The phone rang on Wednesday with the news. It was only 4pm, but Rob had called in the afternoon to tell me he was coming home. He needed to tell me why and asked if I was sitting down. Even coupled with the awareness of the time of day (before he usually leaves from work) and the sitting-down inquiry, I didn’t clue into the feeling that something somber was lingering in the air. I should have sat down. “I was let go,” he said. A silent gasp came forth before I told him I was so so so sorry, then I held my breath as he proceeded to tell me more. In and out of my surprise this is basically what I gathered. The company had stressed their apologies but explained that with the current economy, the work available was not so demanding as to need all the project managers they had employed. Rob was the newer guy at the company, and even though he had a higher title than most, there were others who could be paid much less to do the same work; in essence he was low on the totem pole during this time of slow construction and therefore the one who would be let go.
My first few thoughts while I waited for him to get home were surprisingly positive and trusting. I didn’t immediately start praying to get out of this situation but rather my first prayers were that the Lord would give us the right attitude and response as we go through this. I kept thinking that this time of trial would definitely give us a truer perspective on what really matters in this world and I believed that God could grant us a more grateful heart for all we have to be thankful for, even without an income.
But that was day one; and the feelings and thoughts that filled my heart then are not remaining constant in all my turmoil of emotions now.
A recent sermon I heard had described the psalmists as schizophrenic; going from one extreme end of emotion to the complete other side, in almost the same breath (“I trust you God…why have you forsaken me God??) And that is what I feel right now. One moment I am excited to see how God will use this for His glory, I feel steadfast in my faith, and without wavering I fully cling to the truth that “… tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope…(Romans 5:4) ” But those are all things to come and I don’t know how long it will take to get there. So when I think about the present, I see that I am overcome with much sadness, I feel alone and uncomforted.
Yesterday’s sermon at our church couldn’t have been more appropriate for what we are going through (you can click here to listen: “The Good News of Recession”). I believe there is so much God wants to do in Rob and me through this ‘recession’ we are having to endure. I know this will be a great refining time in the life of our family and only good things (God’s good that is!) can come from it. But the burden of “suffering well” is weighing heavy on me. I have never been one to depend on others (even the Lord) for comfort and support in the midst of trials. I want to be strong and independent and just focus on the end outcome (sometimes it is just my belief in the Bible about the life to come and can easily be comforted with the sole truth that this is not my home…). However I am realizing that I can’t in this situation; the Lord won’t allow me to be on my own and not receive from Him what is available in the present. To receive His best during this time I have to give up much of what I want so much to hold onto, in terms of my ways of dealing with things. So I am letting go…
I am letting go of my usual dead-end perspective that concludes ‘life is not fair’ and to just suck it up and deal with it. I want to just say ‘it is just a job – no big deal’ and compare my circumstance to those who actually have the loss of a loved one to face. But reality is, it is still a loss and it is OK for me to grieve over it and be sad. God wants to show me His love and compassion for me during this time.
I am letting go of bitterness. I have absolutely zero bitterness towards God (amen to that!) but confessingly, I have much towards people. Even though I was not treating this as a true affliction that warrants tears and sadness, I was hurt when others we have told behaved like I was, like it was no big deal. My attitude was not fair towards them and it is something God will be working to remove in me. As I am wanting to see the love of others through this hardship, I too need to be demonstrating love as well.
I am letting go of my tendencies to wear a false-front and make it appear that everything is ok on the outside, when it is not so on the inside. God has blessed me with friends and family that want to offer tender words of acknowledgement and their time to listen and pray for us, and I know He wants to use them to help me through this time. I pray that I will receive them gratefully, that I will be vulnerable and honest with what I am experiencing.
I know there will be much more learnings in the days, weeks (maybe even months…) to follow. But this is my awareness now of things I believe God is teaching me. My prayer is that Rob and I come out AND go through this in ways that increase our trust in Him as a Heavenly Compassionate Father who wants more than anything else for us than to be formed into His image. May we be pliable in His loving hands.