Friday, October 3, 2008

Emptiness

I had a very cheerful, happy post regarding our Branson mini-vacation all set and ready to post once I added pictures, but alas, something has come up that I feel I need to address more urgently. If a blog is to reflect my personal life, then something VERY personal has come up that cannot be ignored.

On Thursday evening, my coworkers and I were given the news that our store, Scrapbook Garden East, was closing. Not in the near future, not in the next week or so, but immediately. And permanently. It completely blindsided us all. Not only didn't we see it coming, but the way the news was revealed to us was quite surreal. All of us were left numb, wondering, "Did we dream this?"

We were informed that our help would be "appreciated" in the packing and moving of all merchandise to the West store, which is remaining open. We will be employed through the 10th, then that's it. They did say that some people may transfer to the West store, as their needs permit, but seeing as it's a well-staffed store to begin with, the available hours aren't plentiful.

So Thursday morning I went to work, not a care in the world, no idea anything unusual was on the horizon. Then this morning, I went in and began to pack up all of the merchandise I've been arranging, straightening and selling for all this time. It was incredibly bizarre and pretty emotional.

I am not pleased with the way any of this has been handled. I believe that my coworkers and I (especially my co-manager) deserved a little more than the notice we were given. (In case you're not following, any notice at all would have been more than what we were given.) The shock and despair could have been eased into a little more gradually. I would have also liked to have had the opportunity to say goodbye to the customers I've formed friendships with over the many years I've been employed at Scrapbook Garden. I'm sure they would have liked the same consideration.

I've had trouble managing my attitude since the news was given. Anger, frustration, bitterness, disgust, spite...all of these emotions have been overwhelming. I'm also experiencing sincere sorrow and pain because I have put in a great deal of years into this store. I don't know where to go from here or what I will do. It's a frightening position to find oneself in, especially for someone that suffers from a fear of change, as I do.

But I have found amazing comfort in my Savior's arms. It is amidst the darkness that light appears it's brightest. I've been having conversations with Him about this entire situation and while I know He feels my hurt because He loves me, I also feel His guiding hand, encouraging me to move beyond my immediate feelings and look to the horizon.

My Mom has been the most amazing support and encourager. (I love you mom!!!) Her immediate reaction when I called last night was to pray with me, as it always is whenever we face a crisis. She prayed powerfully while I sat on the other end of the phone crying. Her strength and faith is contagious. Then I can't even begin to list the verses and quotes she has been typing on my Facebook page, all day and all night. I do want to share one thing, however, that I found particularly uplifting. It includes one of mine and Jeremy's favorite verses.

These storms actually become occassions to cast ourselves upon God. We are NOT TO GIVE UP but to GIVE IT UP, casting our cares upon Him who is and who remains the same yesterday, today, and forever....Jer29:11-14 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord"...

I've also been meditating on a story from 2 Kings (that we talked about in my Tuesday night Bible study) about a woman facing a far worse situation than I. She had just lost her husband and because she was so in debt to her creditors, they were about to exercise their legal right to take her sons as slaves as a form of payment. She approached the prophet Elisha, asking that he work a miracle to save her sons. He asked her what she had in her house. Nothing, except a single flask of oil. Elisha responded, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting the jars aside as they are filled." (2 Kings 4:3-4) So she followed his instructions, and every single jar they gathered was filled to the brim! As soon as all the jars were filled, the oil stopped flowing. She was able to sell the oil, pay off her debts and take care of her family without further help from those greedy creditors.
What stuck out to me most in this story was that the oil stopped flowing as soon as the family ran out of empty jars. As our book put it, "Indeed, the more of our own emptiness we present to God in faith, the more He is able to pour into us from His abundance!" (from "Completely His" by Shannon Ethridge)

Well Lord, I'm feeling pretty empty. In fact, more empty than I've felt in a really long time. And I'm presenting that emptiness to You, knowing that You know how to fill it a lot better than I do. I don't know where to look for a job or how to handle the remaining time I have with Scrapbook Garden. But I'm counting on You to get me through.

8 comments:

Nikki said...

Sarah, I really can't believe the way things went down as well. I will do anything I can for any of you. Just let me know what you need. I am already putting feelers out for you all. Keep your faith and things will work out. love ya!

Michelle said...

Sarah, you already know what I think about how it all was handled. And I also believe that you won't have any trouble finding a better job out there somewhere. You are a wonderful, caring, creative woman!

Rich said...

I think all of you Scrapbook ladies need to get together for a girl's night movie and watch "You've Got Mail" together and have a good cry. It's the perfect movie for your sad situation. :O(

I also think for whatever reason this is how "closings" are handled in the "real" world. I went to work at Lerner on a Monday morning and was told that till Friday my job was to pack up the store and get it to Hutchison only to have no job to come to by Saturday. Everyone INCLUDING the other managers left but one other girl and I to help Danielle (an assistant manager )with the closing of the store. I didn't have a long history with the store but I was highly offended with how it was handled. Amanda "Dugger" had the same thing happen when KLOVE bought out Light99; everyone there was given a 24 hour notice and no pay. Needless to say none of them still listen to 99.1. That was especially sad too due to the "christian" name behind it all.

It's frustrating when everything seems to be going so perfect only for the rug to be pulled out from underneath with a hard, cruel tug. I just keep thinking God has something pretty amazing in store that he had to dynamite you out of there like that. We all know you wouldn't have left otherwise. ;O)*haha* So now that he has you out of there where oh where is he going to send you?! I've been praying that God will give you a clear answer to this burning question and a peace that you will know where and when that is. Just remember God DID know this was going to happen and he DID choose to get things moving ahead of time with Grandma's estate so that Dad would have things wrapping up by now. We are all in a better place financially then we were at the beginning of the year so all of these blows are cushioned much better then they would have been last year at this time. :O\ Whether or not that "helps" I know that all of the memories and things you put up with are still in the front of your mind and make it difficult to move past. The family is praying for you though and I know your friends are as well. I'm excited to see what God is doing and what will be on your "thankful" list come this Thanksgiving. He IS good and he IS faithful!! This is just one of the white-knuckle chapters in the story of your life but it's also a moment you will look back on and tell your children and THEIR children about the mercies of the Lord for-ev-errrrrrr. I love ya!!! Lauren

a chick named Toni... said...

Sarah, you are such a wonderful gal! I admire your faith. You are so right. We need to keep leaning on the Lord and let Him hold our hands through this. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful supportive family. Your sister said some beautiful things. She is right...He has great things in store for all of us. I was thinking all the way home on Thursday night "what is it that we are to learn from this? What do you want me to do Lord?" My answer came many times over on Friday. He wanted me to be home with my family. I can't explain how it came to me but there were several times in prayer that I just felt that this is what He wanted for me right now. He knew I wouldn't quit working there because I was trying to make that pesky payment on that large bill of mine (remember that silly little mobile home?) but He also knew I wouldn't go back to work at the West store. So clearly this was the only way I would have quit working at SG. I know He will show you...and all of us what the plan is in His time. Hang in there. Love Ya!

Monica said...

Hi Sarah, thank you for your comment on my blog, and thanks for always "stopping by". I'm glad you enjoy the pictures, I certainly do too! I am so sorry about the rough times you've stumbled upon. I pray that you'll have peace through all this. Gotta love corporate America. Goodness, it appalls me the way some, no, many companies treat their employees. Unjust, unfair, but such is life. I know God will show you what he wants you to do, but sometimes it is hard to look at the big picture, especially when one is caught up in the midst of a situation. You appear to have many wonderful friends, not to mention a great hubby and family. Lean on them, and listen to their advice. Sometimes people who are farther removed from a situation are able to look at it and assess things a little bit more clearly. I, too, do not deal too well with change, so I feel for you. God be with you as you begin this new chapter in the journey of life.
Take care!

Michelle said...

And as the "medium sized Kahuna" you will have no problem finding the perfect job for you!

I'm still dealing with anger and disappointment over how it all went down and how you all were treated (why I'm surprised I don't know!) but I am really believing that there is something better out there for you all. Sometimes we have to be shaken out of our comfort zone to find ourselves in a better place! And NO, you may not use my own words against me! ;-)

InHisSteps13099 said...

Glad you have been blessed by Shannon's book!
~Skyla

Skyla Bradley
Online Marketing Manager
Advocate for Healthy Sexuality & Spirituality
www.sexuallyconfidentwife.com
www.shannonethridge.com

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