Falling into place

February 21, 2006 | Prayer | 3 comments

All my life I’ve heard stories of things really falling into place for people once they allow God into their lives. I always blew it off as them seeing what they wanted to see. But now that I have experienced it for myself, I have to say, the results are pretty compelling. Here’s a condensed diary of my life since early December.

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December 4, 2005
My husband and I decide to make a final decision about which local Catholic church to join. We find a church that is fine. We dislike it less than some of the other ones. We’re not excited about it but are relieved to just have a decision. One less thing to stress about.

December 8, 2005
Today is the low point of our year. Maybe of the past two years. The stress of running a business has slowly been eating away at my husband and now our biggest client tells us she’s leaving effective immediately. The summary of the reasons she gave us are pretty much “screw you.” Upon investigation we find out that some extremely unethical activity by a former employee is to blame.

My husband’s stress level reaches an all-time high. He’s tired of feeling like the weight of the world is on his shoulders with this business and is in an utter panic about this client leaving, especially with the new baby on the way (we don’t have health insurance that covers pregnancy so that’s a very expensive thing for us). He’s so stressed I start to worry about it affecting his physical health.

I take Steve G.’s and Colleen’s suggestions about how to pray for such a matter. Rather than ask God to make the client change her mind I just ask God to show us how to do his will, and offer acceptance of whatever it is that is God’s plan.

December 11, 2005
My husband and I had been talking about the high quality advice that Steve G. had offered on other matters and he pointed out that we should at least poke our heads into the church that Steve had recommended we consider. We were sure it wasn’t for us but felt like we’d always wonder if we didn’t at least give it a try. The minute we walked in the door we knew we’d found our church.

Late December 2005
Finding our new church inspires us to take our interest in God and Catholicism to a new level. We start to ask ourselves if we’re really doing what we were meant to do. For the first time we ask ourselves not “What do we want to do with our lives?”, but what “What does God want us to do?” We don’t immediately come up with any answers but feel like we’re at least finally asking the right question.

January 17, 2006
Our business hits a low point. We don’t know if we will be able to pay ourselves anything at all for January. We panic. We both feel like we’re having an early mid-life crisis. We feel like our lives are on the wrong path but don’t know what the right path is. We’re flailing. I write a post about this on my old site.

Steve G., Joel and Colleen point out that we may be overthinking this whole “calling” thing, that as a married couple what we’re meant to do first and foremost is be the best wife/husband and mother/father we can be. This is a real “ah-ha!” moment for us. (It also resonates perfectly with a book I happened to be reading on the same subject that also gave me great insights, A Mother’s Rule of Life.) We decide to do whatever it takes to make our marriage and family our priority. This will involve some major restructuring in our lives but we commit to it.

January 27, 2006
A tailor-made opportunity comes up for my husband to work for someone else yet still keep aspects of our business going. It’s truly the best of both worlds: he’ll have the stability of working for someone else while still continuing to do some entrepreneurial activities. We put a plan in place to have him start working at this other business in June. (Interestingly, this other man he’ll be working for happens to be a devout Catholic.)

Late January 2006
We take steps toward winding down the business. Part of cutting expenses means stopping all forms of advertising. We just can’t afford it.

We worry greatly about having enough money to get by until June. We’re in a precarious financial position because we’ve already taken out debt to get the business started. We can’t take out anymore. We just take a deep breath and trust that we’re on the right path. And pray.

In addition to cutting all advertising we realize that we need to let one of our employees go as part of implementing this new vision. We like this employee very much and are very concerned about how the business will go after he’s gone.

Early February 2006
All of our remaining employees independently volunteer to take reduced salaries to help out with expenses.

We end up being able to pay everyone (including ourselves) almost full salary for January. Though we were right that business was very slow, we hadn’t realized that we were actually losing money on that big client who left back in December. Also, after the client left we realized that she had been a big source of negativity and a drain on everyone’s energy. Turns out, losing that client was one of the best things that could have happened.

February 6, 2006
It’s the first Monday after we stopped all advertising, and the phone is ringing off the hook. My husband and his employees are slammed with work.

February 15, 2006
We already have enough money in the business bank account to pay all the February bills. Also, we find that not only is the business fine without the employee we had to let go, but it runs better without him. He’s a great guy but wasn’t quite as productive as we’d thought he was.

At the rate things are going we’re no longer worried about being able to make it financially until the new gig starts in June.

TODAY
We both feel great. Since we scaled back the business my workload has been decreased from about 20 hours/week to about one hour/week. I have so much free time I’m not sure what to do with it! Meanwhile, I haven’t seen my husband this relaxed in over two years. He’s so positive and happy, he’s practically glowing. The weekends are also a lot more fun since everyone is so much more relaxed.

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The above description is actually a condensed version of everything that’s been happening. When I look back on the past couple of months I see a very clear shift in my life after we found our church, accepted marriage and parenthood as our primary vocations and started regularly praying. Everything just started falling into place.

A cynic could easily make the case that all this happened without divine intervention. But my response would be, as it is more and more frequently lately to the question of God’s existence: “Who cares?” My life is vastly better by every metric than it was before I made God a part of my life. If God doesn’t exist? Well, how lucky for me that I chose an incorrect belief system that has added so much value to my life.

3 Comments

  1. Colleen

    I, the bilingual gabster, am speechless. This post has made me happier than I have been in a long time.

    Jennifer, you are a walking, writing saint-in-training and I got to see it happen ab ovo, so to speak! What joy!

  2. Colleen

    In the hours since I posted my comment, I have not stopped smiling. Do you remember that I told you that praying for others was a privilege? That it allows one to share in the rejoicing over a good outcome or to share the sadness over an outcome that is not what we wanted. And that happens on a level that would not be possible, if we were just mere bystanders.

    That is why I am still smiling! I added your concerns to my prayers and I get the immense pleasure of rejoicing in what God has done and is doing for you.

    I dunno. I am a pretty big sinner; I can only imagine what St. Steve’s prayers helped bring about 🙂 ! (Ducks and signs off.)

  3. SteveG

    Simply beautiful.

    Thank You Jennifer, for allowing us to share your journey with you. Thank you for leaning on us when you needed information, and for letting us lean on you when we needed inspiration.

    Back in September, I made a promise to myself after you emailed me initially. The promise was that I was going to stick around here following your journey for as long as needed, in the faint hope that I might be of some small aid.

    I could never have imagined then that someone could be both so intelligent, and at the same time so humble, as to respond to God’s grace so fully as you and your husband have.

    I could never have imagined then that in only a few months time, I would be reading an entry like this.

    I am simply in awe! I am so grateful to have been allowed a peak inside while you work it all out.

    I am with Colleen. What Joy!

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