Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

We carved pumpkins last week and I never posted about it. We had a great time though. We had nine carvers. Emily brought caramel dip and apples, goodies to make smores and some cider.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The past 8 months of my life...

This post has been a seriously long time coming. So, let's go back to the begining.

In March, I was let go from my job. Naturally, I was embarressed by the whole thing. Even though I wasn't fired, the devil sure made me feel like it. I wasn't happy at the job, but I wasn't going to quit since I knew being let go was inevitable. We didn't know why God was letting us go through this time.  I am a prideful person and I like to control things so this threw me for a loop. I wanted to get away and forget this mess as fast as I could. I quickly retreated and didn't leave the house for days at a time.

During April & May, I was blessed to be able to be on unemployement while looking for a job. I sulked around the house. Watch a lot of Netflix and worked out a little. I cleaned my in-laws house for extra cash. Sadly, our lifestyle didn't really change much when I was out of work. We still went out like we always had and I still shopped like normal. I know we both were sad so we kind of "rewarded" ourselves with these treats. Cody got a new job working for SWU for their adult and graduate studies program so we thought things were looking up.

In May, I interviewed for 4 jobs. 3 of them at local colleges and one at a business in Greenville. I did phone interviews, fill out questionaires, made presentations and interviewed with panels of people. That month I met and interviewed with a total 22 people. It was physically and emotionally hard. The worst of it was when I got the call to let me know I didn't get the jobs. The other hard part, it was usually a 50/50 shot and I just didn't make it. Killed me. Killed my confidence. Killed my drive. Killed my spirit. There was a lot of silence between God and I. I didn't understand His plan. He wouldn't let me control it. I couldn't make anything work.

The last interview I had was the one I really wanted (needed). I had done three rounds of interviews for it. The other woman had more experience. I immediately packed my bags and headed for Mississippi. I spent a week with my Moma. She took me shopping, to eat anywhere I wanted and let me just whine. I laid out by the pool and just ran away from all the worries I had back in South Carolina. I sat with God a lot that week. I tried to write down a plan of what I was going to do next. I laid it all out in front of Him and said, "I have no ideas. I can't do this anymore. I can't see what options I have. There are no easy ways out of this. What do you want me to do?" He was silent, but very present. I felt comfort in the midst of all my confusion.

During that week, while I was with my PawPaw at the dentist, I got a phone call from my friend/mentor/faithful encourager, Joy Bryant. She is the Executive Director of Alumni Relations at SWU. She called to let me know that her assistant was going to be out for knee surgery and asked if I could work in her place for a few weeks. I began to bawl in the parking lot. Joy has been with me through all of this so she knew how much it was going to mean to me and it was just a great moment. I packed my bags and headed back to SC. Even though it was a temp job, we packed our belongings and moved back to Central not knowing what was going to happen next.

For the next 5 months, God did a work in our lives. The first month of work after we got our paychecks and paid our bills we were left with next to nothing. Up until this point, we were living the same way we always had, because the money was still coming in from the unemployment checks until then. We had money in savings that we didn't want to touch. My unemployment had stopped since I was working again. We had recently moved back to Central and had lots of money tied up in deposits for the house, utilites and such so we just felt defeated. I just felt like I had let our family down. The insecurities of not being good enough, professional enough, smart enough, personable enough...just not good enough... all of it just flooded my heart and mind.

It was a long weekend. On Sunday, on our way to Newspring I just really felt led to write our tithe check. I thought, God you know we don't have anything right now and if I write this check we will be negative. I started writing the check and Cody said, what are you doing? I told him and his immediate reaction was the same as mine. "We have no money, Sheila!" I said, I know, but it's His and if we can't trust Him with this and during this time, we never will. I gave him the check the check to put in the offering plate and that was that.

That week, we were approached about becoming Resident Directors on campus at SWU. It was an unpaid position, but you get to live rent/utilities free which was amazing. The house is huge and way more than we could have ever asked for. We were hesitant for several reasons, but after a lot of crying and trying to figure out what we were going to do with Norah (our dog) (which was the hardest thing ever) we accepted the opportunity. Later that week, we recieved a check from a family member that knew I was out of job, a check from the insurance company where we overpaid, a check from a client I had designed a few things for and she was late paying and the day we decided to post our furniture for sale online, it sold that day (and even made a profit). That week we receieved over $800 in cash from various places. Talk about showing out. I prayed that God would make Himself known to us in this situation, that we would feel His hand upon us and boy, did we ever! From that moment on, we haved lived trusting that no matter what He is working His plan out and we just need to enjoy it.

After Joy's assistant returned back to work, I was immediately asked to start the next day in Development while another assistant was out for shoulder surgery. Each month, God made sure we made enough to pay our bills and not worry. After that temp. position was up, I spent a couple weeks at home resting then I was asked to come back to work another temporary position for ANOTHER assistant. This time I would be working for the VP for Student Life. Awesome, right? During this time, Cody's old boss called him and asked if he could put in a few hours on the weekends to help him out. That money made up for the couple of weeks I didn't work. Isn't it funny how God just works it all out? Funny isn't the right word.... AMAZING would be more appropriate.

It's funny looking back at the past few months and how God used losing a job and having no money to get to me. It's so worth everything we've been through to be where we are spiritually today. It made me more humble, a better friend, a better listener, more emotional and in tune with others. It showed me what true friends look like. I cannot begin to explain how thankful I am for the people in my life that God surrounded me with during this time. He really covered me with love. They were just as invested in my journey as Cody and I were. They shared tears, prayers, donated food to us (lots of homemade italian sauce and meatballs), gift cards, took us to lunch... pretty much anyway they could, our friends stepped in to make life a little easier.

And the special part... the story doesn't end here.

A month ago, I applied for several positions at public college. It's a huge school. I've interviewed there before (back in May) and wasn't chosen. I had been feeling super down about not being able to land a job. I worried that I might have to "settle" even though in my heart I knew God was doing something special. Cody told me to wait for the right job, not just a job. Three weeks ago, I had a rough morning and was down on myself about not working and conrtributing. I prayed that morning about what the heck I should be doing. I had volunteered, started a discipleship group, what else was I suppose to be doing if not working. I told Cody I was having a bad day. He tried to make feel better and tell me God was working and to give it time. Not even an hour later, I recieved a phone to set up a phone interview. The conversation was great with the lady setting up the interview. She told me about the office and what a "family" it was. That brought joy to my heart. My interview was set for the next week.

I always feel like phone interviews suck. You can't show your personality over the phone. (or that's how I feel) It takes two to tango on the phone and if the other person isn't friendly, then it's usually a dud conversation. Luckily, the voice on the other line was super friendly just like woman that set up the interview. They said I would hear back in two weeks and that there were 5 others they were calling. Two days later, I got a call that they wanted to set up an interview for the next week. I was again one of two people interviewing on campus. A familiar place for me... 50/50 shot.

This past Thursday, I got there early to pray and prepare. I was so happy when I looked out my window and saw a perfect rainbow - begining to end. I immediately felt God there and thanked Him. I reached for my cell to get a photo to remember the moment. My instagram kept shutting down and then my panaromic app shut down. So, I got out of my and just tried to take a photo and I looked and it was gone. It was a sweet moment that I knew He was there with me.

The interview was great, start - finish. Everyone was nice. I was honest about myself - no fluff. I prayed before that they would like me for me, need my talents and not something I said to impress them. They were all so nice. I met with 6 different people and at the end of it felt great. One of the interviewers even hugged me. I just felt the Lord all over it. BUT remember it was still a 50/50 shot so the devil kept saying that in my ear.

They told me I would know by Monday at the latest. Well, around 3 p.m. on Monday I still had not heard anything. I thought, surely I didn't get it... I would have heard by now.  Everyone that knew, kept calling or texting. I got super insecure that I misread everyone and shouldn't have told so many people about it. I started anazlying the whole interview again. Again, the embarressment of the past 8 months was rising in my chest. Pushing tears and throw up back all day. At 3:04 p.m. I recieved an email from them stating that they were just waiting on HR and for me to sit tight. Twenty minutes later, I got a phone call.
"Hey, Sheila! It's Karen. Coach wanted me to go ahead and call you to let you know that we have chosen you! Your paperwork is sitting on the President's desk to be signed, but we didn't want you to have to wonder. Everyone in the office is so excited about you."
So, it is with the most excited typing fingers I let you all know, I will officially be on staff with Clemson University Women's Basketball. HUGE. HUGE. HUGE.
God is not done with me and I am excited to see what He does next. Not that I wish any of you lose your job, but I pray you all go through a valley to experience. Who knows what will happen in this next chapter, but God has been faithful so we are trusting Him as we move forward.

Here is a excerpt from a devotion I read on August 24 that really set my heart to move forward.

"Our hearts break when we think we have missed our destiny. We suffer over unfulfilled purpose. But God perfects our hearts when we suffer. He makes us humble and compassionate, and these are two traits we must have for success in the call He has for us."

I do believe I am more humble and compassionate going through this. I am not perfect, but I hope I always remember how I felt during the last 8 months and had God took something bad and brought glory to Him through it.

So, that's just a chapter in our story. We are praising Him everyday as we move forward and now chanting "GO TIGERS!"

PS. I will be working in the office, not teaching the team my jump shot.


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