Thursday 4:20AM. My alarm goes off, and I drag myself out of bed to start work.
I sit down at the dining room table, my makeshift office, type in the password to my laptop to login.
It doesn’t work.
I try it again, and again.
I email my boss who is in Vancouver, and text my other boss who’s here in Ottawa but probably isn’t awake either, hoping to hear something eventually, ’cause this is weird.
15 minutes letter I get an email.
“Notice Of Employment Termination”
My hands get clammy. My heart stops.
What is going on?
As it turns out, not even advertisers are untouchable in this season of COVID-19, and due to the decline in advertising traffic online, our upstream advertising partners had decided to cut spending, and therefore stop buying traffic and leads from our company, thus completely throwing a gigantic wrench in our business model. Based on what my boss has told me, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to go back to business as usual in the future.
So there I was, sitting on the couch in shock.
It was a punch to the gut. I had it all one second and the next, it was gone. It didn’t feel real.
As unprepared as I was for this news, somehow, by God’s grace, He had been preparing me for this moment all along, since Santa Barbara. My foundation was being tested.
While the shock and sadness was still real, so was the peace and joy. And as I committed myself to pray in those next few moments, I felt overwhelming gratitude for how God had been teaching me how to build my life on Him over the past few months. He had made me a house built on a Rock.
In those moments, the storms of worry, anxiety, and fear tried to shake my walls, but my Foundation was firm. His promises filled my thoughts instantly, and I knew He would be with me in all of this, and that He would be my portion through this season and beyond.
As I prayed, He brought Psalm 63:1-8 into my thoughts:
My Soul Thirsts for YouA Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;my soul thirsts for you;my flesh faints for you,as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,beholding your power and glory.Because your steadfast love is better than life,my lips will praise you.So I will bless you as long as I live;in your name I will lift up my hands.My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,when I remember you upon my bed,and meditate on you in the watches of the night;for you have been my help,and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.My soul clings to you;your right hand upholds me.
O God, YOU are my God.
The LORD is my God. The one who makes streams in the desert, and makes a way in the wilderness. HE is my portion. This God is all-sufficient and my only Provider.
As much as I believed that my job was my provider, as much as I thought that I was the provider for this family, I was not the reason we had what we had, neither was my job our provider and security. I was reminded of something Francis Chan said that has stuck with me ever since I heard it (to be fair a lot of what he says sticks with me), it went along the lines of: “We don’t have any control or security in anything. Our money can be taken away, our jobs can be taken away, anything we think we can control can be taken away. The one thing we can control is how we take root in God, building our hope and trust in Him.”
The night before all this happened, I had been reading the chapter of Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeschel called “Reveal My Fears.” In the chapter Craig talks about how, like David, we ought to pray for God to reveal our fears, and lay them before Him, because they reveal the areas where we trust God the least. Instantly I knew what my fears were.
Money. The loss of income.
I confessed to God that I was fearful of losing it all. I was fearful of losing the freedom that came with my level of income. While I laid these fears before Him, I didn’t feel or hear much back, other than just a desire to give thanks for this season of plenty.
Little did I know that the season of famine would start the next day. Thanks God!
Honestly, I laughed a bit as I thought about it. He works in funny ways. I say these words with a strange light-heartedness, because I am resting in His strength and confidence. I am resting in the promise of His character as Jehovah Jireh – our sole provider.
As I look to Him in all this, it’s just as the hymn says, all the things of earth grow strangely dim, in the light of who He is.
I feel like Peter walking out to Jesus on the water. As I fix my eyes on my Savior, I am immensely confident in who He is, and what He wants to do in this season. As I look to Him, I feel like I have this unshakable confidence because it’s God! He can accomplish whatever the heck He wants!
But I won’t lie, there have been moments where I either look at myself, or I see the immensity of the waves out of the corner of my eye and immediately my confidence starts to waver a bit.
So that’s my biggest challenge, keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, because when I look at myself I can’t help but think: “Who’s gonna hire you? All you did for the last 4 years is write ad copy, and your resume kinda sucks. You don’t have any real experience with marketing. etc etc” When I look away from Jesus, all I see are impossibilities, all I see are humongous waves and dark waters.
But my God is walking on the waters. He is one who stills the storms with just one word.
So just as I learned to walk with Him in Santa Barbara, on the smooth and easy paths, I’ll learn to walk with Him on the waters, through the storms.
If you think of me, pray that my eyes remain fixed on God. Pray that I am patient and still, not rushing to put things back in order, or to bring things “back to normal”. Pray that I take stock of where God has me now, and that I spend time listening for Him to direct my next steps in this season. For now I’ve got a project on the go, which I’m super excited about, but more on that later.
I am immensely hopeful in God. He meets me with joy and peace as I look to Him, my Provider.
Do not fear [anything], for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you;
I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].
Isaiah 41:10 AMP