Family,  Finding "Home" in 2013,  Messy Faith,  Travel

Our Journey to “Home” ~ Part 2: God’s Direction

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This post is second in a series of posts describing how God has led my family to relocate from Kentucky to North Carolina as my husband is ending his military career. To read the beginning this story, click here for Part 1. To read all of the posts regarding this move, God preparing my heart for it, and making North Carolina our home, click here for blog category “Finding Home in 2013.” 

It was the beginning of March, and my husband and I had just made a decision to relocate our family to his hometown in North Carolina, even though he hadn’t secured a job there yet. Our moving dates were scheduled for the 15th and 16th of April.

Russ continued to look for jobs while I spent time pouring over listings trying to find a place to live. It’s hard knowing what kind of housing to look for because that depends on price, and price depends on income, which depends on your job, which we didn’t have. See the dilemma? So my target was to find something livable, in a good area, and cheaper than what we were currently paying for rent. We scheduled to make another trip to North Carolina during the last week of March to secure a place to live. We were also hoping (and praying) that God would either give Russ a job by then, or at least allow him to have interviews scheduled during that week.

The week before, we stumbled upon one job opportunity that looked promising. It was a lead custodial postion at an elementary school in a very nice area of a neighboring town. Russ made contact with the principal and almost immediately had an interview scheduled for the Monday that we were going to be in town. He also had made contact for a customer service job that was set up through staffing agency, through a contact that his brother knew. He was going to stop by the staffing agency also that first Monday.

Two days before we were getting ready to leave, Russ got another call about a job…in Arizona. It was a position that he had applied for almost a month prior. It seemed like a phenomenal opportunity (it would be a pay RAISE from his military pay, and it was specifically a military-transition program). He had a phone interview on that Thursday, which went well, but he was informed that it was a very intense 4-step selection process with multiple interviews.

Honestly I felt like I had been thrown a curve ball. We had been praying that if God did NOT want us in North Carolina, that he would make it really clear by having something open up. And the time came and went and nothing did…so we were proceeding. Now this? I seriously felt like a yoyo!

We talked it over seriously, but came to the conclusion that, as amazing an opportunity it might be, we couldn’t count on it at all and we had to continue with working toward a move to North Carolina regardless. Should the Arizona job work out? Well, then God would have to give us the grace to move again! It was just another thing hanging over my head and keeping me guessing!

I had printed off over 30 different properties to look at and spent the majority of the time in the car on the trip down calling different property managers and apartment complexes asking for more information and setting up appointments to view them. That evening, my mother-in-law sat down with me and nixed about half of them, as she knew they weren’t in great areas of town (that was a disheartening process in and of itself). On Saturday (we had driven down on Friday), we started hard looking at places. It quickly became obvious to me that the likelihood of us getting into a house in a good neighborhood at our undefined rental rate was pretty slim (although we did drive by a few). Even some of the apartment complexes that we looked at were just higher on the rent than we wanted to pay. And most of the apartments had less square footage, which was further eaten up by a second bathroom, which we simply don’t need. We tried to lighten the day with humor, but it was discouraging!

We joked about living here:

journey trailer

This house was one street over from one of the houses that we drove by…and nixed:

journey house

Saturday evening Russ and I went over to the town where the school was located to look at housing there and drive by the school. It was a lovely area of the town, and I felt hope rise within me. Just as we were leaving the school, Russ prayed, aloud… “God, it would be really awesome if there was a place to live within 2 miles of the school.” 

1.8 miles later we came across a beautiful apartment complex, and we were able to see inside a unit because a family was moving in and graciously let us take a peek. We were very encouraged that, even if this wasn’t the place where we would end up living (we would only look at it seriously if Russ ended up getting the job at the school), God had specifically answered one of our prayers.

Sunday was a really hard day for both of us. We couldn’t do anything other than just wait for Monday, and we were so anxious and discouraged about the future. Russ wasn’t sleeping well and said that he felt “hopeless” (his words) and I spent the day praying and begging God to do something.

On Monday morning, I went with my mother-in-law to look at more places while Russ went to the staffing agency. He texted partway through the morning and told me that the staffing agency wasn’t helpful at all. They set him up in the system but didn’t really help to place him with anything. All we could do was hope for the best with the school interview.

His interview with the school went well and all seemed positive, but there was no discussion about the pay range or if he would be called for a second interview. The only thing that they told him is that they would let him know by the end of the week (which was after we were hoping to be back in Kentucky). We also still hadn’t heard back about the Arizona job (which we were also supposed to hear back by the end of the week).

While he was driving back from his interview with the school, he got a call from the staffing agency that they had set him up for an interview for the customer service position that his brother’s friend had recommended him for. It was scheduled for the next morning (Tuesday).

Honestly, by this point we were just exhausted. We now had three possible job opportunities, and we were really thinking that the school/custodial job was going to be it, but we didn’t have any confirmation. I kept just playing over all of these scenarios in my head. I try not to worry about things I can’t control, but I do like to plan and imagine the future. And there were so many possibilities that I just couldn’t even make sense of the thing.

We got up on Tuesday and Russ was really relaxed. Neither of us had really high hopes for the customer service job. He said something to the effect that he was just going to go into it and be himself and not worry about it, because he probably was going to get that school job anyway.

When he got to the interview, he bumped into a guy that he went to high school with, of all things…and it turned out that this guy was one of the people who was going to be interviewing him! The other person that was going to interview him ended up being a retired Marine. He said that he “nailed” the interview and they told him as he was leaving that they would have a job offer to him by the end of the day!

We were so encouraged but waiting to hear the official word on salary. He was also worried about what to do about the custodial job, as he had been called back for a second interview that same afternoon. We were all praying that, should the school also offer him a job, that they would come in too low on the salary so it would be totally clear which job he needed to take. God answered our prayers exactly! The salary was so low we couldn’t possibly have made it work for our family. He politely declined the offer and we went off to look at housing in yet another town closer to the job that he accepted.

The day ended up being long and didn’t bring us any closer to a place to live. We were frustrated by the traffic and everything was either in a bad neighborhood or out of our price range. (I was also trying to make phone calls to get our moving dates moved up by a week because Russell’s new job was set to start on the 15th!) We called it quits and decided to start again the next day.

Now that his job was secured (although we were still waiting to hear the official salary–but they had given us a salary range), we simply needed housing. I still had a few places bookmarked to show Russ, some that I had visited before without him and wanted him to see, some I hadn’t seen yet. We were looking in multiple towns and had a lot of options on the table, we just needed to find the right one. We stopped by a few places and Russ wasn’t really impressed with them at all. We decided to head over to the next town, but I had one print-off left. He asked me what the square footage, the price. I told him and he said, “Well, I don’t think that’s worth it. Lets just go.” But then he asked where it was, he said that we could stop by because it was right on the way.

I’m so glad that we did.

The apartment was perfect. The square footage was smaller than some we had seen, but the layout was beautiful and efficient (only one bathroom!), with a huge porch and sliding screen doors overlooking a hill with trees. We instantly fell in love with not only the apartment but the complex with it’s sparkling pool, clubhouse, and fitness center. It was also a prime location, just one stoplight from the interstate and 2 stoplights from the mall. It was on the highest end of our price range, but we felt like it would be a wonderful fit for us.

We did drive over to the next town and still look at some of the places there, but nothing compared to what we had just seen. We drove back and finalized the paperwork that afternoon to secure the apartment!

journey apartment

In just over 24 hours, God had given us a job and a place to live, and answered prayer upon prayer (even the really specific ones!) in the process. We were exhausted but in awe of what He had done for us.

We drove home to Kentucky the following day to begin preparing to move, and when we checked Russell’s email that night there was notification that he had not been selected to continue interviewing for the job in Arizona…yet another confirmation that we had made the right decision and yet another answer to prayer.

It was another week before all of the details for his job was finalized as far as shift and salary. God answered yet another prayer of mine and the salary wasn’t as low as it could have been (according to the range that they had given him). He was also awarded a first shift position. The company that he will be working for (once he is hired on as a permanent employee) is an international corporation with amazing benefits and there is a lot of potential for him there.

I mentioned in my last post that I did not foresee us living in North Carolina…at. all. But throughout this entire process, God has made it so clear to me that this IS His plan and He wants us here beyond the shadow of any doubt. We are taking a 35% paycut and had to get rid of a lot of things to be able to downsize into this apartment, but I know God has been and will continue to be faithful to us in spite of all of the adjustments that we have been and will be making. God is so good…all the time!

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthly post. There will be more posts to come about our move, photos of our new apartment, and how we have settled in so far. Everything has gone well and we are almost completely unpacked! Russ is on his 4th day of training at his new job, I’ve already attended MOPS and another local MOMS group, and I have really started to feel at home here, even though it’s only been a little over a week! Thank you all for being patient with me and my infrequent posts! I hope to get back on a slightly more regular posting schedule once we are settled.


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