I set up the boys' top bunk only, like a loft, with my queensize bed under it at a right angle, in her one small spare bedroom in a trailer. The beds filled the room to the door. Most of everything else went in a rented storage building. You do what you have to do. The boys loved it. I put in teaching applications. Meanwhile, I continued with life as normal, and read my children bedtime stories, signed them up for little league, and took Matt to Scouts and Karate. We were reading "The Red Badge of Courage." I had delayed reading one night for some reason, but had promised I would finish the book that weekend. But, then I got a phone call and a job offer in another school. I needed to meet with the principal immediately. This meant postponing the book another night for the trip back across state. But, I got the job. I finished the book Sunday instead.
I had no time to find a house before orientation and preplanning work started. I stayed in a hotel the first week, but my money was dwindling fast. So, I slept in my car for a week while I worked, and looked for a house to rent in the evenings. I took showers at a truck stop. It was a hard time, before cell phones. I couldn't even use my alarm clock, so I parked in areas where there was enough traffic to wake me early, if you can really sleep in a car. But, I was determined I was going to make it through and claim the job. I found a house and my Mom moved in with me and the boys, and Travis started Kindergarden. I had finished reading the book, but that was one of those things that Matt always remembered, that I had broken my promise in his mind, because I didn't do it on time.
I really had no choice because my ex-husband continued to refuse to pay child support at that time. His mother had always told me he couldn't afford to pay it. I was going through the state Child Support Recovery office, which takes time. But, immediately after I got the job, and we moved, the state of Georgia passed a new law that a parent would have his driver's license pulled if he was in arrears on support payments. So, the support check for $112.00 a month started, along with an extra $248.00 each month until the arrearage for the last few years was caught up. Social Security also gave them $44.00 apiece each month. This really made life easier.
I always believed I made the right choices. This side of eternity you never really know. Its hard to say whether I made the best choice. I was doing what I could in my situation. I was trying to take care of my family. If you've ever read the book, The Red Badge of Courage, you remember that the soldier was wondering at the beginning if he would be courageous in the face of battle. Then, he acts cowardly and abandons his men when the fighting begins. Later, he sees wounded men with "red badges of courage," which is the blood they shed, and he realizes that it is worth it to him to be courageous. So, he starts looking for his men. On the way to rejoin them, he passes some Confederate fighting men and is hit in the head with a rifle butt. When he returns to his men and they see the head wound, they assume he was wounded in the first battle, and that he has found his way back to fight again. It is presumed that his is a red badge of courage. The mistaken pride gives him courage to be what he already is in their eyes, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then, in the next battle, he leaps across a fence while they are held off, and leads a victorious charge of courage against the enemy.
The point of the story is that fear is often linked inexplicably with courage. But, courage is doing what needs to be done in spite of your fear. I believe that I was courageous when I pushed for child support, while my mother-in-law, and my Pastor thought that I should "just accept that he wasn't going to pay and move on." I was courageous when I worked to support my children alone. I was courageous when I slept in my car to take a job, and when I continued to read them bedtime stories and take them to sports and scouts while unemployed. But, more than this, I was courageous when I accepted my son's misplaced anger, and loved him anyways.
There are people around us who are "everyday heros." We easily see that a soldier is a hero. But, do we see a pastor who cleans a church toilet as a hero? Do we see the single Dad raising his children alone as a hero? Do we see the drug addict who signs himself up for rehab as a hero? Look around yourself and identify the deeds that make you courageous. Face your fear, don't deny it. Then realize that you are not a coward because of your moments of fear. But, it is your moments of victory over those fears that make you courageous. If you did what needed to be done, in the face of fear, you are a hero. This is what God put us on this earth for; to face our circumstances, to come against them instead of bowing to them like cowards, and to praise Him in the midst of our circumstances.
I never regretted anything I did. Instead, I felt courageous. Some things are worth it. Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.