Lisa Cannon’s Thin Place: What the Body Does

Jul 28, 2011Archive

Experiencing the purpose of the church is a key part of  a Christian’s life, as Lisa found out.  This is the last for this series of Thin Place posts.  Thanks to all who have contributed, read and responded.
Walking into my office, in my seventh year with my employer, and though heavily stressed, I was confident and sure of the things I meant to accomplish that day. What followed cut me to the core. My boss walked into my office with the employee relations director from our corporate office.My heart slipped as my brain caught up. She could only be here for one thing….me.
What did I do wrong? My boss looked at me very seriously with a piece of paper in his hand and gave me the news. I was being terminated immediately due to an overheard comment made in private and all the “irrelevant” comments I had made during workday conversations. Then he left the room. The ERD stayed with me to help me pack. Though she couldn’t comment on the details of the termination, she did say, “You are a strong woman and you have strong faith. You will get through this and you will be fine.” Her affirmation did not give me hope as she walked me out the door for the last time.I spent the next several hours talking to God, myself, my pastor and my daughter’s doctor. (I was about to lose medical benefits and my child is under treatment for a disability. I thank Him that he gave me the presence of mind to take care of at least that one detail, it was the only one I had managed to get right that day.)“Ok,” I told myself, “I am good for her meds for another month. Lord, please tell me you have something better planned for me tomorrow.”One thought plagued me. “What did I say that was so bad?”

All I could think of was that my boss began treating me differently, almost abusively, around the time I made a true commitment to live a Godly life the best I could in the light of Christ.

I also remember a peer making a nasty comment to me about not wanting to hear about God ****.  That may be because instead of saying, “Thank goodness.” I say “Thank the Lord.” I don’t say, “I am lucky.” I say, “I am blessed.” When I have almost misstepped, I often say, “By God’s grace I….” And they all know I mean it.

Seriously? Could that be it? Could my display of affection for my Father God have made my boss so uncomfortable he feels like he has to terminate my employment?

In my seven years with the company I’ve taken work home, contributed to many project groups outside the scope of my own daily responsibilities, weathered rumor and gossip, and healed our facility in so many ways, after poor leadership left it spent. I know I had a positive influence on the business, both from a human perspective and financially, so why was I feeling like I was worthless? And by my boss and a trusted co-worker, no less. How awful do you have to be to be terminated for such a flimsy reason?

I am embarrassed to be jobless, I don’t want anyone to know. I feel worthless. I have no family to help me. I take care of my mother, who is dying in millimeters, by way of handling all of her affairs and keeping vigil with her at her nursing home. My daughter is only 13 and will be afraid, if I am not strong for her. I don’t have a husband to help with the financial burden. I am afraid. So afraid. I have no means of outside support. What will I do? I am so afraid, I am trembling.

I pray all day; on the drive home, sitting in my favorite chair, in the bathroom as I clean the mascara that is running down my cheeks. I know the Lord loves me, it should be enough….but I am frightened.

I turn on my favorite local Christian radio station on the way home, I listen to my favorite Christian music CD at home, I go to FB and look at all my posts, Bible verses, inspirational things, affirming passages. I feel solid for a moment and then I fall apart again.

I am a single mother, alone, with no financial resources accept those I’ve created…and talk about thin, I wish I had known this would happen BEFORE I started my Christmas shopping. My teenage daughter grows out of her clothing every five minutes. She’ll probably need new shoes before I can find a new job. I have to keep a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. And, oh no, my child is almost out of her medication.

I don’t know how to keep it together. But God does, he clears my mind long enough to plant the seed for two small tasks:  call my pastor, for whom I left a very emotionally messy message, and call my daughter’s physician so I can get her taken care of for the time being, before my benefits are stopped at midnight. I did both.

While I was out trying to take care of one other thing for myself, my pastor called, “Can you come see me now?”

She sat with me, in the middle of her busy day, asked me all the right questions, offered me tools to deal with my fear and most important, she took my tear-dampened hands and prayed with me until my body relaxed as I realized I am loved. I could feel the sick fear feeling leave my body.

My Father in Heaven has given me such a gift in connection with a church I had been sleepwalking through for almost 15 years before really getting involved. My beautiful wonderful pastor talked to me about the church resources available to help me get through this, if it came to a point where I needed the help.

She asked if I was comfortable being placed on the prayer list and I told her I was…now. I might not have been a while ago. But, now, yes, I do want to be on the prayer list, please, I need it. My Christian family will pray for me and my child, my pastor will pray for me and my child. The Lord has placed these wonderful people in my life, MY church family.

I DO have support. By God’s grace and mercy, these wonderful people are in my life EXACTLY when I need them. As I engage in my job search, I know my church is holding me up and God will not let me fall. He will not allow me to fail.

As I walked out of the church office, the church secretary asked me a question. I told her what my shamed and frightened self couldn’t have said, “I lost my job today.” And I let her love me.