Updated: Feb 17
I have always been so grateful for this first and very painful layoff BECAUSE IT CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE.
My personal story. #givethanks
In 1991, when I was 35 years old my husband, Dave, was laid off. We had been married for 10 years. With four young children, ages 1 through 11, we would learn later this as the first of five job layoffs we would experience during the next 30 years.
This true story is one of HOPE and GRATITUDE for having this painful experience since it became a huge, hidden blessing for many years to come!
After receiving the shocking news that day I also thought maybe this was my opportunity to finally switch rolls. Being a stay at home mom with four young kids is not very exciting most of the time. Thoughts like "what if I became the provider for our family while he stayed home with the kids" entered my mind.
This might be MY opportunity to finally use my entrepreneurial talents, skills and enthusiasm! It was time to put my business in high gear!
I increasingly became convinced that I could provide for our family, I could make tons of money, I could save us from financial ruin and in the process I'd be invited on OPRAH to show women every where how a mother with four children really can have it all - a career and motherhood!
(Oprah was the most popular TV show for women in the 90’s).
Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting what others may or may not be able to do but in my case, there were some serious flaws in my thinking. I was becoming full of pride. I was selfish and thinking about me - not really about our whole family. I was starting to be enticed with the idea of fame, glory and money than I was about the needs of my family. I was also lacking some important business skills which would hurt me.
My profession I chose was to be a mobile Arts and Craft Show Promoter. Vendors booked space in my shows to showcase and sell their crafts, food, art and jewelry.
Before I started I had a gut feeling to pray to and ask God if this was the right thing to do in my life right now. I deliberately chose to ignore this impression since I had nothing to discuss with God.. My mind was already made up. I also intuitively knew my kind Heavenly Father didn’t support my plan.. He could see the trouble I was headed for much like a parent can see the danger that a young child can't see. He was trying to protect me but I didn't see it that way.
FYI: God isn’t against women owning their own businesses or supporting their family in need but in my case, I knew I wasn’t making the right decision. Just like all of us at times, because we are so stubborn, I would have to learn this lesson the hard way.
My dreams of becoming a successful, famous business owner turned into a living nightmare.
I chose to do things my way. I didn’t have any wise consultants to help me.
I didn’t invite God into my business or anyone else with expertise.
I didn't pray and ask for His help or be humble enough to take His counsel.
I began living in fear, imagining things that may be lurking right around the corner.
I struggled sleeping at night.
There were so many decisions to make, all the time.
My foundation and footings didn’t feel very solid.
Pressure was mounting because I had so much money coming in.
I was very successful in creating a lot of momentum and money flow but important aspects of my business were not solid - namely book keeping and accounting.
I was trying to do it all.
It felt like there were so many people to try and keep happy.
Best words to describe my feelings:
no fun, stubborn, lots of tension and pressure, sad, painful, hopeless, fearful, no relief in sight, stressful, intense at times, paranoid, discomfort, uncertain, depressing, exhausting, etc.
At one point, I actually considered suicide just to put myself out of misery.
I felt like I was swimming alone in a deep, turbulent ocean full of sharks all around, ready to eat me at any moment.
I got a taste of this lifestyle an now I wanted OFF of what felt like a run-away train. My thoughts were destroying me.
“I have created so much momentum I can’t stop it now. It's impossible”.
“This problem is now too big for even God to deal with.”
“This deep hole I have dug is unfixable.”
“I have no one to blame but myself.”
“I don’t even deserve to be rescued.... even if there was a way out”.
“Why would God want to help me now since I ignored Him in the past?”
In the middle of all this commotion in my head, it was now October.
I managed to make ONE small, but really smart decision!
I watched a General Conference session on TV.
During this conference our church leaders talk to a world-wide audience of members and anyone else who wants to listen. This happens for 10 hours over two days, twice a year, April and October.
The only 15 minute talk I remember is from Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who said something like...
“I know you feel trapped and think you can’t get out of this mess, but you really can IF you will trust Jesus Christ and allow Him to help pull you out. He can and WILL help you out of this mess IF you will let Him.”.
This message was directed at me. I was really hoping he was telling me the truth. I began to feel an ounce of hope again. I began to trust God that He really would and could rescue me.
It would require some work on my part - mostly faith and humility but NOW I had a willing heart.
I started reading scriptures and praying to God.
I listened to uplifting music and messages.
As I did this, miracles started happening!!
Over the next few weeks impressions and thoughts came.
Relief, hope and happiness seemed possible again.
I finally turned my mess over to God and let go.
One of the impressions I received was to completely STOP what I was doing, regarding my business.
As a little girl, when I got in trouble, my Dad would make me sit on a chair for a few minutes.
Now I felt like my Heavenly Father was telling me, an adult woman, to be still and not do anything (regarding my business), which I did.
During the next few weeks this “run-away train” seemed to fly right over my head and just keep going!
But I was finally OFF the train!
After 6 months my husband had a new job but my problems didn’t just magically disappear.
It took a few years to clean up the financial mess I had created but I felt so happy that I was finally healing!
God was helping me to pick up the pieces.
I was able to focus on my kids again.
I was never featured on TV on Oprah.
But my marriage and family survived the ordeal!
This painful experience gave me a taste of just how hard it is to provide for a family financially.
Thirty years later I still vividly remember that lesson and how hard my husband has constantly always worked to provide for us.
I've tried to look for ways to support and encourage him rather than complain, criticize or compete with him.
My knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Atonement grew as well.
He really is powerful enough to help us solve ANY problem we have.
He is willing to forgive us especially when we need a lot of second chances.
He is more than willing to help us if we will just ask for His help.
He will have mercy on each of us and love and rescue us if we will just let Him.
The results of turning to God are incredible!
Best words to describe my feelings now:
love, relief, peaceful, willing to trust, relaxing, comfortable, confident, joyful, happy, faithful, hopeful, energetic, optimistic….
I have always been so grateful for this first and very painful layoff BECAUSE IT CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE!
The lessons I learned and my determination to avoid repeating these same mistakes have helped Dave and I to nearly breeze through the next four layoffs! (Each layoff lasted approx. 3 - 6 months).
10 YEARS LATER…
In 2003, when our children were much older, I started another business, an Outdoor Adventure Business. In the past 17 years I've guided outdoor adventures near and far, including places like Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Iceland, Caribbean Islands and many US locations. Activities included hiking, kayaking, camping, bike riding, etc.
This time I grew my business more slowly so it would bless our family rather than burden it.
My entire family has been included in my business and traveled with me occasionally, earning their own income. It’s very satisfying to blend my business passions with my family which I’ve been able to do! https://www.liveandthrive.com/our-team