There is nothing more uplifting than a conversation with an older woman. One who is sage, believing, enduring, and nurturing. One who has been through it and come out clean on the other side. I am so grateful to all the older mentoring women in my life. They bring perspective that my youth does not yet know. They say things like, “hold on,” “wait on the Lord,” and “be patient.” God’s word is filled with encouraging words, wise instruction, and tools for how to navigate life itself. As I read my bible, I see God come through again and again and again. He does not fail.
Not long ago, I was in desperate need of a way out. I was working at a job that was a toxic as it gets. I was called loud, aggressive, and passive-aggressive. My manager wrote me a letter that ended in her telling me to speak when spoken to. I was lied on, I was lied to, and at one point I was in a meeting with two white women who had the audacity to ask me how I show empathy. Imagine two white women asking a black woman how she shows empathy. The abuse at my workplace was so blatant it had me questioning myself. But that is what liars do, they create confusion. Toxic work environments are real. I have spoken to many friends who have had unspeakable things done and said to them in the workplace by senior staff members. It is not okay. For anyone who may be dealing with a bad boss or conniving co-worker, be encouraged for the God you serve sees all. Stand firm in your faith, pray, document, and after everything, stand.
But I am not here to tell a tale about the blues. I am here to tell you about how good my God is. It was during this time that those mentoring women spoke truth and light into my life as best they could. Another thing about stressful times, the abused often recluse themselves and live their nightmare in isolation. During these times, it is of the utmost importance that we lean into our relationships with our family, friends, and loved ones. But the most important relationship to lean into is the one a believer has with the Savior. And by God did I lean into mine. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed. There is no wasted suffering for the Christian. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28. All things! Because I did not know what my next step would be. I did not know late last year I would end up on the phone with a recruiter telling me that I should apply for a position I was convinced I was not qualified for. I did not know that after praying about it, I would apply. I did not know that I would be offered and then accept the job. I did not know that in January of 2021 I would be somebody’s Deputy Director. Would you look at God.
I will not pretend to fully comprehend that toxic work experience or God’s reasoning behind it. But I’m not angry, and I harbor no ill will toward my abusers. The Lord will take care of them. In fact, in some ways, I am grateful to have experienced it. I’ve seen firsthand the dysfunction of corruption. How holding onto dated, antiquated, and biased opinions and practices retards progress. And that liars lie not only to others but to themselves as well. Most importantly, I understand that leaders, good ones, know how to think and are there to serve. The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) give an account of the last three years of Jesus’ life. What do we see him doing? Serving.
As believers, we do not get to choose in what order we learn life’s lessons, we do not choose when and how, and we do not choose the lesson itself. We only choose how we respond and what we do next. God is in the business of finishing what He starts. There is no suffering that He does not know, there is no pain that He cannot cure, and there is no hurt that He cannot feel. He sees you. Be encouraged, He’s never failed you yet.
I don’t spend too much time looking back anymore unless it is to remind myself of how good God is and His impeccable timing. I haven’t lived much life, but I’ve lived enough to know there are good days and bad days in store for us all. I do not look at this new job as a some sort of salvation because I know it will have challenges all its own. I see it as another testament to God’s ability, magnitude, and sovereignty.
For anyone who may need encouragement. Who may be in desperate need of a way out. For anyone who feels forgotten, unseen, unheard, or alone. God sees you. He is right there with you. And though you may suffer for a little while, know It is preparing you for something. Be strong in the Lord. Lean in and lookup. Know that there is no wasted suffering for the Christian. Be encouraged. He’s never failed yet.