John Shepherd III, spoke this past Sunday night at church about “Making the most of your failures”, and hit me like a ton of bricks. Why? Because it sounded like he was telling my story the last couple of years. John shared how he had be un-expectantly laid off from his dream job 18 months ago because his department was being done away with… a “It’s not personal, it’s just business” kind of deal.
The next thing I know Julie is sniffling a bit next to me and it feels like he was just talking with us.
So here’s a little transparency for the whole world to read:
It was 16 months ago that I was having the best time of my life professionally. Then a good friend took me to the Village Inn and told me that my position was being eliminated. He was just the messenger. (FYI – I still don’t understand why some people that make hard decisions have such a hard time facing those hard decisions, but I digress)
Just 4 week earlier my wife had went through a miscarriage, and now I have to tell her I’m without a job. I stayed at the diner and drunk several cups of coffee, avoiding the inevitable – that I would have to go home and tell Julie. I hoped that she would be asleep when I came in that night and I could try to think of a good way of telling her the next morning, but she wasn’t. She wanted to know ‘what was going on’.
I felt like a loser, to tell you the truth, a real loser.
I got a whole 4 weeks of severance pay, so needless to say the reality of “How do I pay the bills” set in immediately. Tried to get another job, failed wonderfully at that. Really didn’t know what to do. Finally found a job, a mere 11 hours away from my house, that now was worth $30,000 less than what I paid for it – 1 year before.
So, we packed up, and I moved my beautiful wife into the basement of my parent’s house. Not exactly what I had dreamed of 6 years ago this month.
My failure rating had risen to an all-time high.
6 months go by without a renter in our house, all the while my new Job is paying me 60% less than the one I lost – you can do the math. Financially we we’re getting beat into submission. Finally we got a renter, and thankfully one who pays his rent.
I liked working with the guys at Comcast, but it didn’t take long for the Telecom business to wear on me. I was made to do something else by God. I know He wants me to start a church, but at that time it seemed impossible – by my faith standards anyway.
A speaking invitation came from South Harriman Baptist Church to fill their pulpit on Sunday – I was thrilled because it meant I got to do what I loved to do. A week later they called me and asked me to consider being their Interim Youth Pastor – I did.
It’s a funny relationship. I love them, and I believe they love me, but we’re an odd couple. SHBC is a very traditional church, and I am a very untraditional pastor. From the outside, you wouldn’t imagine it could work, but it is. I’m having a good time, and we’re both hanging on for the ride.
Julie is 7 months pregnant, after two miscarriages – a miracle.
God is beginning to work. I have learned more in the last 16 months about life, than I did in the previous 16 years. My life had been pretty easy up till the summer of 2007. God has laid me out and put me onto my face about a half dozen times since. I’m pretty sure He has a good reason.
John concluded his message Sunday night by telling us how his 11 months of ‘failure’ has turned into one of his life’s greatest blessings. He now has a great new ministry that He loves etc.
I’m looking forward to writing that part of my story. (A portion of it should be written in early March with the birth of Rylee.) Till then, I want to learn from my failures – so I can be all God wants me to be in 2009.