I don’t know about you, but I’m going to scream if I start reading another article or blog post looking for inspiration, laughter, or encouragement; only to find myself lured in to someone’s political agenda. So, I thought I’d put it right there in the title. You can relax. This post will contain NOTHING political.
Amongst other things, I am a writer and I am a reader. Whether I’m reading or writing, I am pained by bad grammar, misspelled words, and blank pages. I love ALL the words. I want to write all the words and I want to read all the words. A page with no words has no value. My last five years have contained way too many blank pages.
In the summer of 2011, our family found ourselves semi-homeless (dear friends let us stay in their house while they were out of the country) for a few weeks. All the words were written on the pages of the chapter leading up to being homeless, but for nearly three weeks I stared at a blank page while begging God to tell me what came next.
In December of 2011 my husband had false allegations made against him that launched a career-destroying investigation that seemed to have no end. For more than three and a half years I stared at a blank page begging God to make it end and allow us to close that chapter.
October 13, 2015, my baby girl Sofija was admitted to the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Though I could see God’s hand in every step of the path to get her there, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And for the last twelve months I’ve had no choice but to trust that God would protect her and give us all the strength and courage to get through the days until she is healthy enough to close the KKI chapter and turn the page that brings her home.
Early in 2016 a few things became very clear. There were some words written on the page in front of us, but not enough to tell us what was coming. We knew that my husband would retire from the Army. We knew that once he retired we would no longer be able to live in our house on the military base. We also knew that Sofija’s discharge would likely coincide with retiring and moving.
You know what’s more painful to me than a completely blank page? A page with only a few words on it. I
want NEED to know the WHOLE plan. I suck at waiting and not knowing and God is so gracious that He just keeps giving me opportunities to get better at both. He’s good like that.
The majority of this year has felt much like those moments when you have to pee really bad and you go to a public restroom and then realize AFTER you’ve peed that there is no toilet paper in the stall. For the guys reading who don’t get this reference.. the second you realize that there is no toilet paper, you experience a moment of panic. It’s too late to turn back and all the solutions you can think of (like asking the stranger in the stall next to you to pass some under the divider, or worse..dripping dry) are a little unnerving. That’s the story of the first 75% of my 2016. Can’t turn back. Couldn’t see what was coming next. Had no clear plan. Every plan I could possibly conceive was daunting.
I’m writing this post because I want to share with you just how flippin’ AMAZING God’s ways are. I know that somebody is reading this and staring at your own blank page or a page with only a few words on it and you have no clue what comes next. Maybe every scenario you can think of is overwhelming or scary. But God knows what comes next. He really is good. And thankfully, His thoughts are NOTHING like yours or mine…
We held my husband’s retirement ceremony on September 1st and his official retirement date was October 14th. He spent the summer applying for jobs and after spending nearly four years under investigation where he didn’t use any of his leave, he had a TON of leave to burn before retirement. Our plan was for him to start a new job around the time of his retirement ceremony, find a house, move and unpack, and then bring Sofija home. We had no clue where the job or home would be, but we hoped it would be in Florida.
But God’s ways are FAR beyond anything we can imagine…
Things did NOT go as we had planned. The week of his retirement ceremony, Dear Hubby still had no job. For nearly two months there was talk that one was being created for him, but it never came to fruition. One week after his retirement ceremony, he STILL had no job. He posted a Facebook status thanking our friends and family and God for celebrating retirement with us. I noticed one extremely kind comment on his post from a name I wasn’t familiar with. A guy named John said that there were few people he’d met in life that made a lasting impact on him, but Chad was one of them. While DH told me about how they met on his last tour in Iraq, John contacted him through LinkedIn and asked what his plans were after the Army. The next day they had an hour-long phone interview and the following day he interviewed with the board of directors. A few days later he was offered a position (without ever submitting his resume) as the Vice President of DOD and Federal Business. He is opening an office for the company in the Tampa area.
The week after he accepted the job, we flew to Tampa to look at houses. There was one house that checked all of our boxes in an area that (until that point) I was certain I wanted to live. We spent over an hour looking at it and went back the following day and spent two more hours. Chad was in love. I was not. I could not explain why, but I had ZERO peace. I kept looking in drawers and closets and riding the elevator (yes, it had one), and going out to the pool, and walking out on the dock, and looking at the theater room, and wondering what the heck was wrong with me. The house was everything we thought we wanted and I had a big burning softball in my belly. As we drove to the airport in silence I could feel Chad’s frustration with me. He wanted the house and I just could not say, “Let’s make an offer.” I had a prompting to look up the Florida sex offender registry. Guess what? The man RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from the house got out of prison in 2011 after doing time for molesting children. I’m sharing this because people, we have the Holy Spirit for a reason. LISTEN!! We could have ended up living across the street from a predator if we had moved forward based on reason and logic and not trusted my discernment.
Long story short.. oh wait, it’s too late for that. 😉 We have a house under contract in Bradenton and we close at the end of the month. It’s amazing and peaceful and I can’t wait to share more about it.
The same week that we ratified the contract on our house, the behavior team at Kennedy Krieger connected me with a behavior therapist that only lives about ten minutes from our new house. And.. she used to work at Kennedy Krieger. And.. she has experience with children who have behaviors like Sofija. And.. she accepts our insurance. My autism Mama friends know what a HUGE deal this is. It is nearly impossible to find a behavior therapist (BCBA) period. So to find one with availability that is so amazingly perfect for my baby girl within ten minutes of where we live, is an absolute miracle.
Yesterday, Lieutenant Colonel Chad Calvaresi became private citizen Calvaresi complete with a handsome blue retiree ID card.
We have movers packing us up and taking everything away Tuesday-Thursday of next week.
On Friday we pick Sofija up from KKI and board a train bound for Florida. We will stay in a beach house for a couple of weeks while we are closing and getting things settled at the new house.
The blank page is turning…
Every detail of life is changing very quickly. It is indeed a brand new chapter. I like to say that I embrace change, but on this side of the hill… not so much. Feel free to pray for me.