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Down…Not Out

Late in 2013, I was brought to my knees with hardship. Thanks to my faith, I was able to put one foot in front of the other to get through it in one piece. Instead of accepting the thought that my situation was hopeless, I had the strength to carry through the worst days.

Last week I was feeling some stress when thinking about my upcoming weeks. When thinking about each individual challenge I am facing, it is easy to not become overwhelmed. When I think about everything at once, I am overcome with panic. Here are a few of the stressors coming up.

  • Unemployment hearing

  • Divorce mediation

  • 40th birthday

  • Thyroid surgery

The unemployment hearing is related to a week I was deemed to be ineligible for benefits as I missed an appointment due to illness…yes, the one day I had an office visit to make I woke up with a raging fever. I will probably not win the appeal, but I figure I had to at least try. That hearing is Monday.

On Tuesday I have to drive 120 miles to attend a mandated divorce mediation session. I don’t care about anything other than getting my boys full time. He can have everything else. I will not just roll over and take nothing, but am willing to give it all up in the unlikely event that he allows me full custody.

On Wednesday I turn 40. Not a big deal. I’ve never hidden my age so this is not necessarily a stressor in itself. The boys and I had planned on going out for supper at the same place we went for Valentine’s Day. B1 was looking forward to ordering his first steak.

The following week, April 15, I am scheduled for Thyroid surgery. I have non-toxic complex multi-nodular goiter. Kind of a big deal; the surgeon plans to remove the entire left lobe, isthmus, and most of the right lobe of my thyroid gland. There is a possibility that the remains of my right lobe will produce enough thyroid hormone as to not require lifetime medications. There is also a chance that the pathology comes back with cancer and the surgeon will have to go back in and remove the remainder of the right lobe. Those are the best/worst case scenarios.

As you can see, I have a lot going on. I was dealing with each issue as well as can be expected. I’m prepared for each event and confident that each will turn out ok. A few people have mentioned that they could never deal with half of what I deal with when learning of my upcoming weeks.

Imagine if they knew the rest of the story…

Wednesday of last week I was given notice that because my green card expiration date has passed, my unemployment benefits are being held. There is a backlog in processing so although I filed for my new card in plenty of time ahead of the expiration date, the official status is expired. I have been in contact with both immigration and unemployment and (as you can imagine) getting anywhere with these two agencies is like running through molasses in November.

On Thursday of last week I was asked to return the smart phone I’ve been using. I had initially been told I could keep it indefinitely as long as I continued to pay for any overage in data use; a change in circumstances has made this no longer an option.

Normally, the phone wouldn’t be a big deal. I could just reactivate my old phone on the pay as you go plan I was using. With the hiccup in unemployment payments I have zero income and only $10 to my name.

I shared my situation with a friend of mine, and she emptied her purse. The money will insure that I have enough gas for the driving I have to do this week.

I am disappointed to not be able to go out for my birthday with the boys, but there will still be cake and smiles. The best gift for my birthday is just the fact that I get to spend the day with my boys.

I am returning the phone today, after my hearing. I will be without communication until I can figure out some income.

The Seabee is coming home from Afghanistan soon. The boys and I were getting quite excited for his return. They both had plans to take him to school for show and tell…he is their hero. Unfortunately, my mouth has ruined this for them. While talking to him last week I threw a hissy fit.  When he said, “I’ll talk to you later.” I told him to not bother. My apologies for taking my stress out on him fell on deaf ears; as it deserved to. Here he is…6000 miles from family and friends for nearly a year and a half, close to coming home, under a mountain of pressure to get his mission accomplished…and I’m throwing a temper tantrum because he can’t get his computer to work. I haven’t told the boys yet that I ran their hero off…not looking forward to that conversation.

At this time, I am making the choice to actively submit to my circumstances. I know that this will pass. I have faith that God provides. I also know that I have to do my share of the heavy lifting. I find it interesting how God has no problem taking me out at the knees when I start to feel ten feet tall.

I have humbly shared the depths of my circumstances with only three people outside of this blog. Being able to share the extent of the situation eased my stress much more than I could have imagined. I am a little surprised that I was able to express my vulnerability. With the deception and betrayal I have dealt with over the last few years, allowing people access to my extreme vulnerability was actually empowering. It has made me focus on what my immediate needs actually are.

It is very humbling when people ask how they can help to actually have an answer. It’s easy to just ask for prayers, it’s much more humbling to make it known that I have until May 1 to come up with $410 for rent, that I need $35  to activate a phone, and that my gas needs are ongoing with the custody situation as it is.

I am confident this is only a temporary situation. My focus right now is doing the things that are within my power.

Lord, thank you for reminding me that I am not in control. I humbly submit to your will and accept that my life is in your hands. As my Heavenly Father, protect and never leave me alone.

Continue to watch over Seabee and his coworkers and help them to keep their focus as their mission is completed and they look forward to reunions with loved ones. Make their journey home swift and safe.

Please help me to focus on the best interests of the boys during mediation and not my selfish wants.

Guide my surgeon and his team during my upcoming surgery.

Thank you for the blessings in my life; healthy kids, a close family, faithful friends, a roof over my head, and food in our stomachs. Amen



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