It wasn't a job he loved. In fact, Andrew had been trying to land an internal transfer for almost a year. In January, a position he had lined up was cancelled less than a week before it was supposed to occur. Another possibility fell through about a week after he found out his job had been eliminated.
For our family, the past 55 days have seemed like an eternity. That's how long it's been since Andrew was unexpectedly laid off. While we've been through this before, not nearly enough time has passed since then for me. I still remember how scared I was three years ago -- and we were both under 50 then. But I also remember that my worst fears never materialized. Grace really did turn out to be sufficient. God continued to provide for us as he always has.
I don't know why, but my first response to a difficult situation tends to be anxiety instead of trust. Perhaps that's the reason God keeps allowing me to repeat the test: I still haven't mastered the material. But this time, I did do better than before. I didn't catastrophize quite as much, probably because I prayed a whole lot more.
The answer to those prayers came today. After weeks of application and interviews, Andrew got the phone call -- and the position -- he'd been hoping for, just as the severance pay was about to run out. God is faithful; his mercy endures forever. And forever means well beyond the positive bank balance or social status or even good health. God's mercy extends even beyond death.
I'd prefer to live with a lot less drama, but it does make for a good deal more gratitude than I might otherwise have. Strange, in a way, that what has all the look and feel of a disaster could be so radically transformed into a "Magnficat moment."
Intercession should always give way to adoration and praise. The needs we have are certainly real, but they are not eternal. God's love and his goodness, on the other hand, are. The one thing I hope not to lose from this most recent period of stress is the habit of prayer. Fifty-five days should be long enough to establish that habit securely. I suspect, however, that in the next few weeks I'll need to remind myself that the moment a prayer is answered shouldn't be the moment the prayer ends.
I definitely have a better grasp on hope today than I have for the past seven weeks. Our situation has changed for the better, and so will my daily concerns. I won't be looking at online employment sites, or asking Andrew about whether he received any promising emails. I probably won't wake up at night wondering what the next day will bring either, or worry about being able to keep our kids in the schools they attend.
But while my to-do list will change markedly, the funny thing is that God's agenda won't be any different tomorrow from what it was yesterday. Circumstances don't alter -- or thwart -- God's plan. He has always told us to ask for what we need, to trust in his care, and to love one another. Will Andrew's new full-time job help me to do those things? I don't know. But I do know that the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints, the sacramental life of the Church, and prayer will.
In the end, our whole lives are meant to be lived Magnificats. We are, after all, creatures made to glorify the creator. Our souls were designed to magnify the Lord, and our spirits were created to rejoice in the One who saves us. We are intended for someone greater than we are, greater even than we can become. Our ultimate purpose lies in our identity as God's servants. As such, we called to proclaim his greatness, not our own. Fulfilling that call isn't difficult, for our God is great indeed.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.