I'm hoping to find out today that I have a new job. A job that will end seventeen months of unemployment. As I see that it's time for the Brag on God Fridays linkup, I think about how God's lead me through this unemployment.
The first few months weren't too bad. It had only been a temporary job, so it wasn't at all unexpected. Truthfully, it was really just a few months of employment breaking up a very long bout of unemployment. Before I got that job, I'd been unemployed for eleven months. But right before a year was up, right before I'd have to start paying my deferred student loans, I found this job. And it was my favorite job of any I've had. It was wonderful.
So I was sad it was over, but again, it wasn't unexpected. And I'd done a really good job, and I knew I had a good reference. Things were looking up, and I thought I'd find a job right away.
But obviously, I didn't.
But God put friendships in my life. He showed me one blessing of being unemployed was that I could be there for friends, day or night. This ability wasn't taken up very often, as my friends were all busy. But I wasn't, so when they needed me, I could be there.
Then, God delivered on a promise He'd made to me. And He introduced me to Ryan... or actually, He led Ryan to me, and had Ryan make the first move. And we've been together since.
Then He let me see my prayers come to life, as my dear friend Tabitha came to know Jesus as more than an abstract, and pretty much instantly became pregnant. She and her husband had been using fertility drugs, and they hadn't worked. They'd given up months before. And then God gave her a miracle child, her darling son Jordan.
And, as the 'this day in facebook' keeps reminding me, around this time last year, suddenly I saw an explosion of fertility amongst my friends. I was genuinely glad for them. I was praying for them, especially my friend Hannah when her daughter Sadie Mae was diagnosed with BRA. But it did begin to awaken a keen longing in me. I'd longed for marriage, and I knew I wanted children. But it became a stronger longing. Especially for adopting. I'd decided I'd want to adopt long ago, but longing grew...
When you're jobless and penniless and your friends are too busy for you... you live with your parents, have no car, and have never been on your own... you begin to feel worthless. When the unemployment stretches on and on...
But then I'd look to Ryan, my living, breathing reminder that God is faithful, and I'd be okay. And I'd pray and God would work with me, helping me with my struggle with discontentedness.
Then God answered another prayer, and provided me means to go visit my family in New Jersey, whom I hadn't been able to afford to see in five years. That was wonderful. I also got to fulfill another dream and show a friend from South Carolina my New Jersey home, the place where I am from. Admittedly, Lydia was sick as a dog. But she's the only friend whose gotten to see my roots in the eighteen years I've lived in South Carolina.
I felt God directing me to get in touch with old friends. And I've made some vital re-connections... and even had a few people feel lead to look me up. It's been utterly wonderful.
I was beating myself up. And I was telling myself I was a failure at everything. Failure. That was the word I felt defined everything I touched. I was bored and so when I saw my 200th blog post approached, I thought I'd redo my blog.
And suddenly I saw it with fresh eyes. I realized it was something I'd stuck with. I'd started it in September of 2008, and I'd blogged almost every month, and averaged about twice a week. As someone who has a tendency to start a lot and follow through on little, I realized I'd missed this blog as a success story in my endeavors.
As I began to make over my blog, changing the template, organization, I felt God leading me, and telling me it was time. Time to share my blog. Before this time, I'd never share my blog links anywhere. When I saw people linking theirs on facebook I'd think "shameless self promotion... wait, I shouldn't judge, maybe it's okay for them, but that's not what I want to do." The only regular reader I knew about was my friend Tabitha, and she wasn't even a "follower". I had none. I'd only had less than 3,000 blog views in the over two years since I'd started my blog.
But that was okay. I blogged for Jesus, and I blogged for myself, and that was all...
But now I felt God invite me to link. To share. In fact, I felt like I had to link on facebook. I was blushing the first time I did it. I felt exposed. But I kept doing it. At first I didn't see a difference.
I also started reading blogs. Oh, I'd casually read the blogs of close family and friends. But as I tried to improve my blog, I began reading about blogs. Which lead to reading blogs. Which lead to falling in love with blogs. Over and over God spoke to me through other bloggers. They'd bring me to tears and laughter. And I realized, with a start, how could I have blogged effectively if I didn't even read blogs? It'd be like being a journalist who never picked up a paper. It was absurd.
God has blessed my little blog. I don't know that it'll ever be "big". But it's readership has exploded from where it was. And I've had people tell me they're touched by things I write.
God showed me, through my blog and other sources, a new definition of "work". While I still tell people I'm "unemployed" because I have no job that pays any money, I do know I work. I am a blogger, and God blesses this work I try to do for Him.
One recent thing God shined through was my health concerns, which God lead me through, even when I was sobbing in fear of potential loss. It was possible I had uterine cancer, and could possibly need a hysterectomy. Me, childless me, who aches and longs for motherhood. But God was gracious onto me and Ryan, and the biopsy came back negative. And God continued to fuel that desire for motherhood, leading me to books and blogs on that subject. Ryan predicts we'll have tons of kids. I laugh, but I wonder if he's not right. It does seem the Lord is preparing me.
And speaking of books, one last thing He's done is allow me the honor of becoming a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson. I get free books so long as I blog about them. How sweet is that? I'm a super reader. Especially since I'm unemployed. I read a few hundred books a year. Now I get a few of them for free, and so far without exception they've been books that minister to my soul.
And through them, He's given me a mission of collecting Christian books, which are cheap and plentiful in every thrift store here in the Bible belt, so I can take them India when I marry Ryan and share them with my brothers and sisters there, who are only 2% of the population. It's a small ministry, but one that gladdens my heart whenever I look at my small but growing collection.
Recently, I grew to my lowest low. And as I told you, God was faithful in bringing a book I'd won to me right when I needed it, pulling me from my depths back to my feet. He showed me I shouldn't beat on myself, and that I can have confidence in myself through Him, in His promises and my identity as His own.
So as I said when I began, today I find out if I got a new job. So what you've just read is me reflecting on this past period in my life, and how God has faithfully lead me through it. I really only gave you concrete happenings... most of what transpired took place deep in my soul and I don't know how to put it in words yet. But I am a deeper, stronger, wiser Christian from this time. So I suppose if I don't get the job, then I will just continue to grow...
But I am feel hope I'll get this job. And when I expressed that the other day, before the interview, there was an answering whisper in my soul:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.
I will let you know what happens. And I'd most definitely appreciate prayer.