Recently, while reading John 11, I found myself sympathizing with Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. This chapter opens with Jesus learning of Lazarus being ill, and eventually dying. When Jesus reaches Bethany, and Mary comes to see him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32 NIV). How many times in your life have you said, “Lord, if you had been here, this wouldn’t have happened.” As for me, I know I have said this on multiple occasions. One occasion, in particular comes to mind.
In 2016, I left my very stable job and accepted a position with a manufacturing company that had been in town for only a couple of years. This new opportunity was going to afford me more flexibility and room for career advancement. After joining the company, I quickly learned that not everything was as it seemed. This branch of the company wasn’t producing much product and the machines were down more than they were running. It was easy to see the writing on the wall. Four months into my new adventure, the company decided to shut down our branch, and for the first time in my life, I was laid off.
I was scared and didn’t know how we would get through this, as we didn’t have much savings, nor could we afford for me not to work. On my way home after being told the shop was closing, I cried and pleaded with God. I couldn’t understand how He could let this happen to me. Didn’t He know the effect this would have on our lives? When I spoke with my mom, who is an eternal optimist, she reminded me that God is in control, He does everything according to His will and in His time. I held onto these words as my husband, Gabe, and I navigated these stormy waters.
Though we didn’t know how we would make it, God showed up huge, and we were blessed with family members who were willing to help us out. Over the next 10 months, I was able to work for some of the best companies in Las Vegas, until God’s plan truly unfolded. During this time, I was able to complete my Bachelors degree, bringing a 17 year journey to a close, and the best part, a position opened up with the company I left! Thankfully my former manager and senior management were gracious enough to interview me, and eventually offer me a job. I was able to return to the work I loved, and am able to mentor under some of the best women in leadership that I have ever encountered. I have been able to forge new friendships with my co-workers and walk alongside some incredibly fearless women of God. As my mom told me, everything happens according to His will and in His perfect timing. God is good!
When things are not going our way, it is easy to think that God is not with us and that He has allowed something bad to happen to us, but my friend, please remember what we are told in Romans 8:28 NIV, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Stephanie Patterson is originally from Denver, Colorado, and has called Las Vegas home since 2013. She has been married to her incredibly supportive and patient husband, Gabriel, since 2008. Her blended family includes 3 children – 2 adult children living productively on their own (hallelujah!), and a spunky, creative pre-teen who keeps her on her toes. Stephanie became a mother at a young age, and in her late 30s, is finally figuring out who she is. What she has discovered about herself, thus far, is she loves to read, write, cook/bake, and nap. What she has always known is that her heart belongs to God, and she feels called to connect with people who need help seeing that God loves and accepts them as they are. Stephanie is looking forward to sharing her life experiences and hopes to connect with others through the grace and glory of God.