January 2012, my relationship of three years ended. Now if I’m honest, I can’t say that I was surprised it ended because it was not a healthy relationship. I was simply frustrated. Frustrated because I spent three years of my life trying to force something that was naturally crooked to be straight. Frustrated because I prayed and prayed that God would fix my relationship. Frustrated because I swore up and down this would be my husband. Frustrated because I just knew I could change him. Frustrated because I just knew that I could change me for him. Frustrated at God. God must have made a mistake.
Shortly after my breakup God answered my prayers and I received a full-time job working as the supervisor for a casino in Indiana. I was so excited because I’d been praying for a new job and an increase in pay, and I got both. What I didn’t know about were all the trials and tribulations that would come with this new job. The whole experience was new for me. I was working overnight which meant I was sleep deprived and still in school full-time finishing my last semester before graduation.
I was the newest and youngest member of management at the casino and it seemed like I had a new enemy every day because of it. I recall times dreading going to work. I would cry on the way there and just sit in the car struggling to go inside because every day was something different. People would disrespect me, lies were spread about me, I was talked about, and you couldn’t pay some of my co-workers to speak to me. To add insult to injury, I was being trained by the same employees that had to report to me, which only added fuel to them disrespecting me…talk about humbling.
God must have made a mistake.
While working at the casino, I was accepted into graduate school and offered a full scholarship at the University of Alabama. I was over the moon with excitement and promptly resigned from what was probably one of the hardest jobs I’d ever had. A month after resigning from the casino, I drove over 400 miles to Tuscaloosa, AL to start graduate school. My life seemed to be going according to my plans and then just like that I received a letter at the end of the first semester stating that I had been kicked out of the graduate program. Reason? I fell below the required grade point average.
I was devastated. I knew the amount of work that I put into this program. I was humiliated because I had to tell my family and friends that I moved all the way to Alabama to get my master’s degree only to be dismissed from the program. So, after Christmas break, I decided to go back to school at the start of the spring semester. For one week straight, I went to every class and completed every assignment even though my name was not on the roster and as God would have it, I was finally readmitted into the program. My faith had paid off then I received the shock of my life. Another letter of dismissal. I had fallen below the required grade point average again and this time my scholarship was snatched from me too.
God must have a made a mistake.
STRENGTH AGAINST THE STRUGGLE
For the second time, I was readmitted into the program but this time on probationary terms – as long as I didn’t fall below a certain grade point average. The catch was, now I had no money to pay for school, so I reluctantly took out a loan to pay for the remainder of my tuition. After many sleepless nights, tears, professors telling me that that they were worried about me passing their class, and me almost giving up on graduate school, I finally graduated and received my master’s degree.
Not even a week later, I received what appeared to be my ideal job as a marketing coordinator for a small radio station in Romeoville, IL. My life started coming to together and again I was excited. Little did I know, that just 3 months later I would be fired from that job for refusing to participate in unethical behavior in the workplace. I thought I had to be cursed or done something wrong and God was punishing me. After being terminated, I would be unemployed for 8 months, rejected from countless other jobs, and internships…and that all happened with a master’s degree.
God must have made a mistake.
RISING FROM DEFEAT
Fast forward to 2015, I made one of the scariest and freeing decisions of my life. I moved back to Alabama. I had no clue of where I was headed, I just believed God called me there. I struggled to find work in my field, continued to face rejection from potential employers, and worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. The worse part was working jobs where people questioned how I could be working in such “menial” positions with all my education.
I would often question God because it “seemed” as though I was standing still while everyone around me progressed, and in the summer of 2016, I was hired as a program coordinator for the University of Alabama. I finally got my breakthrough. This was a position that was tailor-made for me. What I didn’t know was that a month later, I would be fired…AGAIN! Fired for reasons I do not know. I am hard worker and have great work ethic but there are some things that happen in life that you can never make sense of.
God must have made a mistake.
PICKING UP THE PIECES
Once again, I was left trying to figure out how to put the pieces of my life back together. I was humiliated because I told everyone about this great job, only to have to tell them I’d been fired again. I was stressed because this termination, came after moving into my new apartment which included a much higher rent in addition to all the bills and school debt I was responsible to pay for each month.
As a result, I took a job as a substitute teacher and worked part-time at a motel to try and make ends meet, which rarely did. I hit rock bottom financially and struggled to pay bills. I remember days of having to stand in the long line at the unemployment office and having to apply for food stamps because I had no clue how I would pay bills, let alone pay for food every month. There are not many moments I remember feeling this low. This just couldn’t be the life God intended for me and it certainly wasn’t the life I intended for myself. Once again what seemed like a blessing from God felt like a curse.
God must have made a mistake.
AT THE EDGE OF GIVING UP
I love God and I believe in him, but it seemed the more I put my trust in him, the less I understood him. I remember going into a bit of a depression after being fired the second time. I slept a lot but was always tired. I emotionally ate and I experienced constant physical pain which I later found was all stress related. Yet through it, all I still believed that God was with me.
Ironically, this truth comforted me and frustrated me all at the same time. How could a good and faithful God sit back and allow my life to unfold this way? Especially when I put my trust in him? During this time, I constantly read Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
I mediated on this scripture day in and day out because it gave me hope to continue forward when I wanted to give up. Even so, I couldn’t help but question God about why I had to suffer for him to bring good out of my life? I then thought about the story of the Apostle Paul and things started to make a little more sense to me.
Paul was an apostle of God who wrote 13 incredibly powerful books of the bible. However, his story certainly didn’t start that way. Before becoming a believer, Paul was known for persecuting and killing anyone that believed in Christ until he encountered Jesus for himself (Acts 9:1-22) and was changed forever. Paul would go on to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands and thousands of people and was one of the most influential people in the bible.
However, Paul would also be beaten, mocked, imprisoned and subsequently beheaded for following Christ. On the surface, once again it seems like God made a mistake because just when Paul decided to repent from his sin and follow God, he suffered greatly because of it. The irony in all of this is that Paul was the author behind one of my favorite verses: Roman 8:28- “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
KEEPING THE FAITH
I often wondered how Paul found the strength to believe God during his immense suffering and to also encourage others to believe in the goodness of God too. That is when I read Romans 8:18 and my question of “why” had finally been answered. Romans 8:18- “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”
Paul was not denying his suffering, but his encouragement came from the fact that he knew that his suffering was temporary. His suffering was a part of a bigger plan to glorify God. In other words, Paul’s perspective was beyond his pain and on his purpose. His purpose being that he was a child of God and that God chose him to bring others into salvation. Paul understood that one day he would die because after all, that is the fate of all human beings.
He also knew that he would live eternally forever with God. To be absent from the body is to be present with God. Paul knew that there is life beyond the life he saw and that everything he suffered was working for his good. Paul saw beyond the temporary to the eternal and I surmise this is what gave him comfort and strength to trust in God’s goodness amid his pain.
STRUGGLES ARE WHAT SHAPE US
June 2017, almost one year since being fired for the second time, I landed a great full-time position managing an event venue. Seven months later, I am still working and growing with the company, which knowing my employment history is a true feat. I realized that even when I didn’t believe it, God was with me through everything I faced.
I believe that the resistance I faced was the direct work of the Lord so that he could show me just who he is and who I am in him. The struggle helped me to look beyond what I see on earth and look to the God that is Lord of heaven and earth. I wish I could say the struggle has ended but it has not, and it won’t as long as we are on earth.
Nevertheless, I’ve decided to keep struggling forward and I pray that you do the same. God is the best artist I’ve ever known, and he specializes in making the most beautiful masterpieces out of the ugly things in life. He’s preparing and molding us in his image! He is preparing us for life with Him when this earth passes away. Be encouraged and embrace the process. Our life is to reflect his glory and GOD makes no mistakes.
Written by Jasmine Mason
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