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Monday, July 16, 2012

Let My "Yes" Be Yes

I drafted this on May 20, 2012.


God is so good (all the time!).

*  *  *  *  *

I don't even know where to begin.
(I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any.)  During James' and my pre-marital counseling with Pastor Paul, the subject of parenthood came up, and after doing our questions independently, then coming together to discuss, we decided that ideally if we had the financial situation that would allow James to support our family, I would stay home with the kiddos.

At the time, I was teaching 7th grade Life Science at Shandin, and James was working at the warehouse out in Chino called Home Products, Int'l, and I had worked really hard to get into my position.  James' gigs in LA had dwindled since the writer's strike that year, and he was determined to have a steady-paying job that was more local.  He stayed at HPI for about three years.

Then God sent a message to James.  We were at a Bold Ministries outreach at a Starbucks one Sunday night in 2010, when someone stole James' messenger bag, the contents of which would prove useful and valuable only to JB; these items included a pair of sunglasses, and several of his journals that he had been keeping for various reasons.  He usually kept his Bible in there, too, but he happened to bring it inside (oh, God, you're too funny sometimes!) before everything else was taken.  God was saying (as I'm sure you can surmise) that he didn't need to hold onto these ideas that he had always used to define himself, that James only needed Him.

But James didn't heed this message.

By the time James was about to leave his job, I had already transferred over to Barton, taking a first grade position while I was pregnant with Miles, knowing that I would have to take maternity leave four months in, for this job I fought so hard to get (my middle school principal REALLY didn't want to see me go...).  Meanwhile, after much prayer and consideration, James quit his job, looking to pursue his career in writing.  We were living at my Mom's house, trying to save up the money we had been spending on rent at our apartment.  God truly blessed us in 2011 in so many ways.  

And here we are, a year and some change later, and God is continuing to stretch us, and to show us His wonderful mercy and grace.

About a month ago, James felt called again, to heed the message God had sent him two years before.  He mentioned to me that he wanted to fast from watching movies. A sense of complete shock came over me.  "Huh?  James Brown not watch movies?  What is the world coming to?"  Who knew that question would be completely relevant!?  Replacing the time spent watching movies (along with using his knowledge of them to inspire his own writing and creativity) with spending time with God in the word, and through prayer, James has been hearing a lot through the Holy Spirit.  One message was that I should stay home from work to be a full-time stay-at-home-Mom!

We really wrestled with God (but mostly ourselves) regarding this decision.  All (worldly) signs point to no, but God continued to make it clearer and clearer that His answer was "Trust Me."  

[For example, a coworker of mine asked if I would've considered taking a year of leave, so that my spot would be held... my principal suggested that I might look into a job share to teach part time... But none of these things reflected complete trust in the Lord.  I mean think about it:  Abraham didn't take a plan B with him to Mt. Moriah.  He just had wood for the fire, and his only son.]

The morning that I wrote the email to Salli (who later gave her word of confirmation from the Lord to James that afternoon), my daily devotional verse was Matthew 5:37

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ 
For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

I read this to James right after I told God, "Okay, yes!  I will sign it!" and both of us were freaking out.  The following (in italics) is from an email I sent to my Bible study ladies:

Thank you all so much for your prayers!  Yesterday at 4:32PM, when the district should've been closed for two minutes already, God opened the door for me (literally!).  The receptionist wasn't there, and I was turning around to head out, when two suits walked up and I heard the badge reader beep... so I stood there and waited for them to go through, when the woman held the door, and gently said, "Go ahead."  (I later told James I that I think she was an angel.)  As I briskly made my way over to the Certificated HR counter, the woman there was talking with a substitute teacher applicant, so I waited as they finished up.  I appreciated that she called the applicant by her first name, and felt a bittersweet remembrance of my own application process just four years ago.

I turned in my Intent to Return form, with an X marking the spot for No, I will NOT be returning to the employ of SBCUSD...

I will be staying home with Miles full time next school year!!!!!  James and I truly appreciate your continued prayers and support (prayer requests:  James/ career/ finances/ to bind the enemy's lies regarding all of this), and I know that God is going to continue to lead us on this adventure, every step of the way!

I got home that afternoon, to hear about the testimony Salli shared with James that day.  She and Dave have set such a great example of obedience (I'll leave it up to her to share her story), that it was more than obvious that James and I made the best decision we could've by following God's command.

Although there is a lot up in the air right now, our feet are firmly planted on the Rock of Jesus Christ!  I will most certainly keep you updated on the continuation of this journey... as this is only the beginning!