My 3 Monsters: On Unemployment

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9.08.2013

On Unemployment

Hey, friends!  It's been a while since I wrote something on the blog just to write, so I'm seizing the opportunity tonight.  I'll not be offended if you don't stick around now that you see I'm not sharing a fun craft or recipe.  I know that's what most of you come here for and I'm more than thrilled about that.  I've just been having a few thoughts lately based on our current situation that I wanted to share.

I don't really share a ton of personal stuff here on the blog, but many of you know that my husband has been working contract jobs for the past few years.  That means he'll work for a predetermined number of months and then be out of work while he looks for another contract.  It's not ideal, but it seems to be the way his industry has decided to do things.  Usually he has found a new contract position within a month -- that we kind of plan for.  The longest it has ever been before was 3 months.  That was a struggle {emotionally as much as anything}, but in this economy, not a surprise.  This time he has now been out of work for 6 months.  You read that right.  Half a year, my friends, we have been without income.  If 3 months was a struggle emotionally, 6 months has pretty much ripped us to shreds and left us in a pile on the floor.  I have been thinking a lot about it -- how can you not?! -- and come to realize that I have a real hate/love relationship with our unemployment.  I say hate first because 90% of me absolutely hates everything about it, but I can't help but see some blessings in there as well.

For instance, I HATE accepting help from people.  I hate being the "charity case".  I hate people giving us things.  I hate living off of the kindness of our friends and family.  But I LOVE seeing first hand all the good that people do, for which they want absolutely no recognition.  I think I always knew good things were happening behind the scenes of life, but I've never really been on the receiving end of it until now.  Often -- at least often enough -- people will slip us a check to "help hold us over" and in the same breath say, "PLEASE, please don't tell anyone about this."  I mean, who does that?!  Good, good people.  People who live pretty humbly themselves or who have been in similar circumstances so they can feel our pain.  It makes me want desperately to use our extra money better to help others in the future.

I HATE that Brent will probably have to work well into his 80's to make up for this time financially.  He is effectually "taking his retirement" now and, barring some miracle, will be paying for it for years to come.  But selfishly I LOVE having him around to help with the kids.  We split the before school routine so we can both get a little more sleep.  We split the homework duty.  We even split the housework, and, if I'm being honest, he's doing more than me some days.  I love having someone to eat lunch with and someone to make fun of the Kardashians with .  We probably watch too much TV these days.

I HATE not being able to give my kids every single thing in the whole wide world.  I hate that we haven't really been able to take a vacation in years.  I hate that they are hesitant to tell us when their jeans are getting too tight or when they need new socks.  I hate that we couldn't go buy them new school clothes this year.  I hate that they don't even tell us about extracurricular activities at school that interest them because they just know we can't afford it.  But I LOVE seeing how little it takes to make them truly happy.  They don't need extravagant vacations or nice clothes.  All they really want is time with us.  And sugar cereal.  {If you saw the way my children were carrying on, you would have though I found a cure for cancer a couple weeks ago when I used coupons to get 20 boxes of delicious cereal for less than $10.}

I HATE the doubt that creeps in.  When well-meaning friends and family question all of your decisions and then you start to think that maybe you aren't really on the right track even though you were pretty sure you were.  Even though you KNOW that you are.  Even though you've prayed and prayed about it until you have bruises on your kneecaps from kneeling so long and then you've prayed about it again.  And you know -- YOU KNOW -- that this is where you belong and you're doing everything right and things will come together soon and you need to hang in there.  Still it causes you to doubt.  But I LOVE those moments when YOU DO KNOW.  They are fleeting, but they're real enough to hang onto even in the face of doubters.  I have felt more love from my Heavenly Father on my darkest days than on my good ones -- because I needed it more then.

I HATE not being in control.  I hate watching Brent have fantastic interview after fantastic interview and getting so excited that this job is finally going to be the job, only to get one rejection email after the next.  How can so many employers be "going in a different direction"?!  Sooner or later won't all the different directions be taken and someone will have to go in our direction by default?  I mean, please, already.  I hate that we can do and do and do, and yet we can never do everything.  I hate the fear of losing our home -- of losing everything.  But I LOVE that my husband and I were both raised with the understanding that God, our Heavenly Father, is intimately involved in the details of our lives.  Ultimately it's Him in control of the situation.  Not us, not our parents, not the employers, not anyone else.  He is the one who takes us by the hand and pulls us through these times, sometimes kicking and screaming.  He is the one who has inspired people to give what extra they have to help us out -- usually within a few short hours of me praying for His immediate help because I didn't have anywhere else to turn.  He is the one in whom we trust, who will never fail us.  Even if we lose our house eventually.  Even if we "lose everything" by worldly standards.  Through Him, and in Him, we have everything that is really important.

I could go on and on.  Believe me, there are a bunch more things I hate about being unemployed.  We just have to keep telling ourselves, "This, too shall pass."  This has been a slow and painful refining process.  We are so grateful to everyone who has stood by us.  We can see clearly that our Heavenly Father has been putting people into our lives all along the way to support us now, at this time, and we feel blessed.

So, thanks.  If you made it through the whole post to get to this point, you are one of those people  {whether we know you personally or not}.  I know we are not the only people struggling in the world.  In fact, I know that we struggle a lot less than a lot of people.  To our fellow strugglers, I wish you the best.  Hang in there, my friends.  Because, really, this WILL pass.  It HAS to, right?!

9 comments:

  1. ((HUGS)) please know that you and your family are being used as real life examples of how we have to hold onto faith in the bad times. it's easy to have faith in the good times not so much during the hard times. you are giving as much as you are receiving. y'all are in our prayers!

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  2. Hang in there. I can relate. you might enjoy this talk
    http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1967

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    1. Amen!!! That is a wonderful message. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I think it is beautiful that you shared this - I'm sure you speak for many in the same situation. Prayers that the light at the end of the tunnel appears soon for you guys!

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  4. I completely know how you feel. I haven't had a "real job" in almost 2 years. We have our struggles and it's such an amazing blessing to have people that love you! Hang in there, God has a perfect plan for us all, even when we think he doesn't!

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  5. Our Monday FHE for the singles was about faith. The lesson was based on a beautiful talk by Elder Bednar at a March 2013 CES devotional. It talks about how we find it easy to have the 'faith to be healed' but sometimes we need to ask ourselves, 'do we have the faith NOT to be healed'? (https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-bednar-counsels-those-facing-adversity-to-shrink-not?lang=eng&query=have+the+faith+not+to+be+healed)

    I had never thought about that. I have a perfect faith that the Lord heals - but do I trust in His plan enough if it isn't meant for me to be healed? Maybe where we stand is exactly where the Lord needs us to be. This, to me, spoke volumes about what truly having faith in His plan and His timing is. Being faithful enough to be were we are and find joy in that moment.

    I know this is a hard time. I can not even imagine. We are all on your team - rooting for your family to not just make it, but to thrive during this time. We love each of you individually and as a family. Keep on - Keeping on - as they say, and have faith in His timing. Because this too, will pass when the time is right.

    I also saw something the other day that made me laugh. I thought you'd get a kick out of it: "Saying don't be upset because there are others in this world that have less than you, is like saying don't be happy because there are others that have more!" Be ok in your sadness! It's natural. Sadness isn't doubt.

    I love you guys!

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    1. I should probably proofread things before I hit send.. Sorry! Hopefully you get the drift :)

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    2. I love that talk!! It is so true.

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  6. Google ate my comment. :( If I double posted, super sorry!

    What I wanted to say was that I know how you feel. It is SO HARD to accept help, even though we're barely scraping by. God has used others to bless us in ways I never had imagined were possible. He brought me the opportunity to work from home and through that I have met many amazing people.

    A friend gave me some wonderful advice for those times when the bill pile is too heavy. Make a list. Write out how you would bless others if you suddenly came into a million dollars. For me, the real perspective of having financial freedom is AMAZING. I saw that I didn't want money so I could buy all the latest fancy things, I want it so I can bless others the way I have been blessed.

    Keep doing what you do, you are a blessing to others and things will work out. I know that is over-said, but it will.

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