Will I or Won’t I?

Will. It’s a tough thing to get into any discussion about God’s Will. But I’m faced with it head-on and I can’t seem to shake the knowledge that He’s up to something and I’m just floundering around.

So, almost 4 weeks ago I was laid off. I had been hearing rumors that some changes were coming, but I don’t think any of us had any idea how big it was going to be. J&J laid off 1000 people from their pharmaceutical divisions. Seeing as I’ve only been with the company for 6 months, it makes sense that I got the axe. Well, it makes sense, but that doesn’t make it not hurt.

Just six months prior I made the decision to leave a 5-year career at Merck for the offer at J&J. I remember at the time not having a clear instinct on what God wanted me to do. Staying with Merck provided stability but the offer to move provided a generous pay increase and a much smaller (and closer to Knoxville) territory. I prayed a ton about it and never felt like God was sending me in any specific direction. So… I made a decision. It was one of those “well, He gives us a brain, right?” moments, and I figured I’d just use my brain.

So looking back, was that the right decision? I don’t know. I mean, it stinks to be laid off. But I wasn’t too crazy about my old territory with Merck, and not driving 2 hours to the ends of the earth was a great change of pace for the last few months. And… God’s really been doing a work in my heart since I took the job at J&J. Which is kinda where I was headed with this (already long) post anyway!

So sometime around January I felt a nudging in my spirit that I was totally unable to ignore. I went to training with the new position and had a blast helping out some of my fellow newbies. While there, the trainers commented that I was a good teacher and should consider returning to the training department to further my career at some point. I had no interest in doing that, but the idea of it awoke a longing in my heart that had long since been put to rest… to be a teacher! God quickly fanned the flames of that long-ago idea, and over the last few months I’ve felt a direct calling from Him to look into the teaching profession.

So bringing that forward to the recent layoff, I had already been praying that God would give me some clear definition of what He had for my future. I specifically prayed that he would open and close doors clearly for me. I didn’t want a repeat of my job change in the fall, where I was uncertain of His Will. So I prayed that if He wanted me to teach that I would know it for. sure. And… then I lost my job.

Which, as many people pointed out to me, was kinda exactly what I had been asking for! It didn’t make it less painful (seriously, it ain’t fun to lose your job. ever!), but I did feel like God was stirring some stuff together. Then within two days I got a phone call and was asked to interview for another pharmaceutical job.

What now? That was confusing! So, does God want me to turn down this opportunity or look into it? Part of the “gonna be a teacher” plan requires me to go back to school and get licensed… which costs money… so was God providing this job to help me pay for that schooling?

Thoroughly confused, I followed through and applied for the job. Truly, I think I’ve been scared about this whole process. It’s crazy to think of leaving a job I love and have done WELL for over 5 years to go teach. We’re talking about a serious cut in pay and benefits (my car! I’ll loose my car!) and a huge life adjustment. BUT I also have great peace when I consider what the future may look like.

So anyway, I followed through on the job offer. NAILED the first interview, kicked serious butt on the second interview… and all along I’m just crying out to the Lord… Either give me this wonderful job, or shut this door! Completely! Firmly! Totally! Let there be no questions about Your Will for my life!

So yesterday was “the day” – either I was going to get a phone call that said I had a job, or I would hear nothing at all (how harsh is that? No rejection phone call!). And… I heard nothing. So. God has shut that door. I grieved a little bit last night, not over the job loss, but just understanding that being in His Will sometimes hurts. That manager rejected me, but the Lord of the universe loves me and is protecting my heart. He’s doing a good thing for me. It may not feel good to me right now, but He’s protecting me.

I read a quote in a book a few days ago that jumped off the page and smacked me in the eyes.
“God’s love for and protection of us are always consistent with His will for us – and His will for us is always consistent with what is best, not only for us, but also for a fallen world that He is always trying to rescue.” – Craig Parshall

Oh yes, God is good.

And I’m gonna be a teacher!!



  1. Erin,First time I’ve ever read your blog and I appreciate the struggle you’re going through. Sometimes the “in the process” portion of following God’s will during a career change or major life event is extremely difficult, but it always works out (even when it’s NOT what you want going in) according to His plan.To offer encouragement, I’ll share with you what Kelly and I worked through in 2007. After Lilly was born, we decided that it was in the best interest of our children and our family to have Kelly at home with the kids all the time (and it was amazing to see how quickly the changes happened in then-5 year old Katie with mommy at home). The problem was, suddenly we had $40,000 less every year than we were used to, and went from a financial position where money was fairly easy to manage, to one where our expenses outpaced our income. The situation got much worse as inflation skyrocketed in 2007.At the time, I had a position in sales management with Coke that was very stable, but I didn’t particularly enjoy. In September of 2007, I was offered a position with another company in Memphis, that I wasn’t all that excited about, either, but that paid enough more to loosen our financial strains quite a bit. After prayer and consideration, we decided to take the job in Memphis – a considerable leap of faith to leave 8 years of employment and move to a place with no family or friends nearby, and where Katie would have to acclimate to a new school.When I went to give notice to Coke, the most amazing thing happened. My boss took me out to lunch the next day and gauged my interest in staying. 3 days later, I ended up with an opportunity to interview for a job as the Director of Finance for the Houston area – a job that I had wanted for YEARS, and that paid substantially better than I made in the previous job. After the interview process, I was offered the job.A year later, through a restructure, the position was elevated a level, and as of 2010, I will have been able to replace Kelly’s income entirely – allowing us to remain a one-income family for as long as we would like to. Considering where we stood 2 1/2 years ago, this is an amazing blessing.To get back to your original post, it’s usually very uncomfortable to take the leap of faith and wait for the results. But, when you feel pulled by the Lord to do something and you are full aware that it’s what you should do, the results will be there when you follow it – just not always on the timeline most of us would like.I will keep your career change in my prayers.

  2. Hey long lost friend, it’s good to read your blog. Nice getting a little caught up with you and hearing exactly how God is working in you. I’m so sorry about your job loss. You WILL be a great teacher but the loss still hurts. I look forward to reading about your grand and new adventures down the road. I’m still treading the waters of adoption……it’s not comin easy, that’s for sure. God’s got it though. Prayin for you. Take care my friend!Cyntiha

  3. You will be an AWESOME teacher!! Although it is sometimes scary and uncertain to be in God’s will, there is no more amazing place to be! I’m praying for you girl! Tasha

  4. How lucky are these kids in this fallen world who will get to have Mrs. Rodgers for their teacher!!!!The ability to influence and shape the future is a significant power indeed… perhaps bordering on a superpower!

  5. wow! I wish my “signs” were THAT clear! Congrats! I also contemplated a teaching career after a “lay-off” of sorts at my very high paying, very comfortable, very controlling, very never at home traveling with 1 kid and one on the way job…and so far have not been “told/asked” by the hubby to go back to work, but contemplating an entirely different work force, career choice too. I feel like I’m just in cruise control and waiting for HIM to “smack me in the face” like you!Well, enough about that….congrats on the “answers” you might have, sort-of, kinda wanted, have been looking for!


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