Where I am
It was not our first lay-off. We were in somewhat familiar waters and had seen God's provision before, so we purposed to prepare for our daughter's birth and enjoy our first days together, taking things one moment at a time.
Much too quickly, those 'first days' began to merge into many, many days and the reality that we might not bounce back as quickly as we had previously done began echoing in our minds. Our financial state was pretty clear. With the prospects of long-term unemployment looming we knew that we were going to begin loosing our footing at an alarming rate. It was the first time that thoughts of 'what if we lose our home?' were verbalized.
Could that really happen to us?
The answer to this question, of course, is 'yes'. It could and it did really happen to us. We moved (an entire block away) and soon began adjusting to apartment life. I was taken off-guard by the deep sense of loss and failure that I did not anticipate.
A year went by without a hint of change in our situation. On top of the financial strain, our family's routine disappeared, which only served to compound how out of control and directionless life felt; It is easier to maintain a hopeful attitude for your family when you think that what you are experiencing will be a sprint, but if that hope was only a facade with no true foundations, then it is a hope that will crumble when the race is long and the finish-line is nowhere to be seen.
Doubt and Fear crept in and then finally, in May of 2010, my husband came to work for the company that I had been employed with for years. It was something completely different for him, but it ended up being a good fit for everyone. It payed about half of what his previous job had (even less than he had made while on unemployment) but we were just so thankful to be moving forward.
When our lease came to an end it was not difficult to convince us that apartment living was not the best fit for our family. We also needed to find something even more affordable having taken another pay-cut. We finally settled into a duplex that fit us well and began hoping for a bit of a reprieve and healing.
The next twelve months were difficult in some ways and good in others. The biggest hit for me personally was the sudden and unimaginable death of a friend of ours and her young daughter. On a smaller scale, getting settled into our new home was not nearly as smooth as I would have liked (I do believe that I am the world's worst settle-in-er) and we continued to feel the financial ripple-effects of my husband's joblessness.
On the other hand, as I began counting my blessings and waging a war of gratitude, the goodness that I had been graced with began to show itself clearly, even in the shadows. We now had a work schedule to be envied and new neighbors that were a huge blessing to us. Our kiddos had space to play and were quickly making new friends. Sometimes things felt unbearably tight, like when I had eight dollars in my pocket and needed diapers and toilet paper. That day I prayed as I pulled into the store parking lot, and came out of the supermarket carrying both items, with a penny to spare! We were leaning in and trusting God and were ready to begin this new chapter in our life.
And begin it did. We just were not expecting the opening paragraph to include the words "emergency staff meeting" or "company closure." In March of 2011 The Meeting was called. After 10 years of employment with this company I had never been called to a meeting like this. I was almost certain of what was coming. They told the staff in separate meetings and my husband went first. While he was away, I told God that I did not want to do this again but that I still believed He was good, and I acknowledged that He has good plans for us even when it does not look like it; In my heart I surrendered our jobs to Him.
Our company closed in August. Because I had been there for so long, I was allowed to stay until the end. My husband's time was up in June.
And that is where we are...
As of yet, there has been no tidy resolution to share with you--we are still in the thick of it.
We get up each day with varying degrees of determination to keep walking, alive to the moment we are in. Some days are still difficult and I feel directionless or my attitude might just stink; people may misunderstand or question motives; things may seem more messy or out of control than what I am comfortable with, but I know that if I wait for the perfect conditions to begin living, I will miss my entire life. I do not want to hold my breath, waiting for a better moment, and risk missing my children or the people and opportunities that God has placed before me.
How about you?
Do you find yourself in a situation that causes you to squirm in discomfort? Or better yet, that makes you want to turn and flat-out run the other way? Where do you find the strength to live fully, even in the upside-down?