I’ve started this post once already, but I had to stop and literally draft an outline to keep my brain from taking all sorts of bunny trails that would leave your mind reeling from the pandemonium that was 2009 for the Smith family. That was Sunday night. It’s now Wednesday (almost Thursday) and plenty of words have spun around in my head that I really want to share, but my heart doesn’t know just where to start.
The “beginning” is the logical response, right? But, where exactly the beginning begins, I’m still not sure. So tonight I’ll share enough to bring you in to the here-and-now. In time, with love and a warm mug of hot cocoa by my side, the rest of the details will sift themselves into the crevices of our story.
Jeremy and I are at a crossroads in our life. It began in December 2008. We agreed just before Christmas last year to make a concerted effort to slowly dig our way out of debt. Step 1: Put our house on the market at the beginning of the year. And that’s how it started. Simple. Easy. But that isn’t quite how the story goes.
On January 2, 2009, I drove a beautiful young friend/student down to Garden Valley, TX so that she could begin an internship with Teen Mania Ministries. Some of you may know that Jeremy and I met back in 2000 when we interned for TMM as well (not that its pertinent to the story at hand). Anyway… As we were driving along TX-37 somewhere between Mt.Vernon and Mineola, I rolled down the window and as sunshine poured over me, I felt God breathe new life into my spirit.
I spent sweet precious time with Him on that trip. He spoke little, but promised much. It was a secret rendezvous with my Lover as He sang love songs over me. I came home revived, excited and ready for all that was surely just around the corner. My heart knew what my head did not.
And it looked as if plenty were about to happen: writing, selling our home, a little bit of side work for me, passing the baton and stepping down from student leadership, adding children to our family, writing some big checks to debtors…and more. But little by little, nothing and everything crashed into each other throughout the passing months with deafening silence and paralyzing emptiness.
Through a series of unscrupulous practices on the part of his management with Abbott, Jeremy’s employment was terminated at the very beginning of August. Honestly, we were both flooded with relief and almost giddy with excitement for new doors to open. We didn’t share with very many people what was going on, simply because we didn’t have answers and we were confident that the tapestry God was weaving in our lives would be ready for display in due time.
Then, only three short weeks after he lost his job, Jeremy received a call and got an offer with another position in contract pharmaceutical sales that he hadn’t even applied for– right here in Lafayette. It’s obvious that every single step of this process has been “worked together for the good” by our Daddy who takes incredible care of each minute detail of our lives, but we knew very clearly that this new opportunity was in no way the destination of the journey that we started upon last January. It was provision. And for that, we’ve been humbly grateful.
Fast forward to last Friday. Pharma had a conference call (for which Pharma companies are infamous) and the topic of said call: displacement. Displacement=Job loss. Again.
For those of you doing quick math, that is 2 job losses in 4 months.
At this very moment, I can say that it feels like opportunity coupled with a swirl of hope and excitement. Almost a sweet relief. But this time around, it’s also filled with anxiety. Not anxiety over bills (because God knows we have needs that only He can cover), but anxiety over somehow missing His best for our family in the name of responsibility and wisdom.
Just this evening I read in My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, “It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural stand point that keep us back from God’s best. To discern that natural virtues antagonize surrender to God, is to bring our soul into the centre of its greatest battle. Very few of us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good. It is the good that hates the best, and the higher up you get in the scale of the natural virtues, the more intense is the opposition to Jesus Christ.”
So tonight my reason, my prayer and my surrender for sharing this with you is to ask you to pray for us. I have full assurance that He loves us more than any of you could ever love us. We desperately need clarity, direction, open doors, discernment and laser focus right now. The house (still ours), more children (natural or adopted), writing, conquering debt…are all on pause for the moment. That’s ok. We’ve learned immeasurable truth this year and we’ve felt our heartbeat as a family conform more to the heartbeat of God. Isn’t that the most important blessing of any journey that we take with the Lord?
How to walk it out physically? Where to BeChange.LiveLove? We don’t know. But we pray that we see some tangible answers (preferably) soon. For now, I’m clinging to the promises that He spoke to me under the warm Texas sun– promises that the ruins of our plans are simply the beginning of His.
(And for the record, I didn’t consult the outline…so please have much grace for this tired brain-numbed blogger.)