Today is Good Friday, and my husband and I are taking this day to reflect on the life changing impact of what happened so many years ago at Calvary. We’ve been humbled as we have both pondered the immensity of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, namely that, because of that sacrifice, we can be reconciled to God. What an undeserved, and certainly unearned, gift. We will celebrate Resurrection Sunday–or Easter Sunday–in a couple of days and rejoice that Christ rose from the dead and completed the task of opening the path of salvation to anyone who would accept it.
This Easter season has also been a time in which Leon and I have experienced firsthand how the Lord sometimes moves in one’s life. It has been a rollercoaster ride, to be sure. After all, we humans tend to get comfortable in our little situations and have a hard time seeing anything other than what is in front of us. In our case, we were pretty comfortable–until a few weeks ago.
Several weeks ago, things were moving along according to the routine that we had settled into for so long and to which we were adapted. We woke up early, commuted into the city together, worked a long day at our respective offices, commuted home together, and usually threw something together for dinner by about 9 pm. Then it was time to crash and get ready to do the same thing all over again the next day. It was tiring, to be sure, and Leon and I both felt like the professional culture of the workplace in D.C. left much to be desired. It also left us both emotionally and physically exhausted. However, we were determined to serve where we were at the time and wanted to work hard.
I’ve often heard that sometimes the Lord has to do a complete life makeover, i.e. shake everything up in your life, in order to get you into the position He wants you in. Leon and I can now say that we had that happen in our first year of marriage.
The first tremors happened when I started waking up in the mornings feeling nauseated and had to run to the bathroom. Getting through the work day was more difficult than usual–I did not want to eat, the smells of my coworker’s Chinese food made my stomach turn, and by about 3 pm I just wanted to curl up in some comfortable pajamas and sleep. A little test called First Response soon confirmed our suspicions; much to our delight two pink lines popped up on the stick, and I yelled out, “Honey! We’re having a baby!” We were ecstatic and felt truly blessed to begin the journey towards parenthood (Baby Gil is due in October 2013).
Then the figurative rug was pulled out from under us. Shortly after we learned that we were expecting, Leon and I both lost our jobs. It all happened quickly and we did not have much time to process what was happening. Anyone who has gone through job loss knows the feeling–you feel shock, sadness, anger, disbelief, and a whole other range of emotions that hits either in waves or all at once throughout the day. We knew that this was all a part of God’s plan, and that He was shaking things up for a purpose, but it stings like nothing else to lose your job. Even if the company was restructuring, or it was a result of the economy being weak, nothing hurts like having to pack your things up and get into the office elevator knowing you won’t be back.
We didn’t have much time to feel sorry for ourselves, thankfully. Leon and I quickly set up a meeting with our pastor to talk through everything that was happening, which was incredibly helpful. We then had to get the house ready–Leon’s sister Julie was coming to spend her spring break with him in D.C., and I was scheduled to travel to France and Spain for a trip with my mother and other sister in law. We knew that we needed to take a deep breath, enjoy our family commitments, and give ourselves some time to mentally absorb the shock of what had just transpired.
Looking back, it was by the grace of God that we had family commitments lined up right after receiving both joyful and hurtful news. Leon had a wonderful week with his sister, and I was blessed to have the chance to do some traveling and exploring in Europe. Traveling in your first trimester is not exactly the optimum time to travel, but besides some morning sickness it was wonderful to delve back into French and Spanish and enjoy the sights of Provence, Madrid, and Toledo. Travel is incredibly therapeutic, and I was thankful to have that time to clear my head and enjoy some new scenery for awhile.
Back in D.C., thankful to be reunited with my husband, we tried to take some time to pray and really ask for wisdom in what the next step needed to be. It was painful to be so unceremoniously dismissed from my job, like I was nothing more than a faceless laborer (which in D.C. is pretty much how it goes), but it was also a blessing to be able to be home while dealing with morning sickness. I also saw more of my husband’s strong character as he worked so hard to find another job but was never too busy to fix me some soup or bring me crackers or take care of me when I wasn’t feeling well. Amidst the sting of job loss, we knew that our marriage would only get stronger as we faced the situation together.
For awhile we have pretty much felt like we’ve been living on a rollercoaster. I was reminded of one of the rides at Six Flags Over Texas, the main theme park where I grew up, that I rode as a kid. The little coaster cars would chug their way up vertically on the tracks until you could feel your ears popping. Then you could feel yourself tense up as the car slowly pushed up to the precipice from which it would dramatically fall and whirl you through the twists and turns of the coaster. Leon and I have been through the anticipation of reaching the top point and then plunging downwards. Now we’re being whisked through the twists and turns of job applications and praying for the right door to open. This has been a test of our faith, but we know that God is in control. In our case, the road to parenthood has so far been a bit rocky, but we are also excited to see what is in store.