Unemployed

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So, I lost my job on Friday.

The university where I’ve worked as a nurse for the last 13 years decided to outsource student health services and my position was eliminated. Certainly nothing I ever imagined would happen.  I figured I’d be there until Jesus came back.  Or until I retired.  But Jesus has tarried and I’m not old enough to retire, so there you have it.

I’m unemployed.

There had been rumblings about the possibility of all of this for months. But when it finally went down, it left me stunned.  It felt like a surgical excision, the sudden and painful removal of something that I felt was vital.  In one swift cut at 3:00pm, the life I’d known since 2006 was changed forever.

Ouch.

But the sun came up again the next morning as it always does.  And God is still faithful like He always is. The healing has begun. The last few months have been both crazy and precious as I’ve wrestled with God over my future and clung to Him when the answers I needed weren’t coming. I’ve almost filled up an entire quiet time journal since March when it usually takes me a year or two.  Those early morning moments with God are now chronicled for me to look back over in the days ahead.  I’ll see the journey He took me on while I learned how to look to Him instead of trying to figure things out on my own.  Especially when those things were so obviously out of my control.  I’ll see with fresh eyes how He was preparing me all along for what would happen.  It was a surprise to me, but certainly not to Him.

As uncertain as things were in the days leading up to Friday afternoon, I found myself in a place of unnatural trust and surrender.  I realized that there were lessons I needed to learn and things I needed to experience in order to grow.  When life gets into a routine and nothing rattles us anymore and every day is the same, there is no need to really lean on God.  We can get complacent and soft.  But throw a grenade into the mix and we see quite quickly whether or not our faith in God is the real deal.

I don’t know what happens next. This is a path I’ve never been down before.  God reminded me of a verse in 2 Chronicles one morning a few weeks ago. “The Lord is able to give you much more than this” (2 Chronicles 25:9).  “This” has been my dream job – working at a Christian university, using the gifts and talents God has given me, doing the kind of nursing I love, caring for and mentoring college students, seeing God continue to work in the lives of those students long after they’ve graduated.  But my God can give me even more than “this”.  I know He has a plan.  I know He sees up around the corner and is preparing me for whatever it is.  It may be something or someplace I’ve never thought of before.  Something “exceedingly, abundantly above all I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

In the days ahead, I’ll be spending time with family and spending time with God.  I’ll be looking to Him to guide, to lead, to provide and to give discernment and wisdom as I move forward.  The words of the well-known hymn “Be Still My Soul” have been on replay in my head over the past few weeks and especially in the last two days.

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side, Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.  Leave to thy God to order and provide.  In every change, He faithful will remain.  Be still my soul, thy best, thy Heavenly Friend, through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past.  Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake.  All now mysterious shall be bright at last.  Be still my soul, the waves and wind still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

And so today, my soul is still. The future is uncertain, but God will guide me just as He has in the past.  I didn’t want this to happen, but I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that God will use it in my life to draw me closer to Himself.

In every change, He faithful will remain.

Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble and He brings them out of their distresses.  He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.  Then they are glad because they are quiet.  So He guides them to their desired haven.  Psalm 107:28-30

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord.  I say, “You are my God”.  My times are in Your hand.  Psalm 31:14-15

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.  1 Thessalonians 5:24