Sunday, May 19, 2013

Prayer Request for my Readers (all 4 of you!)

I have no idea who still reads my blog, or if anyone does.  I may be typing to no one.  I don't mind so much usually because this space is as much about my need to write (it's therapy for me) as it is to hear from those who read it (although I do love knowing that someone reads & enjoys it.)  But just for today, if you read this post, can you please leave me a comment and let me know you'll join me in praying?  I'd love to see your comments HERE, rather than on Facebook or wherever you find the link.  But if you don't have a way to comment here on the site, email me or inbox me or whatever.

This may be a little lengthy, but please bear with me.

Last summer, I was looking for a job.  I needed something with more pay because our finances were stretched way past the limits.  My paycheck was so tiny and our bank account was overdrawn every single month.  The struggles were overwhelming.  I can't tell you how many times I went through the line at the grocery store with a shopping cart full of groceries only to have the debit card declined because we were too far overdrawn to cover that week's groceries.  It's sad when you check the bank account online before you leave the house to see just how overdrawn you are & sit there with a calculator, determining if you can afford to get groceries at all once they add in the overdraft fee.  We never missed a meal, but those sort of situations are so humiliating. 

So I started looking for a new job with better income.  I needed something that I could do during the hours that the kids were in school.  Ideally, that meant staying with the school system where I was working, but in a full time position. However, after applying for several openings, nothing worked out.  I was bummed that it meant looking outside the schools.  Education is really in my heart & soul, but I just couldn't find anything.

In August I started a new job at our friend's law office.  I was terrified of starting a whole new career, in a field where I basically had no interest and no experience.  But I was thrilled that I had finally reached a place where we could relax a little.  Our finances improved.  My hours were good.  Working for a friend with similar beliefs and background meant that we really had a lot of fun at work.  We talked and laughed a lot as I learned a new job.  It made all the "new" more comfortable.  Larry and I were so grateful for the chance to improve our circumstances through this job.

A few weeks after I started working there, my boss/friend found out that his mother was ill and he said something like "I am glad you're here for this season.  Maybe the whole reason you're here now is to help me through this tough time with mom being sick."  At the time I didn't think much of it.  I mean, I thought it was a nice sentiment, but I didn't give it a lot of thought.  His mom passed away just a few weeks later and the next couple months were really tough on him.  About the time he started feeling 'normal' again, he accepted a job elsewhere and let me know that my job would be ending soon.

For the next 7 weeks I feverishly applied for about 80 jobs.  (I'm not kidding.  It was really that many.)  No one seemed to want to hire me.  I cried and panicked and worried.  I was angry and sad and frustrated---all at one time.  Larry & I argued.  The stress in our home was palpable.  Neither of us had a clue how we'd pay the bills or what was to become of us.  I was applying for anything I could find.  Everything from a medical transporter---one who would deliver tissue, blood & urine samples to a lab--- to clerical jobs to restaurants to well, anything!  But somehow, with all those applications out there and all the million opportunities that I looked into, still nothing worked out.  I kept believing that God had the perfect job in store and I just had to wait.

In the end, the job I had left at the school (you know, the one with the small paycheck) opened back up.  I returned to it.  The same campus, the same desk, my same old computer.  It was the easy solution.  The paycheck was still small (actually, it was even smaller than before since I returned mid-year & the salary is figured differently) but I knew the job and the people and it was better than having NO job.  I promised the principal that I'd stay through the end of the school year.

And now that school year is coming to an end.  We only have 9 days left with the students.  Summer is right around the corner.

The fear is setting in again.  I am back to the drawing board, so to speak.  While I could choose to stay where I am (they aren't kicking me out at the end of the year), the reality is we still need more income and nothing is going to drastically change in this job's paycheck between now and August.  But if all else fails, I can return there.  I love the people I work with & enjoy the work.  I just wish I could add another digit to the number before the decimal on my paycheck.  There are jobs opening up for the Fall in the school system and I am praying God opens the doors for one of those jobs.  I have contacted the person in charge of each of the positions to let them know I'm interested, but now it's just a waiting game.  If nothing works out, I will be back to looking outside the schools and I really don't want to go there again.

Tonight I was thinking about all of this and asking God why.  Our 1 sided conversation sounded something like this:  "Why did you even have me take that other job in the Fall?  I didn't really fully learn the job before it was over.  It was kind of a big tease financially.  I got a bigger paycheck for a few months, but it didn't last long enough to make a dent in our bank account.  And leaving to take that job meant returning to the school mid-year with a smaller paycheck.  What was the point of all that?  Why did you give me that job just to take it away again and cause so much stress and heartache in our home?"

That's when the statement that my friend/boss made last Fall came back to me.  In my mind, I could see him sitting behind his desk, saying what he did about my being there for the help him during his mom's illness and death.  Honestly, it's the first time that has crossed my mind at all since the day he said it.  Maybe his words back then were a bit prophetic and he didn't even know it.  Maybe God had me there for just that reason.  Maybe it was never meant to be permanent.  Maybe it was always just supposed to be for a season.  If that is the case, I am totally content and happy that it happened.  I would do it all over again to help a friend.

And maybe God removed me from that job (& took away the bigger paycheck) for the same reason that He's reduced our income again & again over the years -- to force us to rely on Him more fully.  Maybe my lot in life is to have less, to live leaning into Him day in & day out.  I've said before that I don't think Larry and I are capable of having even a little more than we NEED because as soon as things get easier financially we quit relying on God as much.  I find myself not praying as much and I'm not in the Word as much when I feel 'comfortable' in life.  While my flesh would love to have a bigger paycheck to make life smoother, my heart knows that it's just not a good idea for us.  And no matter how many times God shows me that, it's still really hard to say it out loud, to actually ask God NOT to give me any more than we NEED.  Good grief that's hard.

And so, as I look ahead to summer, I am anxious to see what God has in store for our family.  I am praying that He has prepared the perfect job for me within our school system.  One that would make our lives easier financially, but not to give me so much in a paycheck that I would start feeling too comfortable & quit remembering to seek Him for every single need, for every bill, for every pair of shoes that my kids so rapidly outgrow, for every bag of groceries, for every breath.  I pray that He's already working out the details of what lies ahead for us.  I pray that He is whispering in the ear of the Principal who should hire me and is beginning to work out the details for me to have a successful interview.  I pray that He will place me in a position where I can stay long-term.  I am ready to be done job-swapping!

I don't know what the future holds, but could you join me in praying for all the details to fall into place now?


Susan said...

Liz, you are an amazingly inspiring lady. You and your husband have kept your family strong and your love strong with all these challenges. I KNOW G-d has something bigger in store for you, and you are passing the test constantly by showing Him how much you believe in Him and trust Him.

My lesson is: There are 3 partners in the creation of a human, a man, a woman, and G-d, and quite honestly, G-d, now its YOUR turn to take over and carry this amazing family to ease and comfort.

Look at all they do in kindness and constantly loving You in the midst of all the challenges You send them.

Enough making them stretch, make it a DROP easier, please. I think I could vouch for the fact that they won't stop believing in You and trusting You.

Try it, You'll see!!

Ruth said...

I am subscribed to your blog so I read it faithfully but I probably don't show up as visiting your page. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I say that to reassure you that you're not alone.

Proverbs 30:7-9 is something I ponder often:

7 “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

I know how hard it is to say I trust God with everything and then turn around and argue with my husband. I know humiliation of having to count pennies, literally. And I understand wondering what you're doing wrong in the midst of all this.

I will pray for peace for you in the midst of this. Peace to know you are where you're supposed to be and peace to remember that you're not forsaken.

love, Ruth

Brian Boatman said...

My sweet friend,
I don't pretend to know the whys and why nots of our Lord, but a couple of things I do know: You and Larry, and your sweet family have been carried by the Lord, will continue to be carried by the Lord, and have been such a blessing to Marlene and I.
We watched you go through this time with faith and grace that encouraged us throughout. Not only do I know that we are not the only "4 readers" you have, but I know that your life has touched so many of us during this time.
I have begun to pray about this for you and Larry and the kids, and will continue to do so, but please remember what the Psalmist writes: "Be still and know that I am God." He loves you so much more than you even love your children, and He has good gifts for you. Rest in His love and we will rejoice together, RIGHT NOW, that He has already taken care of this.
Thank you for being such an example of grace and faith to my family and many others.

Love you guys very much,

Kristi said...

Praying for you Liz! I too seem to "fall away" when things are smooth and then as soon as a bump hits, I'm seeking God everywhere. I wonder how he puts up with me, still.
Thanks for being so open about your struggles, it helps to know we aren't the only ones who struggle.

Love you!

Jenny said...

Praying for you my friend!

Candice said...

I'll pray for you guys, Liz!

Jackie L. said...

Thank you for inviting me to read your blog. I'm glad I am. :) I'll be praying about your situation & that God opens the right doors for you. In the mean time, I'm so glad you're my son's teacher.