When a bank broke my heart two years ago, I cried. Not right away. First I jutted my jaw, forced a smile and walked confidently to my car. But as soon as I sat behind the wheel, I tossed my keys on the adjacent seat and let hot tears rush down my neck before I slammed the door.
I was scared, scathed and spitting mad.
But that’s not where this story ends. I’m not even sure it did end … but here’s what happened between the time I stopped crying in my car and today.
My husband held me tight against his chest as I choked, “I was … ‘outsourced.'”
The next words from my mouth were “Me too.” They came after he said, “I’m a little worried, but I’m also excited.”
Six weeks later I landed a job writing for an investment blog. My husband and I both worked from home for news organizations based in the D.C.-metro area, a place we once called home.
Once the school year ended, we crammed as much of our stuff as we could into a moving truck that was two sizes too small and drove out of quaint-river-town, Ohio. This is one part of the story I want to make sure I don’t gloss over. We didn’t hire professional movers and we didn’t pack up on our own.
The friends and neighbors we shared our lives with for three years carried our boxes, scrubbed our floors, and watched our small children as we emptied our home. Sitting on that wrap-around porch, drinking wine and sharing memories with my closest girlfriends is one of those tender, bittersweet memories I’ll always hold close.
Saying goodbye to the friends who became our family … that’s the grittiest part of this story, because leaving them still hurts. A lot. I miss them. Every day.
A few months after we moved, a former boss of mine — who happened to be my all-time favorite manager — reached out to me through LinkedIn. We had lost touch more than 10 years ago, not long after we moved to D.C. the first time. After exchanging the typical pleasantries, she said, “By the way, I work for a national healthcare association, and I need to hire a writer/communications person. Please apply.”
I applied for the position, earned the job offer and started a new phase in my career. I’m still there and thriving. Working for a cause looks good on me, or so I’m told. It’s a compliment I love, because I think it is true. The talents and personality traits God placed deep within me play a key role in helping the organization I work for move toward achieving its mission to improve millions of lives.
Oh, we moved again. I know … but we’re still in the D.C. area. We bought our first home last June and the kids are loving their new school. And we’re all forging new friendships. In fact some of my dearest friends here are people I would not have met if I still worked for that bank in Ohio.
As I look back on the past two years, I see that job loss for what it was.
Sticky, stinky, life-enhancing fertilizer.
Fertilizer is often recognized by a stench that burns the eyes, nose and throat with a single whiff.
No one looks at a trellis climbing with vibrant roses and says, “Wow, some amazing fertilizer must have graced this soil!” The beauty of the flowers garners the head turns and accolades and fertilizer rarely gets a second thought after the smell fades. However, the right fertilizer in the right amount is what solicits the extraordinary.
God can work through bad experiences. He can turn rejection, bitterness, grief,hate, shame and all other ugly grains of hurt into a rich soil that brings forth new life.
The blessings listed above that grew from a job loss are just a few personal examples of times in my life where the Lord drew forth beauty from ashes. If we could sit together and share a cup of coffee or hot tea, I’d tell you even more stories and I’d listen to yours because I’m pretty sure we all have moments of happiness that only exist because of the sad times that came first.
I’d love to read your stories now. If you feel led, please share an unwelcome experience from your life that God used for great good.