In August of 2012, I got caught up in a 26 million dollar “Reduction in Workforce.” After 13 years with the same employer, climbing that Corporate Ladder, I was informed that my name had come up on the list of those that would be effected. I walked out the door that day at peace (and with some lovely parting gifts). Maybe it was just blind stupidity, but I knew that it would all end well. In the weeks that followed, I would ask myself “what do you want to be when you grow up” and many other questions. I was at a crossroads in my career. I was at a crossroads in my life. A very long chapter was closing. I had no idea what the next chapter would be.
I covered it in this post, but a very kind man called me out of the blue one day. He has since told me many times that “I just don’t do that.” He is a man of faith. He follows the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He lives by faith. He runs an organization by faith. He gives God credit for the success and record growth they are experiencing. Our conversation had nothing to do with potential jobs that day. We just talked. Brother to brother. He too had been through what I was going through. He too had walked the road I was walking. He too had been at the top of the Corporate Ladder (with the same employer by the way) and was let go with some nice parting gifts. We shared our stories and I hung up with great respect for a complete stranger.
We never spoke by phone again. In the months that followed, I accepted a role in ministry and moved to the next chapter. This next chapter turned out to be much shorter than I would have anticipated. When you go into ministry, you accept a calling that doesn’t have a runway. Be that as it may, decisions were made and a mutual agreement to part ways was completed. For the past several weeks, I have re-read this chapter in my mind. Did I fail? Is my faith too small? Before I could turn the page on this chapter, I had to come to peace with all that was written in it. As I go back through the pages, I am reminded of the people. I see the pictures of baptizing people I genuinely care about. I see pictures of lives changed. I remember the stories of those I care for. I am reminded that you don’t need to have a title or be “in ministry” to care for the people of the church you attend and those in your life. We’re all in ministry. Every. Single. Day.
When this chapter closed a few weeks ago I called my new friend. This time I was calling him to let him know that I was no longer in ministry. I called him for wisdom. He invited me out to their headquarters to spend a day. It wasn’t an interview. It was a CEO putting his company, his time and his schedule on hold for one day. He didn’t want to talk business. He wanted to know about me. He wanted to know about my family. We spent the day getting to know one another and sharing about our lives. No offers made. No jobs discussed. I drove home from Indianapolis that evening with so much respect for the man I just spent the day with. He leads by faith. He leads with humility, class and values. His organization oozes his leadership.
Over the last 6 weeks, there have been return trips and phone calls with this organization. As our relationship has grown, so has an opportunity to join his team. Understand this, I didn’t apply for a position. He is creating one. He says that he builds his organization by adding quality people, not filling positions. By Gods grace, he has found something in me that he believes in. Before we left for vacation in June, he was kind enough to extend a very generous offer. Yet there was one other item that needed to be resolved. There was another potential opportunity that I needed to see all the way through. This would require putting his offer on hold. I’m not sure how many people would be willing to do this, but he was and he did. He even said “My prayer is that God would be very clear for what is best for you and your family.”
I can’t make this stuff up.
Last week, the other opportunity finally had closure. There will be no opportunity after all. It’s not that I didn’t make the cut, it turns out there is not going to be a cut to make. The timeline has moved to 2014 and if I needed a clear answer, I received it. It’s been an emotional and gut checking past few weeks so I spent the weekend going through my next right steps.
Today, I am proud to say that I have accepted a role with an organization I am honored to join. I cannot begin to express how fortunate and blessed I am to serve this organization and it’s leader in this capacity. Their values and beliefs match each of mine perfectly. The “Hills They Die On” are the hills that I have vowed to do the same. I am joining a team of people that have built their successful business on relationship first. They model the humility and character of their leader. I cannot wait to get started and learn from each of my new co-workers and friends.
This morning we officially turn the page. We close chapters. We end stories. Tomorrow I put pen to a blank page and begin to write a new story. Thank you to each of you that have prayed and shared the previous chapters with us.
Thank you for helping us write our story.
Thank you for helping us turn the page.