Friday, June 18, 2010

Whatever it takes--part 2

The very morning I lost my job was the day I prayed a radical prayer: God, do whatever it takes. “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.”

One year ago today, June 18, 2009, I’d been under some extreme stress. I’d been falsely accused of something, and then the accuser manufactured “evidence” and mailed it to himself to make it look like an anonymous person had complained about me. I was never charged to my face, but the accusations about me, and the demands to investigate me, continued for months. The tension, which I internalized, built to a point where I couldn’t walk without terrible pain and had to be hospitalized for cellulitis, and it was several weeks before I could return to work. The work that had been praised by others (including the acceptance of my book manuscript by a Christian publishing house) was criticized and rejected in-house. The accusations continued behind my back, and my friend defended me, but since my knowledge of the matter could get him fired, I couldn’t say or do anything. Again the tensions built, and finally, in a mass layoff of staff blamed on the recession, my dismissal was included in the layoffs. (And my friend ultimately lost his job anyway.)

The year 2009 was not one of my best. After my layoff in one of the most economically-depressed areas of the country, inland southern California, I couldn’t find a job. For reasons beyond my control, I didn’t qualify for state unemployment compensation, and after five months, it was clear I needed to sell my home before I’d have to miss payments and ruin my credit. The few employers (in Phoenix) that had me interview with them chose other applicants. Someone that I cared deeply for decided the feeling wasn’t mutual, declaring in an email that I needed to fix my own problems (which I hadn’t asked to be fixed—only shared as steam vent). I packed up my home of 13 years, and took care of my own business, said goodbye to my church and friends, and moved back to my hometown of Phoenix.

What I write here isn’t one percent of all that happened. Those of you who follow this blog know it’s not a personal journal, but a themed collection of my articles that celebrate discovering love, particularly the love of God. I’ve written many pieces on relationships with friends and family, as well as learning ways that God shows his love. 

There have been many blessings during the last 12 months. I had countless messages of support and caring, and many friends assured me that they frequently pray for me. Some people made sacrificial financial gifts to me when I was completely out of money. My house sold in only 30 days, and I made a profit on it, which is my only support now. I received a small financial settlement in a legal agreement (which I’m not allowed to speak about). I started writing a historical novel which is much more difficult than I anticipated, but will be fantastic, even if I do say so myself.

I continue to pray for restoration in my broken life: a place to feel at home, peace of mind, complete health, inspiration in my writing, to be a blessing to my friends and to lift them up, to be an honorable and godly woman, for my father to be proud of me. To learn for the first time what it is to have my love returned, to be loved and cherished, held and comforted and whispered to, instead of rejected as not good enough. To find a new church family where I can be nurtured and minister in turn. To find a job where my co-workers and I energize one another with new ideas—and where I can have health insurance and medical care for the first time in a year. These are the desires of my heart, and while I don’t understand why they’re not already answered after so many years of faithful prayer, I continue to hold on, day after day, year after year, whatever it takes.

I’ve given my life and my choices to God because I know his plans for me are much better than my own. I still believe that God spoke to ME. He inspired me and lifted my heart. He placed scripture before me and spoke to my spirit when I was in prayer. I know he loves me and is with me all the time, even when I can’t sense him nearby.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT.

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