By J.A. Sellers
“You don’t have to stay here forever.”
I was at work when I heard those words in my spirit. It had been a particularly hard day. I was frustrated to the point of tears, numb from long years of service, and drained past renewal.
Yet I wasn’t sure how to take these words I knew were from God. There was something about them that spoke of freedom, spoke of breaking the cycles I had long lived, but I didn’t see their immediate benefit. I had written the narrative that I needed to provide for myself.
I had to have the safe haven of a job, and I didn’t know what else I could or wanted to do for a career.
The Most Terrifying Idea I Could Conceive
But something about those words opened a deep desire that I hadn’t dared to speak. I wanted more for my life.
I felt stuck, making money for security’s sake, miserable without hope of relief. It was a miracle to hear God speaking to me. I could not continue this way. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t life-giving.
When I went home, the words kept coming back to mind, and I pondered and prayed, finally coming to the conclusion that I was meant to quit my job.
What’s more, I shouldn’t apply for another one for at least six months. This would give me time to heal and decompress, time to process through the years I hadn’t dealt with.
It was the most terrifying idea I could conceive, but I felt a strange sense of peace.
How Would I Survive
It was not an overnight change, and several months passed before I finally walked through the doors of my branch for the last time.
My excitement grew. So did my terror.
How would I survive without a job? My savings account was larger than it had ever been, which was certain evidence of God’s blessing.
I witnessed Him giving me more and more, right up to the point of my leaving. But how long could I live on that? The test was not whether I would be happy not working, the test was whether He was real enough to provide for me.
What was I to do with all this free time? How could I honor God with my hours?
I began walking every day, praying and seeking Him. On each walk, I picked a flower and put it in a bowl, symbolizing my trust in God’s providence for that day. The bowl quickly became full of flowers and I was no nearer to knowing what I was to do with my life.
As I rested and prayed, I became aware that there was a story I wanted to tell.
I had taken care of my father when he was ill with Alzheimer’s and it was now several years since he had passed away.
We had not had a strong relationship and I struggled with how to forgive him and love him well. God had made it possible during that time. I thought about writing a book about the experience, but the task felt daunting, beyond my ability.
Endless Words Poured On To The Page
But just as I knew that it was time to leave my job, I understood that God was providing this time for me to write. And so I wrote.
Endless words poured out onto the page. I spent hours seeking old journals for their insight.
As I learned anew about forgiveness, salt-tears watered the process. I received help from new and old friends, encouragement to keep going.
I began the self-publishing process while learning new skills to help in possible new careers. I dug deep into counseling and therapy. I spent my money on bills, careful not to be frivolous, somehow too focused on where God was leading me to worry about no money coming in.
The book was published and sent out into the world.
I stared at the physical copy in awe, tears coming once again, unsure how I had reached this point, except that God had led me here.
I had known Him all my life, entering into precious moments again and again. But I had become numb, self-centered, focused on what I thought I needed, and unable to hear from Him the way I wanted to. Thankfully, He reached out, reminding me of His goodness and His mercy, promising He would always take care of me.
Then I Remembered
I frequently choose a word to represent my year, instead of making a New Year’s resolution.
Before I quit my job in 2021, I knew my word was hope. It was represented very literally in my life throughout that year. It kept my eyes open to what God was doing, and allowed me to see when He blessed me and what He was capable of.
This year, in 2022, it was very apparent that my word was trust.
I still had no job, a dwindling savings account, and no idea of what the future held. I was scared. Despite the journey He had brought me through in the previous year, I hesitated to truly believe He would provide for me the way I needed Him to.
But then I remembered a verse that my grandparents would say every time we spent the night at their house.
I can hear them speaking it now, in the old King James version, and it comforts me, revealing to me the truth that God has said to me my whole life.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4
Every time I sign a copy of my book for someone, I write this verse above my signature. It’s a reminder to me that God is worthy of trust.
He doesn’t lead us from afar, but stays close, more so than we can imagine. He is a giver of good gifts, some more obvious than others, but nothing good we have is ever given by chance.
He delights to give us these things and He guides us through the hard times with complete surety. I know God is real because He led me through the hardest times of my life and He made sure I would be okay on the other side.
He didn’t let the brokenness I experienced sit in stagnation, but He used it and me to help others. He left me a legacy of faith through my family and a hope for the future. He provided me with love beyond my expectations.
I do not know what will happen. I still live in the moment of uncertainty, held only by His hand. But His hand is enough.
J.A.Sellers is a self-proclaimed peacemaker and writer who believes in sharing our stories in all the creative ways God gives us. Most days you can find her exploring fiction and fandom and squirreling away ideas. Along with being the author of Yes, Father: A Daughter’s Journey to Forgiveness, she is the voice and creator behind Peace Prayers, a podcast on prayer. She lives in a cozy condo, occasionally as a cat aunt, in the Seattle, Washington area.
Follow JA Sellers and her journey at www.ja-sellers.com and on instagram @j.a.sellers