We knew this was coming but it still hit us out of the blue. John went to work on Friday with his customary brown-bag lunch and Steelers mug of coffee and was soon greeted by his supervisor- the district manager- coming to deliver some news. I'm not going to call this "bad news," in fact, I refuse to call it anything other than "news" because we just don't know what God has in store for us next. John has been working for Wolf as a manager for over twelve years. He has been with Wolf far longer than he's been with me, and he has done well there. But sadly, the economy has hurt this business and his store, along with many others, is closed. Originally, he was told that there would be about 3-6 weeks until the store was officially "closed." That changed yesterday when John was told to put a sign on the door and start boxing up the merchandise. Done. Over. Adios. The End. John called his "guys" - the faithful work associates who have kept him company for years, and passed along the "news." And here we go again.
In October, I left a job of fourteen years. A comfortable, easy, pleasant job that I had done for so long I could do it with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back. I left because God said "it's time to go, I'm done with you here," and he lead me to work right here in my community with a struggling non-profit that truthfully couldn't afford to hire me. But God opened that door, and I am overwhelmingly grateful because not five months later we received the wonderful news that our family was about to grow in a very special way. Bringing C, C and E into our home has changed our life dramatically. In fact, it was such a massive change for us that John took 6 weeks of paid FMLA time to stay home with me and help get the children into a routine with our family and community. We went from being a family of 6 to a family of 9 and I have loved every minute of it (except for the uncertainty about the future . . . but let's not go into that right now.) I am tempted to be a little nervous right now, but actually I'm kind of excited. I'm excited to see what God has in store for us. John has been faithful to a job that hasn't always been easy. He has been a hard-working and faithful provider for our family, and I believe God will honor that faithfulness. John has sacrificed his Saturdays and some Sundays for years, and many holidays. He has worked long hours, put up with ornery customers, and spent far too much time wearing a black polo and khakis. And now God has something else for him- and for us.
My mother in law called tonight to ask how John was doing. He is her baby, after all. I should also interject that I adore my mother in law. She is adorable, funny, clever, creative, warm, and witty. She is someone I admire and enjoy. Her humor is always laced with sarcasm (like me), and she is thoughtful like no one I have ever known. She never forgets a birthday, she never lets a holiday pass without sending a card to each of the children. And she faithfully calls us every Sunday just to check on things. Tonight's phone call was focused on John, and of course, the children. And I felt really encouraged after talking to her. She believes like I do, that something great is just around the corner.
Our life seems to be full of changes. Yes I know, everyone feels that way. But when I think about the changes that have happened in this house over the past year, I can honestly say that these changes have been for our good. Isn't that what scripture promises us? That in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 Sometimes I am still blown away that God chose me and called me according to his purpose. But I am grateful for this perspective. I am grateful that as we roll through life and face these changes, we can know that God still holds us in His hand. Nothing takes Him by surprise.
Now if all of you will just keep reminding me of this!