Ever since Mike left his corporate job eight months ago and tried to start a business, life has given us more lemons than we could ever imagine. There was all these constant worry about rent, bills, our children’s education, and my worst fear: a sick family member.
Up until this point, I honestly couldn’t believe how God provided for us during those challenging days of our lives. As always, He alone knows how to turn even the sourest lemon to the sweetest tasting juice one can ever have.
During my husband’s first week in that toxic work environment, he knew he wouldn’t last. The instances made him want to build his own company that would intentionally help people to grow in their workplace. In that very moment as well, I kind of knew what I was saying “yes” to. I know that for a fact him being an entrepreneur isn’t the crème de la crème of our life. The reality of starting up something from scratch is waaaay far from most people’s expectations. But I trust my husband more than anyone in this world. I know that he waited for the right moment to finally launch this food service business and he’s willing to work hard for it.
Mike didn’t waste time and planned everything out. He connected to people who could help and found an amazing food supplier for the initial MVP. By God’s grace, everything went well. He had all his assumptions answered and got the numbers he needed to show potential investors. But before fully committing, he wants to know for the last time if this business is really viable so he and his business partner planned to run a second test. This is where we knew God has something else on his mind. All of a sudden, they were faced with a lot of obstacles. Most importantly, the amazing food supplier turned them down and even after pitching to others, no one seemed to understand what they were trying to do.
As I gather from my last blog entry, a lot of people thought we rushed in starting up this business. I guess what we failed to explain was that Mike has been studying the market for 3 years already and we didn’t lack in asking wisdom from God and from people who could help us. Despite seeing His plans and thoughts suggest a green light, we decided to spend some time contemplating on the things that we might have missed. We also asked God His purpose on blessing the initial test if eventually the business will not workout.
We finally had to wave the white flag and accept defeat. Since we’ve already burned through all our savings, Mike could not afford to just sit around and immediately looked for a job. However, the hunting became strenuous. There were moments that I would feel like breaking down while doing the grocery as I calculate the cost of my cart. The anxiety I feel is all becoming painful for me and for the kids. Little did I know Mike was feeling much worse than I do. As we were doing our usual morning coffee conversation, he just fell into tears telling me how much of a failure he thinks he is. To hear those agonizing words from the person you love is just too much, especially if you know how right his heart was and that he has the kindest intentions not just for his own family but towards other people as well.
I don’t think I could top my husband’s misery but I know exactly that he is not a failure. I had to remind of what Dr. Carol S. Dweck said in her book, Mindset that failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure). She continued saying, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from. I told him, “Babe, this is just a setback.”
Mike and I decided to take a job in Singapore. I lost count of the many buckets we filled with tears the night before he left and although this might be the hardest decision we have ever made, it is also the most reassuring for our family’s future.
It’s true what they say that as you get older, your needs and wants suddenly change. Looking back, we would have never considered relocating even though people would always tell us about better career opportunities abroad. We’d often say NO to the idea of him or us leaving Manila because we do enjoy being spoiled here. But because we have growing needs just like any other families, we had to look at this certain opportunity on a different perspective.
Initially, there were other job offers that would not require Mike to leave the country. The first one looks promising: a home based job that would let my husband pursue the business on the side but for an unknown reason it just didn’t push through. The other is somewhat similar to the toxic work environment Mike just had and we were very hesitant in taking it because once he does, we’ll be in the same rabbit hole all over again. This Singapore gig is a surprise to us. Despite all the efforts of avoiding it, they were still very keen in getting Mike and fast.
As much as I don’t want him to go, the reality is, we needed a job that doesn’t just pay for everything but something that will allow my husband to grow as a person too. I’m not that kind of wife (or at least not anymore) who will hinder my spouse’s ambition because of my own insecurities. I had to ask him if this is something that excites him and the moment he said yes, with tears in my eyes, I knew I had to let him spread his wings.
Of course, we fervently prayed before we gave an answer to the employer and later on realized how God was preparing us for this even before the offer came along. A couple of weeks prior, Mike’s Aunt, out of nowhere, introduced him to this brilliant kid who is about to leave for Singapore. On the same day, a sister in Christ told me that she dreamt about me preparing a table with bread on the side of a highway with a beautiful mountain view. Guess where she is based? Yup, Singapore.
Imagine how weird that day was for us not knowing that in a couple of weeks, Mike himself is flying to the same country where these people are. And what’s even more surprising is that God revealed to me the meaning of my friend’s dream in a devo days after she messaged me…
Isaiah 49:9-11 “to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.”
Knowing God’s higher purpose on why He’s allowing our circumstances comforted me from that moment on. To be honest, we were very tempted to ignore the calling and just take a job locally but we need to be wiser this time around, we know working abroad will enable us to provide our children a better future. God wants us to be free from the worries we were once burdened with and for my husband to finally stop having panic attacks because of work.
We prayed continuously even after Mike signed the contract. We keep asking for God’s will and to intervene if this is not really for us. As painful as it is for a wife to send off his husband, on the 12th of May this year, Mike boarded the plane and became an OFW.
It was equally hard for both of us, especially during the first month—Mike being on his own in a foreign land while I stay here in Manila with our 2 kids (and a senior dog). There are these constant worries too when it comes to purity and our kids growing up without their father constantly by their side. But we had to look at the bigger picture. For once, we stopped thinking about the negative side of this decision and tried to enumerate as much positive things as we could…
- Singapore is just a 3- hour plane ride
- It’s a results-driven company meaning Mike’s schedule is very flexible and he can come home anytime he can (which he did during his birthday last month)
- The company is expanding to Manila very soon
- My husband is very big on culture, so this was an exciting moment for him to learn about other people’s way of life and with that
- He also gets to travel a lot (such a perk!)
- This job will not only provide for us but also become a blessing to other people
But I guess the most important highlight is that after three months, Mike can say without a doubt and after a very long time that he is very blissful to have joined a company that takes care of their employees. As his partner, his happiness is my priority. I never wanted for him to take a job because of the money albeit stability and security might mean having a good package, I also want him to be mentally stable and emotionally secure at his workplace.
In this season of our life, we learned what full dependency means and that we are not to write our own story because it has already been written by the one true Author. I guess what I really want to say is that it excites us to see where this life will take us in the following weeks, months. It’s possible to move the whole entourage to where Mike is or we could keep saving so he could just quit his job and then settle in our dream house. But wherever God brings us, I’ll always be on my knees praising Him for the adversities and blessings of this life as fire tests and purifies gold so is our faith will remain strong.