Saturday, June 11, 2016

Prepared, protected and provided for by God

This was how the day started, as posted on Facebook: 
God catches my attention in a way I can't ignore when the Upper Room and First 15 devotionals highlight the same Scripture on the same day: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

I also shared this commentary from  "It's vital that you understand these characteristics are not something you strive toward in your own strength, but they are a natural result of being loved by God. You will never be able to be consistently faithful, gentle, or anything else good in your own strength. It takes the work of the Spirit to be marked by the Spirit. Engage with the Holy Spirit throughout your day. When you find yourself in a situation and are struggling to be a person full of the fruit of the Spirit, take a minute and ask for the Holy Spirit's help. Ask him to share with you his perspective and heart. He is with you in every moment and longs to help you live your life to the fullest. Enjoy his love today and live your life out of the abundance of God's presence available to you." 

Next was an email upon arrival at work before 10 a.m. about an important company meeting at 5. 
I went from that to a mammogram on a mobile lab through work. I did pretty good at staying focused during the day and not worrying about "the important meeting."

That was until I and many of my copy desk co-workers were told at 4 pm that we would be meeting at 4:30. I've been around long enough to know that could not be good. 

As I later explained on Facebook, sharing the link to a news report telling that The Oklahoman would be shutting down its presses and that it would be printed by the Tulsa World (although the article didn't include that the copy desk would be gutted and that work outsourced to Austin, Texas): OK, friends and family, you can read it from me first. So, yes, this includes me. Fortunately, God -- that orchestrator of "Resistance is futile (when) God  is at work" -- was preparing me and continues to provide. I have four months to make this transition and to try to help others along the way.

As I responded to various comments from friends, many of whom seemed more distressed that I did:

-- Truly, it's not a problem for me, and I'm grateful I get to prepare. The situation is much worse for several co-workers.

-- As I said above, it's truly not a problem for me, and I'm grateful I get to prepare. 34 years is probably enough at one place. The situation is much worse for several co-workers.

-- Change is hard, but I'm more open to it these days than I was at many points in my life. 

-- It will work out fine for me. It will be a lot more difficult for others -- and may also be kinda crazy for those who will still be there. At least I'm not out the door already. I'm so grateful for the four-month transition time.

-- Yes, my heart aches for journalism and dedicated professionals who just can't win in this environment. It's gonna be a tough few months. But I'm going to try to be a positive force in the transition.

-- I actually have prayed along the way to act in faith if this ever happened. I thank God for answering that prayer. I also thank Him for the transition time that hopefully will help others even more than it helps me.

-- In response to one of several friends who assured me there is life after The Oklahoman: I'm counting on it. I'm grateful I didn't have to leave today and will be able to transition out. I'm also grateful for my friends from the good old days!!!! I'm so glad we've kept in touch and will continue to.

In an attempt at summary, I cannot overstate how grateful I am that I was not sent packing the day I learned my job would be terminated. In my almost 34 years at The Oklahoman, I've escaped the cut of many a layoff, and I cannot think of any previous times where people got to hang around and actually let people show their respect and for everyone to share farewells. It truly was an answer to prayer. Something I found myself pondering as I got older -- and as I saw continued trends in journalism that demonstrated how expendable my job is viewed to be in the money-making scheme of things -- was whether I would be able to leave on my terms, or would I end up getting that "here this morning and out the door by the end of the day, never to return" treatment. Based on that 34 years' experience, I saw no way I could get laid off and also get to transition out. And even though I didn't pray directly for this, God knew my heart. And with God, all things are possible. I already knew this. And now it's powerfully reaffirmed.

Now, I also know God would have worked it for good had the news been different, and I was out of my job as of Wednesday. I consider it pure grace that that's not the way it happened.

 I overflow with gratitude, humility and a desire to give God the glory. I pray and trust that God is shaping me that I can respond that way even when things don't work out my way. And I pray to be mindful of how to lift up those who face more obstacles and hardship through all of this. I think those fruits of the spirit, and how God reveals them as I receive His love, are key. 

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