Gosh, it's been a long time.
A lot has happened and I think in the midst of the crazy I just couldn't keep up with blogging. Plus, I haven't been taking photos and everyone knows you can't blog without those.
Plus, if I'm honest, I haven't been sure how to be honest. Because this past year has been the hardest, craziest, scariest, most challenging, most rewarding roller coaster of our lives. And somehow, I can't fully explain the good until I fully explain the bad.
And revisiting the bad is never easy. In fact, I hate it. In fact, this is why I have only seen The Notebook once and have no intention of ever watching it again.
In my absence, I have convinced myself that no one reads blogs anymore. So, why bother? But then, I never blogged for everyone else to begin with. Mostly I write my heart and pray God can use it. What else is there, really?
I've convinced myself that because I failed to effectively brand my blog (what exactly IS a lifestyle blog, anyway?) and I didn't have time for tutorials and I don't have a knack for interior design and...you get the point...who in the world would care?
But then, I'm not an interior designer. And despite my past in scrapbooking, I'm not particularly crafty. I can't tell you how to decorate for Halloween or the best way to display your family photos. I google those things. Or skip them completely.
The truth is, I'm a writer. And somewhere along the way, I became convinced that my stories didn't matter.
And that is the biggest lie of all.
About a year ago, something pretty awful happened to our family. It was gut-wrenching. Humiliating. Hard. Really, really hard.
My husband lost his job. He didn't resign. He was fired. And he wasn't given a reason.
That's pretty hard for me to write because if you know my husband, you know he's one of the crazy-awesomest people in the world...and by telling you he was fired, my fear has been (for 12 months) that you will think less of him as a person, husband, teacher, employee. Something about being "fired" kicks up dust around one's self-worth, and we both battled it for a long time.
The thing is, it wasn't just that he was fired, it was the way he was fired from a Christian organization that had us retreating. We were in the middle of directing a show we had written for this organization and we still had four weeks to go. There were kids involved. Families we loved. People who were relying on us. So, in spite of our personal pain, we pushed forward. Determined to take the high road, to keep our mouths shut, not to talk badly about the way the situation was handled.
Even though it was the poorest display of leadership I've probably ever seen.
And I've actually known some pretty poor leaders in my life.
About a week before this happened, Adam went to work and found a few of the board members there to question everyone in the office about someone else who worked there. Someone Adam and I love and fully support. Someone whose vision is solid and biblical and true. Someone who had been asked to stay home from work (without explanation) And Adam was honest. And a day or two later he was asked to stay home from work.
We asked why, but they wouldn't say. Refused to give a reason.
For a week, they stayed silent. We had no idea what was going on. Or why Adam was in the middle of it. All he had done was speak truth. Stand by his friend. Remained loyal. Stood up for what was right. And to put it into perspective, we'd only been back in Illinois for a year (almost to the day). After an upheaval like that, we weren't ready for another one. Our souls were barely settled.
After a week, they decided it was time to put us out of our misery. They would have a meeting with on Monday and clue us in to their decision--whatever it was. Again, our heads were spinning. What in the world was going on? They wouldn't say. Only to be there Monday morning.
Sunday night, I stood outside my kids' rooms in the hallway and I prayed, full of fear and worry and anxiety and dread...God, for their sakes, please let this be okay... I begged and pleaded. We'd only been back a year... moving is hard. New schools are hard. Lord, please, for them...let this be okay.
And I heard the reply clear as day:
No, Courtney. For you.
And I just knew everything was going to be okay. I slept peacefully, certain God still had us in the palm of his hand.
But then it wasn't okay.
And I didn't understand. I thought God was going to take care of us. I thought he was watching out for us. How could he just leave us like that? We'd done everything right. We'd done nothing to deserve this...
It's counter-productive to rehash the whole thing, so I'll only tell you that Adam's dismissal was painful, hurtful, without cause and still to this day remains the single worst treatment we've ever received.
And all by people who claim to be led by the same truths I find in my Bible.
And I guess somewhere along the way, I decided staying silent was equal with taking the high road.
But last week, on the one-year anniversary of that day, God reminded me...nobody else can benefit from your pain if you refuse to talk about it.
Friends. I am not going to lie. It was hell. We were so hurt and confused. We asked for an explanation, but none came. We tried to figure out what he'd done wrong, but they said nothing. They just wanted to "part ways." This organization we loved. This company we'd moved across the country for only one year prior. We would've given anything for them because we loved the kids and the families so much. And it fit in so perfectly with our purpose.
We were broken and confused.
Our days were dark. We were scared. We had no direction. Completely blindsided, the pain was tangible. Our house, usually light and comfortable, was filled with darkness and tension.
And the worst part was, I could not figure out where God had gone.
Hadn't we done what he told us? Hadn't we answered the call when he told us to go? He brought us all the way back to Illinois from Colorado for this?
I can remember in the middle of that feeling like I just wanted to get on the other side of it. Like, I knew somehow it would turn out okay but I had none of the 152 steps it would take to get there again.
Well, sweet friends, it has been just over one year now and I have since decided to call October 14th our Best/Worst Day. Because on this side of it, I can see the whole, horrible situation for what it was...
And I can't wait to tell you all about it.