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Rewards in Challenges

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. (James 1:12 The Message)

Last fall, right after Thanksgiving, I was laid off from my job of 5½ years. The writing was on the wall after a slew of layoffs that had happened intermittently throughout the last year. That day, I knew more layoffs were on the horizon, but I didn’t suspect that I was on the chopping block this time… yet I was! I hugged the coworker who had to inform me of my dismissal, we both cried a little, and then he continued working and I cleaned out my desk.

I actually had peace about the layoff. Spending more time with Isaac was a nice benefit, though I focused on finding the next great opportunity. I quickly found a temp-to-hire position, but it fizzled out after two months. We kept Isaac in full-time daycare, and I kept searching for work. About a month ago, it set in that looking for work is difficult. I burned out. So I gave myself permission to set goals for the day and relax about the rest, so that I wouldn’t get too depressed. We all know that looking for work is a full-time job, in and of itself!

For several months now, I have kept records of all the positions I’ve applied for. I’ve catalogued my interview times and remained flexible for potential employers. Then 2 weeks ago, I got the pick-me-up I needed in reconnecting with the woman who got me a job 12 years ago. She renewed my hope that I’d find work soon, so I soldiered on.

The kind of perseverance it takes to keep looking for work is motivating, yet defeating at the same time. You apply for a job, get an interview, thank them for their time, and hope to hear back. When they say they’ll let you know either way, that only works out about 50% of the time, and the rest, you’re left to assume you didn’t get it. You hope that with each interview, you’re one step closer to getting the Acceptance Phone Call.

Today, it finally happened! Pending a background check, I start a new position next Thursday. Isaac gets to go back to fulltime daycare, and I get to go back to work, helping to provide for him once again!

What gave me the energy and determination to continue looking for a job? Mainly, the fact that we can’t afford for me to stay home, because another “testing challenge” (as James puts it above) we endured was infertility, and we took out a pretty big loan so that Isaac would become part of our lives. In that challenge, we were rewarded with the honor of parenthood. The drive to keep our home, pay bills, and be able to provide for a growing kiddo has been great motivation.

Furthermore, we’ve had faith that God would provide the right job when it became available. My new job almost didn’t happen! I applied just as they closed the posting. They interviewed me despite having already filled the position, while they waited for permission to expand to a full team. And today, I get to be Person #2 on the team!

I never stopped praying. I never quit seeking the Lord, and I never gave up hope that God was really in control of where I’m supposed to be next. Perhaps this position won’t work out, but what if it does? The rewards are there!

The apostle Paul encourages us, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB). My journey to look for work has been just like this. I’ve been thankful for every interview. I’ve been thrilled to find so many positions to apply for. And never once did I forget to pray in the car on my way to those interviews!

Whatever challenge is in your life, stick with it. Face it head-on. Keep seeking God and keep fighting. The rewards are immeasurable.

Nicole can be reached by email here.

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