I remember taking this picture of our youngest boys. It was two summers ago. Jerry and I sat on the shore with our oldest son. I watched as the boys waded out into the water, holding onto each other ... alone.
"I don't think we should let them go out there alone." I know my eyebrows were knit in anxiety."One of us should go with them."
"They're fine." I remember Jerry sighed.
"Sure, right now they are. But what if there's a drop off and they fall?" I'm sure I gave him that look. The one that says ... I know I'm right. "There might be a current out there and they could get swept off their feet! That water is muddy! They can't even see where they're going."
"I've already been out in the water. There isn't a drop off. There isn't a current. THEY are fine." Jerry gave me the look of ... conversation over. Let them go.
Today, I feel like I am walking out into muddy water. Not knowing if there are 'drop offs' just beyond my next step. Last week, Jerry got word of another round of layoffs. The first layoff started in February of 2009 and lasted until July 2010. That's a long time without the 'bread winners' income. During that year and a half, I felt like we were drowning. But, we made it.
I know what some of you are thinking ... 'he had unemployment to fall back on.' And, that's true. We were VERY thankful for that help. But, it was much less than his usual pay. On top of that, subtract the insurance benefits from my paychecks and we were facing nearly $2,000 in reduction of monthly income. The next layoff went from July 2010 to November 2010. We feared a long layoff ... just like the one before. But, surprisingly, the company called a group back right before Christmas. Jerry has worked since that time ... with steady income.
Last month, I sat down and wrote out our budget. That was the first time in nearly two years that I have been able to budget, pay bills on time ... put a little back in savings. Plan ahead. It felt good. It felt certain.
Last week, on the way home from work, Jerry called to tell me about his day. The 'ups and downs'.
Half way through the work day, he had been approached by a union steward. He knew what was coming. Layoff. Again. But ... the union steward said ... "You're safe. You're not cut. You get to keep working." Jerry felt relief. Yet some guilt over the men and women who were being cut.
Close to the end of the day ... another approach from the union steward. "Sorry man, there was a miscommunication. You're cut."
As Jerry gave words to his emotions ... I felt like screaming. There goes our budget, there goes that small savings we were gaining ... there goes our certainty, our security.
It felt like I was being pushed out into an ocean of muddy water. I couldn't see what was ahead of us. I couldn't be sure where our feet would land ... would there be massive 'drop offs' ...
Just as quickly as those fears came ... the memory of that summer washed over me ... Jerry's words came quickly ... "I've already been out there." And, as I pushed the fears aside ... along with a few tears ... I realized, God has already been there.
Nothing can touch us that has not already passed through His hands.
HE knows how deep the water is and where the 'drop offs' are ... if there is a massive current ... He knows and will protect us. I'm not sure how long this layoff will last. I don't know what will happen to that budget from last month.
But, I do know this ... He knows. He already has a plan.
Matthew 7:11 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
Matthew 6:25-30 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?