Today marks three years since I lost my job.
I remember it like it was yesterday: I was sitting in my office with my earbuds in, listening to Ellie Holcomb’s album, As Sure as the Sun. I was doing my first reading of a manuscript for a Bible study that had just hit my desk the day before. Not editing yet, just reading. I always read through once before I start editing. Around 9 a.m., my two bosses knocked on my door, asked if they could come in, and then shut the door behind them.
Closing the door couldn’t be a good sign, right? I immediately started going through the previous days, trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Did I leave work too early one day? Did I make a major editing mistake that somehow got published? Did someone overhear my thoughts about just how much I, an introvert who gets anxiety about phone conversations with random people, disliked calling churches to talk about curriculum? I couldn’t think of anything horrible that I had done. I absolutely loved my job (despite those phone calls) and I enjoyed going to work. I was dedicated to my job; it was my “dream job” and one I had worked hard to get.
I don’t think I truly heard the words they said to me that morning. Something about budget cuts, lay-offs and “this isn’t personal and we’re thankful for the work you’ve done.” I was in a fog. This couldn’t actually be happening, I thought to myself. I just knew I wanted them to stop talking and get out of my office. I wanted to talk to my husband, call my mom and get the heck out of there. I felt like a failure—I had been hired and let go in a span of 15 months. I cried to Stephen and my mom, asking them what I did wrong.
I was in a daze the rest of the day, and even the weeks (and months) that followed as I adjusted to a new pattern. Instead of waking up at 4:45 to make the commute into Nashville, I was doing freelance work in my pajamas at 11:00 a.m. and going to the grocery store at 2 p.m. I baked, I baby-sat, I wrote, I edited and I searched for a new job.
It was a hard, difficult season, and I used to say it was one of the worst of my life.
But now, looking back, I can say it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Here’s why:
If I had not lost my job, I would not be working where I am today, gaining new, valuable skills.
If I had not lost my job, Stephen and I would not have learned how to scrimp and save on one paycheck and still make it work.
If I had not lost my job, I would not have had the extra time to spend with friends, babysit their kids, learn to bake or get to know our new church family on a deeper level.
If I had not lost my job, I would not have learned to fully rely on the Lord for His provision.
If I had not lost my job, I would not have learned the pain that comes when the Lord takes something away and the joy that comes when you can still say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
He gives and takes away,
But my heart will choose to say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord
I’m so thankful I lost my “dream” job. It was a terrible season in my life, yes, but it led me to something beautiful. I love what I do today.
But that terrible season also taught me something else: We all go through difficult seasons. Walking through that awful time of unemployment prepared me for even more difficult seasons of life. As I wait (often impatiently) to be a mother, I’ve reminded myself how important it is to continue praising the Lord in the valley and on the mountain. This season I’m currently in—infertility, longing to be a mother, waiting to adopt—is hard and emotional and difficult. But I have confidence that one day I’ll be rocking a baby and look back on this season and say, “That was a difficult time in my life. But the Lord is good, and He drew me close to Him. This wasn’t my plan, but it was His, and it is beautiful.”