Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bad News

I was sitting at home in the middle of the day on Thursday when my husband walked through the door. I said something welcoming like, "Why are you home and not at work?" and he announced that he'd been laid off from his job.

There is no scandal, no dissatisfaction or wrong-doing to report in this situation; the church has been hurting financially, and they had to cut five staff members to make ends meet. The pastor and elders were heartbroken about it. Our church is one of the last in our area to make staff cuts; many of our friends and acquaintances in the ministry have gone through this situation in the last few months. I guess I just never thought it would happen to us.

I am feeling at peace about it, though; strangely I am not worried or even that emotional about it yet. We've been given 12 weeks of severance and health insurance, an enormous blessing that I know a lot of people don't receive, and I am grateful.

I am also very blessed to have a husband who is exceptionally gifted and well-respected. He has more initiative than anyone I have ever known. For the past few years, he has basically been working two jobs; one full time job at the church, and another full time job doing his writing/conference speaking/blogging. He is brilliant and driven and I am confident that the Lord will provide something for him.

It doesn't hurt that I've been reading all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to help Gracie with my her report for school, and boy, Ma and Pa Ingalls sure went through some much rougher times. The grasshoppers ate their wheat for two summers in a row! Then they had to leave to find work! Then their baby died! Then Mary lost her eyesight! So, you know, that's really bad. This will pass. Right? Right?

To be truthful, we've been through this nightmare before. After September 11, there was a huge economic downturn in the Durham, NC area, where we were living at the time. Our church had some... let's just say shady financial troubles that were hidden very well for a very long time, but with the drop in finances that winter, it got continually worse, and the pastor had to let Greg go.

At the time, it was devastating. I had a 16 month old daughter, and was five months pregnant with my son. A few weeks after we received that news, we went to the doctor for an ultrasound and discovered that a cyst was growing in the baby's brain. A few weeks after that, I was playing with Gracie in the front yard when I was attacked and mauled by my neighbor's 100 pound dog, with Gracie standing just a few feet away. A few weeks later, we signed off on the sale of our house, loaded up a U-haul truck, and sadly began the journey back to South Carolina, where we would stay with Greg's mom until we got back on our feet. As Greg was backing the truck out of the driveway, he steered it right into the front fender of his own SUV, with me behind the wheel paying attention to the toddler seated in the back. As he stood with his hands on his hips, surveying the damage, for just an instant I saw a look in his eyes not unlike Clark Griswold upon his arrival at Wally World, but it passed, and he got back in the truck and we drove off in a cloud of exhaust.

That story ends well; the baby was perfectly healthy at the next ultrasound, I got over my dog bites and away from the toxic neighbor, the time spent at my mother-in-law's house was an enormous blessing. We were able to live off of our savings and a few music gigs here and there until a new job was offered, and then we coasted into the DC area on fumes with $100 left to our names, one day left before our old health insurance expired, and a new understanding of the phrase 'Trust in God'... an understanding that is now going to be tested again.


  1. While I found your diatribe about Laura Ingalls Wilder (I actually just referenced Little House to you somewhere else) extremely funny and am thrilled you are optimistic...I am praying. Love you, friend.

  2. oh. oof. I wish I knew of some paying church jobs to steer you towards. But times are tough all over.

    a little over 4 years ago my husband resigned from a really awful situation... and we had no idea what we would do. We were given 4 months severance (AFTER he resigned... that shows you how awful they had to acknowledge the situation was) and were preparing ourselves for the possibility of moving back in with parents as well. And then lo and behold, we moved to Louisiana. Whoda thunk it? But it has been a blessing indeed, and although I wouldn't choose that path again, it has been our path, and we've tried to make the best of it.

    you clearly will do the same thing.

    Prayers for you all...

  3. Oh man, that is tough. I hate all this layoff business. BUT, you have the right attitude and I have faith right along with you that He will provide.

  4. I really do think good things can come from what at first appears to be a bad thing. Opportunities come up that may not have otherwise. But I know it is hard to see it that way sometimes. Especially all that you had gone through. Sheesh! That is craziness. So glad it all worked out so well.
    Kudos to you on your positive outlook and your faith. Awesome!
    Prayers for a positive outcome soon! :)

  5. I'm sorry, Chrissy.
    Looking through my church magazine, I see about 100 churches looking for various people in Canada.... seriously, could that be an option for your family?

  6. Chrissy,
    I'm praying for you and your precious family. I know it's tough all around right now. Greg is talented and will most definitely find a new and BETTER position. I've seen God work in very mysterious and wonderful ways in my life recently. God is definitely an AWESOME God!
    Paige in S.C.

  7. Y'all are in my prayers!! I know God will continue to open doors and use Greg in mighty ways. We have been there, too, and as you already know there are better things on the other side of the mountain!

  8. So sorry to hear about this, but your perspective on the situation is amazing. God does have a plan - he's not surprised by this turn of events at all. I look forward to reading what's ahead for your sweet family.

  9. that is real tough, and i'm so sorry. hoe something comes up soon for him.

  10. I'm so sorry Chrissy. Your attitude is amazing. ((hugs))


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