We moved back to Louisiana in 2012, when I was transferred. But things didn’t always go like we’d envisioned. My husband couldn’t find a job in his chosen field, or any other field, for months after we moved. When he finally did find work, it was his “thank God I’ve got a job” job, doing physical work for long hours in all weather.
In 2013, after much prayer and consideration, we bought a home. Huzzah! In 2014, I lost my job. Rats. Finally, after eight months of unemployment, I took a state job, making significantly less money. My husband’s job paid less, even, than mine.
In 2016, I found a better paying job that I loved and hoped to make my career. I was doing work I enjoyed and making decent money.
But we couldn’t climb out of the financial pit that 2014 had left us in. In 2017, we lost our home – that home that we prayed fervently over – to foreclosure. Thankfully, we found a trailer to rent. It was in our price range, in our school district, and we figured, okay, this is it. Here’s where we get back to more stable financial ground.
Then, in June 2017, I was unexpectedly laid off from that job I loved. The firm wasn’t making enough to support two attorneys, and I was the junior attorney. I was gobsmacked. Job hunting began again.
And God provided. Again.
I’m now back in state employment, making even less than I was in 2014. We’re back in the pit of the perennially short of cash, juggling bills and ducking unpleasant phone calls.
We have cried, we have prayed, we have asked God for wisdom. And still we remain in the messy middle. That’s been a real bitter pill for me to swallow.
Lately, though, the idea of God being sufficient for me in and of Himself has come up repeatedly. In books I’ve read, a recent sermon at church, devotionals. To get to that point of God being sufficient, I read and heard, I had to surrender. Really surrender everything to God. But what does that LOOK like, I thought?
One day, on my way home, God and I had an ugly cry. Finances weren’t improving, I’d kept track of everything, but we were still in the hole two days before payday. Now we couldn’t afford pizza for our school’s spirit night. Pizza. Thirty bucks. Really, God?! So I cried. I hollered.
And finally I told Him, “God, I surrender. Right now, though, surrender feels an awful lot like defeat.”
I sobbed, “God, all I have, all I am, right down to the change in my wallet and the dust bunnies under my bed, it’s Yours. If surrender means we stay on the edge of the fiscal cliff, no mission trips, no church camp, no giving generously like we dream of, no family vacation ever, living in a trailer because that’s what You see fit to do, then that’s how it will be. Please help me be at peace with surrender, because right now I am not at peace.”
The next day I read this:
But when I surrender myself to God, I am allowing Him to do what He does best: make his name famous. – Erica Willis, Believe Boldly
Pow. Right in the kisser. I wasn’t at peace with surrender because I was still making it all about ME. Focusing on what wouldn’t go my way if I let go. I was still hung up on that, not seeing the fact that I am God’s, TO BE USED FOR HIS GLORY.
It’s still a daily battle for me to take all my thoughts captive. I’m not suddenly filled with complete peace. But I am finding it easier to trust that God is indeed sufficient if I will just surrender myself and get out of His way.
Listen to my cry for help, O Lord! Give me insight by your word! Listen to my appeal for mercy! Deliver me, as you promised. – Psalm 119:169-170, NET
And as I remember the truth that He is enough, suddenly that surrender starts to look a little bit more like victory.
UPDATE: I wrote this several months ago, but never posted it. (I was hoping to have it published on another site, but since that fell through, I am now free to share it here.) In June of this year, something happened that I never expected. I got a new job at the place where I currently work, doing what I’m actually trained and educated to do, with a salary that’s the most I’ve made at a job in my working life. For the first time in our ten years of marriage, we are moving toward financial stability. And I like what I do, and I like the people I work with. What a gift! And never, never did I see it coming. It wasn’t anything I pursued, because I didn’t even know the possibility existed. But God. He had this in mind all along.
And the real kicker? I got the call offering me the job on my 50th birthday. On. My. Birthday, y’all. I told my husband he’s gonna have to go some way to top this present when my next birthday rolls around!
I hope my experience can encourage someone reading today. Keep pushing. Keep praying. We never know when God’s plan for us is about to unfold.