About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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things we love
& you will too!
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  1. I thought our God watch ended when we sold our house and had an income from a job after so long in waiting on both…but interestingly, it hadn’t ended, but only just begun! But in the waiting and watching is when we can grow in faith the most, so I suppose there is good to be found even when things are not perfectly secure!

  2. Jen, I would love to know more about your story. I follow you and love your blog, but don’t know the whole story behind it.
    WE are still waiting for my husband to get a job offer. I just started my new job yesterday…but it’s not enough. (And to be honest, I really don’t want to have to work, but am willing)
    I have seen God provide too, not very dramatically, but He has. It is rather amazing how the anticipating of waiting for His provision seems to wear off when that steady paycheck comes.
    In my heart I know I am thankful for His steady provision and I do make it a point to be grateful.
    I believe He takes us through times like the past year, to have empathy with others and deepen our message of hope.
    This has been a year of waiting for us. And we are still waiting. Please pray my man gets a job offer this week, and that it is God’s BEST!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. It has encouraged me in our wait for a job. My husband was laid off in Dec. of 2008. This journey of waiting has turned into a major lifestyle change. The anxiety it produces propells me into my Father’s arms. We continue to watch and wait and wonder what He is doing. In the mean time we have become more sensitive to the needs of others, less needy of stuff and a more grateful family. We would appreciate your prayers. Blessings to you!

  4. Our God watch began April 2009 when our 18 month old Danica woke up with a crooked neck. Now, through one brain surgery for Chiari in Novemeber 2009 and staring at another more dangerous one and fusion we are waiting and hoping and trusting and yes, changed. http://www.teamdanica.com Won’t you please pray for us as we watch for God’s provision and healing and GRACE. St. Augustine said that the entire purpose of this life is the healing of the heart’s eye through which one sees God clearly. Praying my eyes will be opened! Thank you for your timely post this morning.

  5. Monica Kaye, your St. Augustine quote blesses. May your sweet daughter find her strength and you parents find your comfort in God Almighty, who believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. His love will never fail. Praying for complete healing.
    Financially overwhelmed here as well. Thanks for tackling the subject that is on the minds of so many these days with honesty and humility. Many blessings.

  6. I don’t usually do this but my husband and I are in need prayer. My husband was laid off a couple months before we got married last year. We’re approaching our 1 year anniversary this weekend and he still has no luck finding a job. This has been one of the hardest things. We’re not struggling financially, because thankfully, I have a good job. It’s just the mental and emotional toll it has taken on us. He doesn’t hear back from employers, and I have the responsibility to keep us going financially. It’s very hard as a newlywed because we can’t dream about our future. We can’t think about having kids or buying a house. Everyday we hope someone will call him back, but noone even acknowledges that they received his resume.
    We feel like we’re in limbo and it feels like it’s never going to end. We just hope the Lord provides soon so we can feel like we can really get things going.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this – I have tears in my eyes. My husband and I, while not facing unwanted unemployment, are learning to live on one income, as we decided last fall that he would stay at home with our twin boys. It has been a huge blessing to us, to have him home with the boys, to have him home with me every night (he worked third shift when they were infants). Financially it has been difficult though, and I my heart stopped for a second when I read your words “unearthing selfishness” because I have realized that although we are both fairly frugal people, I have discovered selfishness in myself that some days I’m not proud of. Frustration, anger and sadness that I can’t go out and buy that new dress I want, or even a cup of coffee from Starbucks. But, it has been such an eye opening experience, and I feel a lot of pride in the fact that we are a family of four making it on just my income. This challenge has definitely brought God to the forefront for me, and I do see his hand in everything that I see and do every day. I am a better and stronger person from this, and I know my husband is as well.

  8. I am a recently singled mother of three young children. Yes, the finances are tight and the uncertainty crippling. You said, “how heavy that burden had become because it was something I had been carrying for so long,” and I can so relate!
    I laughed at your “Little House” comment…my blog is called “Little House in the Foothills” because I just adored that show also. Last weekend, as I was toting pitchers of water from the kiddie pool to our garden plants (frugality, right?), I was remembering when Laura was hauling the buckets from the well to her orchard during the drought. Too funy, I hope my little ones enjoy the show someday.
    Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on a season of less stress. Thank you for honoring God during the difficult times and sharing His faithfulness.

  9. What a lovely testimony of His faithfulness! I really believe that He keeps us in His hands at all times and will do whatever He knows is best to keep us relying on him :0). we have been through several “momentous” experiences regarding job losses, gains, house losses, gains…church losses, gains! Each step brings us close to Him as He provides everything from “milk money” to unexpected medical bills :0)! Just this week we were told about an obscure rebate my hubby can receive from the pharmaceutical company that makes a medication he must have! This will cover 70% of our co-pay! What a mighty God we serve!

  10. This encouraged me today. I’ve been trying and trying to figure out ways to streamline our finances, pay off our credit-card-gone-crazy-because-of-my-health-supplements. Your post, it makes me want to fall back on Him and rest, just rest, because He will provide. I know He will. But I know it with the beginning faith you wrote. Not the “having seen Him do it” faith. I want to open my eyes now, see Him here, in this burden.
    So thank you.

  11. Yes, please pray for our family. Hubby laid off in 2008, we gave up our apt. moved in with my parents then he got a job in 2009 (1 year to the date AMEN)- we then decided to move out of my parents as he had been employed for 6 months, then 3 days after the Move he was laid off again! Wow, was that a big disappointment – so, we had to leave with our head hung low asking my parents if we could yet again use their spare room.
    He is still unemployed (this second time since March 31st) with a job prospective with a temp. agency but the start day is up in the air.
    Faith! Needed.

  12. Even though I think I’ve read this at Beauty and Bedlam … I am unexpectedly pouring tears.
    My husband and I have been living in that phase since January 2009 with no end in sight. Not unemployment, but the Great Unknown. Ours includes a house that won’t sell, a PhD that’s not done, and the freelance money that was supposed to be “mine” funneled into said money pit–I mean, mortgage.
    We didn’t know if my DH would have a job, ever. We didn’t know where it would be. Then when he did get one, so many other things became unknown.
    It’s hard to talk about because it IS so frustrating. And yet, it’s truly walking with God and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

  13. Yes, you can pray for us.
    We are 15 months into my husband’s job search. He’s a worship pastor. I was a stay at home (schooling) mom. Because he worked for a non-profit (a church) we don’t get any unemployment benefits. We were totally on our own. Our dream home went into foreclosure as we scrambled to get any work we could. My husband poured cement, dug up tree stumps, painted, built fences and the like for anyone that would give him work. I started cleaning houses for friends and then strangers so we could buy groceries. I take my kids with me to clean houses and homeschool them while I clean. My husband is running out of little side jobs so now he goes with me to clean houses.
    We were able to sell our house as a short sale at the very last minute. Praise God for His mercies. We moved in to my in-law’s house but we can only stay 4 more months and then we’ll be looking for shelter again. Hundreds of resumes, tons of interviews…and often everyone’s “second pick”. Second pick doesn’t get you the job.
    Yet God has provided. Money comes in the mail from friends, from family, from strangers. Our bank account somehow stays afloat like the widow’s oil. God is good. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and struggles. I watch my kids struggle with understanding what has happened and why they’ve lost so much. Yet I also see all that God has done in and through us this past year+.
    Thank you for your prayers.

  14. It is encouraging to hear the stories of women who in the midst of struggle are seeking God’s counsel, His provision, His strength. With so much hurt in the world and so many things that don’t go as planned or expected, how easy is it to look back and see God’s hand, but how much deeper will life be if we continue to strive to see HIM in the midst of life.
    As Believers, we are not immune to the disasters of this world, but we do have One who will interceed on our behalf and who is, to say it plainly, ‘looking out for us.’
    Thank you ladies, for sharing your stories.

  15. Your story is encouraging as I wage the same battle. I’m discouraged. I just can’t seem to land a job although I’ve been an RN for 30 years. I’d appreciate your prayers.

  16. Thanks for this today! My husband was laid off Tnanksgiving, 2008. (No, the THANKSGIVING piece of that is not lost on me!) I totally relate to the journey of constant renewal of our faith and trust. Just this morning my about to be a senior daughter had a bit of a meltdown about her dad not having a job yet! My prayer request is for her and that I will be the model she needs to see DAILY of trusting God. She is angry and afraid. This post could not have come at a better moment for me! God is good like that:)

  17. I really needed this message today. My son is in field training as a police officer. He passed everything in his Basic Law Enforcement Training course — academic and physical. He did great during his first field training session. But his second field training experience was not good. The officer does not lead a very moral life. And while he was very negative with my son, all of the other officers with whom he rode during that training period were very positive and thought he did well. He just had his first night for his mid-term evaluation and is very upset. It was not a good experience and he is beginning to doubt that this is where God has placed him. I just can’t believe God has literally opened the doors in a miraculous way to then not be able to achieve his goal of being a police officer. My heart aches for him. We need God’s hand to take over NOW! And I am diligently praying that He will make his presence known. I cherish your prayers as well. I want to see Him lifted up through my son and the influence I know he will have in others’ lives.

  18. Your God Watch story has been one that I have referred to many times in my own prayer life and in my conversations with my husband. My husband is employed, thankfully, but we’ve always needed extra sources of income to make ends meet. My home based business has dried up in the last year, so we’ve been praying for direction and God has been meeting our every need, and even some of our wants. We made the decision to have me study to reenter my pre mom profession on a very part time basis, only to discover that now at age 40 we are expecting our 5th child. Big Surprise! I am trying to maintain a right attitude about this most unexpected event. Morning sickness and a new infant will be keeping me squarely at home and we are praying once again for direction and leaning on Him to provide for our family’s needs. We will maintain our own God Watch here and pray for you as well. Thank you for sharing your story.

  19. That last part…about seeing your “God Watch” diminish…. REEEALLY hit home for me today. So powerful – thank you for adding it.
    I’m a planner. A list maker. A goal setter. And any time I have to live in the unknown – I’m uncomfortable and uneasy. But yes – God does seem to be so sweetly near in those very times. How easily we forget Him when we are living in plenty.
    Thanks for this post!
    Kate 🙂

  20. WOW – This post gave me chills. It’s amazing how God works. Still, thankful that you’re able to share your journey and reminds us that we still – even in times of blessings – need to watch out for the deceiver. May God continue to bless you through your journey.

  21. Hi Jennifer,
    I went through an intense time last year and I found the same as you, no longer on the watch or falling on my knees etc., and I began to feel guilty and question. But then I realized that perhaps THAT is the enemy – guilt.
    Maybe God doesn’t want us to constantly be on guard for Him our whole life in the way we think it should be, but rather He wants us to experience Him in a variety of ways. He gives us intense closeness during hard times so we sense Him and know that He is right there fighting for us, but I really think after it is done He says, ‘go now and play my child’.
    Another intense time will come and you will drop to your knees, and He will walk more loudly again, whisper into your ear in a more definite way so you once again know He is fighting this with and for you. But I think that it’s okay to allow yourself to let go of His strings and allow your soul to enjoy what He has put into your life, where He has now placed you.
    God doesn’t need our reassurance, He knows where our heart is at. We don’t need to prove ourselves to Him and maybe we try to hard to prove ourselves to ourselves. I think His favorite thing is when we are honest with where we are at and how we feel. And walking beside Him and hanging out is just as great as being on our knees – we are living all of our life, embracing each part of it differently. I think He likes to see us live dynamic lives that weave and thread with Him, ALL of it is good. So keep on relaxing in Him, Sister.

  22. all of the stories of folks still searching for jobs after two years breaks my heart. when i lived down in GA – I watched SO many of my friends lose jobs, businesses close doors, and people go under. Moving back to DC – we have been a bit more immune to it because of – ahem – the fed govnt – so this is a good reminder to me that not everywhere is like DC and to keep lifting people in prayer who are out of jobs. My heart breaks to hear these struggles… but I am glad I read this post today, because now I am reminded to pray…

  23. Thank you for writing this. It so encourages me…gives me hope!
    Please pray…my husband has a painful thing going on in his bones of his feet, and going through many tests. He also was laid off about six months ago, and is unable to find a job, and we are unsure if he’ll even be able to work if his pain doesn’t subside as he can barely walk some days. I am strong in Him most of the time, but fear and anxiety does creep in.
    Thank you sisters for praying. I know He is in control…but it is hard!!

  24. So many family and friends who’ve lost their livelihoods through jobs or businesses going under, we’ve been able to stay afloat with Hubby’s job in the air medical field. But he has had to take an out-of-town job to accommodate our move to Texas. We’re praying for an opening closer to home, but still are thankful to have a job at all. As it is now, half of last year was spent working out of town (6 months away from family). Although blessed with income, we covet any prayers for a job closer to home. Thanks for sharing the trials of the watch.

  25. My family and I are facing a very serious pending child custody case. We are watching God work miracles in this situation and continually fall to our knees when it seems like we have hit the wall. Watching for God’s work in our lives has become an everyday occurrence and a unexpected blessing. Please keep our daughter, Siara, in your prayers and pray the Lord’s will and protection over her life.
    Many Blessings to you and yours,
    Jennifer Bartlett

  26. So glad that you have lived to tell the tale of God’s faithfulness!
    I am learning (and have just written about) what it means to trust and obey God in the In-Between. Between the photos taken for the picture album, between the last job and the next. It’s a truer test of my love for God than how I respond to Him when all things are going splendidly.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  27. Thank you so much for sharing. This is exactly what I needed to read; it’s exactly the kind of post I went searching for having just finished doing the bills with my hubby ten minutes ago. I’d love for you to pray for us. We relocated across the country and our old house still hasn’t sold. I’ll spare you the details, but as you can imagine, its beginning to stress us out. We need prayers for Gods peace, and wisdom. We had a showing tonight, one tomorrow night, an open house on Sunday, and a brokers open on Tuesday, so we are so just praying that by next week we’ll have an offer we can work with. Of course I want Gods will and not our own.
    Thank you again for sharing and thank you so much for your prayers; it means so much to me 🙂

  28. I just discovered your blog and I’m now a new follower. What an incredible journey you and your family have been on. God truly has a way of enriching our lives when we least expect it. I will be coming back to read more of your journey. God BLess!

  29. I hope this chain is still open. I foolishly quit my job in January of 2009. I need a job badly. Please pray God would open one up and I would be able to pay off the debt ive made for myself. Its a huge burden on my marriage.

  30. Thank you for your lovely, heart-felt post! So many families are struggling today, we are surely not alone. God is so good, He will see us all through! We have an incredible story, but my husband does not want me to share details on a public forum. I was thinking, if anyone was interested in a moderated group, maybe on yahoo, where we could share and encourage one another (as Biblically mandated!) perhaps we could get a group going?
    Anyway, I would love to have you pray for us! And we will do likewise.