“We’ve decided to terminate your employment.” I sign papers and shake hands. Outside in the May sun I call my son to pick me up. “Joe, I’ve been fired.” The emotion over takes me. Crocodile tears spill as I walk and allow the situation to soak into my heart. My closest friend betrayed me. I introduced her to the organization, and they hired her. She introduced them to some privy information with a twist, and they fired me. Two months later she still works there. I am still unemployed.
She was my confidant. She edified, quoted scripture and prayed powerful prayers over me. She came to church with me, and we held hands during worship. During sermons we were like little girls sharing whispers and giggles only Jesus could hear. We celebrated wins and held each other during losses. We were divorced women and single moms with a determination to overcome obstacles and statistics. We encouraged each other in her journey with Jesus.
She quit coming to church. I miss her. She has a melodic tone when speaking with authority, amazing hair and incredible insight. I hated her until I could forgive her. Honestly, sometimes the hate creeps in with an insidious vengeance, and I entertain it. Jealousy, defeat and great sorrow take their turns with my heart. I choose courage to overcome them all. I want to say my family is next to me and supporting me and my children during this time of great loss. I can’t. We separated ways in December after a conflict in interests. My closest aunt tells me in a letter, “I have to forgive you because I am Christian. Have a blessed life, Lorie.” Loneliness has infiltrated my identity. Jesus challenges that.
I’m in my therapist’s office. We’ve been together a dozen years. He knows every little thing about me. I cry around about my life being so hard and question the worth of anything I try to accomplish. He tells me with gentleness, “Lorie, you are a pilgrim. You are in uncharted territory.” I look at him and let that analogy wash over me. I smile through my tears. I say the statement I declared during the New Year. “I am not a victim. I am a woman of virtue.” (Proverbs 31:10-31). He agrees wholeheartedly. So does Jesus. I take a selfie when I get home from being fired. I am wearing a t-shirt with a bird flying out of a cage with one word “Free.” I put that shirt on that morning not realizing the depth of the implication at the end of the day. But God did.
I send out applications, resumes and cover letters. My phone and email stay quiet. So does my soul because I know (1 Peter 3:4). I know this is not a catastrophe. It is an opportunity. I am called aside (Romans 12:2), to stop, pay attention to Him (Acts 16:14). He has my full devotion. I rehash powerful prayers I utter over and over. Prayers of an unadulterated love affair and intimacy with the Holy Trinity, to be the woman He intends me to be. I hear Him as He dispels my fears and lies. I feel His tangible love as old and new, deep woundings get their due time to correctly and fully heal. I hear His heartbeat as He holds me close soothing my scattered thoughts and emotions (2 Peter 3:10). I smell His breath as He whispers words of courage, love and truth (Ephesians 1: 13&14).
I am overcome with strength and straighten my pilgrim’s bonnet. My shame is undone and because of the cross; I am free (John 8:36). I put my hands to the plow in the rich soil and forget what lies behind me (Luke 9:16). I let the dead bury their dead (Matthew 8:22). I have been created for a time such as this (Esther 4:14). He calls me higher and deeper. I go where He leads me (Psalm 23). Friends, family, livelihood and identity fall away from my body, heart and soul. I count the cost, and frankly, He is worth it (Luke 14: 26-33).