In September I wrote about a little thing called the VRI
within IMB. In an effort to reduce costs, our leadership
offered a voluntary retirement incentive to those 50 years of age or older with
five years’ experience.
I was qualified. After praying through it and talking with
my husband, I declined the incentive.
Two weeks ago, leadership announced a decision to close the Richmond communications center
of which I am a part. Thirty of us – writers,
editors, photographers, videographers and graphic designers – will be
terminated when the center closes in late April. It was quite a shock. Like being
plunged into an icy cold river with no life vest, the announcement took my
For several days, I said things to myself like:
“If only I’d stayed in Asia …”
“If only I’d taken the VRI …”
“If I hadn’t transferred to home office staff …”
Certainly in each of those “if only” scenarios, the effect
of last week’s decision would have been significantly different for me
personally. However, as my emotions stabilize and God begins to give me
perspective, I recognize that God has directed each of the steps we’ve taken
the past few years — to move from Thailand to Richmond, to transfer to staff,
to decline the VRI.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his
steps” (Proverbs 16:9, HCSB).
God led me to this place, and He will lead me to the next
phase of service, however that looks.
I’m going to be better than OK!
As I move beyond the initial shock, anger and sadness,
several more positive emotions are rising to the surface:
I am so thankful I had the opportunity to serve
with IMB for 17 years — 13 years as a missionary in media roles in the
Philippines, South Korea and Thailand, and four years as a missionary and then
staff on the global communications team in Richmond.
The opportunity to do work I love with people I love for a
cause I love is indeed a rarity. For 17 years, I was privileged to live and
work a dream to be a writer and a missionary — one God planted in my heart when
I was 7 years old. How many people can say that?
As I enter the job market, I realize that
confidence is a key to success. Confidence will help me put my best self
forward in every situation. Confidence will give me “the edge” I need. But
while self-confidence is an important characteristic to cultivate,
God-confidence is even more important.
“Some trust in chariots and some in
horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7, ESV).
I have every confidence in the future – not because of my
skills, experience or abilities (which are many and varied! ) – but because God is directing my steps.
While I make plans to pursue this or that or the other
thing, I am aware that God may bring opportunities into my line of vision that
I might never have considered. To resist those opportunities just because they
are not in “my plan” is foolish. I know without a doubt God will lead me to the
place He wants me, and I’m excited to watch His plan unfold.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Paul
wrote (Philippians 4:7). I’m learning that the peace of
God is a direct byproduct of confidence in
God. When I am able to say like Job, “Even if He kills me, I
will hope in Him” (Job 13:15, HCSB), then I feel the peace of God wash over me
– not in the icy cold river kind of way but in the cleansing warm shower kind
God is good, and He has a good plan. And He is teaching me
moment by moment to “travel light and wear comfortable shoes” — a tag I’ve used
since moving overseas 17 years ago — always ready and able to go where He
Labels: confidence, editor, God, gratitude, hope, IMB, job loss, missionary, peace, termination, writer