Sunday, June 5, 2011

Laid Off: Beauty in Suffering

I was laid off from my position at Saddleback Church three days ago. God had been preparing me for this for over six months, but it was still a shock to my system. I was rejoicing in the Spirit, and feeling like I was falling a part physically.

I keep crying, then read scripture, then cry, pray, then cry some more. It is hard to stay asleep. I spend more time in the Word of God, meditating on His promises.

Yesterday, I could not stop crying – and a lot of it is for the love I have for my husband. We went to the beach in Laguna for lunch, then to my office to remove personal items. Photos of grandkids, my degrees, and my collection of pink tea-cups - all packed away. 

Two years ago we took a vacation to Italy with 10 family members, including my four grandchildren.  My grandkids bought me a little white alabaster jar with a lid, from the city of Volterra in Italy.  I loved that alabaster jar. I always wanted one - I loved the story of the alabaster box that held the perfume the woman poured on Jesus' feet to anoint him for his burial. She couldn't stop crying either. I wanted to write a book called, "The Alabaster Box." The beautiful box had to be broken to access the perfume inside. We have to be broken too. That is how the beauty of the Holy Spirit's work is released.

As I was packing I saw the white, alabaster jar on my desk. I carefully carried it out of the building and to the car myself to protect it as we rode home. We drove up in front of my house and I  picked up a few things in my hands to carry in along with the alabaster jar. Somehow I lost my grip on the alabaster jar and it slipped out of my hands and crashed onto the cement driveway, breaking into many pieces. I started to sob so hard I could hardly breathe. I was sitting in my car, almost exploding with grief. That alabaster jar represented the love of my grandchildren and family. It was my momento of our time together. It reminded me of Jesus, and of my family's love. My husband gingerly picked up the pieces of the jar and cradled them in his hands as he went in the house. I managed to get myself out of the car and into our bedroom where I continued to sob from the depths of my soul.

After a little while my husband came into our room carrying the white alabaster jar. He had superglued the pieces together. There was a small scar on the outside of the jar where it hit the cement driveway. The lines of the break looked beautiful, as though they were in the natural design of the alabaster. The jar looked more beautiful than ever because it had story.

God is writing His story in my life. Praise the Lord. And that is worship in real life.


  1. My heart is touched by this, you have worked soooo hard and have done so much in your life that has helped others. Love the music you have written, and I know that God takes the broken things in our life and mends them and uses it for His Glory. Remember the words in one of your songs long ago where you said "He dashed the vessel to the ground and Raised it up again"? Ummmmm I remember some of the words...I finally appreciate the changes that you'v made now I finally understand the price that you paid....etc. He is going to Raise you up again more beautiful than before! :) In His Love.....rc

  2. WOW! That is a great word - and I finally appreciate you sharing that reminder. John Wickham wrote that song with me. I thought it was powerful then, and I think it is even more so today. Thanks for that.

  3. Dr. Debby, the World is Blessed to have you. God's Love for you is boundless. Your Faith gives you the strength to soar like an Eagle and that is how those who Love you see you, soaring beautifully above the clouds.

  4. "The beautiful box had to be broken to access the perfume inside." xoxo