Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stretching Hurts

I don't like stretching.

As a child I hated being made to stretch before soccer practice or dance class. In high school my least favorite part of cheerleading practice was stretching. As an adult who loves to run, I HATE to stretch. Like I said, I've never liked it.

Maybe that's why today has been so hard on me.

I feel stretched.

This morning it felt like I propped my leg up on a bench, reached over to touch my toes, and....SNAP!  I just couldn't handle it anymore. Tears flowed. Cries wailed. Prayers went up (again).

Someone once told me stretching would make me more flexible and that it would get my muscles in balance and help them work more smoothly. I've read that muscles that are warmed up before they're put under stress are more likely to be able to handle that stress.

(I'm hoping this isn't just a warm-up.)

So here's the deal... I'm having a hard time with the whole 'losing my job' thing. It's painful. It hurts. It's stretching me and it is QUITE uncomfortable.

I've spent pretty much the whole day in tears. My eyes are red and bloodshot. My tissue boxes are nearly empty (thank God for Charmin as a backup) and there are tear stains all over my desk calendar. It's. Not. Easy.

So, in my pity party, I was thinking back on last week and how difficult it was to start training my replacement in Murfreesboro. I spent the week in a hotel, away from boys, schooling my predecessor on the ins and outs of the job I love. I watched life go on like normal for my co-workers, wishing I knew the feeling. Then, amidst the craziness of that week I got the most incredible message on Facebook from a dear friend. There's no way I can summarize it for you, so I'll just paste it below.

"I was so blessed thinking about and praying for you in your trial at work. You know how Joseph (with the colorful coat) was a righteous man and a responsible employee. He could relate to you, as he was wrongfully imprisoned because he wouldn't be seduced by the most powerful woman in the land. After all the injustice done to him, he still interpreted the Pharoah's dream years later and served him well. God was working all things for His glory and Joseph's good. In fact, Joseph said, "God sent me ahead of you [my family] to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Unjust imprisonment was the best thing that could ever happen to Joseph. Through the actions of bad leadership, God was accomplishing the BEST thing that could happen to him. And by faith, that's what we can be certain of in all our life. You can work like being fired is the best thing that could happen to you, because of your faith in God's sovereign goodness toward you. God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. The words of George Muller at his wife's funeral always make me cry. He grieved deeply over his wife's death and it took years for him to recover. Knowing that God is sovereignly good to us doesn't change the grief over injustice and the fallenness of the broken world. Anyway, this is the truth he clung to at his wife's funeral: 
     "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing
      does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11
Muller said, "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly--I am in myself a poor worthless sinner, but I have been saved by the blood of Christ; and I do not live in sin, I walk uprightly before God. Therefore, if it is really good for me, my darling wife will be raised up again; sick as she is. God will restore her again. But if she is not restored again, then it would not be a good thing for me. And so my heart was at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have often said before, from taking God at His word, believing what He says." I am praying for you that you would have faith to believe that God is sovereignly good to you. I am praying that as you feel your weakness and turn to the Spirit, you will work with all your heart toward your weak employer, for you know this is the best thing that could happen: for you, and for God's kingdom. I am out of time, but sometime I will tell you how your trial has brought me comfort as I pray for you!!! Love you, Kari!!"

I came back to this message tonight just to read it. Just to feel the encouragement and remember the truth found in those words.

Yes, I'm being stretched. Yes, it's painful. Yes, it hurts like nothing I've experienced before. But, oh, HE is so good. He is sovereign. He knows so much better than me what is good and what is best. I'll hurt and I'll grieve over the loss of something I loved, over the injustice I feel. But I'll move on. And I'll remember His lovingkindness to undeserving little me. I'll hold fast to what I know is true. I may have bloodshot eyes and a wastebasket full of tissue, but I've also got a Savior holding my future in His hands.

(Again, thank you, Angelica.)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Letting It Go....

My natural reaction last Thursday morning was, "What am I going to do?! I can't handle this!" I walked out of the office building feeling completely numb.

As soon as I fell into the driver's seat of my car I felt the numbness and disbelief turn to shock... and hurt.

I wanted to close my eyes and get rid of the pain. I wanted to believe it wasn't true and just climb under a rock and feel nothing. That didn't happen.  The tears started to fall and so did the rain. It poured from the moment I pulled out of the parking lot until the second I hit the Knox county line a little over two hours later. The rain AND the tears.

I always wondered what it must feel like to lose a job. Always thought it would floor me. I was right.

It floored me for two days. I had no appetite and all I wanted to do was cry. The thought of food made me absolutely nauseous.

Thursday was a rough day. I worked on my resume and applied for some positions in Knoxville as soon as I got home from Murfreesboro. Then I prayed and cried and prayed and cried some more. Scott and Franklyn spent the afternoon and evening at his parent's house. When they came home I had to tell Franklyn why my face was a twisted mess. We sat him down and I told him that I'd lost my job that morning. He looked up at me with the most sweet and innocent face and said, "Mommy, if you work at a gym will you get a discount? Or a lunch buffet?" Aaah, the innocence of babes... and na├»ve 9 year-olds.

Friday wasn't nearly as bad as Thursday, but it was a hard day. Scott and I went to watch Franklyn graduate from his Vertebrate Zoology class at UT and then we went to Chili's as a family. Chili's is one of my favorite places to eat. That day all I could do was sit and stare at the menu. Nothing looked good. Nothing smelled good. I ate fries and a few bites of a skillet cookie. And tears filled my eyes all day long.

The hardest part about this loss is knowing it means I will have less time with Franklyn. The last year of my life has been incredible. I've been so relaxed, so laid back, so happy. I've enjoyed going to bed late, waking up late, picking Franklyn up from school, not being nearly as stressed as I used to be... I've even skipped cleaning the house a few Saturdays! What? Really? Yes, really! Life has just been, well, good.

I've done a lot of praying. I've spent a lot of time on my knees.

By Saturday the tears were done. By Saturday my faith took over. By Saturday I let it go.

Finding another job is honestly out of my hands. I'm online every day searching. I'm networking on LinkedIn and Facebook. But there is only so much I can do. I know God allowed this in my life and I know it's for a reason. So I'm leaving it to Him. There is no sense in me worrying because it won't do a bit of good. He is good and He is in control. In my eyes, He is protecting me from something I know was coming. I was playing in a losing game and now I have the chance to move on. That, my friends, is a good thing.

Now I wait. I let go and let faith take over. I trust that He is at work and His plans are good. I hold to what I know is true and how I've seen Him work in the past.

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4

I shared those verses on Facebook the day before I was told to look for a new job. I knew God was good then and I know it now. I'll take the trials. I'll take the pain. And I'll draw closer to Him through it all.

"Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning." James 1:16-17

He was good then and He is good now. I look forward to what He has in store.