We thought we were safe. Every day I would drive into our neighborhood and pray a thank you to God for this life he had given us. The neighborhood, the house, the friends we have made, and our jobs. Then one day as I was making dinner and getting the girls some snacks, my husband walked into the house early. I glanced at the clock and said, “Oh, early day today? Everyone ready for the long weekend?” He looked at me and simply said, “Well, I got let go.”
There was that odd moment of shock. The one where you can hear things crashing in around this life you have established, yet you can’t do anything to stop the walls from crashing down. I stood there for a moment thinking It was just a matter of time I suppose. The company had been slowly letting more and more people go since August. My husband was one of the last people in his department to be laid off because of budget cuts due to COVID. There was the hope of being able to return once they could get finances in order but it wouldn’t be until the new year.
Trying to fix it all.
Since I have a tendency to fix everything when it goes wrong (child of multiple divorces syndrome), the next day I wanted to go into full-on let’s find him a job mode. My husband on the other hand needed time to get over it. He needed the space to grieve the loss of a great job. It had the perfect schedule, great pay, wonderful benefits, and his team was phenomenal. We already had plans to go out of town that weekend since my older brother was in town. I told him “we can take the weekend to not think about it, but come Monday you need to start looking for a job.”
As we headed up to the mountains for the weekend, I prayed we would make it through this part of our lives with little to no damage. I prayed we would be ok. I prayed for our girls. Little did I know the roller coaster of a ride we were about to take in our marriage and prayer life.
God has a way of making sure all prayers are answered.
Patience is not my strong suit.
The first week I helped him find jobs to apply for, encouraged him to file for unemployment, and look for a job that would hold us over until the company could bring him back. I walked on eggshells trying to be sensitive to the fact he lost a job while also not pushing so hard that he would shut down. I was also in the middle of a bible study with friends on the book of James. James is speaking to a group of people that are going through a hard time and he continues to tell them to be faithful to God and steadfast in prayer. God will provide. So I took James’s words to heart and prayed. I prayed not just for myself and our situation, but also for the other women in that group who were struggling. I prayed for any of the requests to be answered.
However, I began to get frustrated with him at the end of that first week. He wasn’t doing anything. He was digging his heels in when it came to applying for jobs. There was a certainty that he was going to get this job back, so why waste his time applying for jobs when he would just have to leave in a few months. This resulted in me turning to God out of anger. I prayed in frustration. I threw my hands up and said, “Fine. Let him do what he wants. You don’t want to listen to me.”
He was adamant that unemployment would be enough to hold us over and he could just wait until the company was back on its feet. What? So you get to sit at home and do nothing while I go to work to pay for the majority of our bills? No.
But wait there’s more.
A few more weeks into this, after a quarantine and having to teach from home, carrying the burden of finding a job for my husband, and trying to keep my cool, I got the news that our wonderful daycare provider was going to be moving this summer and we would have to find a new person to love on Lorelai. Not only has she been wonderful to our girls, she has also become a dear friend. I was at a breaking point.
In fact, I broke down. I sobbed while I called my dad to just hear his voice and reassurance that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Of course this is the last thing someone wants to hear, but I know it’s true. My dad had me write down five things I am grateful for: my girls, my job, friends, my husband (even though I didn’t really feel grateful for him in that moment), and my faith. I said a slow prayer thanking God for these things and to help me walk through this uncomfortable time with grace. It was good reminder that God has always answered prayers, but not in the way I may want him to.
God’s Encouragement to Pray
As we walked into the second and third month of unemployment, I was about to pack up my bags and leave. My husband was doing everything but applying for jobs. He decided he was going to work on getting back into school for his associates and visit with friends he hadn’t seen in awhile. Then he decided that he was going to get back into working out since he had the time. All the while we were still paying for daycare and the understanding that if money got too tight he would have to have Lorelai home with him.
I was losing my patience. He knew it too. I was done. Why was I the one looking for a job for him? Why was he looking at going to school when we shouldn’t be spending any extra money? What was he doing at home all day if he wasn’t applying for jobs? Why is he being so lazy and selfish and wasting his time on other things? Getting a job should be his number one priority.
Finally, I had had enough. I texted my sister-in-law and told her I was at a breaking point- I was ready to leave. I can’t be my husband’s mom and wife. It doesn’t work that way. He is a grown-ass man. She had some of the best advice for me- It is his duty as a husband to provide for our family. When we make the convent of marriage, God places that on man to provide regardless of if you (Lindsay) make more money than him to begin with. You have to let him figure this out. If he doesn’t, pull Lorelai out of daycare, cancel the gym, get rid of subscriptions, etc. If he can’t find a way to make up the money missing each month then those are the consequences.
One thing I know for sure is I am a control freak and I have the need to fix it and make it better as fast as possible. I needed to let go and give it to my husband. I made up a list of our monthly expenses and handed it to him. “This is the amount you need to find a way to cover. I am trusting you as my husband and our kids’ father to provide for us. If we don’t make up this amount each month, we need to make some tough decisions.” I left it at that.
Once I gave him the responsibility, stopped hunting down jobs for him, and let him find the money; I felt lighter. I would check in with him every now and then, or let him come to me with updates, but I would no longer badger him. So, I continued to pray for my husband to lead us in the way God saw fit and designed him to lead.
Over the next couple of months, he started doing some landscaping with a friend to help make up the missing money. We had a great community of friends and family praying for a job to become available and for our marriage. We had friend’s churches reach out with grocery gift cards, turkey dinners, and Christmas presents for our girls. The biggest shock of all was an anonymous gift of $200 cash left for us one morning. I still cry thinking about the amazing people God placed in our lives to help us.
How God Answered
Finally, a friend connected my husband with a technology headhunter. This was the game changer. The company helped him revamp his resume, find jobs he is qualified for, and set up the interviews. Low and behold he finally got an interview after 4 months of unemployment. They offered him the job December 23rd.
While 4 months is not a long time compared to how long others have been unemployed, it felt like forever. Between the stress of less cash flow, paying for the holidays, the thoughts of ending our marriage, and parenting in between… It was the longest four months of my life.
Here’s the thing though. I listened to a podcast recently from Small Daily Joys that smacked me right in the face.
“God often blesses us with a “grace given” in the circle of “grace denied.” … Now the remarkable thing about that answer to our prayer is that it came inside the circle of a prayer denied.”
Wow. When I look back on those four months, God answered a lot of prayers I have been saying for years. Prayers that my husband would go back to school, our marriage to be stronger, more time together, my husband would find a renewed sense of faith in God. Even the small ask for a wonderful community of friends was answered. God was denying me the comfort of financial security to work within both my husband and myself to answer these prayers. God was denying the prayer of finding a job quickly so He could answer the prayers we needed answered.
Now, I know we can’t see the prayers being answered when we are in the middle of a crisis. However, I would encourage you to look back on past trials in your life and look at the good that came from them. (2020, anyone?) What grace did God supply during your hardship? What prayers did he answer that you have had on your heart for months, years, decades?