A few weeks ago I declared: God. Answers. Prayer.
This week I can tell you how I know that to be true. It’s a long story, and I apologize in advance for the length of this post and the vague references to my employment, but I don’t share details about my work life on the internet.
In the fall of 2019 I was let go. My previous employer sold the company, new management was brought in, and it was decided none of the part-time employees were needed. I wasn’t that surprised. I knew I needed to get back out into a full-time job anyway, so it seemed like good timing.
But I didn’t want just any new job. I had a list of specific criteria and prayed over the search. I had faith that God would provide, as He always had in my life. I was only unemployed for one month. It was stressful, for sure, but it ended with an offer from a company that hit all the criteria on my list. I knew God answered my prayer and provided for my family’s needs.
I started working at that company in September 2019. I have no real complaints about the company or the people. It was a good position, good compensation and overall environment, and by the grace of God it was considered an essential business during the lockdown. I knew without a doubt that I was where I was supposed to be.
But I kept pushing down the feeling that I wasn’t content. Did I have a right to complain when God had so clearly provided for my family this opportunity? Any displeasure I had felt like I was telling God, “This thing you gave me isn’t good enough. I want more.”
So I tried to be content where I was. I promise I tried, but as time stretched on it began to feel like I was missing something. Jake’s schedule and mine were opposite: my busy season was during his off season, and vice versa. We weren’t quite ships passing in the night, but it was close enough. I missed spending time with my husband. I missed my kids. As much as I loved and appreciated our sitters, my heart longed to be home.
During those past two years, Jake and I paid off the remaining amount on our mortgage and became debt-free. We had been following Dave Ramsey’s advice for years and it finally – and literally – paid off. Our family was in a good financial place. I mention this seemingly unrelated piece of information so you understand how much happened during those two years that I contribute to God’s provision – things that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have that job. I don’t know many people who are able to say that they not only kept their job during the Covid-19 shutdown but also went debt-free. It just blows my mind.
With our finances on a good path, my heart tugged at me more and more. I decided to see what else was out there. I’ll save you the highs and lows of the search, but it ultimately came down to two possibilities. One did not work out. One did, and that’s the testimony.
I have three desires: 1) to know God and serve Him, 2) to spend time with my family, and 3) to write.
That’s it. Everything else is gravy.
So once again we had criteria. Once again Jake and I had to sit down and look at our budget. Once again we had to ask ourselves what our priorities were. These were not fun conversations.
During the months of June and July I survived on junk food, coffee, and stress. I gained weight because I’m a comfort-eater. I bought lunch out because I was too tired and too stressed to meal plan and go to the grocery store. I cried a lot. And I wrote.
Oh, I wrote. I wrote so much that I’m planning on dropping a new book by the end of the year. More on that to come.
I prayed. I went to church. I went way off the charts of anxiety and just hung around with depression for a little bit because this was more than a job search to me: it was a decision that would impact our family moving forward, and there were so many logistics to work out with each possible opportunity. Who would watch the boys? How would Isaac get to school? Will he go to private or public school? Would Noah go to preschool? Should we homeschool? Should I stay where I am and see what happens? Should I dive into the pre-mid-life-and-existential crisis and completely change careers?
In the midst of deep anxiety, I decided that no matter what happened, whether I was meant to stay where I was, meant to move jobs, or even meant to do a 180 and change careers, I was going to praise God. When things didn’t work out, I would praise God. When things seemed stagnant, I would praise God. When things went right, I would praise God. If I kept praising God in my heart, with the things I know that are true according to Scripture – He is good, faithful, merciful, loving – then eventually my mind would get out of the mud and into the light too.
Once I made that decision, God began to reveal some things.
- I was behaving selfishly. Ouch, but true. I wanted to leave my job because I wanted to. I was thinking about myself primarily, and my mindset needed to shift to what was best for my family.
- Life is not lived in absolutes. Life is dynamic and fluid and it changes all the time and that’s okay. It’s okay to take some time to figure out your next move. It’s okay to take a chance. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to ask for help.
- Praise God. Even when it’s hard. Worship with your heart and your mind will follow.
- Praise God for the future victory. Everything feels like a crisis when you’re in the middle of it, but God is still there, working things out for His glory.
- Rebuke Satan. He has no place in our lives, in our stories, or in our families. Get him and his influence out.
- Your worth is not determined by your job.
- Maybe the reason for the valley isn’t for you or about you, but for your spouse to learn to trust God.
Ultimately we made the decision to accept a position with a new company. It’s an easy thing to write, but it took a lot of prayer and long conversations with my hubby for both of us to land on the same page. This new position provides the flexibility I desired to be the one who takes care of my children, but God wasn’t done there. We were also able to work out not only Isaac’s school and schedule, but Noah’s preschool logistics as well to fit within my schedule in this new season. (I realize this is a bit vague, and again I’m sorry, but if you want specifics I’d be happy to share them off social media and the internet). The fact that everything seemed to line right up as if it was meant to be proved to me that this was the right choice. God had answered my prayers in a big way, not only with the school and job stuff, but also with the deeper, emotional and spiritual things that had been weighing on me during this time. He’s good like that.
August has been a transitional month in more than a few ways. I am a diehard fan of all things autumn and winter, so I am eager for the upcoming changes in both the weather and in our personal seasons. I think God is preparing to do some good things in the coming months, and I am excited to see Him move.