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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Here we go again

A few weeks ago, my college buddy Amy wrote a post on her blog titled "I Don't Care What You Call It." The subject of the post was unemployment. I remember thinking at the time, "thank God that is not us any more." Apparently, I thought too soon.

Mike was laid off on Friday. We were both caught pretty off guard by this. He said his boss was very apologetic, though Mike knew that his position was kind of an experiment -- one which maybe never had complete buy-in from the owner of the company. Initially, we both had a fairly non-chalant reaction to the news. We've been here before. We can do this.

Separately, we've both considered what the blessings might be in this turn of events. Mike will be free to spend more time with his mother, whose condition continues to deteriorate. Maybe this was the window opening to make it possible for him to go to the Biggest Loser ranch (auditions are next Saturday). He can focus on the house and purging all the clutter that has collected over the past 13 years since we moved in. There will be no question of who is available to pick the kids up from school.

Over the course of the weekend, Mike has cycled through a range of emotions -- disbelief, hope, anger, frustration, sadness -- while I remained pretty stoic.

Until church this morning. I think church is the place where I can let my guard down. Where I bring myself before God and let all my anxiety and fear and confusion tumble forward.

This morning, my conversation with God went something like this:

"What is it? What haven't we learned yet? The past 4 or 5 years have seemed like we are swinging from one crisis to the next. Unemployment. Separation. Illness. Financial strain brought on by all the above. What now, God? In the last two or three months, I've finally felt like we were becoming whole again. Paying off debt, learning to trust and love again, enjoying each other's company. What the hell are we missing that our path keeps plunging us into chaos and disarray? What do You want?!"

Truthfully, I'm not blaming God. I don't think He has cursed us. But I do wonder what lesson we are supposed to embrace. I wish I could find it in that daily "God wants you to know" app on Facebook. Sitting in church, I heard Father talk about St. Francis and how after his conversion to the Lord, he was elated and joyful to be suffering in the service of God. And I began to think that perhaps my answer is somewhere in there.

Maybe our focus has been too internal. Perhaps we've been too focused on our own crosses and not doing enough to help others carry theirs. Is the clutter and chaos inside our home a symptom of too much time spent within -- on clinging to things inside? Will freeing our home of the trappings of wants and freeing our minds of the trappings of "us and ours" bring to life a new reality for us?

Perhaps a shift in focus like that won't bring Mike a job any sooner. But it just might make the waiting a little more bearable. 


Maria said...

Amy, I'm so sorry to hear about this. Please know that I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Hang in there!

Michelle said...

Sending you ((hugs)) across the miles. So sorry to hear it. I pray you will see what God wants to do through this trial. I pray every day for my husband to get more work (being self-employed is flexible but so difficult!).

Bethany said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about Mike's job. I will be keeping you all in my prayers in the hopes he finds something soon. (((hugs)))

CWMartin said...

God designed life to be a test. We get graded on how we turn to Him in the course of it. Thankfully Jesus puts us on the curve.
One verse that always comes back to me (though I don't offhand know the chapter and verse): "I am the lord your God. Open your mouth and I will fill it."

Missy said...

Praying, Amy. Praying hard. No words of wisdom, just prayers and virtual strong hugs.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Sounds like your message was similar to ours- I was thinking of blogging about it later in the week.

Something that stuck with me after reading your post was something you said to God- that you've been becoming whole and that includes learning to love and trust again and enjoying each other's company. Something in those words stayed with me. Maybe this is about trusting God. Maybe this becomes an opportunity to grow and build on that love and trust in your marriage. Maybe this is a chance to spend more time together.

I'll be praying for you guys.

Momza said...

Having gone through a complete year of unemployment with my husband, I can tell you that not only can I sympathize with you, I can totally empathize with you.
There were many lessons we as a family learned from that trial--we learned to be more patient with one another, to be more frugal and better stewards of the money we did have, and to reaffirm our faith in Heavenly Father and His love for each of us.
I'll never forget one day when my husband was feeling particularly worried--he hugged me and with tears in his eyes,said, "I'm so sorry. I wanted to give you so much more than this, to take care of you always." To which I responded, "YOU have never taken care of me. My Father in Heaven has. He has always made sure my needs have been met, and I know he will continue to do so."
Removing that huge burden/needless guilt from my husband's shoulders, was a blessing for both of us.
Unemployment was one of the hardest things we've ever been thru as a family, but truly we came through it a tighter, more loving family.
We continued to love and support one another and stood firm in our faith. I think of the word "endure"...not with stoicism but with hope and gratitude, when I look back on those times. The thing about trials is this: They Pass. Hang in there, dear sister.
There are still good things to come!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's job. My husband's job relies a lot on government funding, which can turn with the tide (or public opinion!), so I often worry about what will happen.

But it doesn't sound like you're terribly worried about what will happen. That is AMAZING. The fact that you're seeking God and understanding that he's got some purpose in this---even if you can't see it right away---speaks volumes about your faith.

Want to come guest post for me about it? :)

Amy said...

Thank you guys so much for your responses. They are part of the reason I think we still feel hopeful. People can say what they want about technology being impersonal, but this blog has brought me in touch with so much love and support.

@Rachel -- Would love to guest post about it.

"The Queen of Free" said...

grace and peace in this time of confusion and need.

so many times I have pondered the what ifs and whys in my faith with few very answers.

the things I do know . . . God is there and God cares.

cling to one another.

<3 you

Jessica McCoy said...

So sorry to hear about Mike's job! Praying for y'all.

Nate's Mom said...

Hang on there Amy. I'm sorry you guys are going through this. I'm glad you find peace in church. I feel the same way. Our sermon last week gave me similar perspective on life's challenges. The pastor was talking about the fruits of the spirit and how plants have to be pruned to give the best and most fruit. Trees are pruned back to nearly a stump sometimes. And God does this with us so that we can come back vibrant and healthy with much to give. I hope that you find peace in these tough times and keep your faith in God to carry you through.

Sheri in CA