The Hardest and Happiest of My Life
In previous posts, I’ve hinted or perhaps told you about part of my story for the past year. However, I feel I need to share a little more in order for you to completely grasp why it has been the happiest year of my life.
When you think or hear this “happiest time of my life” what usually comes to mind are events like a marriage proposal, a wedding, a new baby, a new job or anything similar. Yes, those are very happy moments in a person’s life (I sure do hope so), but it isn’t anything that happened to me lately.
I’m married to a wonderful man, Juan (or pancito as I call him) and we have a wonderful marriage (not a perfect one, a wonderful one). But in July 2014 we decided to sell everything we had and move out of our country, Honduras, to the amazing state of Texas in the US of A. My parents had set up another business here and they asked if we wanted to help out, so after a while of thinking about it, we decided to do so. Juan had already gone to school in Houston, he’s a Web Designer, so he had lived here for over 5 years. I had already lived here when I was a kid.
My parents opened up a seafood market in the Bryan/College Station area because my dad had fallen in love with the place when he went to school at Texas A&M University (yep, HOWDY!). So he always wished he could return. He had his permanent resident card and though, well, why not?
So, we got our legalities and paperwork worked up, left our country, our friends, Juan’s family and moved. Jackie moved with us too (our pug). We had high hopes, and dreams and high expectations. We lived with my parents for over 7 months. Parents are a wonderful blessing of God. But, in Spanish we have a saying “El casado, casa quiere”. Which means, the married need their own place. Living with your parents and your spouse can be tough, tricky, stressful and well, hard.
Juan had a work permit, but it processed until 3 months after his arrival. So for 3 months we had no income. I was helping out with the family business, so my income would come and go. Starting a business works that way, as all you entrepreneurs know.
So, frustration and desperation were the emotions of every day. They came, they lingered and they stayed. We were hopeless. We are both Christians, we prayed, but…we didn’t believe. We were submerged in our sorrow and for some reason, we didn’t want to come out of it. And when you are weak, the devil preys on you. It is the perfect moment to send trouble your way and fill you up with anger, resentment, remorse and all the negativity you can find.
I was angry. I was angry at my parents because they had painted a picture for me that didn’t live up to my expectations when I arrived. I was angry at God for letting me come here and leave my secure job, my secure home, my secure car, my secure social life…my secure and mediocre life. I had left my comfort zone completely.
When Juan and I hit rock bottom, emotionally, and economically was when we realized that debt was crawling in (a huge student loan) and he still had no job. He applied e-very-where…as a waiter, as a dish-washer, as a graphic designer, as a web designer, as a front-desk agent, you name it. Nothing. God was silent.
Stress built up every day more and more. Our marriage wasn’t what it used to be. We fought every day for anything. We weren’t those best friends that lived in that cute apartment in Honduras. We were annoyed by each other.
One day, while driving me to our store, Juan said, “Do you want to pray?” I said yes. So we prayed from that day on every day when he drove me to work and he left to look for a job. To be honest, I didn’t believe anything I was praying, but I did it anyway.
Juan got a job as a car salesman at a local dealership in Bryan, TX. But the job offered no pay until he completed a 3-month trial. We had no other job offers, so he took it.
One day, while I was at the store, Juan called me and said, “Are you ready to move to Katy, TX?” I was confused. Move? Why? He had received a call from a Marketing firm in Katy, hiring him for a position as a Web Designer, but we had to move. I instantly said YES! We were thrilled, excited, and happy. But, my parents weren’t. This meant I could no longer work at the store every day. And this created even more stress, and frustration.
After about 2 weeks, of crying, and praying, and begging God to make this work, I finally moved to Katy with Juan. I received the blessing from my parents and stress notch was down to low. We rented a 1-bdr apartment and moved in to a carpet, no furniture, nothing but our clothes and our pug. But it was paradise! We were newlyweds all over again, in our own little nest.
Every day we would pray, and be thankful to God for all He had provided. We had a steady paycheck and an old-beat up car that worked. We had wonderful family that reached out and helped us get a bed, kitchen gadgets and pots and pans and everything basic. We were truly blessed. So we started making plans again and dreaming away. And this is when Isaiah 55:8 comes in “My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
One month into Juan’s job, they changed his contract from full-time to on-contract. He was devastated. I was in shock. We no longer had a steady paycheck. How would we afford to pay our bills? How were we going to pay student loans? What is going to happen? Will they give him enough projects to survive?
That same day, both of us broken and humbled, we got on our knees, shed tears together and prayed as hard as we could. We asked God to show us the way, to lead the way and to take control of our lives. When we were done praying, we looked at each other and realized it must have been the most sincere prayer we had ever prayed in our lives. We were finally opening up our eyes to all God had in store for us.
That week, we searched for a new full-time job, and also freelance jobs. While I was helping Juan search, I stumbled upon a website of a company that I had seen billboards for along the highway. So I researched the company and they had a job opening. It described EXACTLY, down to the point of Juan’s resume. I felt in my heart that THIS was the job. It was 10 minutes away from our home, it was an established company. It all fit perfectly. So, Juan applied. Two days, three days, four days went by and we heard: nothing.
So, one day, we were driving by that area, and I said, “Juan, why don’t you go inside the office and just tell them that you need a job.” You can only imagine the look he gave me. He said, “No. That’s not the way you do things around here. I’m not doing that.”
I know men always need a push from the wife, so I used my womanly-ways and said, “Well, if you don’t get down and ask them, I will go out and get a second job myself, even if I have to work nights.” (By the way, I’m not legally allowed to work anywhere else but my own company, so I couldn’t get a second job even if I wanted to or if we needed it.) So he said, “Ok, ok. I’ll get down and go inside. You’re not getting another job.” We parked. He got down and went in.
I prayed, and prayed, and prayed inside the car. I wouldn’t stop praying and begging the Lord. Friends from faraway places prayed with me as well. I though, if he comes back in 5 minutes, it didn’t work. But, guess what? He didn’t! He stayed in there for 30 minutes. He met the owner, he got interviewed and he got the job. GOD IS AMAZING!
That day, was our AHA moment (as Oprah calls it). God woke us up. God once again reminded us that His promises are always fulfilled, but He does so in His time and His way.
So many more things happened since then. Our old-beat-up car said goodbye, and we had to get another car and finance it by faith (we only had a set amount of money to purchase a car, but it wasn’t enough for a reliable one). We had bills piling up and worries coming in our home.
But, God has been there and continues to be here. God has renewed our strength, our spirit, our mind and our hearts. So, nothing that came our way since then has rocked us. Yes, worry comes in, but it doesn’t linger, it doesn’t stay because God’s power is SO MUCH HEAVIER AND STRONGER.
I’m a singer, and the best way I know to be sad or to be happy is by singing it out. I was the happiest, so I had to honor God with this God-given voice. We had found a church, Kingsland Baptist Church, and we had fallen in love with it. So I auditioned, and for the first time in almost 10 years I sang my lungs out to God once again. And He chose the perfect song for me “Holy Spirit by Kari Jobe”. What an amazing song.
To be refreshed by the Holy Spirit that way…I felt in Heaven. I felt a glimpse of what my eternal life is going to be, and it was indescribable.
God let me become more aware of His presence. God let me experience the Glory of His goodness. And I’m oh, so thankful for that. And so is Juan.
To see the video please click below: https://youtu.be/bxs2ZTTZSUk