Lessons Learned from Unemployment: Part I

Two years ago at this time, I was pregnant with our first, and was praying for TJ to be able to find a job after moving back home from Dallas to California. We were living in my Dad’s office with our entire lives packed in storage. We were surviving on our hard-earned savings and the generosity of our families, friends, and even strangers to pull us through my pregnancy safely.

It was a scary time. It was a sad time. But it was also a rich time of growing in a lot of ways.

There are so many people in this country who are unemployed or underemployed. According to this new article from the Economist, it’s not getting any better any time soon. In fact, many have it harder than we did with the average length of unemployment being 39 weeks long.

Although many things we endured have seared themselves on us and left scars, time does really heal many wounds. There are numerous lessons from our seven months of uncertainty that I hope I never forget or take for granted.

Hopefully the things I have taken can encourage and offer hope to others out there who are hurting in the face of the unknown.

Hold on Tight

I knew I loved TJ before, but going through unemployment revealed things I didn’t know so well about him and what kind of man he truly was. He was a rock. He was dependable. He was assuring even in the face of no guarantees. He was a go-getter, a fighter, a survivor, and a leader. He made hard decisions. He did what had to be done even when he didn’t have an ounce of hope left.

I know trails like unemployment or deaths, etc. can easily divide and break up marriages, but it really did bring us closer together than we ever had been because we were intentional.

So husbands, be open about your fears with your wife and then hug her. Talk everything out in exhaustion because she needs to know how you are processing everything. She needs to hear it.

Wives, encourage him to get up every morning and fight. Be his cheerleader without being his mother. Work beside him in practical ways to help him accomplish his goal. Remind him he is not a failure, he is still your man, and hold on to him tight.

Give it Up

There comes a point when you have a real problem in your life that you realize you are trying to fix too much by yourself when you really don’t have any control. Sadly, it takes getting to that point that many of us finally realize we are doing so and finally give it up to God.

The sooner you do it, the better you will feel.

We spent a lot of time asking ourselves why it was taking God so long to intervene. We asked ourselves what He wanted us to learn from a nightmare. We were angry at different points, in despair at other times, and just plain confused for periods.

Despite those real feelings, we also knew God’s promises to us. We had just finished a year at Dallas Seminary and knew God’s hand was active in our lives.

So we spent a lot of time reminding each other of crazy stories and miracles He had done. We read Job. We reminded each other of verses or stories in the Bible to offer clarity.

It was the only thing that brought us back down to reality and out of a state of panic.

To be continued…


One thought on “Lessons Learned from Unemployment: Part I

  1. Pingback: Beating the Blues « The Brown Bag

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