Wednesday, February 10, 2010

All The Right Things

Some people have asked about Curt's job loss. Which led me to think about what I should say to you about it... about where we're at. So I decided to be real with this post, for better or worse. Brace yourself, it's about to get worse.

I have been saying all the right things for nearly two months:

God is in control.

God is sovereign.

He wasn't surprised by Curt's layoff.

We just need to trust, have childlike faith.

God is never late but rarely early.

I know all the right answers and I say all the right things. So does Curt. And people have written to both Curt and me confirming that our niceties have been helpful. And yet...

Sometimes all the spiritual thoughts in the world don't help. Sometimes you find yourself forgetting all about the nice, happy thoughts you've been telling other people. You get tired of saying all the right things. And you just want to say:

We're getting down to the wire.

This job loss thing isn't fun anymore.

This "little trial" we are going through is turning into a big problem.

I am starting to think that this isn't going to end well.

I am realizing that I had a certain kind of life... and that life ended on December 17th. It makes me nostalgic for what we had, like when I used to feel homesick at summer camp.

So that's where I am at right now-- feeling kind of hopeless. We've watched opportunities come and go. We need more information, but we can't get it. We wait on phone calls that never come, on people to do things they say they will do... and then forget. Our life feels controlled by outside forces. I want to be the one in control.

I have spent time telling other people not to think too far ahead, to take their manna for that day and trust God with the future. I have encouraged them to hang onto promises that now seem flimsy when I have to say them to myself. I want answers. I want something real to hang onto. I want what I once had, but that's not available to me anymore.

In short, I am struggling, and Curt is too. That's where we are. That's the honest truth. I know there are those of you who get this... because you've written to tell us that you are familiar with the rollercoaster-- you know the dips and drops that are part of this ride. Lest you think we are all sitting around here at the Whalen house singing Kumbayah and feeling positive all the time... I just wanted to set the record straight. It's tough, and with each passing day it feels a little tougher.

I won't even end this post on some positive platitude. Because I am fresh out. And that's the truth. I tried to warn you...

ETA: Wow. Thanks to all of you who have commented, emailed, messaged me on Facebook or commented over there. I am blown away by your promises to pray and your affirmation that this wasn't too real for you. It's good to know I can be real and you all will still love me. :)
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tiggerdaisy said...

I'm glad for the truth Marybeth. So glad.

Prayers and blessings,

Ariel Lawhon said...

You know I love you. And I understand.


Mari said...

Mary Beth, We are in the EXACT situation and have been staying positive, but I am feeling the pinch. I waiver and am trying to be brave and trust in God's timing. My husband, Mike, sent Curt an email today to try to connect up with him. We are financial coaches, (ha--rather ironic that we might be struggling with income, eh?) and featured your book in our last newsletter. (just a little FYI).
I can't wait to see how God writes the chapters of our lives and how our stories will impact others.
I feel God is allowing us to go through this to deepen our message...but hey, enough already, right?
I truly am trying to be patient.
You very eloquently described it all in this post. We are praying for you and your family.

Deb said...

Phew! Sounds like I should mail you my review copy of How Can a Good God Allow Bad Things to Happen? by Mark Tabb. Facebook me your mailing address and when we dig out, I'll drop it in the box. No platitudes from me--or Tabb. Praying.

Anonymous said...

We have been there last year for 5 months. Praying for you! thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I quietly read, listen to your blog regularly. I appreciate your candid sharing. Being real is so important in our daily living- even in 'bloggy world.'

You and Kurt are not alone in this. You will be blessed in a new and more wonderful way-- and I can't wait to hear about those blessings. Stay tuned, Marybeth. He is our mighty God.

Love and prayers for you,
Maria in CT

Debbie said...

Thank you for telling us the truth. I knew things were tough for you, and tougher then you were letting us know. Now that it is out, it provides a path for us to pray more efficeintly. I am not going to say those words of encouragement that you have heard 1000 times. Prayers to your family!

Amber Ford said...

I too have said all the right, nice things. I too need something substantial and real to hang on to.

Thanks for keeping it real!

Tessa Lee said...


I have been following your blog for the past few months, and I have always felt inspired and uplifted from your posts. Your honesty is very refreshing and real, which I know you have heard many, many times. Like so many of your readers, I can totally relate to your latest "trials" and the struggles you mention in your posts. I started a blog myself primarily as a way to unleash the emotions I have been feeling in that "rollercoaster" called life. I truly believe that the more one knows and believes that there are many people out their who feel the pain and struggles that you and Curt and your family are going through right now, but they are there with you all to help you through many thoughts, prayers and encouragement to help you hold on to that faith and spiritual thoughts....even if it is by a fine thread! Even reading this post has strengthened my faith and serves as a reminder that I am not alone in struggling and sometimes (more often now than before) on having days of feeling hopeless.

I am including my link to my blog, NOT for advertising purposes, but I hope that in reading my blog that you also feel a sense of encouragement, understanding, and prayers from me to you and your family for continued strength and perseverance during this difficult time in your life. I know that you have done that for me these last few months, and I thank you! I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Tessa Lee

Marti said...

Thanks for continuing our conversation. All the "right words" you quoted are true; they're just not necessarily helpful. But as I was complaining--gently, but still complaining--to God the other day, He asked me this question: "Do I love you any less than the day your husband lost his job?"

The answer gives me hope. Because in the ups and downs and pain and promises, He is our hope. He is our peace. He is our joy. And neither Tom nor Marti nor Curt nor MaryBeth is the Provider after all.

I'm grateful to join you as we cling to the One who is, the One whose love is everlasting. Some days, all I know to do is to whisper His name. I'll do that for you and your family, too.

Hold fast, my precious sister--and hang on.

Katie Hubbard said...

Thanks for being honest and transparent. I have been waiting to give myself permission to really say those things, to admit they've been on the tip of my tongue. It feels good to be honest and real. "This is hard and I'm done." You are not alone. I take great comfort knowing God loves our transparency.

Melanie said...

First, you wrote this so beautifully. I think one of the things I've learned this year is that you can be both faithful and sure of God, and sad and discouraged and fearful all at the same time. That's crazy but it's true.
So MB and Curt - we love you and have been praying for you and will continue to do so.
Thank you for being real,friend. mel

Momto3boys said...

The reason I return to your blog on a daily basis is written in this are REAL and that's refreshing and that's what I THANK YOU! Hang in there....praying for you and your family.

Stephenie said...

Thank you for being so honest. I'm sure that wasn't an easy thing thing to do. My husband and I have been where you are, and it is definitely a roller coaster of emotions. Hang in there. Praying for you and your family.

Cynthia Schuerr said...

Dear Marybeth,
Thank you for your honesty. I am in the same situation myself, many people are, So I understand. I have been unemployed for 14 mos. now.

My advice to you and I'm sure you've heard this before, is please, please don't give up. You know God only gives us as much as we can handle. In that view, He is telling you what a strong person you are.

It's easy to look back and miss what we had, but if you decide not to dwell on what you don't have and look around you and dwell on the precious things that are in your life, you will survive this.

When things get to the point where you feel you just can't handle it anymore, that is when God swoops you out of despair.

Please, look to the light. This, too, shall pass.

Prayers and Blessings to you,


Kara said...

You expressed yourself so well - and I know that God can use your words to help people understand what it is like to be in your situation. Having been in a similar situation (and still not out of it - almost four years later), one of the hardest things about it is that people don't understand what you are going through. And when your world falls apart and you are forced to live a different kind of life than you had been, sometimes you just need to know that others understand how traumatic it has been and how much it hurts. And so, even though I don't know you other than through this blog, I feel for you and I understand. And even though your faith and hope waver, the statements you made at the beginning (God is sovereign, God is in control) are true - maybe you can't shout them out every day, but you can whisper them and grab on to them - because that is the truth, and you are blessed to know the truth. Praying that you will feel God holding you as you cling to Him...

Nicole said...


I have been following your blog for many months now. I am a young wife and mother and I find your blog so refreshing and encouraging. I know this sounds corny, and I don't really know you, but I follow your blog because I aspire to be the wife and mom that you are - real, honest, transparent. My husband was laid off last year after our first baby was born and I was finally forced to put into action my faith, trust and total reliance on Him - our true Provider. But really, the whole experience was exhausting and frankly, just plain sucked! Thanks again for being so genuine. You inspire me.

You and your family are in our prayers.

Nicole in CO

Mom Can I? said...

thanks for "keeping it real" and I continue to pray for you and your hubby. while I want to say I am amazed by the outpouring of prayers & thoughts for you -i am and Curt are the amazing ones, toughing so many. be strong my friend

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing so honestly. We (my husband and I) have been in a situation for three years now that is different than yours but the same in that the feelings are the same as yours for your situation. My prayer for you is that you won't have to be in this bad situation for much longer. Some days I just don't even want to get up and do that day before me. I have very little hope that our challenging situation will ever get better. We felt that God called us to the situation that we are in and that makes it really tough. I feel very alone in our situation. I've even lost the friends that I felt were close friends. I feel that they don't know what to say and don't want to hear anything about it any longer. Many days my only pray is "Jesus, I need Your help! I can't do this and give it to You!"

DOakley said...


I hear you. We've been there too. It's so hard to wait on God's timing even if you firmly believe and trust that He will follow through.

It is a huge blow to a man's self-esteem to lose a job and not be able to find something else in relatively short order. And it wears on all of you to keep remaining positive.

I went for a period of about three months without a job at one point. I had a couple of offers and interviews, and temporary positions that just never really seemed right. The job I finally landed in, I would have never imagined!

I go through the same thing now with freelancing. The tricky thing about that is that the income isn't guaranteed. I'm constantly balancing work I already have and work I still need to make my monthly quota.

I have found that when the situation gets bad enough, my heart is more open to God's working. I stop trying to hold onto things myself and relinquish complete control over to God. My soon to be ex-husband wonders why I don't worry about many things, and it's because I know I have absolutely no control over anything.

You will have those times when you will know in your heart that God will provide. He has before. And always will. But it may not be in the way that you think. I have always found that in everything there is a lesson God can and wants to teach us, that isn't always obvious at first.

You don't have to be perfect all the time. I don't think that's what God wants. He wants you to be real with Him. He wants to know what you're feeling. He's not going to cast you out of Heaven for saying, Lord I just don't understand, or I'm having trouble with this.

On the other side of this, you will have an amazing testimony that will demonstrate God's power. Without the valleys there can't be victories.

Will be praying for you.


Patty said...

right there with you Marybeth. I want answers and I want them now. I have been out of a job for over a year and my husband job doesn't pay for our bills. Thank God for my earthly father who helps pay them. Our son graduated last May and couldn't go to school because I don't have a job. He hasn't been able to find a job either. Real crazy. God does love me. And I get it that he is in control..but I question what am I doing wrong.

Praying that God answers all people who are out of a job with a job soon.

Patty McCabe

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being real. I couldn't stand to read the blog of a perfect woman...because I'm soooo far from perfect.

Will remember you and your family in my prayers as God lays you on my heart.

B His Girl said...

Saying a prayer for you and your family. b

Renee Swope said...

Thanks for being real and letting us know where you are, and how we can pray. I hate that you are in this really, really hard place with no all-they-way-open doors yet. I know they are coming but I also know that waiting and wondering when is the hardest part. I love what Melanie shared about how we can be in that hard, messy, wanting to scream place and still be good with God. So true.

Michelle said...

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."
---------------Willa Cather
Marybeth, as I read your post, this quote came to mind that helped me in a troubled time. Hang in there. You have given so much to so many of us through your writing. Know that thoughts of hope and peace and encouragement are being sent your way. Discouragement is Satan's most powerful tool. Tell him to go take a hike!!!

Tina said...

My family is in the same place as yours, husband permanently furloughed due to PA's budget crisis....and your words echoed how I feel. I'm still working part-time and we are partners in a small side business so it is more of a slow death of our finances rather than a quick blow until he finds another job. Please don't apologize when you are being real...that's why I come back to your blog almost daily to see if there are posts...because you are so real and transparent and don't make me feel like a failed Christian for having negative thoughts. I'm a very upbeat, glass-is-half-full person, but I have to say that our situation brings me down sometimes into the negativity spiral. So thank you for affirming that I am normal!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the honesty. I can relate.

We are going through a similar struggle. A formerly lucrative business is slowly going under threatening to take all of our retirement, our home, our reputation. We are unable to sell it.

Our marriage is shaken. Our belief system is shaken.

I am seeking God more than ever. I feel alone because my husband has closed up. I'm praying for him a lot.

I realize that I have falsely believed that financial success equals God's blessing in my life. I am now learning that NOTHING separates me from the love of God.

It's just a hard time but I'm learning much.

Joining you in prayer.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading about your thoughts. We have experienced 2 job losses last year and are still waiting for God to show us our new direction.
I miss our life before. I miss the comfort of my routine. I miss the money. I miss having the house to myself. I miss the security of knowing that I can be a stay at home mom until my kids grow up.
Then I wake up and pray and pray and pray. None of it was mine anyway. I know He has this planned out and He will give us what we need for the season we are in. It is a constant exercise in trust and faith.
Let yourself feel. God knows what is in your mind anyway.
I am praying for your family and for the right job to open up.

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