Moments like these have been my favorite in my life, moments that are unattached, undetermined, like a sailboat out to sea without a destination, just out there to enjoy the ride.
Those free-flowing, transitional moments have been the most defining of my life, and here I find myself, smack dab in the middle of the largest one I ever could have imagined.
Often, we don’t notice big moments until they’re over. We have our heads down and our snorkels on, too focused on the thing right in front of us to notice the massive change of direction we just took.
But this moment isn’t like that, I’m not oblivious to this transition, I’m fully conscious to it — for better or for worse.
The first two weeks after losing our jobs, I was a basket case. I could cry at any moment, and the thought of applying for a new job unglued me completely.
The unexpectedness of it all felt cruel and life felt wild and unsteady beneath my feet.
For a solid two weeks, I wasn’t ready to move on with my life. I still needed to talk about what had just happened, to rehash the trauma of the thing, and to sit firmly where I was, refusing for the moment, to move forward.
Like the heartache that follows a breakup, I wasn’t ready to fall in love again. I was still hurt over what I’d lost, I wasn’t ready for what was next.
But even through the waves of tears that crashed over me again and again, I was wide-awake to God’s presence in the midst of it all.
My roommate and I had planned a dinner party for the night after we were let go, but in light of the recent events, a dinner party seemed insensitive — like bright light when all you want to do is pull the covers over your face.
We reasoned that even if we did a potluck, that nobody was going to want to pay for food. We were all in lockdown mode, tightening our wallets, and mentally fixing up our resumes, unable to concentrate on anything else.
Thinking we were doing everyone a favor, we offered to cancel. Our hands felt empty, we had nothing to offer the people in our lives. But our wise friends refused.
“You must have this party. We need a reason to come together. We need a reason to celebrate.”
And so we did.
My roommate and I zipped to the store and came out arms laden with the ingredients for the richest baked ziti we knew how to make. If this wasn’t a time for comfort food, we didn’t know what was.
We mixed and shredded, layered and baked. And as we lit the final candles, we heard the first knock at the door.
One by one, our friends trooped through our door, looking heavy but relieved not to be alone. Almost ceremoniously, they set their offerings on our table: a loaf of bread, a bowl of salad, a bottle of wine—until our table was overflowing with food that would last us for weeks.
We scrunched in closer than necessary around the table — relieved to have some company to help us carry our heavy hearts. Our faces glowing in the candlelight, we talked and laughed and refilled our plates. We told happy stories and sad stories, the wisdom from around the table bringing us to tears.
God’s presence and provision were palpable that night. Our apartment became a sanctuary from the cold, unpredictable world.
We’ve had many nights like that once since that fateful Thursday. We’ve had slumber parties, and small group meetings that included wine and lasted for hours. We’ve had more dinner parties, and cookouts by the lake, we’ve had movie nights where we all piled on the floor, whoops of laughter rising up from the crowd all at the same times.
We’ve grown closer during this terrible time in our lives, learning each other’s stories, and dreaming about the future in closer, more tangible community than any of us have seen in awhile.
None of us wanted to lose our jobs. None of us wanted our time at Adventures in Missions to end, especially not so suddenly. But even that first day — surrounded by people we deeply know and love — it was impossible not to see God in and around our conversations and laughter.
The dichotomies of this season are obvious and strange.
This is one of the most disconnected times of my life — no job, no place to be, no strings holding me down — but it’s also one of the most connected times of my life — connected to friends, spending lots and lots of time together, and preparing to get married to my favorite human in the world.
But that’s how God works, I’m discovering all over again. He’s a God that makes beautiful things out of broken things, and who does more than we could have ever asked or imagined through situations that we never saw coming.
God’s hands are working away, ticking steadily like knitting needles hard at work, and all we have to do is open our eyes to see him.
Thank you SO much for your emails, and your prayers, and your links to job listings. I have felt so surrounded, so loved, and so cared for by our Lipstick Gospel community. My heart is so full. Thank you again!!