A New Path Forward

Four months ago, I experienced devastation: my team was laid off from work and I was very suddenly out of a job. For about seven weeks, I experienced great ups and downs as I completed my time at UW (remotely), said goodbye to a few cherished co-workers, applied for jobs, went to interviews and more interviews, and didn’t get hired.

I applied for unemployment, went to mandatory unemployment trainings, and tried to make the best of the situation. I think this is what most people would do when faced with my situation. But this isn’t the whole story.

As my blog followers and friends should know, I am a Christian and very sure of my faith. So with the gift of time, I spent hours reading and studying my Bible, and in prayer on my knees asking God for his will and his way. I shared my heart deeply with him, and asked him to show me the path forward.

Why is it that when we ask God to do this — to guide us or our loved ones — that we think we know what is best? Why do we dictate what we think that answer should be? Why (and I struggle with this one a lot!) are we disappointed when things we desire don’t work out when we’re asking God to point us in the right direction?

I think this is the first time in my life where I truly let go and let God show me what His will is for my life. It’s amazing what happens when we let go of our own will and yield to God. He came through.

My husband uncharacteristically took some steps without consulting me, and provided strong leadership in a way that I truly think saved our lives. In a flurry of events spanning Oct. 30-Nov. 1, blessings unfolded before us in an amazingly timely fashion and we made the decision to move back to Snohomish. This wasn’t easy; it was financially costly (but better than if we had stayed), created chaos for our kids and their schooling as we transferred them in the middle of a semester, and required a very fast packing, moving, and unpacking of our lives.

Now, I know this sounds like us telling God what the path forward is, but don’t jump to that conclusion.

I’m still unemployed. And guess what? I’M GREAT WITH THIS! Why? Because I believe God has a new path forward and that His timing is perfect. Sometimes we need to be shaken out of complacency (and I mean truly up-ended, because when we are comfortable, we are stuck in our comfort!) in order to begin something new. That was the case with me.

Here are some blessings that have come as I have trusted God on this new path:

1. I have the opportunity to be at home with my children. It’s been challenging for them as they navigate new schools (even though it’s in the same school district), and I’ve needed to provide more oversight and help. I’ve also spent a great deal of time shuffling kids who don’t drive between activities, which wouldn’t have been possible for us if I was working.

2. I am able to handle the domestic side of life during the day that allows us to not have to worry about such things when my husband and kids are home. I was able to pack and move my household in 11 days. It was insane, but it worked. I take care of grocery shopping, laundry, chores and errands during the day — activities that normally would take place for two working parents during the evening or weekend hours, in addition to our church service and need for recuperation.

3. I am able to be more active in my church during day-time hours. Beyond the Sunday and Wednesday gatherings and music help I provided before, I am now able to assist with cleaning the church, help with maintenance (such as repainting the church kitchen), visit folks, arrange meals for new parents, attend a weekly day-time gathering with other from our church, and so on.

A community garden4. Finally, God has given me the vision for a community garden that can be started at our church to bring our community together, provide skills and education to people, and grow healthy produce for healthy lives. This is not just an idea — it’s officially off and running. We have our first contributions to the garden, I’m attending workshops for community networking and grants, I’m researching other community gardens, and I’m developing the plan for what this should be. This work uses the master’s degree I worked so hard to obtain several years back.

But what about my bachelor’s degree and nearly two decades of work in public relations? Are these for naught? Right now, after much prayer and reflection, I feel that this is not the focus for my life. I haven’t shut that door completely, but I believe God has a new direction for me, and one that mixes my passions for His service, gardening, and growing community.

So back to that question that I seem to receive constantly — how’s the job situation? I have a gentle request: stop asking. We are financially fine. I am on unemployment at this time, and I am still applying for jobs as part of the requirement for eligibility. But my heart and my focus are not external to this place God has brought us; God brought us to this place for a reason and He has changed my heart for His purpose. If at some point the vision or direction changes, I certainly will communicate that.

So join me in celebrating that God is doing something amazing, and encourage me to continue trusting in Him and following His plan.


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