Four days ago, I started a new position at a new company in an entirely unfamiliar field. While I enjoy most “new” things, having a significant training curve ahead has been humbling.
But, God gave me what I asked for.
If you follow this blog, you know that I resigned a position in October and planned to look for something else immediately. We were still recovering from my husband’s late-career job elimination that took place three years earlier, so not working wasn’t an option. Though he became employed at a different company, he took a substantial pay cut.
Two days after my farewell-party at work, I was sworn into two months of jury duty.
When I finally completed my service, the profoundly foolish governor of our state decided we had to remain on-call for six more months, as his stance on Covid believed swearing in another grand jury (as was scheduled) would somehow increase positive cases. The irony is that someone in our two-month group of jurors tested positive one day after our service termed. But I digress…
It was December 1st and after a lot of hubbub in the last several weeks, I decided to shop, wrap, decorate and plan for the blessed holiday. It was the first time in a while that I felt light, excited, eager to nestle in for what I knew would be our last Christmas season all together before one child moves out of state for her job and another will likely be married in the new year. I decided that this Christmas, aside from the Covid-weirdness affecting our normal bigger parties, we would simply be together and I would focus on that for a couple of weeks.
On December 2nd, my husband’s voice held an ominous tone when he called to say that an unexpected conference call in two hours gave the vibe that there would be changes at work. Two hours later – along with several hundred others – he lost his position.
I walked into the bathroom when it was still light outside and did not emerge until it was dark. I’m guessing it was a couple of hours where I sat, stood and knelt in an embarrassing amount of anger and self-interest. The holiday timing was humorous. The lightness I felt the day before was robbed. The heaviness over our family with the news just made me madder. Of course, I’m the queen of concealing, so after the bathroom retreat, I went about my merry way baking and wrapping (though shopping abruptly ceased), determined that my adult kids would not observe me wallowing in the 50lb. heart-weight I was carrying. The main concerns included zero severance this time around and the cost of insurance which all three of our children are still on with us.The day after the news, I was praying and the song Defender came to mind by Francesca Battistelli. The lyrics that stayed with me were, “All I did was praise…all I did was worship…all I did was bow down…all I did was stay still.”
Being a hard-on-herself woman, I’ve never been great at staying still. I struggle with having faith without my own hand being involved in the outcome. This has been an area of spiritual immaturity in a life that does possess indicators of mature faith. Inexplicably, I decided on that floor to merely worship, accept that this passed through His hands before I knew about it and He knew what we needed. I also prayed He would provide me with a role that would support our family without my husband’s income. Of course, it was the second round of Covid ripping through our area, Christmas is normally a terrible time to be looking for a job, and a looming presidential shift were all scaring most employers away from doing any hiring until after inauguration day.
A few days later, the company that terminated my husband’s role called to say they had a temporary contract available for less pay but he would retain the healthcare benefits if he was interested. He immediately accepted.
A couple more days later, a friend called who I don’t speak with often, wondering if I would consider taking the role she previously mentioned to me. A month prior, she reached out asking if I could recommend a person to fill a financial position in her department. Though gushing with gratitude over her kindness, I reminded her that I think in words and find meaning in people-interactions. At best, I’m horrible in numbers and don’t thrive well in an isolated office environment. She assured me the role would be light on math and firmly believed I was the person for the position.
After our meeting, the job was miles outside my wheelhouse but the salary offer and close location could not be passed up. I accepted, thanking her for the confidence when I was walking into the position at a deeply humbling 25% capability. That was mostly for being computer-proficient.
Any believer who has lived a little bit with the Lord knows that “standing in faith” does not always produce favorable conclusions. However, God responded to my willingness to give up the struggle on that floor. I determined to be hands-off. I wouldn’t even say I was nice about it when I laid it all down before Him, I was just sad. The preceding weeks had necessitated a liver surgery for my mom, brought a scary mammo situation for me (all is well) and we were running meals to two sets of parents for weeks. I reread the scriptures I screenshot below.
While we all like to quote that “faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see” (Hebrews 11:1), this experience wasn’t like that. There have been plenty of times when I’ve prayed scripture over a situation. This was more about leaving my disgust with the circumstances at His feet and determining not to ruin what is normally a very happy month in our home.
While the Word and praying it over our circumstances is vital, God honors the heart. Faith is evident when we simply go to Him, acknowledging there is no where else, no One else who can help. As I mentioned, the outcomes aren’t always favorable. At my age, I’d say most in an adult lifetime do not play out quite how we prayed they would. Yet, the biblical patriarchs taught us the importance of surrendering, even when faith seemed an unreasonable response to the circumstances.
These are thoughts that must continue for me moving forward. During the first three days at work, I sincerely contemplated how I could get out of it. I legitimately know nothing about the industry and it’s a highly confusing niche of said industry. Just in case I was imagining the excessive confusion I was experiencing, I asked the one other soul I work with (everyone else is remote), who confirmed that the systems are clunky and the work is “complex and confusing”. I tend to embrace ‘complex’. My inner spirit resists ‘confusing’. The kind-hearted woman who hired me also added, “you indeed see in ‘words’. This job is purely data-driven…all spreadsheets and formulas.” If only you knew how often I had cursed Excel when I rarely had to use it. Now, I’m immersed in thousands of rows of Excel, learning four very different software programs on three monitors, in an isolated office of QUIET. God is funny, isn’t He?
I believe work is a form of worship. For two decades, my “work” was raising a family, making a home and teaching part-time. Now, it’s still a bit of those things but with a full-time regular job as well. We can serve Him in our approach and in how we treat co-workers, but we also earn, paying for the beautiful home housing us and fill the fridge, gas tanks and closets for our families. This is ministry.
While 2020 brought blessings with the challenges, most of us are happy to have it in the rearview. To you and yours: with all my heart I wish you goodness, health and peaceful relationships in 2021.