Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The worst year yet...

I've filled the blog in on so many events over the past year, but not really the underlying emotional turmoils of it all in the processs. So many big things... none of which I really want to go into any depth about in such a public space, but there is nevertheless much to be shared. Where to start....

2016 has sucked, to put it mildly. It has by far been the hardest year of my 35 years on this planet. We have moved so many times, and had a collection of different trials and issues along the way. Here, I'll start form today and work my way back... 

The girls are at a new school, Rochedale Primary which is just up the road. We are also in a new ward, Rochedale, which has been another change for our family.  We moved to Eight Mile Plains about four months ago after we moved house for the second time in three months. For six months prior to us moving the first time, we were unemployed, as Juan’s work contract had ended and the economy didn’t sustain Electrical Designers in Brisbane very well at that time. The company he was working for previously then asked him to move to Darwin to work, which he accepted, with the plan that we would follow in a month or so. By then we had moved in with my parents, and for about 3 months the girls and I were living in their home as Juan worked in Darwin. Our plan was to move up there with him, but every time we began the process of planning to move, the Spirit would tell us it was not the right thing to do. I was just devastated. It was unbearably hard to be away from him for so long. He had a six month contact, and was doing “fly-in, fly-out”, with four weeks up in Darwin, and one week back here in Brisbane. It was excruciating each time he left, and I felt an aching hole in my very spirit every time he was gone. Tori and Eadie seemed to take it in their stride well enough, but Anabel took it the hardest. Her behaviour deteriorated, and I struggled for a couple of months with knowing how to manage her mood swings and temper.

After our second attempt to move up to Darwin with the knowledge that his contract up there would be renewed, we made plans to move the family up. But after visiting him a second time, and through prayerful consideration, once again, the move just didn’t feel ‘right’. How was this possible? I wondered. How was it fair that I was forced to live a single mother’s life and go through the anguish of being separated from my husband, for what seemed like no reason at all? We just had to have faith that the Lord knew best.

But, one thing I did know. I had to move out of my parent’s house. Living with them was a pleasant enough experience, but as a 35 year old woman with three kids, it was no place for me to be completely comfortable. So, my mum and I began to look at houses online, saw a townhouse we liked straight away, went to the open house the next day, and received a contract confirmation for 6 months before the end of the first week. It was an incredibly fast turnover, and it felt positively right. We were moved in less than a week later, and the girls and I were very happy to have our own place again. On Juan’s next visit home we were so excited to show him our new house, and he loved it too.

Towards the end of his 6 month contract we once again began the process of planning a move up to Darwin so our family could be reunited again. He had been offered even more money, a longer contract, all moving costs paid for, and did I mention, an all expense paid house for us to live in while we were there? The perks were high. Very high. But once again, I couldn’t deny it; the move just wasn’t right. Even Juan was tempted by the offer this time, and needed to rely on my spiritual confirmation that it was time for him to come home and look for work here. I was so nervous as he agreed to my pleadings. After all, we had been unemployed for 6 months previous to him being forced to go up to Darwin for work – what made me think looking for a job a year later would be any different? It was certainly a nerve-wracking time, but I couldn’t deny my prompting.

Juan came home around three months ago. For four days he stressed about finding work, and applied for every job he could see. Suddenly, a phone call from a church friend. There was an opening in the engineering firm he managed; was Juan interested in coming in for an interview? Yes!! He went to the interview and felt happy with how it went. That afternoon, he was offered the position and YES, we took it!! The perks of this position far outweighed the one con, which was that we were now living on literally half of the excellent income we were receiving during his time in Darwin. But the pros were outstanding; worth so much more than money. The location is a 7 minute drive from our house; it was in a field that he had not yet had experience, which was a huge addition to his career; and it was full time and not a contract position, so the potential for career growth, holidays and sick pay were now wonderfully available!

Within a year we have gone from being unemployed, to Juan living in another state, to working full time only a 6 minute drive from our house, and he now comes home for lunch every day! It has been a wonderfully amazing blessing and we can see how the Lord knew better than we did, the best outcome for our family.

2016 has been a really hard year. Not just the employment situation, but also in regards to family challenges.  It has been the atonement of Jesus Christ that has helped us through this year, and keeping focused on the eternal plan of salvation that has helped us feel joy in times that seemed so low and hard and desperate. We have never cried so much in our lives as we have this year. At one point my mum saw me and said “Oh my goodness, you look awful!” I have had people ask me “Are you ok?” randomly in passing, and I was relieved to have “I’m pregnant” as the response I could offer as to my weathered appearance. It wasn’t the absolute truth, but since our trials were so personal, it was all I could offer to relief their worrying. I considered it a blessing from Heaven.  Both Juan and I have trudged through the muddy waters of hell as we have faced both present and past realities that only surfaced their ugly head this year. But we walked through it together, and we will continue to hold each other up as we continue our journey toward perfection.

I have never been one to think that “the grass is greener on the other side”. Call me a sceptic, but I've always assumed that a smile at church didn’t mean a smile at home, just like a smile at home didn’t mean there was a smile at church. But I thought we were different. It turns out, we aren’t. Our lives are tainted with consequences and heart aches, just like everyone’s is. We are not immune to the batterings and darts of the adversary; even if you make choices to avoid them. I have learned this year that good choices do not equate to a perfect life; nor do they amount to perfect consequences at all times. You never know when negative consequences, whether by your own or others’ choices are going to affect your life and that of your family.

But I have learned this – it’s the good choices we make in our life that prepare us to withstand the battterings of Satan and deflect his fiery darts. A couple of months before Juan’s return home, the Spirit prompted me to “step it up” spiritually. It was so strong within me that I began to be more diligent in my scripture study, and to attend the temple weekly. It was a couple of months later that I realised the Lord was preparing me for the unforeseen and shockingly dramatic challenges that I would need to endure up ahead. This realisation was at first, I am ashamed to say, met with anger, as I wrestled with the concept that Heavenly Father knew what I was going to be put through, but hadn’t given me adequate warning... however this soon seeped into a feeling of humility and gratitude as I realised that he did everything he could throughout my life to prepare me, and within those final few months, to strengthen me spiritually enough to withstand the trauma that I was about to experience.

We have come so far from those early days a few months ago. My grief has turned to gratitude as I have learned so many valuable life lessons about myself, about others, and our individual journeys; as has Juan. I rely on him as my strength, as he relies on me. I genuinely believe that we are meant to be walking through this life together to uplift each other in the areas where we fall short. I am meant to lead him to perfection, and he is meant to lead me. What a wonderful blessing!

So, it has been 18 months since we were unemployed and living on Barbaralla Drive, and in two and a half weeks we will be moving into ANOTHER house! Our fourth one this year…. Did I mention 2016 has been a horribly crappy year?? :-S

But we are very excited, because this is a larger house which will suit our larger family a lot better now that Juan is home and we are expecting baby Emma in four and a half months. We can’t wait to meet her; and I can’t wait to get all my furniture out of storage! I’m so looking forward to 2017 and celebrating Christmas and new year in our new house with my beautiful family.  We are so blessed. xx

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