When Chris was sent home from work on Wednesday, October 18th, laid off from his job of nearly two years here in College Station. I admit, I was covered up in fear. I was afraid that the story would unfold, as it has often done before…Thanksgiving/Christmastime being sent home, months of searching, praying and deep, gut-wrenching concern about paying our bills and providing for our family…it flashed through my mind like a freight train. And I went straight down underneath it all.
It was very tense for me….and therefore, my family, because Mama often sets the temperature of the home. So for a little over a week, I really was under it all. Even when I wrote this, I was feeling pretty rotten and misbehaving and complaining, as well. I was tired, overwrought and NOT ON BOARD with this. Nope. Not at all.
But something happened by that Thursday that brought my soul PEACE…let me tell you about it.
I awoke early and started my day in prayer, desperate prayer (which honestly? I think God honors, even unbelieving desperate prayers, especially when we ask Him to help us believe Him. He remembers that we are dust.).
After I prayed, I heard in my spirit, “Holly, it’s just the empty tube. Don’t be afraid.”
Let me explain the empty tube to you (pulled from my archives):
When Chris and I graduated from Texas A&M, the graduates were so plentiful, they had three separate graduations. Our parents came into town, the U-haul was packed and ready for our move to Little Rock and we cleaned like crazy (to get that wonderful $150 deposit back from our Sonnenblick apartment). I graduated with the business school on Friday night. Chris was to graduate on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday, we had turned in our apartment keys and had vacated our first home. The U-haul was parked and ready to go, and we all headed to see Chris graduate.
Chris has a wonderful sense of humor…God does, too! Why do I say that? Wait and see…
We wait the full 2 hours and watch for Chris. Chris gets his tube and quickly opens it, as he walks to his seat. He glances inside and puts the lid back on. Then he looks at us and turns it upside down, mouthing, it’s empty. No diploma here! Ha! Ha! Ho..ho…Mmmm. He sits down and we wait another 45 minutes. Then we get in the van together. Chris says, “There really is no diploma. Just a sheet of paper saying I haven’t met all of the requirements for graduation.” He’s not laughing anymore. “What???” I say, “The only reason we are moving to Little Rock is for YOUR graduate school! What will we do?” So, we travel with our parents back to E. Texas for the night. The next day, we move into our new apartment. We have no job. Chris has no degree. What will we do? Chris’ parents laugh it off. “Oh, it will be OK,” they say. Humph, I think.
There isn’t a thing we can do until Monday morning. So Monday finally rolls around…my eyes are red and puffy from crying. Finally, the offices open at 8:30 am. Chris calls…by 8:32, Chris finds out that “Oh (ha ha), we misapplied a class. We’ll send the diploma in the mail. What’s your new address?” I am infuriated! How could they misapply a class? Why didn’t they ask earlier? They would have saved us a world of worry–me anyway.
So we moved to Little Rock for 2 years, while Chris got his masters, I went to work. It was a wonderful time with godly people all around us. We were so blessed! Chris got a job at Libbey Glass and we moved to E. Texas in February 1996. He didn’t get his diploma, yet–they came out in May. May rolled around and I got the mail. A letter…from University of Arkansas. What does it say? “Dear Chris, I’m sorry, but you haven’t fulfilled all the requirements for graduation.” This time how did I react? I laughed…out LOUD! I said, “OK, Lord I get it. Yes, this is quite funny.” I called Chris at work and he called UALR. What did they say? “Oh (ha ha) we misapplied a class. We’ll send your diploma in the mail. What’s your new address?”
You see God does have a sense of humor. I think He laughs a lot, not derisively, mind you. He just thinks that we need a couple of similar situations to get our attention. He is trustworthy…He can be trusted. If only we would. My sense of humor? Well, it’s gotten better. I think a lot more is funny now. And trust? Well, I am trusting more and more each day.
So basically, what I think God was telling me was this–I’ve got this. It will turn out well!
And y’all? It has! Oh, it has!! Let me fill you in!!
On Sunday, October 29th we had friends stop us on the way to Sunday School at church, asking about Chris’ job search. Chris stopped and explained what he had been doing, when the man said, “Well have you talked to (this guy) about his business? He also knows a lot of folks, as well.”
And you know what? The very man walked by! He then stopped and the story became WONDERFUL, in the sense that only God could do this. The man was not hiring. But he asked for Chris’ resume. Then he asked Chris to come in. He interviewed for 3 hours! And one of my biggest prayer requests was answered in the midst of it. I was concerned that since we have had SO MANY wonderful job journeys, but not any retirement saved from them, that God would provide for us in retirement. And it was a WONDERFUL package!
He asked Chris to think and pray about the job, which truly wasn’t even fleshed out in description. And he invited Chris back today for a second interview. Chris sincerely prayed. He turned it over in his heart and mind. Is this a place I want to pour into ’til I retire? Are we in College Station for that long? And the answer to that question was an ABSOLUTE YES.
With so much peace in his heart and excitement, he told the boss, “I am really excited about working here!” And he was given the job! He begins back to work on Monday, which gives him a glorious 4 days and a weekend to rest in such a beautiful provision and peace of heart and mind.
It was the empty tube. And not only that? We will be provided for in so many ways–medical, retirement, benefits and through his salary.
I’m astounded and humbled by your prayers, by God’s love for us.
So now, in my heart, I am beginning to plan a home that we can build here someday down the road….and literally, I’d like to live just down the road. God is so very good!!