On my drive home from my parents’ 45 anniversary celebration, a familiar song came on my iPod and brought back a flood of memories (sorry for the cliche, but it was raining while I was driving, so it seems fitting).
In 2010, my world changed. Robert and I both had secure jobs, but I always felt his was more secure because he is one of those people who never seems to lack confidence, he was amazing at his job, and everybody there loved and respected him… until he got a new boss. Then, without going into details I still do not understand, Robert suddenly had no job. Obviously, this was devastating. My exciting teacher’s salary was maybe 3/4 of what he made (if we didn’t count his yearly bonus), and now we would have to learn to live off of just that, and some unemployment, which really isn’t much of anything.
This happened in April, and I was finishing out a stressful school year- in fact, the most stressful I’d had so far after my first year. I was depressed and struggled just to get up and go to school. I know, Robert was the one who lost his job, but I have always been the “Money Nazi” in our marriage, so I may have taken it just as hard as he had. Fortunately there was a severance package; Robert just needed to get a job before that ran out and we’d be fine.
The severance package ran out at the end of June and Robert had no prospects, unemployment was rising in our county, and we were both losing hope. I didn’t know what I was going to do to make sure we could eat, keep our house, and survive.
I took up running that summer and had just gotten back from a pathetic run (it was way harder to do than I ever figured it would be, so I was feeling pretty sorry for myself), and I was reflecting on all these hopeless thoughts and circumstances and trying to figure out how I was going to fix it. I just didn’t know what I was going to do, so after stretching, instead of getting up, I just stayed where I was, prostrate on the floor with tears welling up.
And then a song came on, and I listened to it. In that moment, I realized I had to stop thinking of what I was going to do. There wasn’t anything I could do. The problem was way bigger than just me. What I had to do was let go of it and realize that God was the only one who could get us through this time. I had no control over the job market or the economy. I don’t believe God ever brings bad stuff on us, but we live in an imperfect world, so bad stuff does happen. But God wants to take care of us and let us know we don’t have to do it alone. The song made me feel like I was getting a hug from God, all wrapped in His arms.
I suddenly remembered Matthew 6:28-34 (NIV)
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I felt loved, protected, and cared for. I let go of my worries at that time. I’m not saying everything was perfect after that or that my faith never once faltered, but I kept remembering all the promises God made to us, and all we have to do is give up control to Him. It’s no coincidence (well, maybe, since I was purposely listening to Fireflight) that after I listened to the previous song a few times, the very next one followed up that message, securing my hope.
After almost twenty months, Robert got a job. Twenty months of unemployment and uncertainty later, we had pulled through, still had a house, and had not starved to death. Actually, though it had been tight at times, miraculously, we always had at least exactly what we needed.
Maybe that’s where you are right now, needing that hug. If so, I hope this helped. We learned so much during that time, and we are now so much stronger in our faith.