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Leaving comfortable behind

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The first time I felt real fear was when God spoke clearly to my heart: “Quit your job and come home to me.”

I’d walked out of a team meeting at my job. Very uncharacteristic of me. I’d never done anything like that before in my life. Valedictorian in high school. Magna Cum Laude in college. My nature has always been to please people. But at this point, I found myself losing purpose and joy. Depression and anxiety were a struggle everyday. I experienced panic attacks, and I cried all the way home.

If only I could get pregnant! Then I could stay home and be a mom. It was my heart’s desire, but after 7 years it was a dream that was dying in my heart. What did the Lord want me to do? I asked Him everyday. Without an answer, I threw myself into work. It gave me a good salary and the benefits were amazing, but the work wasn’t satisfying. Plus, I was being bullied by a female co-worker. I felt like I was back in junior high. Lord save me!

That fateful day our supervisors demanded more production from us but we were giving all we could. All of us felt this way, but only I spoke up. I remember that day so well. The Lord gave me words but I had no sway with them. Suddenly, I stood up, closed my planner and walked out of the meeting! I felt hot tears prick my eyes as I went to my car. I was ready to leave it all behind. But first, I gripped the wheel, looked up to Heaven and sobbed, “I’m coming to you first, Lord! Not to anyone else. What do you want me to do?!”

The answer came quietly. “Come home to me.” So I did. I went home that day with permission. Immediately I opened my Bible to read and be with the Lord. I got to Matthew 14, when Peter walks on the water, and I got to the part when Peter says, “Lord, if it is really you. Bid me to come.”

Jesus said, “Come.”

Right to my heart, as I read that word, Jesus spoke to my heart: “Quit your job and come to me.” I asked Him to give me confirmation and by the end of the week, He had made it so clear that I was supposed to leave my job that I complied. I gave my two week notice. Immediately my depression and anxiety lifted. A weight fell off of me.

But then… then came the fear. I was so afraid of what people would say! I didn’t have children, so how can I just quit my job and stay home. People will think I’m just lazy! Ben, my husband, was so supportive. This kept me from changing my mind.

The day before my last day of work, I was driving and the enemy accused me: “Are you serious? You’re really going to quit? What will people think of you? You aren’t going to make it. You think this was God who told you to do this? No, this was all you.”

The fear I felt in that moment was real. I began to panic. The accusations sounded so true. What if it was true? What if this was all me, and not God? I asked God to again confirm this decision with a desperate “Gideon” type fleece: “Lord! Give me a sign!”

I came to work and looked for a sign. Nothing. Not a song on the radio. No scripture through my email. I got nothing. Sadly, I prayed again, “Lord, I’m sorry I asked for a sign. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have the faith to trust you without a sign.”

I got up from my desk to ask my supervisor a question. When I got back to my desk, there was a present on my chair. I opened the card and it was a sweet note that told me how God was going to use me and this was just the beginning of all He had planned. Then I opened the gift and gasped. It was a sign! A literal sign. And it said the word “Faith.” I laughed. God had answered my prayer by giving me a sign! Then I began to cry, and found the person who’d given me this life-giving gift. It was my friend, Tammy. She hugged me and said, “I was going to save it until tomorrow (your last day) but something told me to give it to you today.”

On my last day, I walked away from my job – with all its benefits and salary – with my head held high amidst the questions about what was next, and even my own fears about my future.

How could’ve I know the good plans God had in store? Plans like doing jail ministry for women inmates in our county jail for 14 months. Oh how I loved doing that! And then my calling dream – a special dream which God used to point me toward foster care. Then the obedience it took to lay down the jail ministry, so my husband and I could pick up fostering. Seven years later, we’ve had 20+ children come into our home. Or our own three beautiful children we adopted out of foster care? Watching as God redeemed some of the trauma they experienced as babies and children? Oh no, I couldn’t have foreseen all God would do. Too wonderful.

I have felt fear since that day of leaving my corporate job. I’ve feared the future of my foster children. But I truly have sought the Lord, and He always delivers me from them: lack of purpose, the unknown, failure, fear of man, death. I’ve seen Him. Jesus. I’ve tasted and seen that my Lord is good, and truly my face has been radiant because of Him. Jesus has taken my shame and given me Life abundant.

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