My husband’s face was ashen and he was visibly shaken when he walked out of his home office that Monday morning. I turned from my desk and paused to read his face before he spoke. I didn’t want to hear what I feared.
But he spoke the words, anyway. Fearful and broken. “I lost my job. Just like that. No notice, no real severance package to speak of—they are closing the company.”
Time seemed to stop in the shock of the moment, yet the beating of my heart accelerated. The blood pulsed in my ears so that the ringing made everything surreal. This couldn’t be happening, again. After 16 years with the company, he was often praised for being one of their most dedicated and appreciated employees.
We, as a family, had sacrificed so, so much for this career. More moves than I care to remember, our children being uprooted and transplanted many times, saying goodbye to loved ones and starting over again. He sacrificed as a husband and father, as well. Time with his family, personal pursuits, dreams of his own company, certainly his peace while staying in a cut-throat industry that didn’t align with his personal values. All to pay the bills.
I hugged him tight and reminded him of God’s promises, shocked but determined to trust in the things that God had always shown us to be true. Weak attempts to comfort and share that his value had nothing to do with his ability to provide.
Yet, a man sees things differently sometimes. He was crushed—is crushed. In the following months, he interviewed and applied for countless jobs. In his line of work, people get hired because they know someone on the inside. Executive jobs are often internal hires and he understood, even as he diligently applied, that his chances were bleak. Having been on the other side, he knew firsthand how companies often view a man his age when they can hire younger for less money.
We lost our home, our savings, and finally—our hope. A fragment of a mustard seed was all that was left to replant. Thankfully, that is all God requires.
Pruning back your life is an exceedingly painful process. Hard enough when it is your choice, earth-shaking when the choice is made for you. Perhaps our earth needed to be disturbed for pruning to begin. To cultivate a new harvest, it might have been time to let go of what was, in order to clear the land for what will be.
My husband and I are still in this long season, in a small apartment, waiting for God to reveal what is next. Hoping for a job that brings life to his parched and dusty spirit. He faithfully tends to the land, always searching for the new crop, but his body is weary from fighting for trust in the dust bowl of hope. So much of what we relied on has been pruned from our lives.
Being pruned isn’t something we naturally desire; it is painful to be trimmed of the things we believe are necessary to thrive. Our pride tells us that we know best, that we deserve, that we are entitled. We found it crucial to open our hearts and embrace a willingness to change. As we enter a new season, we trust God will provide His peace after the pruning. Willing hearts make the process less painful and help us remain steadfast in our faith.
When fear positioned itself to steal our hope for the future, we yearned for courage. The nights grew long and we heard the sounds of danger around us. In our time of turmoil, God’s Word became our security and gave us a new determination to trust that His promises are not for everyone else—they are for all of us. In all things—even this. Our trust helped us look forward to a future we could not yet see.
To let go of the past was the hardest for me. It’s still a struggle. I am a nester by nature and love creating a lovely home to invite people into. It is scary to be starting over again in advancing midlife—but longing for what is over? I’ve discovered that only delays my peace. I do well when I choose to remember with a smile what was, but it is imperative to stop wishing for something that cannot be. Pruning makes me long for our old familiar harvest. My husband and I needed time to grieve the loss. Then we could choose to look forward toward hope, rather than backward toward our wishes. It also helped open our eyes to the present needs of others.
As God’s children, we are created for community, not secluded plots of land without neighbors. While our hearts hurt, it is a perfect time to look for others to serve—to distract our hearts from thinking about our issues. Finding a way to serve, even while we’re being pruned, gives life to others and restores our confidence that our hands are still valuable to God’s service. It makes us thankful for what we still have.
Gratitude is a powerful way to embrace whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Is it easy? No—especially when we are hurting. However, we have a choice each day to find God’s blessings in the midst, or to wallow in the mire of fear. We can practice thankfulness while we are working the land we find ourselves in. Determining to face each day with eyes eager to see His creativity, then writing down the little things we notice can help carry us through. Each day we try to stop and remember what God has already done for us.
So here we are, still uncertain, but with renewed hope that God knows exactly what is happening and has good things in store for us. Our land is freshly cleared; our pruning has trimmed back much of our previous life. Let’s be completely authentic with each other here—it has hurt. It has been so painful we have wondered at times what we did to deserve this punishment—how we displeased God—even when we know deep down that isn’t how He works.
Sorrow does that to a strong but shaken faith.
There is no shame in questions—He can handle it all. Thankfully. I know, because I have sorely tested the boundaries, and you know what? Every question provided an opportunity to listen for His answer. He loves us and prunes us for a purpose, not a punishment. And He provides strength to see us through.
We are choosing each day to focus on God and His promises. We embrace the little things, give thanks for all things, and cherish our opportunities to walk this path together—with each other and with our community of friends and family.
The horizon still offers hope, a glimmer of green hinting at something new that still hasn’t revealed its crop to us. In the waiting, we will tend to what we can, and trust God to replace what He has pruned with something unexpected. Something new—and it WILL be beautiful. Because He says so.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it” (Isaiah 43:19)?
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