By Jennifer R. Statham
I began my journey in the news business back in 1997 when I joined a community college newspaper on a whim. I hoped to find friends but instead I found a love for giving others news they didn’t even realize they needed.
The news business has changed dramatically from the cut and paste operation it was in that community college newsroom. Dark rooms are now storage closets full of many tools once essential, made obsolete by technology. Cut and paste designs were long ago replaced by computer design programs. Now, news organizations are called “media giants” with the irony of the avalanche of layoffs which hit in the past five to ten years reducing desks-full of editors and reporters to a bare minimum staff.
I had miraculously avoided the layoffs for years until one caught up with me in December 2015. After more than a decade in the news business, and four years of glowing reviews at this last job, I was told “it’s not personal,” but the way it felt was disparaging.
It felt decidedly personal when the owner of the company, the publisher, briefly announced the layoffs at the last company-wide meeting I attended. He announced the layoffs as if it was only another item he was checking off the agenda. Pridefully, he stood tall, head up, gazing over the crowd of employees, not even addressing me or the others who were part of the “workforce reduction” as the individuals we were, let alone looking me in the eye. By God’s grace, the pain was dulled by my immediate boss stepping in at the meeting to at least acknowledge the layoffs were a hard decision and by no means were we responsible for what had happened to us.
I was feeling like an obsolete tool of the trade. I’ve been looking for another writing job, but reporting jobs in my area are scarce. For months I have searched with no avail.
God’s time, God’s Plan
Earlier this month I attended the Fresh Grounded Faith women’s conference in Huntsville, Alabama, and the experience confirmed to me what I should have recognized all along – everything, yes, even my layoff and unemployment, was in God’s plan.
Across the last several months I have agonized about finding a job. I have rewritten my resume numerous times, convinced there was a glaring error I didn’t notice keeping me from being hired. I was convinced there was something lacking in me, in my knowledge, in my skills. The point I was missing is not only does God have a plan but He uses even the worse times to work on our hearts and minds, and most importantly bring us back to Him.
The speakers at the Fresh Grounded Faith event were empowering women. However, when their lives were dissected in front of us through their testimonies at the two-day conference, they revealed it was God’s power shining through, nothing of their own doing, not their own success, not even their own plans.
The keynote speaker, Author and Speaker Jennifer Rothchild went blind at 15 years old. Guest speaker, Actress Karen Abercrombie shared she had waited what seemed like a lifetime for God’s perfect acting part for her as Miss Clara in the movie “War Room.” Then, the worship leader of the event, Contemporary Christian Artist Laura Story revealed her most popular hit song, “Blessings,” had been written during one of the most difficult times in her life, when as a newlywed her husband was in the hospital after brain surgery. These were not easy struggles, yet God used each imperfect woman and their struggle at exactly the right time for His perfect purpose.
God’s truth is true for us all, in every moment
It’s not just in the most famous people, or in the bigger stories, or during the most exciting adventures, or in the best jobs that God’s truth and purpose for us is revealed. God’s truth is we are all His beloved, His plans for us are good, and we were created for His joy and for His glory. His truths are true in every moment, regardless of how we feel, and they are revealed on grand scales and in small measures. His plan and goodness is present in everything. We have an opportunity to glorify God through things we often deem insignificant, even what we refer to as the everyday routine. We can glorify God in the smile we give to the cashier at the grocery store, we can praise God in the hugs we welcome our husband home from work with, and we can thank God as we drink our first cup of coffee in the morning.
I often look around and see the things I lack. I don’t have a job to go to at the moment, but, I do have a job and in God’s eyes I LACK nothing. My job is to trust in God’s plan, my job is to praise Him during the good and bad times, my job is to give Him the glory in everything, and most importantly my job is to love Jesus Christ and know that He loves me. All the rest, whether it’s good or bad, is as it’s said in the news business a “sidebar” but not the main story.