In the Summer of 2014 I’d been married less than a year, had a three year old son and we’d just moved into our first apartment together after previously living with Liz’s father. Also that Summer the company that I had worked for the past two years was bought out and by that Fall my office was shut down and I was laid off. I would be unemployed for about a year and a lot would happen in that time.
I feel into a deep depression, but in the end I found faith. I had unemployment but eventually it ran out, Liz was the first to get back to work. I was looking, but not having any luck. God had another plan. I was loving the part of being a Stay at Home Dad, but at the same point I felt I wasn’t contributing enough. I felt useless.
Around the end of the year I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a friend had posted about an upcoming Peace in the City meeting. A local young woman was going to be discussing her idea for bringing a drug rehab to my hometown, which desperately needs one. I went to the meeting which was held in the basement of the Baptist church, little did I know I’d end up spending a lot of time in that basement, but that’s a story for another time. After the rehab discussion took place another lady got up to speak about a program that I had never heard of at that time. Two nearby towns had started a program called Code Blue.
Code Blue was a program that would take homeless people off the streets overnight during severe weather conditions. They would get a warm meal, clothes and a place to sleep out of the elements. A paper was passed around for those who might want to help out if the program got started in my town. Liz signed up, at the time neither of us was working, but a month later when the program got started she had started working so I decided to look into it. I volunteered the first night, and by the second night I was appointed Volunteer Coordinator. Essentially I was in charge of making sure we had enough volunteers to operate when Code Blue was activated. On top of that I was volunteering most days that we were open. Being unable to find a job I threw myself completely into this project. I was putting in just as much time if not more that I would at a full time job.
I felt like I had a purpose again, something that I felt I had been missing since I lost my job. Now in an effort of full disclosure I will admit that I may have been too focused. At night I’d be volunteering, during the day I’d be setting up volunteers, in between I’d be helping with clothes and food drives and tons of other activities. The cost was I started to neglect my family. I still did all the things I needed to do. I made sure I got Xander to and home from the bus stop, took care of him when he was home, and did “most” of my chores. As I got more involved it got to a point where I’d make dinner but wouldn’t eat it. As soon as Liz got home from work I’d be out the door to Code Blue, a lot of times when I got home she’d be asleep. I had filled the work purpose void in my life, but I had lost work/family balance, and was using the fact that I was helping people as an excuse.
During this time I had started attending church (in the basement of that Baptist church). It got warmer out and Code Blue came to an end for the season. I switched from doing the Code Blue project to various church projects. I still hadn’t learned to fully juggle and balance all my responsibilities. A year had passed and things were about to get shaken up again. When I lost my job I didn’t really know God, but he still had a plan for me. In the fall of 2015 I was ramping up for another season of Code Blue when I got a call from an old co-worker. His new job was hiring and he had gotten me an interview. I got hired and I was back to work full time. Around the same time Liz let me know she was pregnant. Our family was growing and I needed to put more focus on my family.
I took a reduced role in the second year of Code Blue ,I still did the volunteer coordinating with some assistance, but cut back on the amount of volunteer shifts I picked up and time I spent at the building. Then came another curve ball, December had been a slow month at my job and on January 2nd they downsized and laid off half my department including me. I almost immediately fell back into depression. Liz was still working, but we had a baby girl on the way and Daddy just lost his job.
January was the coldest month that year, and with my new found time off I was able to do a little more at Code Blue while I started looking for work again. With a pregnant wife this time around I tried to balance things better than the previous year not always successfully . Then the miracle happened. Liz wasn’t feeling well and left work early to go to the doctors. After she told me she was going to the doctor I got I call from my manager at the job I had been previously laid off from. He told me that another employee was leaving and asked if I wanted to come back to work, and I said yes I did and I still currently work there. When Liz got home from work she informed me that the doctor was putting her out of work on maternity leave early. I informed her that I would be going back to work the next day.
It all worked out in God’s timing not mine. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t more bumps and trials to come, there were quite a few, many of which I’m still going through. Some of the seeds for those trials may have even been planted while all this was going on, but through it all I’ve learned to lean on him. He has a plan and he has a time for each step, we might not know the plan or the next step, but if He brings us to it he will bring us through it.