In my last blog post, I told you about one of the many lessons I learned from my time of unemployment. I believe this is just one of the many way the Lord used this time to mold me and my heart during this time.
It's AMAZING to see how the Lord CHANGES hearts!
My last job was very stressful: physically, mentally, emotionally. I persevered for four years, putting my heart and soul into it; working on my attitude and trying to "make it work." Was I blameless in every situation? Of course not. But I can tell you that with the Lord's help, I really grew in having a positive attitude at work and not basing it on the daily circumstances. I learned that I am called to work for the Lord and not for the fallible humans around me.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance
from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
I can't tell you how many times I had to say this verse over and over in my head to make it through a day. Even so, this work environment was toxic. It was affecting my health and my marriage. I was to the point of a nervous breakdown!! I had been looking for jobs in my bits of spare time, but couldn't find anything!
I asked my husband...okay told him that I wanted to quit my job. I would work at Starbucks, if I had to. That did NOT go over well. The expectation was that I would find a full time job at a comparable pay rate before leaving my current position. I had brought up quitting before, but I was really at a breaking point this time! After some discussions, arguments, and talks with our community group we started talking about how long I could hold out while seriously taking some time to look for a job. I just didn't know how I could be a wife, work this job, and look for a job. After all, I already knew I was doing a terrible job at being a wife at the moment.
The Lord had other plans. Just a couples days later, I was terminated.
It was like the Lord said, "Your time here is done, Lauren." A closed door. There were no more discussions or hard decisions to make. There was no more wondering if quitting was the right or wrong thing to do. He made the decision for me. Although, it wasn't the way I would have necessarily chosen to do things ... it was done and out of my control.
It took a couple of weeks to process through the initial shock and emotional turmoil, but I started attending Watermark's Careers in Motion and began looking for jobs. I took the time to rest, to spend time with the Lord, to serve my husband, and to work on my marriage.
After a couple of months, Dave started saying that he didn't want me to go back to work. Huh? I was totally confused! Apparently, he noticed how much better my stress levels were, how much better we were able to connect in the evenings; how much better our marriage was without this toxic job. Not that everything was the job's fault ... we have plenty of other issues to work on. I was able to go grocery shopping, cook, and keep up the home more, which allowed us to spend more quality time together. I was able to focus on the areas I needed to change to make our marriage stronger. I was able to be a better wife! Would he have ever had this observation or thought if the Lord didn't strip that job from us?
How amazing is it to see how far his heart had changed from just a few months earlier!!!
Well, now we had another decision to make. During this time, I began to pray that I would serve the Lord with my time...and my marriage comes second after the Lord. So, what should I do about work? I'm not a mother yet, so should I be a stay-at-home wife? What does that mean? A Housewife of Dallas? A Lady of Luxury as my friend Nina says? :-) I do enjoy contributing to our family, but I also want to be sure I am not finding my identity in my job (very easy for me to do).
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
I really had to work through this and search my heart to be sure what my reasons were for going back to work. It is easy for me to find my identity in my work, instead of in the Lord. My pride didn't want to "just work part-time" or be a "stay at home wife." My pride didn't want others to think I couldn't "handle" a full time job and all my other responsibilities. After all, aren't we supposed to be super women, who balance work, husbands, church, volunteering, friends, family, etc.?? I was afraid it would look like I had ... FAILED. Deep down, I knew these were all lies from the enemy, even though it is hard not to believe them. I kept praying that I could serve the Lord with my time, whatever that meant--work or no work.
Well, again the Lord answers prayers and changes hearts.
Earlier in my search, I applied for a job where they had both a full time and a part time position available. I originally applied for the full time position. After much discussion, I changed my application to the part time position and figured I would see how much time it would entail. I faithfully prayed during this time. When I interviewed, Dave and I both felt it was the perfect fit and answer to prayer. Not only did they offer me the position, but they told me that I was their top candidate, and wanted to let me know that I could have the full time position if I wanted it. Let me tell you ... it was really tempting to jump back into a full time position to satisfy my pride. But, I knew it wouldn't be the best option for my relationship with the Lord and for my marriage...and those two things MUST come first!!
The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing
I feel like a Lady of Luxury!!
Probably not in the way the world would think. I have a gracious Lord and Savior that is faithful and meets all of my needs! I am able to put my marriage first (after the Lord) and serve my husband, while also being able able to work and contribute to my family. Although this has been a challenging transition, it has been an amazing time of growth and heart change!