The Good, the Bad, and the Blessings…

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I kind of left you hanging with this, didn’t I? 

I ASSURE you I didn’t intend to wait and share our bad news until we received good news, but our bad news came right on the heels of the holidays and things got busy and there was always something more fun to write about {or no time to write at all!} and I didn’t want to add any undue pressure to the situation and dot, dot, dot… Y’know?

So, I know the last post had “LAY OFF” written all over it…because that’s exactly what it was.  The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Tyler received “the call” from his boss that his name was on the dreaded list of cuts we knew were coming from within his company.  I won’t lie—I was stunned when I heard. Shocked. Overcome.  The layoffs were not a surprise, but they came quickly. {A cascade of political events the week prior spoke to bad news in the appropriations world, and unlike last time, we knew his company couldn’t recover.}

In response, Tyler was amazing and I was a mess.  Not because I didn’t think we’d survive, not because I thought Tyler wouldn’t find a new job, but because it was so unfair.

{Don’t you hate that word? I cringe using it but it’s exactly how I felt.}

Tyler works so hard.  He has given everything to this company for the last five years.  Laying off the lackeys or the overpaid executives or the new guys, I get.  But not Tyler.  Not the underpaid, overworked guy.  I simply ached for his ego, for him as a man, for the burden this placed on him as the main provider for our family.

There were many reasons to complain: After three years as a single income family, we finally had two incomes.  We were supposed to finally be able to pay off debt and even fly home for Christmas.  Raises and promotions that Tyler were assured never quite materialized to their full potential…and now he was being laid off.  Three days before Thanksgiving.  Four weeks before Christmas.

There were many reasons to praise: Sunday morning, we visited a new church at random, not wanting to make the drive to our home church 30 minutes away.  The pastor taught on Psalm 118, on God’s enduring love.  He spoke of the Old Testament miracles that scholars attribute to the work of God’s finger and if that’s what He can do with His finger, imagine what He can do with His whole right hand.  I walked out of church that morning filled. Confident that whatever lay before us, we could handle.  Yes, I crumbled under the news we received later that night, but that Psalm carried me through the weeks ahead.  I knew that it was no accident we visited that church that morning.

There were reasons to worry: I was slowly building my patient load at the practice, but in no way could I alone cover our bills.  Not only that, we were days away from my student loans going into repayment, adding four figures to our existing bills.  We were not in a place for either of us to be un-employed for any amount of time.

There were reasons to trust: I spent my adolescence with my single-parent mom and three other teenage siblings, recovering from divorce and a financial disaster that broke our family.  The church paid our rent.  Friends gave us a car.  Groceries were left on our doorstep and it was not uncommon to find an envelope of cash on the windshield.  The house wasn’t big, the car wasn’t pretty, and to this day I will NOT eat Hamburger Helper to save my life.  But God always provided.  Life has since turned around, but those years built a deep, abiding truth in me that knows God will take care of us if we allow ourselves to trust Him.  The first thing we did after receiving the news last month was to hit the floor on our knees {literally} and pray.  I stood up, still crying, but excited to see what God had in store for us, excited that He would invest in us and test us because He loves us enough to grow us. {Tyler stood up and said, “Now can I go grab a drink with Jamie?” Ha.}

{Hang in there.  I’m almost done…}

The weeks ahead were hard.  Tyler was employed through December 31st, but the invisible deadline he’d set to find a new job came and went.  I attest, that man did not sleep for four weeks.  He called, he emailed, he shook hands, he shared beers and networked.  And it was Christmas—my FAVORITE time of the year—but it was laden with uncertainty.  We cancelled our trip to Nebraska, we cancelled Christmas gifts, we cancelled the party we’d planned.  It just didn’t seem responsible to spend money we weren’t sure we’d have next month.

We were scheduled to leave town and drive to Georgia for Christmas on Wednesday, December 23rd.  Tuesday night, Tyler still didn’t have the job offer we were sure he’d have by then.  I knew he could fake it and smile, but I did not want him going into Christmas break with this over his head.  And God, in His perfect timing, called with a job offer on Wednesday morning. {Well, not God himself, but you know…}

Yesterday was his first day on the new job.

There are more details that would only make this already-long post longer.   I’ll leave them out, but I can’t leave them all out… This whole ordeal that could have overwhelmed us, has turned into a blessing.  Tyler is back working on the Hill—an environment he LOVES, where he was contemplating returning before this whole deal began.  His company ended up paying out his vacation and gave him severance {which he was initially denied} which provided a sense of security while he was on the job hunt, and ended up turning into a financial blessing.

In hindsight, this is all easy to write about because God worked quickly.  But He could have worked slowly.  He could have taken His time.  He could have said, “Wait.” He could have said, “Longer.”  He could have said, “Survive.”  And I pray we still would have listened and learned.

Our family and friends were amazing—the prayers, the calls, the emails and texts of support and understanding. THANK YOU.  And thank you, Readers, for your prayers and simply reading.  Thanks for investing in us and reading this WHOLE post—the good, the bad, and the blessings… I pray that we wouldn’t forget this ordeal, that we would remember our helplessness in those moments where the future was so unknown and we were sure of nothing. I pray we would allow God’s provision over us to weave itself into our daily lives so that we would continue to intentionally abide in Him.

“‘The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!

The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;

the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!’

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.”

                                                                 Psalm 118:15-17

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