July 24, 2015 will forever be etched in my memory. That was my husband's last day of work at his comfortable, yet very stressful manager job. For several months, we had prayed for direction in whether or not he should continue this job and the Lord just kept leading us to no. It was a giant leap of faith as we were expecting our first baby that September. The plan was for Dan to go back to school and get an RN degree to become a nurse. However, those plans fell through. So, Dan started searching for a job.
You would think that it would be easy getting hired after having a bachelor's degree and managerial experience.
Dan was unemployed for five months. In that time, we had our first child, which meant I was on maternity leave. On top of adjusting to a new baby and living on barely one income (as my PTO that I had built up didn't pay out the entire twelve weeks), the stress of Dan not being able to find a job started weighing heavily on us. And I'll be honest, it was so hard...so, so hard to have faith.
As a Christian, I had the head knowledge that God would provide for our needs. But there were times when I doubted in my heart. I hated not knowing what the future would hold. I was scared we would have to move away, which wouldn't have been a big deal, but after having a baby, being near family has been everything to us. I was frustrated because my husband kept getting rejection emails. There were several moments when I would just cry from fear and frustration. It was such a stressful time in our lives. I almost felt like Peter sinking in the Sea of Galilee.
However, at the same time, those five months of Dan's unemployment were also some of the best months.God used that time to grow us closer together and closer to Him. We learned to trust in the Lord. Just as He took a hold of Peter, He took a hold of us. We didn't run out of money like I thought we were going to and we never went without. For example, our associate pastor handed us a couple tubs of formula. He had received the samples in the mail and had no idea why as he and his wife were past the child-bearing years. As he handed it to us, he said, "I guess God knew you would need this eventually?"
God showed us that sometimes you just need to wait, as hard as that can be sometimes. We realized that we were extremely blessed. We have very supportive family and friends who prayed for us and encouraged us. We also started to reflect on the last several months and came to the conclusion that there was a reason why Dan was unemployed for those months. Perhaps, God was protecting us from something. Or maybe He was giving us the gift of time. We'll never know, but we were given the peace that everything happens for a reason.
By Christmas time, Dan had an interview for a manager intern position that looked very promising. At the same time, an unexpected opportunity for a new job fell into my lap. This job offered more money and better benefits than what I was getting. After seeking wise counsel from our parents and praying about it, I took the new job and turned in my resignation letter. The same weekend I took the offer for my new job, Dan got a phone call offering him the manager intern position. And ironically enough, on the same day, January 4, 2016, Dan and I started our new jobs.
Today, exactly two years later, we can look back and just be amazed at God's goodness and grace. And once again I can say, "What an awesome God we serve!"
Friend, I don't know what you are going through, but I want to encourage you by saying, don't give up on the Lord. We may not always understand His ways and we may not be able to see the big picture. But, God knows our future and His plans are always better than what we've imagined. Here are five of my favorite verses to cling onto when it's hard to have faith:
(Verses are in KJV)
Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Philippians 4:19 - But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Psalm 56:3 - What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I hope these verses encourage you today. If there is anything I can pray for, please let me know.