This past year has been an interesting one for my family. Like so many other people, the economy hit us really hard and in the spring of last year, business at Brian's architectural office started to drop off. The owners closed the office one day a week and we took a 20% pay cut which was hugely significant since we live only on one income. But, we were incredibly thankful that Brian still had a job. In the fall, things were almost at a standstill and in our area, there was approximately a 40% unemployment rate among architects. Brian was finally laid off completely.
I say this not because I feel like I am a victim of the economy; no, that is just a part of life that we all have to deal with and layoffs, while hard, don't inherently make one venerable for sainthood. I talk about this because this was one of the rare times in life that I was blessed enough to find out the "Why" and I share it because it shows how great God is.
God's faithfulness is something that I think we forget about until we are in a situation where we are struggling to take care of ourselves. It is easy to buy into the idea that we can actually handle life and ignore our own weaknesses when things are going well. It's not the God isn't faithful during hard times, we just see it, or what we perceive to be a lack of it more. The truth is, He always provides although it isn't always how we would choose and what He knows we need isn't what we think we need. And sometimes, it isn't even about us either, as I learned in the past year.
When Brian called me to tell me the news, we already had a plan in place since we feared that it would be coming. He looked for work like crazy and in a time where it seemed like no one was hiring, he decided that doing contract work was the way to network. I tried to do some substitute teaching and babysat and figured out how to stretch our food budget like mad without it hurting too much. God totally provided and gave us what we needed although it was rice and beans quite a few nights. But, I can now say that I make really good bean burritos that have turned into a favorite family meal!
I don't mean to say it wasn't stressful because it was incredibly so. To not know how everything was going to work out weighed on me incredibly heavily since I am definitely the long term planner in our family (I am already thinking about some major house expenses that are probably at least five years down the road). It was a time where even though we didn't know, God did and we had to trust Him.
Our church has been doing work in Haiti for a long time now and it has been even more crucial in light of the major earthquake in January. One of the projects up the pipeline was building a hospital in one of the rural areas in Southern Haiti. If you weren't already aware, Haiti has one of the highest infant and maternal death rates in world and the greatest in the Western Hemisphere. There is next to no way to have a c-section if a woman in labor needs it. As a result, far too many precious people have been lost. It absolutely breaks my heart especially as a mother and particularly because our older son was a c-section after 20 hours of labor when his vitals started dropping. We found out later that he was in the wrong position and giving birth naturally would have been impossible. This happens all the time in Haiti but mothers there don't get my happy ending.
Brian was asked to go to Haiti and help work on the building design for the new hospital since, as an architect, his skills were definitely needed. Because he was unemployed, he had the time to do this and Brian really wanted to help and feel productive. Right before he flew out, he received a phone call from a firm that had just told him they weren't hiring. They had a position open and they wanted him to interview, which he did the day before he left. This firm specializes in hospitals and was one that Brian had really wanted to work for when we moved here but again, they had no open positions at the time even though he was a good fit.
After almost a week in Haiti, Brian came back to an email telling him the job was his. I can't make it clear enough that absolutely no one was hiring at the time but God had different plans. His plans included a desperately needed hospital in Haiti (it is still an ongoing project that Brian devotes a great deal of time too) and a job that would train him how to help design it. I feel so humbled to be able to see this amazing plan and find out why this hard time was necessary for us to go through. Most of the time we don't get the see the end result of why hard times happen but in this case, we did and I can judge the rest of the times through this one. All I can really say is that God is great.