Grace

As I walk through this season, if I’m really honest, I do have fear about my future, based on my past.

I’m not a helpless victim. There were many opportunities for me to do things better, to handle situations differently, to keep my mouth shut. It doesn’t matter whether or not my grievances were true. I wasn’t honoring God and I could have/should have handled things differently, more directly. Griping behind someone’s back never honors the relationship. I regret my choices, even if they weren’t the reason I was terminated. They do not reflect the level of character & integrity I want to possess. Its a lesson I’m continuing to learn.

Years ago I lost a job due to false accusations made by another co-worker. The conversation never happened (with me anyway) and the information she claimed I shared wasn’t even accurate. It was a shock. It hurt. It was God’s way of moving me on from an otherwise bad situation that I probably wouldn’t have left on my own. It left me with emotional scars I’m still healing from today.

Deep down, one of my biggest fears is that it’s too late, I have too much stacked against me. No one will ever hire me again.

I have a lot of great things to offer: I work really hard. I learn fast. I’m eager to please & try to do my best to make the load lighter for others. I’m intelligent (with enough coffee). I’m dependable, dedicated, & loyal. I’m good with people. I’m fairly well-spoken. I can operate a computer & learn most programs pretty easily. I do good work.

Still, I am far from perfect. I fall short. Sometimes my best effort is not enough. My fear is that potential employers will look at my resume, see the gaps in my work history, & move on. They don’t know me, why take a chance? I don’t blame them, but my fear is that I will never be enough. I fear that life will always be this way.

Today, God assured me that I don’t have to be enough because He is. In reading my daily devotional, I came across this quote from Joyce Meyer:

“Today, don’t just hear about grace, but understand that everything in our lives depends not on our merits or abilities or works, but on God’s willingness to use His infinite power to meet our needs. This is grace.” – Joyce Meyer

You can read the entire passage here. I recommend you do.

It left me with the peace of knowing its not about me. Yes, I still need to work hard. I need to keep trying. I need to work on my weaknesses & I need to do better. But, I can’t earn God’s blessings or provision. That’s a relief for me, as I impatiently wait for a breakthrough. Of course, I knew all along that it was God who would open doors & make a way. Still, its helpful to be reminded that He’s not limited by my shortcomings.

Ephesians 2:8 reminds us, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” HE saved me. I belong to him. I am His child. He will take care of me.

“The Lord will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you his very own people.” (1 Samuel 12:22)

I know I share a lot online, but I’m hesitant to speak publicly about work-related things, especially during a season where I’m hunting for a job. Admitting I’m aware I’m not perfect seems counter-productive. However, I’m more excited about what God is doing in my heart than I am afraid of how I may look & of potential repercussions.

I want this season to end. I can’t wait to get back to work. I really hope its soon. Until that time, I will do my best to honor God in my current season, & praise Him for His GRACE.

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The First Worst Day

Fourteen years ago we spent my dad’s 40th birthday in the ICU waiting room at Auburn Memorial Hospital. My mom, suffering an infection as a complication from surgery, was in a room down the hall. The fluids they’d given her in an attempt to flush out the infection had caused her frail body to swell to three times its size. Her skin was taught, and it hurt to hold her hand. She was on a ventilator and unable to speak.

My aunts & uncles, cousins, and grandparents filled the room, except for her dad who was in the hospital in Penn Yan. We stayed up all night. We prayed and we waited. In the morning the decision was made to move her to University Hospital, in Syracuse. My brother & I, along with our cousins, took turns running home for a quick shower & change of clothes. In the days before smart phones & Facebook, my dad began making calls to update everyone on the move. My cousins & I returned to our posts in the waiting room while Josh was at home taking his turn. I saw my aunt run past the waiting room towards the elevator and I knew something was terribly wrong. The private rooms were full, so they pulled us all into the nurses station to tell us that my mom’s lungs had filled with fluid. There was nothing more they could do. We had about 20 minutes to say goodbye. Someone got a hold of Josh, thanks to our concrete game plan… If there was an emergency, we’d keep calling & the phone would keep ringing until someone picked up. He got back there in time. We all filled that tiny room & tried to say goodbye. We told her it was okay to go. It was a lie. It was not okay. She was 41. I was 19. Josh hadn’t graduated high school yet. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday! It was the first worst day of my life.

Most of the people in my life now never knew my mom. That’s a strange feeling. I feel sad for them, because she’s the kind of woman everyone wanted to know. She had this love that enveloped you. You could hear it in her voice, feel it in her hug. She was human and imperfect, and as full of flaws as any of the rest of us. She was also kind and compassionate, generous & full of grace. She loved the Lord much more than I understood at the time, and His love flowed through her. She was my mom, so of course I felt her love, but she loved every person she encountered in a way I can’t begin to describe. She loved children, cared for them, and gave them a strong foundation for the future. She loved teenagers and young mothers, the elderly and people in need. She gave more of herself than she had to give, and then she gave more. She created a safe & peaceful home. She led by example. She had whole side of herself I never knew, one that taught workshops and poured her knowledge & experience into others. From what I’ve gathered, she’s the kind of friend we’d all be lucky to have. She was a faithful & loving wife. She was THE BEST mom EVER. She was amazing, and I miss her.

I miss 14 years of talks and advice. I miss the annoying things that mothers do, the questions they ask and the things they “don’t understand.” I miss her smile. I miss her hugs. I miss the sound of her voice when I call. I miss the chance to know her as my friend. I miss my mom.

It’s a weird thing losing both your parents. Sooner or later we all go through it. Death is painful and unexpected, even when you know its coming. It doesn’t really matter when it comes. The separation hurts just as badly, whether you’ve enjoyed the relationship a long time or feel like time was stolen from you. There’s never enough time. The old adage about being better prepared to help someone else through it isn’t really true. The reality is there isn’t anything new to say. It just allows you to share their pain a little bit more.

Here’s what I do know – My mom loved Jesus with her whole heart. She trusted him with her life & her destination. She didn’t just believe in him, the way some believe in aliens or ghosts or Amanda Bynes. She KNEW him – personally. Through that relationship with him, she was able to love others in a way only he could. Through her relationship with him, she was able to leave a legacy with those who knew her. Through her relationship with him, she was able to receive the gift of his salvation. My mother wasn’t perfect and she wasn’t without sin, but through her relationship with Jesus, he chose to pay the penalty for her sin. So, I can know without a doubt that she is in Heaven with Jesus. It took me a few years to come around to that point, the point where I stopped worshiping a God out-there, and began a relationship with him right here. I’m there now though, as imperfect and in need of work as that relationship may be, I can be confident that Jesus will also stand in the gap for me, and that one day I will be reunited with my mom & dad in Heaven.

For now, He hasn’t left me all alone. Since that horrible day 14 years ago, He brought another mother into our lives, and brothers and sisters. He redeemed what seemed so lost & broken. He provided us with friends & family who have loved and cared for us over & over again through the years, many of whom carried us through when we had nothing left to give. I’m so grateful for you. Thank you for loving us so well.

Had she lived, my mom would be 55 today. Her name was Josette. She was beautiful inside and out. I miss her. I am grateful to have known her. I am blessed to call her Mom.

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