On Failure

It's been an interesting start to our year.

An amazing start, actually. But one filled with lots of difficult lessons and experiences and helpless prayers and frustrating phone calls. We've been learning a lot.

There is so much good mixed in with the hard. We've made so many friends, watched so many movies, laughed at so many things, grown in so many ways, tried so much delicious food...and the list goes on. But I want to remember this little sliver of time in how it's stretched us so that when, undoubtedly, a time like this comes again, we remember that we've gone through it before.

We've struggled and struggled to find a job for Derek, and as a result, our financial situation has been a bit frustrating at times. We've managed, and we have plenty saved, but it's still been a difficult time.
He spent so many hours applying, interviewing, preparing, and all the other things that go into searching for employment. Derek has been so diligent. This lack of a job in no way represents Derek's qualifications or efforts. Things just consistently never worked out, and we were frustrated as to why.

For months and months he searched. And interviewed. And finally, we received an offer for a job that just....didn't feel right. How confusing? We prayed and prayed and the company gave Derek some time to think about the offer. Then one unexpected afternoon, I was lifting weights at the gym when Derek called to tell me, excitedly, that he'd been offered a job at a different company. It was one he had enjoyed the interview process for and one that he was jazzed about. We were elated. And so, so grateful. Suddenly, things didn't look so bleak and I let out a long-held-in exhale of relief.

In hindsight, things worked out just how they were supposed to. In this span of time where Derek was searching for a job, there was a death in my side of the family. Because Derek had the time, he was able to help my grandmother in what was an emotionally-tragic time. He was so steady and so helpful and so great. If he would have had a job at the time, he wouldn't have been able to help as much as he did.

My little sister also came up to the tour the college town we live in, and while Derek had already accepted the new job and was set to start at the beginning of the month, the dates lined up where he wouldn't start work until after she left. He was able to be with her while I had to go to class and work.

Things always work out. And while that was so hard to remember while we were struggling, we tried our bests to maintain positive outlooks. We learned what significant effort looks like and practiced it daily. We learned what discouragement felt like and looked like and how slippery the slope of 'blame' can be (both ways). We learned how to get through it together. And funnily enough, those months prepared us for a new opportunity that was just around the corner.

During this time, we really turned to our scriptures and to prayer. We prioritized the temple more than we ever had before. We did these things beforehand, sure, but we really got serious  (Derek especially) to our commitments. It's a good thing we did, because just after that job offer came a call for Derek to serve in the bishopric of our ward. His months of study and preparation helped him accept that call with a little more confidence (mixed in with fear, most definitely).

On a personal note, I've been feeling a bit discouraged lately. My big goal for the year to run a 1/2 marathon came to a screeching halt because of a knee injury. I've turned to weight lifting in the meantime, which I love, but it was still a hit on my confidence to be so excited about a goal and have nothing I could do to make it happen.

I also went after a big opportunity last month, a childhood-dream kind of opportunity, and after getting so, so close in the final rounds, ultimately wasn't picked. It was pretty devastating at the time, and I quietly went through the stages of grief over it. (Dramatic, yes. But honest.) In the midst of it all has been confusion about career aspirations, financial stress, "am I being a good enough wife?" stress, and other things. Am I pretty enough? Am I fit enough? All things that, in the grand scheme of things, don't matter a lick. But they still come to mind often.

Again, everything worked out as it was supposed to. If I would have gotten that one opportunity, I would have been difficult to manage the call I was given to serve in the Relief Society Presidency of our ward, an opportunity I certainly wasn't expecting.

So yes, everything works out. It just always does. It doesn't always look like I want it to or feel like I want it to or play out exactly as I'd been planning. But I'm learning that that's kind of the beauty of it. As a self-proclaimed "lover of surprises," I'm really coming to find that my life might be the biggest surprise yet.

So, upward and onward! To bigger things and probably better things than I could ever dream of. Life's kinda funny that way.