MOVE OVER COCO... It's my turn to share! (thoughts from Lynne)
Do you remember who your 1st hero or heroine was?
I've always loved stories. I love telling them, and I love reading them. As a child, I loved fairy tales. Cinderella was my favorite. Every Saturday was chore day around our house. I couldn't do anything until ALL my chores were done. I had a tendency to lolly-gag, so my mom would nag and nag me to get my chores done. I began to fantasize that I was Cinderella and must have been adopted! Certainly someday my prince would come and rescue me from the drudge of housework. (Unfortunately that still HASN'T happened!)
Cinderella was a great heroine... I mean, who doesn't love a girl who is sweet in spite of bullies, who loves to daydream by the hearth, and who ultimately hopes in the best in people? She's a girl after my own heart! A kindred spirit!
Books were my way to escape to faraway lands, meet dangerous and exciting people, go on adventures and live the quintessential romantic life! I could live in Paris, meet a tall, dark and handsome man, paint like Monet, go to Egypt to see the pyramids, ski the Matterhorn, have a 2nd house in Italy, take a course at the Cordon Bleu like Sabrina... and the list of fantasies goes on and on.
Daydreaming is all fine and good, but I remember the 1st time that I read a book that really changed my life. In fact... it's the 1st memory I have of reading a novel. I was in Junior High. I don't even remember how I got the book, whether someone gave to me, or if someone told me to read it. All I remember is that I would never be the same. The book was...
Corrie Ten Boom was my very 1st REAL heroine. For those of you who have never read The Hiding Place, it's the true story of Corrie's family hiding Jews in a secret, cramped crawl-space in the attic in their upper apartment in Holland during WWII. Corrie, her sister, and her father were arrested and eventually transported to Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp. Her father died in prison before the transport , and her sister died just weeks before liberation.
Corrie spent the rest of her life helping both captives AND captors heal through the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Years later, while speaking about forgiveness at a huge assembly, Corrie was approached afterwards by one of her former SS officers who had been unusually ruthless. She remembered how horrified she was when she recognized him. She knew in that instant she couldn't forgive him for what he had done to her, but more inexcusably, to her sister. Yet how could she NOT forgive him if Christ had forgiven her? So out of obedience to God, she forced the words "I forgive you" from her lips. She recalls she immediately felt her entire body tingle with warmth and love for this man, and knew she had experienced the unexplainable, incomprehensible, supernatural love that could only be of God.
Since that moment... the moment I turned that very last page of this precious book, I knew I wanted my life to mean something more than just my fantasies.
Fast forward to my life now...
As most of you know, I've been unemployed the past 2 1/2 years. After 14 years of service, I was laid off from Granite in November 2010. Believe it or not, I was actually excited about taking some time off, being still before the Lord, and exploring where and what He might want for me in this next chapter in my life. It was a true gift! I prayed, read, journaled, explored my creative side... and realized that I wanted more balance in my life. I wanted to REALLY experience beauty, deepened relationships, gratitude, and more intimacy with my Heavenly Father. Money... titles.... working long, stressful hours just wasn't worth it anymore. In the end, everyone is expendable, so where does it get you and who does it hurt in the process.
Maybe I was getting philosophical because I was turning 50! Maybe I just realized life is short and fragile and the only thing eternal is relationships. Maybe I realized I had an amazing opportunity to do something with this next "chapter", and I didn't want to miss out on "life" because I was working and commuting and exhausted! Maybe I remembered that Corrie Ten Boom was in her 50s when she saved dozens of Jews.
So I celebrated my 50th with a bang! I was pampered for days (really weeks) with special friends. I was whisked away to San Francisco for my birthday weekend by two dear girlfriends! I was determined upon my return, to find a job where I could have work/life balance, where I could enjoy and deepen my relationships, where I could rest in Jesus and not be exhausted day in and day out! I'd find a job so I'd have enough severance left to take that amazing, planned trip to Paris with a few girlfriends to really "ring in" turning 50!!
But alas... this too was to be a fantasy... because landing employment proved to be harder than I anticipated, and sometimes life deals us things we have no control over... Just two months after turning 50 (and ironically when the economy started picking up again in 2012), cancer reared it's ugly head. And so with multiple surgeries pending and a somewhat lengthy recovery ahead of me, getting back to work was on hold... and so was Paris.
In fact, the honest truth is... my severance was gone last November, multiple job opportunities just kept shutting their doors, jobs on this side of the hill weren't offering a salary I could live on, my unemployment benefits stopped two just weeks ago, and the little money I have left would only last for a couple more months.
The world says, "take whatever job you can find"; "work at Starbucks"; "You know, you may have to commute over the hill to find work"; "what will you do if you have to move"; "where will you live"; "perhaps you should get a roommate"; "beggars can't be choosers"! Fear, anxiety, worry, unknowns.... DISTRUST!
After all the soul-searching I had done with the Lord, I was determined not to fall into the trap of DISTRUST (except when I slipped a few times!). I was determined to remind myself that the God I serve is bigger than that (except of course, when I forgot). And I was determined to hold onto God's promises... that He would give me the desires of my heart (except when I stared to doubt Him and listen to the world).
Well, guess what? Before the clock struck MIDNIGHT (remember Cinderella?!), God came and rescued me! He is TRUSTWORTHY! He isn't big; He's ENORMOUS! ...And He opened his treasure trove to shower me with His promises and blessings!!
In his miraculous provision, He gave me three wonderful job possibilities! THREE! And in the end, I was sought after, valued, fought for, and celebrated!
On Monday I will start a temp-to-perm job as Executive Assistant to the CEO of a small consulting firm called, ROI Communication. The office is only a few miles away from my house (a 10-minute commute), and from the many stories I've heard, they are a kind, caring, flexible, dynamic team. They strongly believe in work/life balance and work from 9am-5pm! Yippee! Their values are aligned with my personal values, and I can really stand behind what this organization does both with the business and their non-profit!
But wait... it gets even better...
Normally when "temping," the employer uses the temp office to communicate directly with the employee, but not only did I receive an email directly from the CEO letting me know how "thrilled" she was that I was joining the team, but look what she sent to my house today!
My heart is bursting at the seams with gratitude... for God's tremendous grace in my life, for the constant love and support of those who have walked this journey with me, for the army of faithful prayer warriors (with scarred knees!) - and all for me, for God's peace that surpasses ALL understanding, and unbelievably for this most wonderful gift of 2 1/2 years of pure joy! Who gets a 2 1/2 year hiatus exploring creativity, spending time with loved-ones, soaking in the beauty of "being", and having the time to heal and recover without fear of losing one's job?
Corrie may have been my 1st Heroine, but Jesus (sweet Jesus) is my one and only HERO!
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."
~ Corrie Ten Boom
P.S. Coco couldn't let a post go by without at least making an appearance...
"I don't like new jobs! Umph!" #sadness