I just put on a pot of coffee — my second of the day. Fortunately, I just have a four-cup coffee maker, so that’s not quite as bad as it sounds.
I put on the first this morning when I got up. By the time I’d fed the cats and scooped their litter, the coffee was ready, so I sat down for a little one-on-one time with God before Mass. It was good. He offered me the comfort I needed.
And I did need comfort. I received another rejection first thing this morning. On Friday, I’d also received a couple, including one for a position which would have fit my lifestyle so well that I had hoped it was God’s tailor-made Christmas present for me. Obviously, I was wrong and am being asked to continue living by faith, to continue trusting that God is at work in my life in his inimitable manna-in-the-desert way.
Last night, as I was entering into remembrance in a way that also nourishes the connection I feel with our Creator God (by working on a scrapbook project recording this journey of faith), I realized I was being emptied. One by one, expectations are being knocked out from under me.
During my final weeks with my former employer, God had drawn me to himself in a new way. He helped me to understand I did not see myself as he saw me. I had grown to see myself as our society sees me and people like me, as disposable. I was not well-connected, so I could be tossed aside. I did not have personal wealth — or the power that comes with wealth — so I could be treated with disrespect.
But during those balmy September days when I last drew an income for services rendered, God began to show me I was well-connected, I was his. He called upon me to trust him in this, and I did. When I was treated with abysmal disrespect in the workplace, I declined to continue working for employers whose conduct conflicted with what God was teaching me.
I expected all to be well in ways that I would easily see and understand. I didn’t know what that meant, but I was filled with peace and joy, so I believed my choice was the right one.
In the weeks which have elapsed since then, I have seen one expectation after another fall by the wayside. I expected to collect unemployment since South Dakota law allows voluntary termination if the employer’s conduct “demonstrates a substantial disregard of the standards of behavior the employee has a right to expect of the employer” (SDCL 61-6-13). While unemployment compensation was approved, a family crisis prevented me from hiring an attorney when my former employer appealed, and the decision was overturned.
Without the security of a regular income while I sought employment, I expected God to move with haste to open doors so that I would soon be employed. I continued to apply for positions which appeared to be a good match for my skills and abilities as well as for my experience. However, even when I felt an interview went well, I did not receive a job offer.
So, here I am today, three months later — still unemployed. I admit I have had some blue days. And days when I’ve wondered if God really did call me to step out in faith or if I was simply fed-up with a job that was about as satisfying as instant coffee in cold water.
On those days, it’s stepping into the quiet that renews my faith God is at work in my life. On those days, I remember all that he has done during this period of unemployment and feel blessed.
Each day since I’ve been unemployed, I’ve had all I need; God has worked in the hearts and minds of those who love me, prompting them to help out. While I have been unemployed, God has filled me with his peace and worked to heal places in me that I didn’t even know needed healing. During this time, I’ve been able to help family members who needed the kind of assistance my presence could provide.
Since deciding to step out in faith, to trust that I am a beloved daughter, I find myself called ever more deeply into the mystery of his love, which is a humbling experience. It simultaneously fills and empties. I am filled with hope in the face of uncertain circumstances, filled with the desire to give more and more of myself to him. I am emptied of the need to be seen as a person of worth as measured by our society.
When I write, sometimes I need to tweak the language a little to express more clearly what I wish to say. When I paint, I may need to tweak the color or composition of a painting in order to make it more successful. At present, I feel like I am a work in progress, and God is tweaking me with infinite love.
I just hope that as he works, my life comes to reflect him into the world more and more.