it was a total shock

When I lost my job back in October it was a total shock.  Martin had lost his job to a lay-off as well just a year before.  The temptation was to try to figure out what we did wrong. Did God want us to move? Become missionaries?

Why was this happening to us?

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all a disaster.  Many good things came out of the lay-off.

I got to spend loads of precious time with Ginny.  Nothing can replace these months I have had with her.  Just being with a joyful, bubbling two year old can be such a joy.  Okay it can be a headache too sometimes, but mostly it has been a fun-filled time that I wouldn’t give up for anything.

Through the crossroads ministry at my church  I got to examine my work style and what I really needed to look for in my next place of employment.  Instead of just hoping for a good fit, I learned how to do my part to achieve that goal.

I met amazing people through the various interviews and got to spread sunshine and a small taste of hope to a lot of people through my consistently, deliberately cheerful facebook and (mostly)blog posts.

Joining Bible study on Tuesday mornings and Aerobics on M-W-F was a huge treat for me.  I was getting to do all those things a stay-at-home mommy does.  And I loved it.  We got to play with our neighbor’s mom’s group and  I seriously started to wonder if perhaps God was saying that I should stay home.  Lord, was this the message?  Should we cut back our budget and struggle through with just Martin’s part-time salary?

Not quite ready to give up on the dream of going back to work, and to keep myself current in an office environment, I started volunteering at my church.  Just basic administrative tasks, but they were things that needed doing and allowed me to explore the possibility of one day working in a church office.  I like the thought.  So Margie, when you retire, just call me, okay?

Was that the purpose of my lay-off?  to move me in a new direction?

In the early days of my lay-off I even got the chance to witness to my boss.  Well witness is perhaps the wrong word.  I didn’t share the gospel story with him per se.  But I got a chance to BE Christian in my response to the layoff and all the processes that followed.  He constantly marveled at my calm and said that I was taking this whole mess far better than he was himself.  And every single time he said that,  I got to look him in the eyes and say “God is good. I believe that He is in control and that I will be fine”  I said that to him so many times in fact that it got down to a kind of short hand where I would just look at him, smile and say one word.  “God.”

What a privilege that was.

But was that the purpose? Was that the reason for me to be layed-off?  So that I could be this witness of calm and joy during a storm to my former boss?

I don’t know.

I may never know.

But here is the key to the whole thing

I don’t need to know.

It is enough for me to know that God is good.  I can trust that God did have a purpose in my job layoff and that it was all about HIS Glory.

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slow change, a slow dance

sometimes I think big changes are easier.

conversion experiences are dramatic and no one is really surprised when you start acting differently, or give up certain pursuits.

What I find difficult is living out the slow changes God is trying to make in my life.  Especially in my attitudes and actions at work. (anybody else with me here?)

I know the economy is bad.  Everyone is freaked out. But I should not be joining in with the crowd of freaked out, worried people.

My husband is prudent with our savings, we have jobs, we have paid down most of the credit debt.

and GOD SAY’S I’M SUPPOSED TO TRUST IN HIM

What must my co-workers think of me if I join in the frantic, worried, stressed out crowd? They will see someone who SAYS she is a Christian, but who doesn’t really trust God.

This is what it means to BE a witness for God.

I don’t want to talk to people about my faith, I want them to see me living a life of Trust in God.  Eventually they will ask.  They will ask me, or they will ask someone else. But they will ask.

I know all this.  I believe it.   But I have trouble living it.  Especially when I’ve messed up before.  These are the same people who saw me yesterday being fretful about the economy.  That makes it hard to come in today and BE different.

But I have to.  Or rather, I have to let God be different in me.

I know God loves me.  Me.  silly, sinful, flawed overweight me.  God Loves Me.

If I can wrap my brain around that, I will be able to live in the surety to His love and care.

I don’t’ know why but for some reason (Maybe it’s Melissa’s fault for talking about high school dances and songs from the 80s)  there is a sappy song running through my head right now and I’m imagining God singing it to me.

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens
I’ve been in love with you.

Stronger than any mountain cathedral
Truer than any tree ever grew
Deeper than any forest primeval
I am in love with you.

Ill bring fires in the winters
Youll send showers in the springs
Well fly through the falls and summers
With love on our wings.

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I’ll be in love with you.

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens
I’ve been in love with you
I am in love with you.
.

Can we really GET IT? that God loves EACH of us this much.

my worth is determined by GOD alone

My soul finds rest in God alone my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation.  He is my fortress I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62: 1 & 2

My worth is determined by God.

It is not determined by my boss. No matter how tempting it may be to strive for his personal approval. I should do my job, do it to the best of my ability, enjoy being here and leave it at that.

It is not determined by how well I sing on any given day. As tempting as it may be to base my worth on my performance, I have to resist that urge and just immerse myself in worshiping the Most High.

It is not determined by how many friends I have or who invites me to lunch on Sundays. I’m really bad about this one. When I was a kid it was a mark of “wealth” and Popularity to go out to lunch on Sundays after church. I am constantly surprised at how much my heart aches when we occasionally go home from church with no social engagement. Which is crazy because most of the time I am just flat exhausted by Sunday afternoon and would probably be better off with a nap anyway.

My worth is not determined by how quickly I can look up a bible reference or how many bible verses I can quote by heart. Christianity is NOT a competition sport.

it is not determined by how long I’ve been a Christian. People who are “older in Christ” have no more or less worth than I. We are ALL children of the King.

My worth is not determined by how many hits my blog gets per day. As we have had various “big news” items come up in our lives the past few weeks I have been getting really big spikes in my “readership” but they are temporary. And I always put huge pressure on myself to “come up with something really good to post about” the day after a spike. Hoping to retain some of the new readers.

My worth is also NOT determined by my physical appearance. Yes I am overweight. Yes I need to do something about it. But the act of “doing something about it” should not be motivated by a type of self-hate. It should be motivated by a love for my creator who dwells in me and whom I, to a certain extent, represent. At least to the folks around me.

Think about it. If I am depressed or upset by criticism, if I allow my popularity to dictate my mood, if I come in to work depressed because I’m not in favor with the boss this week (which is what happened this morning and what prompted me to write this post), a very clear picture forms in the minds of my co-workers. “oh, she is no different from us.”

BUT If I cheerfully accept criticism as feedback, if I smile on everyone no matter how they treat me, and if I take care of myself not out of self-hate but out a love for God, a very different picture comes across.

I want to be that second picture.

my boss is baiting me

I discovered today that my boss knows me waaaaaay too well.

When I walked in to work this morning he was standing near my desk having a discussion about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with another co-worker.

I let him talk for about three sentences.  Just long enough for me to clock in.

Then I politely jumped into the conversation and let my opinion on the subject be known.

At which point Todd doubles over with laughter.

What?

I was giving a serious opinion!  This is not laughing matter! we are talking about the degeneration of morals and the objectification of all peoples (not just women) and the damage this does to….

He’s STILL laughing at me.

Turns out he was baiting me.  He had set up the whole scene  just to see how long I could go without inserting an opinion.   Three sentences as it turns out.

Great.  So now my boss’ favorite sport is finding subjects which are certain to draw me into an argument.   Lovely.

Fun though.  I do love a good argument.

I love my job……really

Today is going to be an interesting day.

I woke up sick for some unknown reason from 2 to 4 a.m. Something I ate probably. I’m still feeling kinda shakey. Haven’t had breakfast yet ’cause I don’t trust my stomach……ick.

So I could go a couple of different directions with my mood for the day. I could be grumpy (since I’ve had so little sleep), I could be pitiful (I’m really good at feeling sorry for myself when I’m not feeling physically great), I could go with resentful (why do I have to be here when I don’t feel well?)

Or I COULD try, just try …. to be a blessing to each person I see today.

It helps that I work with some wonderful people.

Todd. We’ve already covered him. The worlds most perfect boss. Knows how to really appreciate a good argument. Makes Belgian waffles for his employees, laughs easily and lets me rant, scream or cry if I need to. (Faculty can be very frustrating creatures to deal with and occasional scream therapy is recommended for the staff).

Donna. Office Manager Extraordinaire. Very calm, unflappable, peaceful. She let me hide in her office and cry when I was going through one of those weeks that infertile women occasionally have. You know the one where you cry at the drop of a hat? yeah, that week. She even came back from the bathroom once to find me in her office with the door closed sobbing my heart out. Sweet lady handled it perfectly.

Deborah. Accountant. Crazy lady. Fun. Has the perfect sense of humor to blend in here and revels in being just as nuts as the rest of us. That’s sooooo rare.

Stephenie. Our resident Rastafarian (is that how it’s spelled?) account secretary. Oh I can not do without this lady. She is so funny and so weird. Really “out there” sometimes, ya know? She comes up with the craziest conversation starters. But the biggest blessing for me with her presence in our office is that she took over the accounting functions that I was struggling through. I try to make sure she knows how much I appreciate her.

Ethel. She has been here 17 years and NOTHING can replace this woman. She is very stony faced, and intimidating, but now that there is so much humor and joy in the office she is warming up and starting to tell funny stories more and enjoy her co-workers.

Anyway, that’s my office. And my goal for today (to take my mind off my pitiful, sleep-deprived, queasy, cranky self) is to make sure each of them feels appreciated today.

the world’s most perfect boss

I have the world’s most perfect boss.

Wanna hear what his Christmas present to our office was?

He brought in his Belgian waffle iron from home and made (to order) Belgian Waffles, bacon and mimosas. He had whipped cream, marmalade, syrup, butter, pecans, chocolate shavings, and strawberries all available as toppings.

Then today, he took us on a mission trip (under the guise of a “team building excercise”) at a wonderful place called MedShare. It’s a group who takes un-used medical supplies and makes them available (for free) to doctors in far away countries.

But they need someone to sort all the stuff they receive. And believe me they receives piles and piles of stuff. So we spent the morning sorting surgical steel items for packaging so they can be shipped.

 

This stuff goes to where they don’t HAVE forceps if we don’t send them, so we were literally saving lives across the world. All morning. Without ever having to leave our city. Or get shots.

Tres cool no?

So, votes, do I not have the coolest boss ever?

oh, and he’s fun, kinda hot, and a scientist too. very weird. one doesn’t normally see this combo in the wild………