Divinely Appointed Setbacks


Chapel at Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS

Photo: homeofgrace.org – Chapel at Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS

My husband overcame (with God, to Him be all the glory) addiction…


Photo: homeofgrace.org – Inside of the Chapel at the Home of Grace


Photo: homeofgrace.org – Home of Grace – Dorm Rooms

… and changed his career direction with only one semester left in college. He started at the bottom, receiving training, working hard, doing quality work, saying yes when the company needed him to work long hours with little sleep, often turning down his plans with others or rearranging our plans (we were newly weds – married after he had worked just over 6 months in his field with the company). It was difficult, but we made it work. We were thankful for the job, the career, the open door he was given (ARE thankful).

Things were looking good. We were looking (passively) for a house. We were part of a local church family where I was about to start serving with the preschool, and had started serving in a voluntary design capacity (and I was looking and praying for ways Ryan could connect more – it was quite difficult because of his very unpredictable overloaded work schedule). But these things were changing…

At work, after some extreme situations and grave misunderstandings, half-truths and incorrect accusations, we decided that it would be best for us, and our family, to look for other employment. Among other concerns, we did not want to add stresses to any of the personal relationships that could be affected by this strange situation, so we left the company that brought Ryan into this field. They opened the door for him and we were leaving without a certain door open elsewhere, with a pre-existing condition on my part, in attempts to help (or at least not hinder) family matters. Unfortunately, we did not know that this would be a useless attempt. Our leaving further stressed relationships, resulting in very limited visits to see our nephew(s), and couldn’t have helped any other stresses family had.

Despite all of this, within a few short days of turning in a two week notice, we had a new promising job in Huntsville, Alabama. All the while God had given me his perfect peace to still me. Though my grandfather had passed away unexpectedly and my husband’s job was ended all within days of each other, I had a peace within me. I knew He would provide.

With this new job, the benefits were better and so was the pay. Ryan gained experience that he never would have had the opportunity to gain otherwise. It was a promising job, and we both were loving it there. I was even keeping an eye on the housing market.

A grandmother figure passing and at least one miscarriage later, the contract we expected to last many years (like a couple decades) was put on hold and the job certainty was gone. They were told some might be kept on, but without certainty we could not count on that. We began our search again.


Should’ve gotten the biggest truck… (our “Little Brother” was moving as well)

We quickly had a job lined up in South Carolina. South Carolina of all places (sorry my lovely South Carolina peeps)! At the time I thought that North Carolina would have been much better. While the state didn’t sound promising, God had another adventure in store for us and that’s the perspective I had as I excitedly anticipated the adventure! Well, while I wasn’t right on all of my expectations, I wasn’t all wrong either. It definitely WAS an adventure. I can always count on God for that. I didn’t find an OB/GYN or a Rheumatologist while living there (that would top my favorites in Alabama), but I did love the town, the rental house, and our neighbors!

Azalea Place Aiken, SC

Azalea Place Aiken, SC

Miss Carol was a godsend. We didn’t spend lots of time together, but we did chat from time to time, we belonged to the same gym and attended the same church. She was a blessing. I really do wish I could move her next door to where we live now. Mrs. Pam on one side and Mrs. Carol on the other! Yep. That’d be nice!

My husband and I learned valuable lessons, and had some great hot wings (Aiken Brewing Company and Wing Place)! We learned some of our strengths, and of some of our weaknesses during that time. In January of 2011 we found out we were expecting. Within the next month or two we moved back to that “great” company in Huntsville that was so good to us before. I had my OB/GYN and my Rheumatologist back, and our family was two hours away, instead of five. While back in Huntsville was good, we were also back in an apartment. It was hardly grand after living in a nice rental house in the horse District of Aiken South Carolina. No miscarriage this go around though. We were blessed with a strong little girl. Right before she started walking we bought our first home. We really thought that Ryan would retire from this company one day. They seemed to have long-term plans for Ryan, and we liked it there.



Wow. We were parents and homeowners, with a good job and a church family we love! Before we were completely settled, or had our first Christmas there, God started dealing with some sin in Ryan’s life (which is difficult but great), and three coworkers left the company. Their positions were not filled. It was a tough time for many companies in Huntsville, but I won’t get into the politics of that. With the positions not filled, Ryan’s workload was heavier than was reasonable. Mistakes are made, a few of them by Ryan (due to being overloaded – but it’s not okay in his field – but it was only like less than one percent error – but again not acceptable – #idnevermakeit with that small margin of error!), Who, at the bottom of the ladder, took the fall.

photoWe were quite burned, and while not fired or let go, forced out, nonetheless. There were definitely some wrongdoings and we could’ve made a big deal out of it, but it’s not the path we were called to go through. We are gone, and I don’t know if Ryan will ever accept an offer from them again. It will be interesting to see if he ever hears from them again. I suppose we should never say never. When we do this we limit what we think God is going to do, or limit what ways we are willing to follow God.

With a little under a month to search, and a home, family, and commitments to our church family, we learned what it meant to trust God in a greater capacity than before in our marriage. Especially as the safety nets we thought we had one by one were removed, we had to fully rely on Him. He opened one door and only one door. And I thank Him for that. If there were more than one door to choose from, this probably would not have been the one chosen. And, if this is where He would have Ryan and myself, this is where I want to be.

While it was a little bit of a pay cut hourly, and testing lab work seems a bit of a step in the wrong direction professionally, God’s plans, as we see in the Bible throughout, are strategic. They are “divinely appointed setbacks”.

A few months into the job, it’s not been all good, but it hasn’t been all bad either.

The man over the Southeast region of the company has big plans for the Decatur office (Huntsville – Tennessee Valley) and big plans for Ryan at that office. I know that Ryan is capable of this and more. I also know that our hope is not in this man’s plans, but in our Lord’s – Psalm 33:11 Roman 15:13.

Look at Joseph… look at Mary, even David…

and most of all…

Look at Jesus!

Today, during advent (was during advent when I wrote this post, sorry you guys), I am thankful for these setbacks and God’s delightful plans for us.

Good News of Great Joy - DesiringGod.org - John Piper


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