Seasons // Seed to Sequoia.

This post has taken many forms over the past few weeks, both mentally and physically.  It has been written, deleted, restarted, renamed, deleted again.  This has been an emotionally draining and stressful time for my husband and I, and gave us a really interesting perspective for Christmas.  There are still a lot of emotions sitting under the surface about this situation, but I think I am finally at the point where I can respond to this situation and not react emotionally.  

My year did not end as planned, nor did my first Christmas married bring the joy and happiness I had thought it would, because of this situation.  Please understand that I will not be talking about the situation publicly, as I am learning the delicate balance of still being professional for a company I no longer work for.

On Friday, December 20th, I resigned from my job, effective immediately, and I am not currently working.  That is not out of choice, but is just the nature of the situation.  I do not say any of this for charity or pity, but simply to set the stage for the things I need to say. 

I had begun to wrestle with leaving the company I was working at beginning in October of 2019, about 5 months after I had started my full-time job with the company.  My husband and I had begun to have discussions about graduate school for me, and what that would look like for us, and what that could mean financially.   The schools I was looking at were significantly pricier than what we had anticipated, and because it would be a big decision that could impact the rest of my life and my career, I began to think seriously if I enjoyed what I was doing enough to pay the cost of a Master’s degree, complete the degree in that field and progress in what I thought was my career.  In essence, I was beginning to have second thoughts about the career I had chosen, and I didn’t want to make a big decision about it until I was completely certain that it was what I wanted to do.  

I was also feeling really restless and uneasy at work, and there is nothing, even in hindsight, that I can pinpoint definitively as the catalyst for those feelings.  I began to ask God for direction about work, whether I was to stay with that company or go somewhere else.  I’m learning how to hear God, in all His small and big ways, and I felt that God was rather quiet in regards to my questions about work.  I talked to my mom about this situation in November, and in her wisdom, she reminded me that I was experiencing a lot of new in my life; a new job, a new home, a new marriage, etc.  She advised me to continue to pray about the things I was feeling, but to also recognize that things were still new and to give everything some time to calm down before making any big decisions.

I continued to pray about work, and one Tuesday evening at the young adult church my husband and I are active in, God met me in a wild way.  I’m learning that all the things I experience with God aren’t always for me to share, and are simply for me to hold in my heart.  Looking back, the interaction I had was clearly God giving me His direction, but because I didn’t trust Him, I allowed myself to believe God was talking to me about something else.

December 3rd was a Tuesday, and the only reason I remember this is because the events of that week will always be something I remember.  This particular Tuesday evening, the leader of the young adults opened up time in the service for God to interact with those in attendance, and the speaker voiced what he was experiencing from God at the moment, which was exactly what I was thinking and feeling.  During the 30 or so seconds of silence that was offered during this time, I remember feeling so expectant to receive something from God, but I also remember feeling really calm while waiting.  When the speaker ended the time, he asked those that received something from God to stand up, and a large portion of the room did.  I remember feeling really jipped and disappointed, almost to the point of tears, that I didn’t get something from God.  Talking with my husband about it on the way home, he voiced that during that time while I waited expectantly for God, it sounded like God had given me peace.  That sent a chill like no other up and down my spine.  It was as if the Holy Spirit was saying “YES!”.

The next day at work, I continually reminded myself of this peace from God, and I focused on being at peace at work, regardless of the situation I was in.  I had been nervous for work on December 4th, and while I continued to work on being at peace, at situation happened that evening that was the catalyst for where I am at now.  From December 6th through to the day I resigned, I was at the mercy of how the situation continued to unfold, which left me not working until a decision had been reached.  As of Monday January 6th, I have not been working for a month.

While waiting for a conclusion to the situation, I settled into a time of prayer and worship, asking God for guidance in the situation, direction on what to do, and a host of other things.  I will admit that the first week of waiting for a conclusion was perhaps one of the worst weeks mentally and emotionally that I have experienced in quite a long time. I sank into a dark place, and I remember on that Saturday, December 14th, I had gotten dressed up with makeup and my favorite shoes to go Christmas shopping.  This was my first time in public since this situation began, and I was hoping that going shopping, and getting myself all dolled up, would help my mood.  However, when I got to Target, I realized I had forgotten my debit card at home and only had a minimal amount of cash on me, cash my husband had given me to do something nice for myself.  Because my husband and I “needed” stockings yet for Christmas decorations, I made that a priority, and used the money that was meant for me to treat myself to pay for Christmas stockings.  I had a full-blown emotional break down on my way home, as I felt this was the straw that toppled everything after the past week.  

While waiting for a conclusion to the situation, I did look for other jobs, and I did interview at a local preschool.  But, after interviewing there, I began to sense that God was telling me to continue to wait for the conclusion to the situation, and that the job I interviewed at wasn’t where I was supposed to be.  It was this nagging in the back of my head that the preschool job wasn’t right; I’ve stepped out of God’s plan for me once before and those consequences were not fun, and I did not want to do that again by going to a job that wasn’t what He had deemed for me.  I did continue to look for other jobs, but it began to feel that God had drawn a big red circle around where I live and did not let any job interest me.  I was in a unique job that required very minimal requirements apart from a Bachelor’s degree, but paid relatively well; this made looking for another job in my chosen field tricky in that I would either suffer a large pay cut, need to pay large sums out of pocket for training courses to become certified in a position, or the jobs required a Master’s degree.  This “red circle” began to further feel like God was saying “wait”.

The first Tuesday evening at church after this situation began found me sobbing during worship.  (This was also the day I had interviewed at the preschool.) I can’t explain how lost and forgotten I was beginning to feel while waiting, and how silent I had begun to feel that God was, but during worship that evening, I met God.  I don’t have the gift of speaking in tongues, but that evening, the only way I can describe my interaction with God is one of pure spiritual release.  It felt like my soul was voicing all that I had been feeling – all of my stress about work, fears about not working and what that meant for our finances, guilt at what this situation was doing to my marriage, every dark and ugly thought I had been having about myself.  And God, honest, washed me in peace and love.  I remember I just kept repeating “You are still God, you still have a plan, and it is still good.  You are still God and it is still good.”  

At one point that evening, someone began praying over me, praying for things I had not told her about but things she could only have known from God, and then she prophesied over me, a beautiful vision of God’s faithfulness and goodness.  

A lot of people from church began praying over us, which has just been a powerful humbling experience.  It also hasn’t been lost on me that the leadership team my husband is on has been experiencing spiritual attacks at the same time he and I were experiencing this, nor is it lost on me that this happened at Christmas time.  I remember during Christmas Eve service, the phrase, “Come back to Bethlehem” ran through my mind, almost as if God was inviting me to worship Christ in the simplicity of the First Christmas. 

I began to tell my husband that I felt that I “needed God to hit me upside the head with a But_I_Love_It_Godfrying pan”, in regards to His direction for my life, in regards to whether I should return to work when a decision was reached, or if I was to find a new job, among other things.  My “frying pan” moment came Thursday afternoon, December 19th.  Due to a series of events that unfolded that afternoon, the very painful decision was made to resign immediately the following day.  I think, all along, God had been telling me to leave my job, but I don’t think I trusted His guidance at all.  I didn’t want to fathom the idea that I was supposed to not be working for a period of time (ironic, isn’t it?), nor did I trust that the necessary job would show up should I leave the job I was at.  And, because of the relationships I had been forming at work, I didn’t want to leave what was familiar and the people I was working with.  The idea of leaving really hurt my heart, but I began to recognize that this was a “damned if you, damned if you don’t” situation, in that leaving my job meant leaving people I cared about and a job I did, in essence, enjoy, but also staying at my job meant staying in an environment I made me restless and uneasy.

I am still waiting for a job, though I interviewed for one this week, and am waiting for an interview time with the job I want the most sometime later this week or next week.  This has been a huge time of trusting God in provision, as the paychecks I was making covered our rent and most of our groceries, while my husband’s were saved for other things.  I remember laying in bed for a brief period of time at the beginning of this situation, and I remember crying out, “Why are you attacking me?”.  My wise husband has told me several times, that in his life, the largest amount of spiritual attacks come as we get closer to God and/or right before a blessing.  Leading up to this, I really had begun to feel under attack, and when this situation began, I felt forgotten, or if I may be dramatic, a tad forsaken.  After I had resigned, my husband and I met some friends for dinner, and after we told them about this situation, they reminded us of how powerful Job’s story is in the Bible, which gave me a bit of peace.  We have also been doing The Bible Project‘s “Read through the Bible in a Year” reading plan, and right as this situation was unfolding, we were reading about Abraham waiting on God’s timing for Isaac, and about Joseph in Egypt (in Genesis).  I have not been blind to God’s movements, and I am finding that I am falling more in love with Him all the time.

I know that God is working all things out right now, and that His plan is still good no matter where I am at in life, “sovereign detour” or not, and I am learning to trust Him more and more each day.  My husband and I have had some really powerful conversations during this time, and we both came to the realization that we didn’t seem to have been trusting God enough, separately, and even collectively in our marriage.  20191227_172620This period of time has been a powerful time of growth for each of us in our relationship with God, and in our relationships with each other.

It’s not that our first Christmas married was horrible, but it was very different than we/I had imagined.  Our finances have been really affected, and because of the emotional strain I was under waiting, I wasn’t really in the Christmas spirit for much of December.  On one hand, I’m very excited for next Christmas, as it’s another year and another chance to really enjoy Christmas, while on the other hand, I’m in a period of healing from this situation that has left me feeling rather lost, and that is making it difficult for me to visualize more than a week in advance of my life.

I’ve also discovered a lot about my internal desires during this time.  I’m beginning to find that I had begun to wrap my identity and worth up into my job and the prestige I received through advancing through the company, or even what my job title was.  I was also beginning to find that I had wrapped my identity into how many letters were after my last name. I’ve kind of always had this idea that I would go to graduate school, and even post-grad, but if I’m being honest, I’m finding that it wasn’t so much because I enjoyed what I was doing that much; it was because I wanted the prestige.  I wanted to be Dr. J, with a host of letters after my name.  To an extent, this fit into the long-term plan my husband and I had created for our future, but towards the end of my time with the company, the idea of getting grad and post-grad degrees in what I was doing made me feel anxious and trapped.

I’m also finding that what I was doing might not have been my passion or my purpose.  I did enjoy was I was doing and I deeply cared about the people I worked with, but it got to the point where the cons were outweighing the pros.  I was finding that the idea of continuing on the career path I was on made me agitated, and I felt mildly trapped at the idea of my career being in a field I was no longer certain I liked.  And, I’m finding that I’m not sure if I’ve ever really known what my passion or purpose was.  I think the field I was in, and the position I was in, was something I really enjoyed, and might have been a niche for me, but I don’t know if it was my purpose or passion.  In the fallout from this situation and all of the emotions I am dealing with and healing from, I’m finding that I’m not sure I want to get back into that field.  In a sense, I’m feeling quite lost and purposeless, as I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, my giftings, my skills.  I don’t know where I “fit” anymore.  There is also this wild excitement, under everything, for what God is going to do and where He is going to put me.  

I have seen God move like wild during this time of my life. His direct care for us, His reminders of His promises, His constant faithfulness and goodness, and His coming blessings have been beautiful guiding lights during this rather dark time. 

On December 10th, the Tuesday evening I wept during worship, the speaker of the evening talked about purpose.  I missed the first half of this message (I came in around the 43 minute mark), as I was in a meeting for my leadership team.  But this message was truly the best thing I could have received this evening.  Then the band sang “Seasons” by Hillsong, and this song has become my anthem during this time of waiting. 

My husband and I have become really connected into our church, and I have found how truly breath-taking this has been.  I look forward, deeply, for Tuesday evenings, because I meet with God and I meet with friends.  And, through this, I have found a deep longing to be in a Christian environment and to be surrounded by those on fire for Christ.  I don’t know what God is doing, but He is still God and it is still good.  “If you’re not done working,/ then God, I’m not done waiting.”

Writing this post over the past twelve hours has been incredible emotional closure for me. I have a lot of emotions to continue to work through about leaving my job, but this is closing the chapter for me.  I’m moving into my winter, my season of waiting, without clinging to the past.  I’m running in pursuit of my God and His plan for me, and trusting His provision for me, and my little family.

Ciao for now,

Julia

Xx

2 thoughts on “Seasons // Seed to Sequoia.

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