“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down and he will bind us up.” Hosea 6:1
I’ll never forget him walking through the door, sitting down quietly unable to speak, putting his head in his hands and saying, “I think I’ve been demoted.” He was in a position that his bosses wanted for another employee; so began the process of moving my husband out of the way for someone else. My heart broke as my man processed each event that happened next in his job. “Do they not want me anymore? “I’m still here, so that can’t be the total answer.” “What am I doing wrong?” “How was it that I was bragged on one minute and not good enough the next?” Although his questions were never completely answered or even understood, as time passed, we had to accept the change that felt so difficult. The journey over the next couple of years led us through three questions we asked God.
Right away we prayed, “Ok, God, what now?” Really, we were asking, “Do we need to look for other work?” “Is it time for a career change?” “What now?” But what we received was, “Be grateful”. Picking up the pieces and moving forward in this situation had to begin quickly. His current employees were watching. He quickly needed a lesson on how to lead with integrity while working through confusion and frustration. Scripture states plainly “give thanks in all situations”. (1 Thes 5:16) So, we began with thankfulness. Thankfulness for a job and God’s provision of our needs. We prayed strength for my sweet man to walk through the door into his work with a grateful heart. It wasn’t how he felt, of course, but he did it anyway, hoping emotion would follow discipline. Day after day we said a prayer of gratitude.
The second question came later. Still struggling with self-worth but trying to move forward, it was hard not to blame people in authority. Company and/or boss bashing wasn’t the response we wanted to give, so we both worked continually to surrender the frustration; God made something very clear at this point. He was the boss, the King of Kings, the ruler of our universe. For whatever the reason He had my husband in this different role and we needed to have a good attitude. That’s when we began to ask, “God, what do you want my man to do right where you placed him?” Day after day, new opportunities to be a light in the workplace began to open for him. (1 Thes 5:12)
Honestly, hurt stayed around for quite some time. Both my husband and I had to lay down pride, hold our tongues and continually ask for forgiveness for holding grudges. I was super proud one day, though, when my sweetheart took a bold step and began to talk with others outside of the workplace who had been through similar experiences. They encouraged him and prayed with him for wisdom. Some of these guys were blessed with bold career opportunities later, while others were ushered into new positions in other companies. Hearing their stories helped with healing and led us to the final question we asked God.
“God, where is the full perimeter of my husband’s service?” Where is my husband’s sphere of influence in this new position and how can he encourage those around him? We quickly learned his sphere of influence wasn’t just at work. It was in our home, church and community, as well. This understanding helped significantly in teaching us that my husband’s value was from far more than just his job. God had blessed him with a greater area of impact than we had ever realized. Encouragement abounded from his roles as husband, dad, community leader and church leader. During this time of discovery, my husband received a note from an employee. She expressed her appreciation to him as her boss, but also shared how she admired the way he lived his life consistently at work and home. This note came as a source of confirmation, that he was living his life to impact those around him. (Col 3:17)
Currently my husband is back in the exact position he held when this whole process began -except with the man who had been moved around him now serving as his manager; however, my husband is not the exact same man as before. He is wiser. He has learned, God is bigger than his job and his self-worth comes from some place greater than work alone. He has worked through his priorities. Actually they are in the same order as they were before, but now he is listening to the voices of affirmation from sources that are plugged into God’s calling over just the business world. God has shown him, he is way more valuable than the title on his door. We’ve watched as God has used him through each step, even when his heart hurt. We are hoping our questions and lessons will encourage someone else stuck in an unwelcomed unexpected challenge. Difficult situations rise up in jobs every day. Trying to find the good or understand the bad is hard and sometimes never even comes to fruition, but staying in complete trust of a God who loves you, is life changing.
In the beginning of this battle, I wrote this prayer that I prayed for him daily:
A Prayer for My Husband
Lord, please watch over my husband. Thank you for the man you have created him. Thank you for his thoughtfulness and loving kindness. Thank you for his hard work. I fear I do not thank you enough for all of the laughter and joy he brings me, as well as the completeness as a woman. Help me to make this home a safe haven for him so he can come home to peace away from the distractions of his world. Help me to be blessing in his retreat for building up and encouraging.
Lord, please, give my husband resolution in his job. Help him to know that all work he does is for you. Place him, exactly where he needs to be placed so that he can work as effectively as possible. Give him courage to lead in integrity. Give him humility to serve with grace.
Lord, please guide my husband as a parent. He desires to be a good role model, to lead with love and to bless his children with you being part of their lives. Help me to stand by him, support him and help him in this role, not to hinder him in anyway.
Lord, please bless, my husband as a man. Give him fulfillment in you, completion though hard work and peace at the end of the day. May our children’s children know of his goodness and be led even closer to You because of the way my husband lives.
Thank you, Lord, for my husband!