From the Basement

July 1, 2010

“So… God wants me to be unemployed?”: On Trust, Belief, and Trust

Trust Him. Praise Him.

Those are the encouraging or, alternately,  infuriating, soul-wrenching answers I get when I ask God about his plans for my employment (I hope it’s not too much to assume that I’ll find work?). I have been home since March and graduated since May. It is almost the 1st of July, and I’m still in my mom’s basement. I think many recent grads are in the same boat.

In honor of the classic song “Count Your Blessings,” I’ll count my blessings first. My parents live less than an hour apart and both have opened their homes to me for as long as I need it. I live rent free and occasionally chip in for coffee or pizza with my graduation money. I have no expenses, notwithstanding the Student Loans of Doom that are looming over the horizon.

In short, I’m blessed. I originally wrote “save the whole unemployment bit,” but even with that, I’m still blessed.

And yet, over the last few months, I’ve gone through days where I did not seek him, whether out of spite or laziness it’s hard to say. And then, on the flip side, there are the days that are glorious and praise-full and awesomely productive. And then there are the screaming days. Today was a combination of awesome + screaming.

On days like these, when I go out on my porch and sob and cry and throw a temper tantrum that could rival a two-year-old, I forget that I’ve learned a lot. On days like these, I forget that all things work to the good of those who love him, mostly because I’m too busy thinking that God is planning to use my life as the sequel to Job.

(On days like these, I really hope that Job was a one-time thing and that God’s not planning to do that again.)

In the aftermath of the tears, several truths become apparent. Things I’ve learned over the last few months.

  1. I could do everything right by human standards and still not get hired if it’s not God’s will.
  2. I could do everything wrong by human standards and get hired if God wants me to work there.
  3. God may be keeping me from employment to let me focus on other things.
  4. His name is still Faithful and True.
  5. He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.
  6. He is using this time to make me into the woman he wants me to be.

As my mom reminded me today, he sees how these months fit into the span of my life. He knows what I’ll be doing a year from now. He knows the names of my children. He knows the plans he has for me. I see what’s on the screen. He’s already directed the whole picture.

I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. In verse 25, it says, she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. A righteous woman who seeks the Lord’s own heart – she laughs at the days to come. Others flee and cower, but she stands strong. Sans peur. No fear. After all, why should she fear? She knows that her God loves her, protects her, is for her, is not against her. She knows that there is nothing on this earth that can separate her from the extravagant, earth-shattering love of God.

God’s love is shattering. It’s such a revelation every time, and I so often feel shattered when faced with it. So painfully, acutely aware of the reasons I don’t deserve it. So ready with excuses of my humanity, of my proud refusal to believe that he means what he says. And yet he comes and scoops me up and holds me against his chest and murmurs in my ear that he loves me, and that he is enough – he is always enough.

I’ll be gone for the next two weeks visiting family and friends, and this evening, I was freaking out to my mom about how I don’t know what I’ll do about job searching for the next two weeks. Unreliable internet, etc. And she looked at me and said, take the time off! Enjoy the time away! I asked, what happens if the perfect job comes up and I don’t see it? And she looked at me, so loving, and asked if I really thought that God didn’t already have everything planned out and did I think I’d be going away for two weeks if he didn’t have everything under control?

And then I did that whole crying/wallowing thing.

And then something wonderful happened. God picked me up, put lyrics in my head that wouldn’t go away, and gave me the title to my next blog post. He uses writing to take me outside myself, to give perspective, to show his love – his shattering, wonderful love that has given me the gift of a two-week hiatus and more opportunities to lean on him and not on my own understanding.

To remind me that unemployment does not define me. That his plans are so much bigger.

Like sunlight burning at midnight

Making my life something so

Beautiful, beautiful

Mercy reaching to save me

All that I need

You are so

Beautiful, beautiful

– Francesca Battistelli, “Beautiful, Beautiful”

Link to video here:

May 4, 2010

Good Things Monday

I know plenty of bloggers who do a “Good Things Friday” post to commemorate the end of the week. But I have a Good Things Monday post. Feel free to comment with the good things in your life this week (so far!).

1. An awesome new sermon series at church entitled “She.” Our pastor is centering it around Mother’s Day and Proverbs 31, talking about freeing women to serve in their full God-given capacity as the crown of creation (his words, so cool). Cool word fact: ezer, the world often translated as “helper” or “helpmeet” in English (what Eve is described as in Genesis), is only used 20 times in the Old Testament. Every other time, it refers to God. And every other time, it means lifesaver. Given that I’m sort of in a recovery stage of having gone through a tone of Grudem’s theology (grrr he makes some good points but there are times when I just want to throttle the man, which is a very human impulse, I know) … suffice to say, the sermon series is a good thing.

2. My friend Jenelle is here! We had a wonderful dinner with my mom last night – chicken bow tie pasta with pesto and a Shiraz/Cabernet blend. Mmm.

3. Today, we got wonderful chocolates, coffee, and hot hoagies in my hometown before taking a bit of a road trip to take a tour of Leinenkugels Brewery in Chippewa Falls, WI. Great tour and free beer tasting afterword.

4. Also great: our tour guide told us that at the local grocer, the 1888 Bock was on sale for $3 a six-pack. Um, yes! You’ve never seen 22-year-old women more excited to buy beer. Seriously. We were giddy. Giddy, I tell you!

5. Listening to movie soundtracks in the car (Avitar, Chronicles of Narnia, 300), talking about being a choir geek (her) and band geek (me) and totally nerding out to the beautiful crescendos in the music.

6. Walking around Barnes & Noble talking about our favorite books. Going to the children’s section and reliving our childhoods … Nancy Drew, American Girl, Harry Potter, Redwall, Dear America …

7. Enjoying pizza and bottles of said 1888 Bock with my father, all of us singing Closer to Fine (Indigo Girls) karaoke style while having a great conversation.

Life doesn’t get much better.

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