ' finals, but he ended up coming at the perfect time for us. It allowed extra time before Christmas to recover, Russ to take more time off to be with us, and extra time for him to study. It all worked out just as it should. And again I am amazed at God's perfect timing. Russ and I always wanted to move to Farragut, but didn't think we could afford it for a long time. Then one day Russ was browsing the internet and saw our new home. We couldn't believe how perfect it was for us right now and the price was just right. When we went to look at the house, we found out the seller is an attorney who graduated from UT. He and his wife were selling by owner, which allowed us to not use a real estate agent and save a lot of money. And again I am blown away by God's perfect timing. We moved into our new home (I am still pinching myself) and put our condo on the market for sale by owner. After only two days on the market, we got an offer at exactly what we were hoping for and accepted! We continued to see answered prayers during the home inspection as Russ was under a lot of stress that it wouldn't be good. All of this has taught us to trust in God and trust Him when things are out of our control. We will be closing at exactly three years after buying the condo, which is exactly what we needed. Our new home is much closer to family and has extra space for visitors. This will help my mom out so much when she starts babysitting Pierce.
Right before Pierce was born, our pastor preached on tithing. Honestly, I didn't want to. I wanted to keep my money for me. When we counted how much it would be to tithe, my selfish side was hurting. We knew after much prayer and reading our Bible that God expected us to tithe. It should be God's money first, not ours. It is only by His grace that we have what we have. He has blessed us so much and the least we could do is to put Him at the top of our finances. With a little one on the way, it wasn't easy, but we did it. After Pierce was born, (as every mother does I'm sure), I started feeling the call to stay home with my baby. I felt very strongly God calling me to be a stay-at-home-mama, but we just couldn't afford it. I grieved not only at the thought of leaving my baby, but also not obeying the Lord. I prayed for his mercy and that he would provide for my family. After talking to one of my coworkers who had recently taken a new job, I decided to apply to the same place she was working. They were hiring and the hours would work better for my family. I felt like this was it, but sadly I didn't hear back from them. I was desperate! My current job that had said I could drop to part-time, had told me I was unable to decrease my hours like they had told me. I looked at my schedule and they had me coming back working three twelve hour shifts in a row. I didn't understand. I was mad. I was scared. I finally gave it to God and got peace in my heart. I had no choice but to go back, and I would patiently wait until God provided. That same day I got an email from the job I had applied for and I got an interview! I was thrilled to get the job just in time! If I had gotten the job when I had planned then I would have had to leave Pierce much earlier, but this way would allow me to extend my maternity leave by a few weeks. The hours are from 3-11 pm and it is part-time. This helps my mom since she also cares for my grandmother and lives an hour away. After four months, I will be able to work from home. I have been so impressed with my new job already. They seem to truly care about my family and will be more flexible with my schedule. I will no longer miss a whole holiday or a whole day of my child's life. As much as I loved being a NICU nurse, the stress of caring for critically ill babies was sometimes too much. I feel this job will be much better for my stress-level as a mommy. I will still be helping parents as they call to ask health-related questions about their children. The pay will be much better with this job as well. God provided. He said to test Him and put Him in charge in all areas of our lives. He will never stop amazing me at how He cares for me and my little family. He gave His son to a brutal death so I could live, and he continues to bless me every day. I am the daughter of a King and owe it all to Him.
|Snow right after moving in!|
LOTS OF LOVE,