Have you ever been on a roller coaster ride when the train of cars slowly tick, tick, ticks up the steep hill only to plunge downward at warp speed?
Well, the highs and lows of my summer felt just like being on the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka, which stands 456 feet, at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The speed was fast and the turns were enough to make your head spin.
My summer days were filled with job applications, pitch letters, interviews, and even auditions. I was confronted with new territory day after day after day.
I found myself delivering a mock press release in front of a city council of eight strangers, followed by a panel interview with five. Let’s just say I needed my deodorant that day. As I prepared, I wondered could do it? Was my experience enough? Was I enough?
The role I was applying for was a complete departure from what I’ve ever done, but I went for it anyway. I progressed to the second and final round of interviews, but I was not their choice.
Letters of rejection would follow. One right after another.
If living without a job for five months and running my moms affairs while looking after her in the hospital located almost two hours away is not enough stress (read more here), I decided to start coaching indoor rowing classes part time and to branch out into unchartered territory.
Um yeah, well, usually if the fitness class I’m teaching doesn’t include a pivot or a cha cha in the choreography I’d probably rather opt out.
After coaching my third rowing class I was hooked.
I discovered that I can actually do it, and I’m not half bad. The workout is low impact but still a great cardio + strength challenge.
By mid-July, my mom was back home and settled in with daily care. After a three-week hospital stay and two in a rehab hospital, I have to say it was a test on all levels.
I was confronted with the idea of letting go of what I want for her life, realizing that I can’t make her want something she doesn’t want.
She’s her own boss and I have no control over her. What she is willing to do for herself is completely up to her. So I decided to accept that.
This summer I struggled with fear. Fear that I’m not enough. I’m not enough for this job or enough for that job. I stood against thoughts that minimized my gifts, my talents, and my abilities.
God revealed this struggle to me, one that has tormented me all of my life. A feeling of being unworthy, being less than, and not up to par. Shards of rejection took aim at my heart this summer.
As I mourned the loss of a job that I loved dearly this summer, the reality of lost friendships came with it.
Suddenly, those who I considered my dearest friends were nowhere to be found.
My phone didn’t ring, there were no text messages to see if I was surviving or to inquire about my well being. There. Was. Nothing. From people, I considered to be more than just co-workers, but very close friends.
Those shards pierced my heart deeply.
What was wrong with me that I didn’t warrant their friendship any longer? What had I done? Surely if I said something wrong they’d be good enough friends to talk to me about it? Don’t they care? Didn’t our time together mean anything?
One day at church, God gave me the sweetest image that I’ll always cherish. It was an image of Jesus and I in a field. I was about eight. I was jumping around, laughing and smiling. Then we hugged, just as a father would his child. His embrace resembled complete acceptance and wholeness. Something I know I’ve craved my entire life.
While this season of life has been one of profound loss, it has been a season of self-discovery.
I discovered who my true friends are.
A former coworker and I met for lunch once a month, we loved on each other and shared our highs and lows.
I have a friend who is long distance and they’d check on me, just to see how I was doing and offer me words of encouragement. They’d even send me job postings.
I made a great new friend who would see me through countless job interviews, coaching me and cheering me on along the way. She proofed resumes and more resumes until she was blue in the face. She prayed for me and consoled me, absorbing my tears through the phone. I will never forget it.
I discovered that I can do new things and excel at them.
I started a new chapter in my professional life as Sr. Director of Marketing and Development for a non-profit. It’s new and different in every way. It’s challenging and it’s good.
While my thoughts are a day-to-day battle, I know how to suit up to engage in necessary battle.
And, I hold that dear image of Jesus and I together in the field, of me being held in complete righteousness, approval, and acceptance. And I move forward with the knowledge and belief that I can do anything and that I am enough.
The summer of 2017 taught me that God is faithful in all things. He does have a plan, a plan to prosper me and to work ALL things together for my good.
My summer of 2017 is proof.
I know that right where I am is where God wants me. I’m being stretched and I’m learning new things and expanding my horizons.
He is working and that is good.