Seven years ago, we were a family of four living in Houston, Texas.
Ron was working in a decent paying job with limited upward mobility. I was working a full time job and caring for a then two year old child with multiple special needs with increasingly demanding medical needs. In addition, we had a family to take care of like any other normal family.
I had worked out an arrangement with my work which allowed me to work from home one day a week. This meant on that one day, not only did I have to work an 8 hour job, I had to handle all the medical appointments I had to schedule on that one day a week. It was meant to take the burden off of us as both Ron and I were constantly leaving work to handle therapy and doctor appointments. Realistically, though, it just wasn't possible to maintain this schedule. It was impossible to have 3 days of therapy on that one day a week. It was also impossible for me to work 8 hours AND handle everything Peyton's schedule demanded, which meant I was making up those 8 hours on the other 4 days of the week by going in to work at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and working an hour or more past my "regular" day just to make up those 8 hours. Can I tell you that this schedule meant to ease our load actually made it far worse on us?
By May of 2008 I had burned the candle at both ends and was running on empty. I couldn't keep up the pace any longer. We are human - we are not machines. We weren't meant to operate like that. Despite our dreary financial situation at the time, we made the decision that I would quit my job in order to handle all of Peyton's needs and Ron would start looking elsewhere for a job.
Very quickly we learned that we were going to have to expand the job search out of the state of Texas. We were open to that idea. We'd traveled west many times and loved the Denver area and thought somewhere in the mountains or maybe even in Arizona might be nice. That seemed kind of exciting.
Ron landed an interview with a company in Charleston, South Carolina. Not exactly the direction we were thinking, but hey, it was an interview. And it went well. It led to a second phone interview and ultimately they decided they'd like to fly him out to Charleston to interview in person. Somewhere around the 4th of July weekend in 2008, Ron was making plans to head east for this interview. We were hoping for good things because we really needed an income boost with our new situation. Ron flew out for his interview and he got the job! We went into full on preparing to sell our house and move to the other side of the country, with very little time to do it. They wanted him to start in mid-August!
The original plan was that I'd stay behind with the girls and sell the house while Ron went out to Charleston. However, we decided that we'd all move out together. It would be easier on the family to do it that way. We moved to Charleston without every having been there (except Ron for his interview). We arranged for an apartment in a brand new complex which ultimately was way over our budget but convenient to many things. We also moved to Charleston without having sold our house. We did manage to sell it, but not before Hurricane Ike paid the Houston area a visit in September 2008.
What started out as a move to improve our financial situation quickly turned into a financial fiasco. Nightmare might be too harsh, but it wasn't in any way pleasant. We had a mortgage plus a rental that was way more than our mortgage was. We had racked up thousands of dollars in medical debt with Peyton's issues. The housing market crashed right around the time we were settling into Charleston, which meant we made no money on the sale of our house. In fact, a clerical error caused us to have to pay a small amount to get out of our house. Then there there was the insurance deductible for hurricane repairs plus whatever costs we had to pay out of pocket which weren't covered by our insurance. Can I say I'm just glad we got rid of that house in December 2008?
This was our fresh start in Charleston.
We arrived the day after what was then the 7th anniversary of the loss of our son, Jeffrey. Yesterday we remembered 14 years. Today we celebrate 7 years in Charleston, South Carolina.
It was not an easy transition as you can tell. It continued to be difficult for quite some time. We had (and still have) no family in Charleston. Our support system here began as non-existent. We weren't in a church. In fact, we tried, but it was one singular experience in a local denominational church which led us to fall away from that denomination entirely.
The worst church experience of our lives was actually the best thing that church could have done for us. You see, while what happened was horrible, and it left us disconnected from a church for the better part of a year, it was towards the end of those tough months that followed that we were introduced to the church that we call home today.
Our pastor always says that God is at work on a solution before we even know there's a problem.
Seven years ago, we arrived in a city that was completely unfamiliar. We knew not a single soul. We had ever-increasing medical needs with Peyton in addition to being a family that was just trying its best to get by and have some semblance of "normal" amidst the chaos.
Seven years ago, we made a huge life-changing decision for our family based on the needs resulting from the demanding schedule and medical needs of one little person - Peyton.
This is why this day seven years ago is our turning point.
We made a decision that began a chain reaction which led to where we are today. I've documented so much of our journey in this blog and in Peyton's. I can tell you with absolute certainty that if it weren't for Peyton, we wouldn't be living here in Charleston.
If it weren't for Peyton, we wouldn't have been introduced to Seacoast Church.
If it weren't for Peyton, we wouldn't have come to know Christ.
This turning point led to the greatest legacy that Peyton could have left for us in her short almost seven years of life that she would have with us.