Bless the Lord My Soul

Please excuse the fact that I haven't posted here since November of last year. To be quite honest; I've been too  down in the dumps to write anything. Just to let you what's been going on with me, I'll give you the whole 411.

Like many others is the fall of 2008 I got laid off from a great-paying, part-time administrative assistant job (six months before my first book, The Victor) was due to be released in what you all know as the economic crash of 2008. I immediately found another part-time job (taking a small cut in pay) only to be laid off again 2.5 months later as the economy continued to tank. Following that I beat 700 other applicants for a junior secretary job (taking another significant pay cut) for a gentleman whose personal outlook contact list resembled the database of the Republican National Committee. (President Bush even called our office to wish him happy birthday.)  But the job was not a good fit for me and 3 months later I was again seeking employment. Again the Lord was faithful and provided me with a job as a 1099 contracted administrative assistant working for a lovely Christian man and his wife in their small business which had also taken a hit from the economy.  I worked for them for 2.5 years part-time with my hours steadily dwindling downwards as their projects came to completion.  All this time I was collecting unemployment which made up the difference between what I reported as my earnings and what they would provide. My job petered out last August and my unemployment dried up the month following.

During all this time I have kept busy promoting my book, The Victor; attending book fairs, home-schooling conferences, doing book-signings and limited travel while writing my second and third books (Make a Wish and In Plain Sight). Finally when the money ran out my promotional opportunities dwindled down to nothing. Most of what I have done to promote my books cost me money where I did not even come close to breaking even. I self-published Make a Wish and In Plain Sight and even started on a 4th book, entitled Plain & Simple.

As many a writer will tell you; writing is a very lonely business.  I spent every day, all day alone and to be quite honest it was really starting to get to me. Throughout my 20's, 30's, and 40's I had always wished that I could afford to be a stay-at-home wife and mother but after three solid months of it I can declare that God cured me of it! My daughter is 17 now and I am so over being home alone all day!

All this time I had been seeking employment; applying for jobs, going on interviews only to be turned down time after time. I took typing and proficiency tests at my local School District and made friends with the administrative assistant in the HR department (who bought a set of my books for her friends) but no matter how hard I tried, or how close I one would offer me a job. I got turned down for jobs that paid $10/hour (what my daughter has been earning as a babysitter). I felt like a complete failure in every area of my life. As a mother (a blog for another day); as a wife; as an author; and now as a provider. I've worked since I was 15 and now no one wanted me. I was terrified of not getting a job and I was terrified of getting one and failing at it. I was in a very bad place emotionally and mentally. I kept hearing the voice of Henry F. Potter from Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life" telling me that I was worth more dead than alive.

I tried very hard to remain faithful but quite honestly it was a struggle. I kept reminding myself how God had always come through for us in the past (often at the last minute) and provided the employment we needed. Never an abundance but always just enough. Where was He now? I would pray at night and ask Him to speak to me then wait and listen and hear...nothing.  Zip. Zero. Nada. I read the Bible in the mornings and prayed but the only feedback I would get was the David Wilkerson daily devotionals that somehow seemed to know exactly what I was feeling on any given day.  God knows we have bills to pay and that we can't do it only my husband's income. I was beyond willing to go back to work. I'm not the kind of Christian who thinks that God owes me anything (other than my salvation through the shed blood of Jesus). There are plenty of my fellow believers in this world suffering the loss of jobs, homes, health and everything else so it left me wondering if perhaps now was our turn to experience all this. Everyone I know is suffering terribly with something and I have no answers for them.

I got very depressed. I was too depressed to write; too depressed to blog; too depressed to tweet and too depressed to chat on Facebook. No one seemed to care about reading my books no matter what I did. I had high hopes for The Victor but all that is gone. I once truly believed that God had a purpose for this book but after spending thousands of dollars to get it published and get the word out all I can show for it as 36 great reviews on Amazon. The really only great thing that did come out of my writing was all the wonderful friends I have made all over the country as a result. Perhaps I deluded myself; I don't know. Everyone desires for their life to count for something. To matter. Maybe that's part of dying to self and picking up the cross. Giving up on "mattering". It was my hope that God would use The Victor to reach the lost for Him  but I've yet to hear anything in this regard and every door I've tried to go thru has shut in my face.

I felt like I was sliding down a slimy black hole with no way to crawl out. I had no hope for the future and was just clinging to my blind faith by the skin of my teeth. I told the Lord I would trust Him no matter what; no matter how bad things got; no matter what I lost but I didn't promise I could be cheerful and optimistic about it.

The lowest point was 3 weeks ago. With the holiday's over it was back to being completely alone all day and facing ever increasing debt despite our efforts to cut expenses. God provided some extra cash during the holidays in the form of an unusually generous Christmas gift and some insurance reimbursements but when those ran out; we started sinking further and further into debt with no way to pay it off while I kept getting turned down for jobs. What did God want me to do, I wondered?

Then last week He worked a miracle again in my life. (Slaps myself upside the head). I guess He had to wait until I was no longer reluctant to work full-time but more than ready and eager to do so! I had applied for a job through Monster in early December but didn't get a response until early January I got an email from this company asking me to respond if I was still interested in the job via return email (which I thought was very unusual). I reread the job description; found some requirements that I had never heard of and so did not respond. Two days later I got a phone call from this company where the girl in the HR department basically talked me into interviewing for the position. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I agreed and the interview was set for the following week. In the 3 years since I have been out of a "real" job my self-confidence has taken a nose dive and I'm sure it shows up in my interviews. I never used to have a problem interviewing and felt confident of my skills but this past year it has taken a real beating. I am competing with hundreds of other people for these jobs and so the odds of getting one has become slimmer and slimmer. It was probably the best interview I've done in 3 years. I knew I could do the job and was actually excited about it! The people who interviewed me also knew my previous boss and someone else I had worked for so that seemed like "another sign". I left the interview happy for the first time instead of kicking myself. I had a feeling...a premonition and I bought some cute file folders as an act of faith; believing God was going to give me this job!

Well this past Tuesday He did! They called me at 9:00 am while I was walking on the treadmill and said the magic words: "If you're still looking for a job we would like to make you an offer..."  I told them "yes" and how happy I was and that out of the jobs I had interviewed for; (hundreds of them) this is the one that I had wanted the most. This job is 5 miles from my house so no having to deal with traffic; provides great benefits, and is right across the street from my husband's so we can walk together on our lunch hour everyday.
GOD IS GOOD...but then again you know that already, right?

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His (B)holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And (C)forget none of His benefits;
3 Who (D)pardons all your iniquities,
Who (E)heals all your diseases;
4 Who (F)redeems your life from the pit,
Who (G)crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who (H)satisfies your [a]years with good things,
So that your youth is (I)renewed like the eagle.
6 The LORD (J)performs [b]righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are (K)oppressed.
7 He (L)made known His ways to Moses,
His (M)acts to the sons of Israel.
8 The LORD is (N)compassionate and gracious,
(O)Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9 He (P)will not always strive with us,
Nor will He (Q)keep His anger forever.
10 He has (R)not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high (S)as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who [c]fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He (T)removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just (U)as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who [d]fear Him.
14 For (V)He Himself knows [e]our frame;
He (W)is mindful that we are but (X)dust.
15 As for man, his days are (Y)like grass;
As a (Z)flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 When the (AA)wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its (AB)place acknowledges it no longer.
17 But the (AC)lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who [f]fear Him,
And His [g]righteousness (AD)to children’s children,
18 To (AE)those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
19 The LORD has established His (AF)throne in the heavens,
And His [h](AG)sovereignty rules over [i]all.
20 Bless the LORD, you (AH)His angels,
(AI)Mighty in strength, who (AJ)perform His word,
(AK)Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the LORD, all you (AL)His hosts,
You (AM)who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the LORD, (AN)all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!