Monday: the summit…
On Monday, a book manuscript on which I had worked long and hard (twice) was officially accepted for hardcover publication in 2010. http://christykrobinson.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-book-manuscript-is-officially.html
In 2004, I conceived the idea of a multiple-author daily devotional book, wrote author guidelines, solicited articles from about 50 authors, wrote more than 90 of the 365 articles myself, rewrote many pieces, and edited all of them. It was laid out for publication and printed at a
As an appreciation gift for helping with several other projects of mine, I sent the set to the book acquisitions editor at Review & Herald Publishing Association, who liked it so much that she and the Book Committee decided to knock someone else’s manuscript out of the six-year waiting list, and put ours in instead.
This year, the acquisitions editor, now assistant vice president in the books division, called to update me on the new editing and formatting to their specifications, and to set deadlines for submission of the manuscript and other pieces they need to publish and market the book. So, again at home on nights and weekends, I set about replacing weaker articles, finding new Bible texts and translations to fit every day’s entry, and format the manuscript to size, font, and space requirements. I finished one week before deadline and emailed it to the publisher.
The vice president’s reaction was extremely complimentary, and on June 8, she notified me of the official decision of the Book Committee to accept the manuscript for publication.
Thursday: the valley…
Meanwhile, at my workplace, people were tense, and tempers were short. Most people didn’t know why this was going on, just that everything was on edge. I loved what I did, but not some of the practices at the workplace. Behind our backs, daggers were being thrown. Accusations. Threats. Criticisms. I knew what was happening because I’d seen and heard budget discussions at committee meetings. This was the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year.
But though the workplace and its events consume much of our waking hours, we all have lives to live. Families to attend to and enjoy, chores to do, recreation and spiritual times, friendships to establish, relationships to cultivate. Heart things. Life and death things. My aunt and uncle both have cancer, and uncle Ted, a kind and gentle Lutheran minister, and deep thinker whom I loved to talk with for hours, passed away one day before his eightieth birthday.
All this and more – even wonderful, positive things – had built and built to a fever pitch in my life. My shoulders, back, and chest muscles ached, I only slept three to four hours a night, and despite the usual dieting and exercising, I rapidly gained a lot of water weight and kept it on for weeks. Cortisol, the best friend of stress, fright, and flight, is a mother bear. The health insurance benefits just aren’t enough compensation for the destruction going on inside me.
After consultation with several Christian friends, I decided to add another element to my daily devotion: a radical prayer. So on Thursday morning, I said, “Lord, to accomplish these specific things, to fulfill your promises, and advance your plan for me, do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. I accept that it could be painful for a time, maybe even excruciating. I’m already at my breaking point. But I also trust that you will heal me again as you have before, and I’ll be blessed more greatly. So just do it. Whatever it takes.”
During the morning, I had a heavy, oppressive feeling, and my body ached. My head hurt. My stomach was a hard knot. Physical symptoms I’d suffered many times over the months. At noon, the ministry officers called a staff meeting for employees. At 1:30, the explanations about budgets and realities were given, and I was convinced that I was one of the people who’d be laid off later in the day. At 5:40 pm, the CEO and my supervisor came in to my office, and I was told that I was one of the people to be let go, along with a third of the staff. The survivors get a 10 percent pay cut (erasing all gains of the last 10 years), and have to pick up the duties of the dismissed. “It’s not personal, it’s only about the budget,” I was told again and again.
Still, I’m a 50 year-old woman with no other means of support, no family members to help financially, in one of the worst economic and highest-unemployment regions of the entire country. I have a mortgage to maintain. It’s hard not to take it personally, especially when I know the rancor going on over our heads and behind our backs. Our corporate culture is not the sweetest. Two of us had been led to this ministry by God some years ago (seven for me, fourteen for him). And for several years, we’ve prayed to be led back out! But where God places you, you must stay until He moves you on. We don’t abandon our posts because of discomfort. We stick through until relieved of duty or posted elsewhere.
The walk out of the valley…
But within an hour of the exit interview, I remembered what I’d prayed in the morning. “Whatever it takes.” So, like any other Thursday evening, I took my niece, staying with me for a few weeks, to the city’s street fair and farmer’s market for a few hours. We listened to the bands, petted the Humane Society puppies, bought some pizza slices and cold drinks, and strolled through the crowds.
At home, there were 38 messages on Facebook, and my cell phone and land line rang simultaneously with friends calling to give support and love. I now have a paycheck that includes 176 hours of unused vacation I’d earned, plus severance and a two-week in-lieu-of-notice salary. My insurance will be paid through end of July. I’ve applied for several positions already. I’ve filed for unemployment checks, too. (Should get them if California doesn't go bankrupt.) And I have very carefully saved a small emergency fund over the years. This is not the end of the world, but neither is it a three-week vacation to
This separation from my job is not the only answer to the radical prayer. I asked the Lord for some significant and specific changes (which I’ll not share here until they happen). This layoff is combined with a deep peace and contentment that God is leading me to a huge miracle. Epic!
I’m expanding my job search from this area of southern
Goodbye, cortisol. That weight gain? I’ve lost six pounds in six days. After the first night, with only three hours of sleep, I’ve slept about six or seven hours. Working out. Loving on the pets. I’m giving myself the “spa” treatment and my face already looks younger.
So I very much appreciate your prayers for my future in career, lifestyle, and relationships (not necessarily in that order). But don’t worry about my spirits or that I’ll go postal. For me, this is a God-thing. This is wonderful. The dread is gone. I’m out of the “valley of the shadow of death, and I fear no evil,” for the Lord my Shepherd is guiding me, doing whatever it takes.