Words of Comfort

This weekend, I’m doing Mother Reader‘s 48-Hour Book Challenge.  The Challenge is to spend as much time as possible in a 48-hour period reading and blogging.  Though the challenge is targeted to book bloggers, I didn’t see anything in the rules that declared you had to confine your blogging to blogging about books.  So I think this will be a good time to blog about my last eventful few weeks.

On Tuesday, May 11, what I feared happened — I got a RIF notice.  Due to the library budget cuts, they were having a “Reduction in Force.”  The people who got notices were determined by seniority.  I knew that I was right around the cut-off of who would get RIF’d.  And, sure enough, when they gave me the RIF packet, I was told that I was the most senior Librarian I to get RIF’d.  That’s actually rather a good thing — it gives me a better chance of getting placed somewhere else in the county, since placement is also done in order of seniority.

I half-expected it, but there was no denying that I was sad.  I loved my job as a youth services manager — a children’s librarian.  My co-workers at Herndon Fortnightly Library were wonderful.  I worked there more than two years, and it was a wonderful job.  I had a Mother Goose program with babies a few days later, and it dawned on me how much I will miss those sweet babies.

But God provided me with three most gracious things in the day after I got the notice.

First, on the morning of the day I got the notice, when I strongly suspected that my boss had gotten a call from Library Human Resources, and I was going to get a notice that day, a song I’d heard on the radio kept going through my head.  Here’s the song:

One of the primary emotions I was feeling was fear. How would I pay my rent? What if I didn’t find a job? Would I have to give up having work that was so meaningful to me, that did good for the community, that helped people, including small children and families?

When I was driving home from work after getting the RIF notice, I was listening to a book on CD. When the book finished, the radio came on — and they were playing that exact same song, right at the start.

With words like “Be strong in the Lord.  Don’t give up hope,” “Don’t live life in fear,” and “God’s got his hand on you,” “You’re gonna do great things,” and “Take your time and pray,” the song was just exactly what I needed to hear. God was still in control, I was still in His plan, and things were going to be okay.

The second comforting message from God was in a card from my boss, which showed up on my desk after she left work.  The Sunday before was Mother’s Day, and our pastor had three women from the church give the message.  One of them, a friend of mine, has gone through similar things to what God’s been bringing me through.  She talked about how her life fell completely apart, but God found a way to tell her:  Be still.  Listen to me.  That part of the message truly resonated for me.

Then, on the card from my boss, it said: 

“All the truth and beauty,
all the peace and strength you are seeking
are right there in your heart…
Be still and listen.
Be brave and believe.”

The “Be still and listen” resonated with Sunday’s message, and the next line, “Be brave and believe” reminded me that the reason I do not need to fear is that I truly believe that God can work even this out for good.

A third thing truly touched my heart and felt like it was coming straight to my heart from God.  That was in an e-mail from my friend Mabel who is in my Life Group (a small group from my church that meets weekly to share our lives together).

I read her e-mail the day after I got the RIF notice.  I had been having a low-grade headache since I got the news.  I hadn’t been able to sleep much at all that night, and I was feeling tired and sad and beaten down.

She gave me the verse Revelation 3:8 — “I know your deeds.  See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.  I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

She talked about the verse in the e-mail, and how encouraging that was!  Yes, I felt that I had absolutely no strength left.  I had applied to 18 different places, and hadn’t heard anything back except a few rejections.  I had a job that I felt was following God’s calling for me — but now I was losing it.

As God reminded me through Mabel — I am still in God’s hands.

I was a little proud that, after my husband left me, I got my Master’s in Library and Information Science and landed a good job as a librarian.  Now this RIF notice reminded me that this job, was a gift from God, coming exactly when I needed it.  Losing my job felt like a door closing, and I was applying for some jobs that simply didn’t sound as inspiring.  But God was going to open a door for me that no one can shut.  I am safe in His hands.

How good to be reminded of that!

So, God allowed me to go through a dark valley, but He sent me three special words of comfort at the same time.  He is good, and He is loving.

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