Hope in the Midst of Loss

Posted by Marissa Fuqua, Contributing Writer, on Dec 08, 2020

Hope in the Midst of Loss

Have you ever seen people who are seemingly destitute, with barely a shirt on their back, yet they exude hope and joy? If you have, maybe you are like me in wondering, “What secret do they have, and where can I get some?”

We all have struggles; life is not easy. You might have heard the saying “You never know what you are made of until you're tested.” This past year has tested all of us, me included. In the process it has revealed that I do have hope and joy—and the secret lies in someone much greater than me or this world.

A Sudden Standstill

Covid-19 didn’t affect my day-to-day life too much in the beginning. I took proper precautions and followed safety rules and recommendations. I had a steady job with a ministry organization, my family was healthy, I was still being social, and all was well until the beginning of October 2020. My supervisor called me into his office to inform me my job had been eliminated.

I was in utter shock and disbelief that after almost eight years at this workplace, my job was being eliminated. I cried and grieved the loss.
My employer was incredibly gracious. They provided me two weeks’ pay and then reduced my role to half time, until either I found a new job or January 1, 2021. But I still felt hurt and at times betrayed, wondering “Why aren’t other people getting laid off at the organization?” I was focused on ME.

When I focused on HIM, my perspective and attitude changed. I realized, “This isn’t personal. This is for the good of the organization. If my salary can allow this ministry to help more people, then I am ok with the loss of my role.” I deal with high anxiety but once I surrendered my life plan to God, He gave me His peace. I know for a fact it was not from me.

Crawling Forward

I began polishing my resume, searching for jobs, and networking. Then I decided I needed to get out of town for a night to clear my head and have some fun. I arranged for a good friend to sit for my dog, and I traveled with another good friend to visit my alma mater in College Station. We stayed for one night and returned home.

As I approached my apartment, my dog sitter met me at the door with the news that my dog had died. I had rescued this dog, a harlequin Great Dane named Agape, when she was three. She was my princess.

No one wants to lose a beloved pet. But again, in my grief, I had a sense of peace. Earlier, I had told friends I sensed her time was near even though she had no symptoms of illness. My dog sitter and his incredibly nurturing wife were in my home when Agape peacefully passed in her sleep. After letting me say goodbye, my dear friends took care of all of the necessities. I did not have to deal with a thing other than taking the time and space to grieve.

Sprinting Towards Disaster

The next day I went to the gym at 5 AM for my other job as a group fitness trainer. I was upset, heart hurting, but needed the routine and change of scenery. I led a cardio circuit, joining in when I could. When it was my turn, I hopped on the treadmill…and was immediately thrown off. All I can remember is seeing the speed “8.2 mph” flashing on the treadmill screen.

I lay on the ground, collecting myself, as my clients checked on me. I eventually went to the ER. I had torn my rotator cuff and broken my fourth and fifth metatarsals in my foot—yes, my driving foot.

I am a fitness freak and work out 6 days a week. I’d always thought being sidelined by injury would “do me in” (especially with my anxiety). Instead, God’s faithfulness once again overwhelmed me. I actually enjoyed my days of recovery. After one week off I was able to head to the gym and work on the uninjured parts of me. My phenomenal trainer helped me to strengthen the areas around my injuries, which made for a quicker recovery.

Disguised Blessings

Losing my job due to budget cuts has turned out to be a huge blessing. It affirmed where my identity comes from, which has been a significant struggle for most of my life. God was and is my one constant. Amidst a world of chaos, He remains true.

It was also the fire I needed lit beneath me to pursue other plans for my life. I have always dreamed of fostering children—but I kept delaying that dream, thinking I needed the right job, the right amount of money, a husband, the right stage of life, and more. When I lost my job, I asked myself, “Why not now?” I applied to Buckner Foster Care with full transparency that I was jobless in a one-bedroom apartment.

Buckner approved me through the first two rounds of interviews, and I am now in my fourth week of licensing. This new direction also began a process of moving to a bigger place, since I want to be well-prepared to welcome children once I am licensed.

As of October 29, I am now employed. This year has reminded me over and over how this world and our struggles are temporary, but we can have eternal hope. I have taken much encouragement from this verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

How freeing, to know I am not the one in control. God’s better plan is always in motion, and He is the secret to finding hope and joy in the midst of loss.

A fresh encounter with God each day can do incredible things for our perspective. Vertical, our daily devotional, is designed to help encourage regular interaction with the Bible. To learn more or sign up, visit here.

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