I walked out the door with a sense of relief and excitement in my step, but also slight trepidation, having no idea of what lay ahead. It was July 2019 and I had been retrenched from the company I was working for.
It had been a really tough season for me and God had been refining my character. It had been one of those ‘desert experiences’ where you wonder if God is really with you. I had felt so alone and confused about the challenges I was facing. Many times, I simply wanted to give up. On the day I walked out that office door, it felt like a heavy black cloak had been lifted off me and I felt a lot lighter.
I decided to take a month to catch my breath and also to spend quality time with my little girl, Lulu. I booked a flight to Cape Town and we had a special time together, catching up with a dear friend who was visiting from England. When we came back, I prioritized more time with my daughter and was so grateful to God that I could fetch her from school midday and spend the afternoons with her.
In hindsight, I see how this had all been orchestrated by God so that my daughter and I could have a sustained time to bond. I had adopted her a year earlier and only had a few weeks of leave to bond with her. Although I was so aware that I still had no formal work, I took time to celebrate the moment. I was so grateful to God for this ‘mother-child’ bonding time.
As the weeks passed by, they rolled into months and by December 2019, I still had no prospects of work. At this stage, the fear of having no money started to grip me and for the first time since I was retrenched, I was really frightened. I had applied for many jobs and tried working for a month in a rental property company. Nothing seemed to be opening up and the money in my account had dwindled to very little.
It was in this exact moment that I got a call from a friend overseas. She told me that they wanted to bless me with an amount of money. I had been praying for a specific amount but this was 3 times that amount! I was so overwhelmed at the abundance of God’s provision, I just burst into tears. Gratitude flooded my heart again and I was incredibly thankful to Him for this extravagant blessing.
Dictionary.com defines ‘thanksgiving’ as ‘the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God, an expression of thanks, especially to God. A public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness. A day set apart for giving thanks to God.’
The day that money came into my account, I celebrated God’s goodness and favour; I was deeply aware that this was an act of kindness from a person prompted by a loving, kind God.
I continued to apply for jobs online and through agencies but was unable to find work. In March 2020, I was in discussion with an advertising agency to start working for them and it looked really promising. Then the president announced that South Africa was going into Level 5 lockdown. We all needed to stay in our homes and only travel to shops for food and essential items. The COVID pandemic had hit South Africa and l was unaware of the major impact this was about to have on my family, city and nation.
In June 2020, our church community decided to fast and pray for 3 days. In the middle of the fast, I had an interview for a sales position in a newly formed franchise business in Durban. I accepted the offer and started work a few weeks later. I was so grateful to God that I had work at a time when so many other people were being retrenched. It also struck me that even when circumstances around you indicate it is impossible to find work, God will make a way. His timing is perfect. God opens doors that no man can shut.
Are you currently someone who has been retrenched or lost your job? If so, don’t lose hope. God has a plan for your life. Even though you may not see it, He is busy working behind the scenes to open doors and opportunities for you to flourish. Sometimes He can’t place you in that position because you have not yet surrendered to the dealings of your heart. As much as God wants us to flourish and thrive in life, He also knows that in order for us to do that, we need to allow Him to shape our characters. It can be so painful at the time, but so worth it in the long run.
Some lessons I have learnt during this season of my life:
Be thankful for what you do have and not despondent about what you don’t have
Treasure your relationships and value people higher than material possessions
Yield to God and allow Him and others who love you to speak honestly into your life
Don’t ignore those character flaws that are highlighted to you by others
Spend time with God and develop your trust in His provision for your life
Enjoy the simple pleasures in life
Be passionate and positive and never give up!