Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

I wrote my last post with a peaceful acceptance of what I thought was the end of a long bout with unemployment for my husband, ending with a relocation to Ohio.  Little did I know that God had something else up His sleeve, in the works all along!

Three days before my husband was scheduled to leave for Ohio to start his new job, he got a call from a well-known, high-end fashion retail company in NYC.  He had interviewed with them six months prior and made an excellent impression and good connections, but the position they were hiring for at the time was not the right fit.  But the position they were hiring for this time was exactly right for him.  

With a new-found confidence of a man with a job, he told them that he accepted a position in the Midwest and was leaving for Ohio in a few days.  He could phone interview, but that would be about it.  A few hours after speaking with him, the recruiter called him back and said that the hiring manager really wanted to meet him and asked if there was any way to make that happen.  When she called, my husband was in the car on his way into NYC to meet up with his band buddies to say good-bye, so he told them that if they were willing to overlook his appearance, he could come that day.  

So, there he was, in the offices of this premier fashion company in NYC in cargo shorts, a t-shirt and a scruffy, unshaven face.  Every interview he had been on with various companies to this point my husband meticulously picked out his outfit, carefully groomed and prepped himself for the conversations.  There was no time for that; he came as he was, with all he had to offer in his personality, experience and intellect.  

And yet, this was the interview that was exactly right.  He left there feeling great because despite what happened, he already had a job!  So off to Ohio he went, following God's lead, accepting the path paved before him and in a sense, walking on water as Peter did in the book of Matthew.  He knew that the waters were not all calm, yet he knew that that was where he was being commanded to go.

If any of you have ever been in the position of looking for work while currently unemployed, you know the feeling of sheer desperation.  Even though the hiring company needs you, you need them more.  Every day feels like an eternity as you sit and wait, at their mercy, for something, anything, to give you even a glimmer of hope, or at least allow you to move past this potential and the mind games that occur all while "what if'ing" everything.  It is a miserable web to be caught in, and no matter how hard you try, it seems you cannot escape its grasp.  Yet you cling to God's lead, desperately holding onto your faith in knowing God is leading, and you keep trudging forward.

Throughout the fifteen months that my husband fervently looked for a job, he wrestled with so many ugly emotions; fear, anger, doubt, rage, envy, despair.  There were days, weeks, months when he would hit a low, so lost in this endless cycle of ups and downs, highs and lows and constant uncertainty.  As his wife I hated seeing him so broken and filled with such emotions.  I desperately clung to my faith and with God's help, kept my eyes on Him, reminding myself that we would be okay.  Even when he accepted the position in Ohio we were filled with fear, but we knew that we needed to follow God's lead, despite the stormy waters or the unknowns in front of us.  

John Ortberg says, in his book If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat,  "The choice to follow Jesus-the choice to grow-is the choice for the constant recurrence of fear.  You've got to get out of the boat a little every day."  

By now you are probably wondering where this story is going, so I will cut to the chase.  On August 1st my husband started his second new position of the summer, in NYC, doing exactly what he wants to be doing in his career.  They continued to pursue him and interview him while he was working in Ohio and again, he continued to allow God to lead and trust that no matter what, we would end up where He ultimately wanted us.  I am still in awe and have not quite absorbed all that has happened in the past few weeks, and am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunity to really grow that God has provided us with.  

The Lord has blessed us tenfold over the past year and a half.  Throughout this trial we have learned to truly wait on the Lord and know what it is to trust Him.  John Ortberg says, "We have to wait on the Lord to receive power to walk on the water. We have to wait for the Lord to make the storm disappear.  In some ways, 'waiting on the Lord' is the hardest part of trusting.  It is not the same as 'waiting around.'  It is putting yourself with utter vulnerability in his hands."

Waiting really is the hardest part.  But like every storm, it too shall pass.  It is the fight to strengthen ourselves in that storm instead of get sucked in and drown that is the real battle.  But oh, what a battle it is worth fighting for growth is priceless.

Thank you, God, for revealing yourself to me, over and over.  For never letting go, for carrying us through when we could not carry ourselves.  Thank you for teaching us how to trust in you and for growing and deepening our understanding of You and our faith.  Thank you for leading us to exactly where you want us right now.  Please do not ever let us stop growing.