Monday, September 12, 2011

Generational Wisdom

This evening I was discussing ACFW and the delicate balance of hopes and fears with my mom. After pouring out all my anxiety and excitement over my first writer's conference, my mom, (Janelle Wood) shared some wonderful truths with me. These truths transfer so very well to the plight of the unpublished writer that I asked her permission to post her thoughts here. I hope it is as meaningful to all my fellow writers as it is to me, especially in light of the stress of preparing for ACFW.

A little background about Janelle Wood: Almost three years ago, after working at the same place for 15 years, Janelle was unexpectedly laid off. She spent almost two years searching for a job in the difficult job market. After hundreds of applications and dozens of interviews, she wrote this article to remind her of the lessons God had been teaching her thought her season of unemployment.
Lessons from the Unemployment Line…and Exodus
                Last Sunday our pastor spoke on the familiar passage from Exodus 14. After watching God’s awesome power demonstrated in the ten plagues, the Israelites were finally released from Egypt. But Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his armies in pursuit. When the Israelites came to the Red Sea, they could not go forward, and were surrounded by the enemy. The Israelites complained to Moses, saying “what have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? . . . It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" (vs 11-12)
                Over the past months, there were many times when I could identify with how the Israelites must have felt—a sea of hopelessness at my back, and the enemy of self-doubt surrounding me.  I must confess that at times I have demonstrated the same lack of faith as the Israelites, even though I have seen God’s faithful provision many, many times. I have wondered if God knew what he was doing.  I’ve wondered if God brought me to the desert to die. I’ve wondered if God really did have a plan.  But even through my doubt, God’s answer has often been the same as His response to the Israelites: “The Lord with fight for you; you need only to be still.” (vs 14)
                 During this unwelcome journey through unemployment, I am learning many things—most of them things I really should have learned long ago. But, if you are among the one in ten people on the journey with me, be encouraged by these reminders. If not, thank God for your work, and rejoice in these truths. 
Lesson 1: God is my provider.  It is not my job that provides my needs, it is God. Sometimes he has provided through my job, but right now He simply wants me to trust Him alone.
Lesson 2: God is my sufficiency. I don’t need the approval or affirmation of anyone except God.  As long as my heart is right with Him, and I am walking in obedience-it is sufficient.
Lesson 3: God is my identity. I am not defined by my job or my income. I am not incomplete because I don’t have a title or a business card. I am a child of the King and complete in Him.
Lesson 4: God is my creator.  I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He prepared in advance for me to do. (Eph 2:10) He created me to be perfectly suited to do the things that he wants me to do. He didn’t miss a skill or aptitude, or forget about an attribute when He created me. I am exactly as He intended.  
Lesson 5: God is Faithful. I do not need to be afraid, He will never leave me nor forsake me.
Lesson 6: God is my destiny.  My professional future is not in my hands, or the hands of my interviewers or evaluators. It is in God’s hands and His alone. This does not excuse me from doing my due diligence, but it frees me from the bondage of perceived failure.
The Red Sea has not parted for me yet, but it is no longer the sea of hopelessness.  It is becoming the sea of opportunity—opportunity for God to show himself strong and faithful—to work a miracle in my life.  The enemy of self-doubt is still poised, but the angel of God and the pillar of cloud (vs 19-20), in the form of some lessons re-learned, have come between me and this destructive enemy just as they did for the Israelites.

Shortly after writing out these thoughts, a door was opened and Janelle has now been happily employed for almost a year.
Thanks Mom for sharing these thoughts!


  1. You are SO right, Andrea - your mom's article is absolutely fitting for ACFW. I especially loved Lesson 3: God is my identity. That's something I've been thinking a lot about in relation to my WIP, but even moreso, in my personal life. When we let what we DO become our identity, we've let the truth of what we ARE (God's creation, His masterpiece, LOVED) slip...

    Thanks for the encouragement...and see you soon!!

  2. Thx for blessing me with this post!!