Unemployment. What is Forgiveness?


The Lord prepares a way for me to freely share the Gospel
while I Learn to Love my Enemies

Matthew 5:39-45 “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (NKJV)”


In my personal testimony, I shared what my life was like before I received Jesus Christ into my heart. I spoke about how I desperately cried out to Him from a local jail holding cell and how drastically my life changed as a result of receiving the Lord into my heart. At the time, I thought my written testimony was complete. However, my story wasn’t finished. It was just beginning! I was about to experience the second part of my new journey and the wonderful blessings the Lord had planned for my life.
I had worked for my employer going on five years when God’s still, small voice inside began making it clear that I was meant to joyfully share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was my quandary at work. Proselytizing and praying with clients were forbidden by my employer.
I pondered, “How am I going to financially provide for myself and my six-year-old child if I quit my part-time job?”  I took a deep breath and began to consider my financial options. Even though I had received supplemental unemployment checks from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) for the past year, I was sure the checks would stop when I quit my job. After all, I thought, “Certainly if I choose to leave, I can’t receive unemployment.”
For a few days, I shared my concern of beginning a new career with the Lord. “Father, I have over twenty years experience in the social work field. How am I supposed to share Your Word with others when I am so new to understanding Your ways?”  However, that still, small, voice from the Holy Spirit dwelling within me was telling me to let go and move on. 
Finally, during one quiet morning prayer, before opening my bible, I simply asked God, “Do You want me to quit my job?” Amazing! When, I took hold of the spine of my bible and let the pages fall open, they settled in the book of Isaiah, chapter 52. Immediately, my eyes sharply and clearly focused on His words,  
“Depart! Depart! Go out from there. Touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the LORD. For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard (Isaiah 52:11-12 NKJV).”
My eyes welled with tears and my heart filled with peace. So without hesitation, I prayerfully submitted two weeks notice to my employer. After walking hand and hand with Jesus Christ for over two years, my foundation to trust the Lord was secure and I knew God would provide for my young son and me.
Then, as I handed my resignation to the office manager she unexpectedly informed me that I was going to receive an additional check for my unpaid vacation hours. Wow! I wondered, “Was God providing a way for me to pay the bills for a few months until I found another job?”
However, one week before my last day, while in church, I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to donate the money from the vacation hours to my pastor and his wife. They were in dire need of car. I didn’t question God. I simply handed over a check to the church worship leader who was in charge of the special collection. I was instantly flooded with blessings of faithfulness.
Sometime later that week, I received a letter from EDD stating that a phone interview had been scheduled for me. I was bewildered. My claim from the prior year had just ended.  Perhaps, I thought, the office needed to close their records from last year’s claim. I prayed for God to use the situation for me to testify to His goodness. I never thought the purpose of the call was to determine eligibility for another year.
At 9:00am sharp on the day of my interview, the phone rang. The interviewer from EDD was very friendly and spoke in an agreeable tone. I shared my confusion with her. The woman said that under certain circumstances, people can receive unemployment compensation, even when they quit their job. Without hesitation, I responded, “I have no doubt that the Lord will provide, whether through EDD, the book He led me to write or another job!” And, I confidently shared my testimony with her.
As the conversation closed, I told the interviewer that I was adding her name to my prayer board. I said, “Be at peace with whatever decision you make.” I knew with all certainty that God would provide financially and I should not feel troubled.
To my surprise, about a week later, I received a check from EDD. The amount was enough to pay almost all of my rent. I praised God that the woman from EDD was obedient to His will and that He provided for me as He promised He would. Perhaps now, I could share the Gospel without financial worry.
Nevertheless, before receiving my second check, another letter arrived from EDD stating that the Christian agency I worked for was taking me to court over my claim.  I was frustrated and tearful! Day after day, I immersed myself in scripture to calm my soul. Then, after only receiving two unemployment checks, I stopped sending in the claim forms.
          I decided to call my previous supervisor to discuss the issue of court. I explained that I had not initiated a new claim, but he was too angry and defensive to listen. He told me that he had been busy gathering witnesses to testify against me. Why? As he spoke, I thought, "Maybe he is still hurt by the ‘old Donna.’ "
Once again, I felt the pain of my past behavior. I realized I had made enemies. It was my own doing. Over the weekend, I prayed on my knees, tears puddling crying out in repentance.
          That same weekend, I led my family in urgent prayer for my past employer. We gathered, and my young son, husband and I clasped hands, and sat in front of my prayer board. I asked God to bless my past supervisor and any other enemies. “Please Lord, send your helper to convict their hearts to forgive my transgressions. Cover them with the warmth of Your love and the peace that passes all understanding. In Your Holy Son’s name, Amen.”
The look on my husband’s face was priceless. He told me he didn’t understand how I could bless my past supervisor instead of fighting against him in court to openly prove his false character. I simply told my husband, Christians are called to pray for their enemies and not fight evil with evil.
A few weeks went by with only silence between my past employer and me. Then God laid upon my heart a desire to email a response over the computer and put closure to the issue. In the email, I stated, “Dear (my ‘enemies’) you should know, that I no longer fight evil with evil. My only desire is to show you God's grace and mercy. You are loved, despite all that you may do to hurt me. I am sorry for all that I have done to hurt you. Please forgive me.” Then, I prayed and surrendered the entire situation to Jesus Christ.
The next weekend rolled around. It was time for my husband to make his usual commute home from work to be with his family. On the way home, he telephoned me. I was taken aback when my husband sighed and simply told me, “God has been doing a number on me.”  He said, “I am just calling to tell you that I will be paying all of your bills from now on: your rent, your car payment, everything.” Unbelievable! For years, I was the sole provider for my son and myself. Now, God was transforming my husband to become a provider. There were no words to explain the joy that overflowed from my heart!
I began to serve God. Each day, He led me to a doorstep of another hurting and lost soul. I shared my story of triumph with each person whom was experiencing pain. What joy I found in watching their spirit fill with hope.  Meanwhile, as God would have it, I read scripture that warned me of future times of struggle and attack.
Soon, scripture would come to life for me. The day of the unemployment appeal hearing was fast approaching. By this time, my husband was paying for the household bills. Yet, his income alone was not sufficient to cover those extra expenses such as dental visits and car registrations that were now due. I wondered, “Where will the extra needed money come from?”
Then, friends and family began to say, “Just go to court! The state has already found in your favor. God wants you to have this money!"  In my heart, I questioned, “Didn’t they know God at all?”
I chose to remain faithful and full of integrity and on the morning of the appeal hearing, I prayed, "Lord, please be with me today, and focus me on Your will." Unbelievably, the phone instantly rang. On the other end of the line was an executive for a bible ministry program. He was calling to discuss a possible collaboration with me. Together, we would be spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the very reason I quit my job! I smiled and praised God.
Later, I learned that my past supervisor had attended the appeal hearing. Because of my absence, I had lost the appeal case. Yet, God had already blessed my family!
The next day when my husband returned home for another weekend with his family, he walked through the front door bursting with an unexplainable elevated spirit. He said, "Honey, you are not going to believe this! They gave me a raise at work. I guess my supervisor requested the raise some time ago. It was granted yesterday!  I'll be getting an extra few dollars per hour. Now, I can help pay for all those extra expenses."
My eyes flooded with tears! With the bills paid and a long career of social work put behind me, I was finally able to freely spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! 

To read about the night that caused me to surrender to God's Will,