The hardest part about telling this story is knowing where to begin and how many details to give. I could probably write a book on it, but that’s not my goal or my calling in writing this story. So with that said, I’m going to keep this as short and simple as possible.
Cory and I got married in May of 2014. We had just finished our junior year at UCA and we didn’t have any plans past graduating. We were studying for degrees that we didn’t know if we would use, we just knew that they would mean the prestige of college graduates.
We did gradutate and even got post-grad haircuts to help us be taken more seriously in the business world. Let’s all let out a big laugh on that one becaues anyone who knows Cory knows he was not meant for corporate America. But what else were we supposed to do? So we moved back to Bentonville and lived in my parents’ basement while we tried to figure out our next steps.
Those next steps were not smooth, and they were not ideal, but they led us to where we are.
I had already discovered my love for photography at this point so I applied for a job at Lifetouch (the company that takes school photos). I quickly discovered that it wasn’t the type of photography I wanted to learn, but I do still believe that it gave me useful tools, great connections, and a push to go after what I DID want.
Cory’s story is a lot rougher. Many of you know that Bentonville is the home of Walmart. Every company that sells in walmart is required to have an office in the NWA radius. Hello plenty of corporate jobs. What we didn’t know is that by being recent college graduates we were over qualified for jobs that required no experience but under qualified for jobs that required 5 years experience. There was no middle ground for us. Or maybe we just weren’t meant to find it. After accepting a part-time job at a pet supply store, Cory’s retna detached and he had to have eye surgery. He was forced to quit his job due to his recovery taking so long. As he was finally starting to get back on his feet (literally), a guy in our church asked Cory to help him with his window cleaning business that was starting to take off.
Now that we were both working rather steadily it was time to figure out how to get out of my parents’ house.
Renting was out of the question, we had two cats and couldn’t afford anything that required a pet deposit. But with our savings and some generous help from my dad we were able to put enough down on a house to have manageable payments.
We moved into our first house in February of 2016.
Note Cory’s long hair again. Corporate America didn’t work out, remember?
We felt pretty high on life. Did we love our jobs? Not exactly. We both felt over-worked and under-compensated. But we were living in a home we owned, we were taking trips we wanted to take, and we weren’t acruing any debt. Things were good.
By November of 2016 (A measly 8-9 months after moving into our house) we knew we were moving out again. Cory was having multiple dreams about moving and we had already decided that when God told us to do something we would listen.
I’ll spare you the details on how we came to the conclusion of southern Alabama (because honestly I’m a little hazy on them myself. We just knew.)
This is where Yahweh Yireh really comes into play. I’ve never been good at consistancy in reading my bible, but when we decided we would be moving I knew I was in a period where I was needed to try again. I started in Genesis because, well, it’s the beginning. I read how Abraham longed for a son. He was finally blessed with Isaac in a time when no one expected it to be possible. And then God had the audacity to ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as an offering to Him. AND ABRAHAM SAID YES. Can you imagine? He got all the way to the point of laying Isaac on the altar when God told him to stop and then provided the ram instead. All God wanted was to see Abraham’s faith. When Abraham proved his faith, his desire to please God, God provided him with all that he needed. And Abraham named that place Yahweh Yireh – the Lord will provide – for on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided (Genesis 22:14).
We didn’t have kids yet, and I have absolute confidence in the fact that God will NEVER ask anyone to truly sacrifice their child, but the parallels were impossible for me to ignore.
We finally had what we wanted – stability, our own home, family near by – but we were asked to give it all up. We were asked to step in faith into a new life.
We did a photoshoot with The Hunters Photography to celebrate our first home and then at the end of March of 2017 we were gone. We had no job prospects, we had no contacts (other than Cory’s aunt, uncle, and grandparents who had moved there one month before we did). We had no clue what we were doing, but we knew that we were supposed to do it.
What we did know is that it was time to believe in ourselves. It was time to take the leap and be our own bosses. Cory started his own window cleaning business (something he had hoped to leave behind in Arkansas) and I pursued my dreams of full-time photography.
Again, I’ll spare you the details, just know that we were pushed, challenged, anxious, scared, stretched, excited, and provided for every step of the way.
We spent every day trying to figure it all out. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we were doing it. We were enjoying the time we had together and we were starting to see fruition in our businesses. Cory’s was finally gaining traction and I had even booked my first Alabama wedding.
But we were struggling. Struggling to make ends meet – our stress was being maxed, our savings was gone, our debt was growing. Oh and so was our family. Barely two months into our new journey and I realized I was pregnant.
I had plans you know. I wanted to be married for a few years. I wanted stable jobs. I wanted a house to bring our baby home too. The funny thing is that we ckecked off my whole list. I got all of those things, and then when the time came all I had left was God and my marriage. And as it turns out that’s all that I needed.
We brought a sweet little innocent girl into the world when we didn’t know up from down. We didn’t know how we were going to make ends meet. But God. God kept us afloat, He made ways for us to move forward when we saw no next step.
And then, oh gosh, and then. My favorite part. Y’all, we had been in Alabama for a year and a half and I was ready to come home. I was ready to be near my family again. I was ready to be in familiar territory and to raise my daughter in a place I loved.
But we knew that we couldn’t do it again. We couldn’t start over again. We had no savings to fall back on this time and we couldn’t move without jobs. It was not possible.
We didn’t tell anyone but each other that we were thinking about coming home. We made a list of things that had to happen in order for us to be able to move. And then one day I got a text from a woman I used to work with at Lifetouch. Long story short, if we wanted to move home and take over her husband’s window cleaning business we could.
I’m telling you my jaw hit the floor and the tears were streaming. We had seen God answer prayers and provide before, but this was a whole new level. This single opportunity checked off every single box on our list and more.
We’ve been back in Arkansas for almost a year and a half now after just shy of two years in Alabama. Even though we came home to better circumstances than we moved to Alabama in, it hasn’t been all rainbows. Or maybe it has – rainbows are symbols of God’s promises, right? But it sure hasn’t all been easy. And we haven’t enjoyed all of it. But we’ve been taken care of through it all. We’ve seen provision at the exact times that we needed it most.
We find ourselves discussing almost every night how we can’t believe the life we are living. We’re amazed at the amount of family time we are able to have, the provision we have received, and the blessings we have been able to bestow upon others. We’ve made mistakes through the whole process (hello debt) but we’ve also found and given grace through it all.
2019 brought us back home, brought us a new member, and showed us that we can push ourselves even further.
2020 has been off to a weird start yet we’ve been blown away by the grace and provision we have recieved. The only thing we can say is that our God is faithful and always in control.
Here’s to hoping that the next thing God tells us to do isn’t to move again (unless it’s to a house of our own right here), but here’s to hoping that we have the courage and the faith to do whatever He does say for we know that our God will provide.