Monday, September 23, 2013

Losing a Job, Rising Up to the Challenge & God's Divine Grace

Since I was late in posting my bumpdate last week, I decided to wait until tomorrow to post my next one (that way it's spread out a little bit more). Today's post is a very personal story about losing my job, prayer, and recent instances of God's Grace in my life. My hope in sharing this story is to maybe help someone who is going through a difficult time in their life. 

I'm sure that several of you know which company I worked for and I want to stress that this post isn't to bash/make them look bad--I learned so much during my year and a half with them and formed several friendships that I still hold near and dear to my heart. Losing a job is never easy but I now understand that it was for the best.

It was a Thursday morning in late August when my story begins. I woke up to my alarm at 7:30, got dressed, made breakfast, and started heading out the door for work when all of the sudden.. oooh, something in my stomach just didn't feel right. I darted back to the bathroom, threw open the toilet lid and threw up.. and up and up and up (keep in mind that I'm nearly 5 months pregnant at this point so I thought I was past the point of morning sickness). After I finished, I picked myself up, brushed my teeth (again), cleaned up a bit and headed out the door. As I drove to work, I thought about how weird my little incident was and laughed to myself about how I hoped this wasn't a foreshadow to my day.

Oh, Annie. You have no idea.

I got into work and everything was going pretty smoothly. I worked in the news department of a smaller market television station so I had spent the morning running around taking pictures, making phone calls, conducting interviews, etc. I was busy trying to set up an interview with a few college baseball players when my boss called a co-worker and myself over to her desk. I'm not going to go into great detail over what she said (there were some other calls made by management that were unrelated to me but were ridiculous and I didn't agree with/understand) but it boiled down to there not being enough money to keep paying me--they were cutting my position and that next Monday (Labor Day) would be my last day.

What happened after that is a bit of a blur. My mind started running one million miles per hour: what were we going to do? I had been told that I could keep my job after the baby was here and work part-time/on call (Brandon and I are getting a schedule figured out so that one of us is home with the baby at all times and we don't have to mess with baby sitters or daycare) and we were really counting on having that little bit of extra income now and after the baby arrives. Then the horror of having to find a new job sank in; who was going to want a 5-month pregnant mother-to-be?

About 5 minutes of numbness/shock went by and then I felt an all too familiar emotion creep up on me. I knew I needed to keep it together (I cannot stand crying in front of people--the only time you will ever see me tear up is if I'm at a funeral, I'm so touched by something that I cry happy tears, or if you mess with my cat after I politely ask you to leave her alone) but I completely lost it after stepping foot in the dark and vacant studio to call my husband. I got off the phone with Brandon, dried my hot tears, marched back into the news room to grab my purse and I fled--I may have just lost my job but I wasn't about to lose my dignity, too.
It just dawned on me that this post has been all words and no pictures.. sorry.. anyway, here's a picture of Bitsy being absolutely adorable! Seriously, have you ever seen anything so sweet, precious and purrr-fect? But I digress--back to the story.
I sobbed the entire way home. Why was this happening? Why now of all times? How were we going to be able to keep paying off doctors bills (even with good health insurance, babies are expensive--who knew?), car insurance, rent? What were people going to think? Why did the company lead me on for so long if there wasn't any money? Would people think I did something wrong and got fired? Was I hurting Baby by getting too stressed out over it? Did Brandon finish my leftover chicken fried chicken from the night before?

Luckily, Brandon hadn't left for work (and hadn't touched my leftovers--thanks babe!) when I arrived home so we were able to hug and talk for a little bit. He assured me over and over that everything was going to be okay and that he had a good job and we'd manage to get by no matter what. I agreed but continued to cry and mope around after he left for work. I talked to God the entire time this was happening and asked Him to help me figure out my next step. I prayed for guidance and for strength. I asked Him to show me how/why this was part of His plan. Was there another job out there for me? One that I could work part-time so I could raise my child? It was then I decided that I needed to get down to business and start looking for a new job so I threw on some sweats, heated up my leftovers and checked the local classifieds for part-time jobs. I applied for a few secretary and bank teller positions and then put my computer away for a second so I could think without any distractions. 

What happened next still gives me goosebumps whenever I think about it. 

The tears began to fall again when I noticed that weeks church bulletin sitting next to my chair. Without thinking twice, I reached down to pick it up and that's when I saw it--an advertisement for our local Catholic radio station. How could I have forgotten about this station? I had been sitting there picking my brain for other media outlets/stations I could apply at and the only ones I could think of were owned by the company I was currently working for (we live in a smaller town of about twenty thousand so there aren't too many choices when it comes to working in the broadcast field)--how could I forget about Divine Mercy Radio?!

This is my first example of God's Divine Grace in action.

I knew the chances that they were actually hiring were slim to none but figured there was no harm in at least sending over my resume and introducing myself. Not even a half hour later I received a response from the executive director (who is probably the sweetest and all around best person I have ever met) saying that they were looking for a part-time producer but she'd keep my resume on file in case they were ever hiring full-time. My jaw dropped.

Part. time. was. perfect.

I emailed her back immediately and explained that I was actually looking for part-time work since we were expecting our first child and to please keep me in mind when she began the interview process. I quickly logged into my Google chat and messaged my husband to tell him the exciting news and how I may get an interview with the Catholic radio station.

I had to go back to work the next day (which I had no desire to do whatsoever) but went in with a forced smile and fake happy-go-lucky attitude. I did not want to be there. They obviously didn't want me there. Why was I there (because we needed the money and I didn't want to leave my co-worker/friend hanging, that's why)? We had to cover a luncheon that day for a well known and widely respected organization so it wasn't too bad of a gig (we got a really yummy free lunch out of it) but I still had a bad attitude. I asked God for strength and guidance--boy, did I need it.

I clenched my teeth and smiled through the entire lunch (and ate my weight in the delicious, free buffet), clapped and nodded through a presentation given by the CEO of our company, and did everything in my power not to cry/scream/pop one of those stupid balloons at our table. I managed to make it through the entire lunch and was ready to get up and get the hell out of there when they announced a special activity they wanted us all to participate in.

"Oh brother," I thought to myself as I stood up and gathered my things to leave. But my co-workers were staying and they were my ride so I plopped myself back down and waited for further activity instructions.

"Our campaign slogan for this year is 'Rising up to the challenge," explained the chairman of the organization. "We all face different struggles in our lives so I want everyone to grab a balloon and write down something or someone that you will rise above these struggles and challenges for." He went on to say that we would be releasing the balloons outside once everyone was finished.

This is just another example of God's Divine Grace in action.

I thought long and hard about this perfect little miracle inside of me who I love more than anything in the world and haven't even met--I knew needed to rise above this challenge of losing my job for him. I would rise above this challenge for him. I wrote "my son" on the balloon and joined the crowd outside. Letting go of that balloon and watching it fly higher and higher into the sky was so uplifting and renewing; I felt like the weight of my world was floating away with my balloon. It was right then that I knew everything was going to be okay and that this was all apart of His perfect plan for my family and me. 

My attitude and outlook on life was 100% better after that. Brandon and I spent that weekend with my family in eastern Kansas and it reminded me of all of the good people we have in our lives and how truly blessed we really are.

Exactly one week after contacting the executive director of the Catholic radio station, I received an email asking when I'd be able to come in to interview. We arranged a meeting for that following Thursday and it could not have gone any better. She invited Brandon and me to a banquet that Saturday night so we could hear the ministry first hand and make sure it was something I wanted to take part in. Long story short, Brandon wasn't able to make it (you may remember me mentioning how we survived the most stressful weekend of our lives--I'll get more into that another time but it basically involved borrowing a truck, driving long distances on a time crunch to move some furniture, having a tire blow out on Interstate 70, throwing on a spare, having a second tire blow out a few miles later, expensive tow trucks, insurance companies, etc.) so I went solo but met up with some wonderful friends from my ladies church group and learned more about the ministry of Catholic radio and just how amazing it was. The food, fellowship, and message by John Martignoni healed my tired and weary soul. This is where I was supposed to be. This is where God wanted me.

I cannot tell you how humbling and incredible it is to use my talents to serve our Lord every single day. I absolutely love my job--it doesn't even feel like work and the days fly by so quickly. I was able to record, edit, and produce my first show the other day which was more fulfilling than anything else I have ever produced. Everyday is different; I design brochures and advertisements, log programming, write and record public service announcements, assist in marketing projects--it's just wonderful. I really knew I was in the right place too when my boss and I were talking on my second day and she told me that she knew motherhood would be my main priority and that she agreed with that so if I ever needed to take a day off or bring the baby to work with me (if Brandon's and my schedules overlap), that was absolutely fine. Please re-read that last sentence a few more times and let it soak in--how amazing is that? I still tear up every time I think about that conversation.

If you're going through a trying time in your life, I hope this post gives you some encouragement. God has a plan for you--it might be hard to see at the time but just hang in there. Talk to Him; He will get you through.



  1. I am so happy that everything is much better than it seemed at first! Jarrod quit his job right before I found out I was pregnant and I was freaking out. Luckily I was still working full time and he got a job when I was four months along, but it was a long few months.

  2. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have a member of my family a member of the EWTN family! We listen to EWTN all the time! We began watching EWTN and Mother Angelica before we ever became Catholic. We have learned so much -- you will LOVE LOVE LOVE EWTN! Read more about Mother Angelica and the struggles she had starting the greatest evangelizing endeavor in the United States.
    Psalms 17:3
    The Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer. My God is my helper, and in him will I put my trust. My protector and the horn of my salvation, and my support.
    You are blessed Anabel Joy and that sweet husband and baby of yours too!

  3. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have a member of my family a member of the EWTN family! We listen to EWTN all the time! We began watching EWTN and Mother Angelica before we ever became Catholic. We have learned so much -- you will LOVE LOVE LOVE EWTN! Read more about Mother Angelica and the struggles she had starting the greatest evangelizing endeavor in the United States.
    Psalms 17:3
    The Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer. My God is my helper, and in him will I put my trust. My protector and the horn of my salvation, and my support.
    You are blessed Anabel Joy and that sweet husband and baby of yours too!

  4. what a great story! congrats on your new job and I'm so happy for you!


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