Friday, July 7, 2023

The Holy Trinity of Updates- Part Two: Open, Closed, and Hidden Doors

It's hard to know which doors are opportunities and which doors should be shut, locked, and have a HAZMAT label. That's why we need to trust God in all things.

In my last post, it seemed like life was kicking me to the curb. But there were blessings between all the bad stuff; this post will reveal them.

We were sixteen weeks without internet. If we were any younger, this would've been a disaster, but it was more of an inconvenience- like losing our favorite tool. We could deal without it if we had to, and sometimes we had a lot of fun!

There was no TV, so we watched DVDs and played card and board games instead. We talked with neighbors and got to know them. We had a landline, so if people needed to speak to us, they could. Once a day, we'd drive a few miles to find a connection and text our correspondence, and once a week, we'd go into town with our laptops to access things not on our phones.

I wound up closing my Etsy store almost immediately after opening it, simply because I couldn't fill orders daily. I didn't want my customers to wait a week or more for me to respond to their requests.

So I found a job.

During the job search, we started having engine issues with the van. We discovered a recall on our van engine, but they refused to replace it, stating we were the second owners, not the original buyers. We only had the 2016 Kia Sedona for a year and a half, but they wouldn't budge.

Then my husband hit a deer, and though there was a lot of body damage, we could still drive it. We put in an insurance claim and asked about the recall issue. They would get back to us.

A week before my new job started, the van engine died. Little did I know this was a blessing in disguise!

Local friends helped me to get back on the road via borrowed vehicles, and I was able to get to and from work for the first few weeks. 

We could not afford another vehicle and ran out of cars to borrow. We made a request to our internet friends, and one of my writing buddies had a 2000 Toyota Camry she was willing to give us if we wanted it.

Woohoo! We went on a two-day trip and came home with a great car. We returned the borrowed vehicle with many thanks and some home-baked goodies. We gave everyone who helped us home-baked goodies. That's how we roll!

In the meantime, the insurance company sent an inspector for the dead van, and they decided to total the vehicle. When we came home, there was a surprise check in the mailbox! 

We got my husband a 2000 Chevy Silverado truck with the money. We not only had two vehicles now, but because they are older models, he can do all the basic repairs and care for them!

And because we have two vehicles, he found a local job that desperately needed his skills. God provided! 

Why am I always surprised about that?

With both jobs, we could stay current with the bills and get what we needed to do some much-needed test baking. Unfortunately, I had to put my sewing business aside, but I was steadfast in my prayers for a way to work from home via the bakery and my side hustles of sewing and writing.

Honestly, I was still going back and forth between writing or sewing as my primary business, and I believe He used the job to help me figure things out.

I hoped for a regular forty-hour week, but the hours were so irregular I had no idea when I'd be home. I could leave anywhere from two hours early to two hours late, making it hard on the family since I was still trying to intermittent fast and eat dinner with them. But when the hours started going into the fifties and sixties, I gave up fasting because I was getting dizzy and would often wake up on the other side of the road on the way home from work.

I stopped losing weight but managed to maintain most of my loss. But that's for a different post on my weight loss blog.

The job was also a time of tempering. I hadn't worked a full-time job since starting my family over twenty years ago, and though I did work, it mainly was self-employment as a contractor (Uber, Lyft, Medical delivery, etc.). This was a new ball of wax, and I had trouble adjusting initially.

I had a fantastic boss. She was patient and willing to answer any questions and talk to me about work etiquette. She was bilingual and would teach me Spanish, while I would teach her a bit more English than she already knew. The workers would let me practice talking with them and correct me if I got something wrong. 

It also tempered my muscles. Sewing twelve hours a day on a fifty-five-year-old body takes its toll, and I went through several packs of Bio-Freeze pads before I stopped aching. My sewing skills also improved, as well as my speed. Though I admit, those industrial machines did spoil me. I especially loved the auto thread-cutting feature!

Eventually, I got into the swing of things and adjusted to the feast-or-famine hours, though I started feeling like God was trying to strengthen my flight muscles for my fledgling leap into the world of self-employment. 

I was faster and better than I used to be, and I was confident I could sew for twelve hours at a time if I had to. I also learned to be flexible with my time and adjust to interruptions- two things I've always struggled with.

But where did God want me? What was He setting me up to do?

That and more in the next post!

I hope this encourages you that He has a plan no matter your struggles, even if we don't know His end game. Keep praying without ceasing- He hears you!


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