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6 Things I’m Grateful For

On August 1st, I’ll be starting a new job. 

Yep, you read that right….a brand new full-time job.

This opportunity is quite unexpected in a lot of ways. I applied for the job on a whim one night when I was feeling sorry for myself and wondering if my life would ever encompass anything of value (DONT WORRY - that statement has been purposefully included just to let you in on the dramatic melancholy that happens inside an enneagram 4’s brain when she slips into an unhealthy place. For the most part, I love my life and am pretty satisfied with where I am. But we all have our moments. So please, just laugh at the drama with me).


I’ve been processing the upcoming transition for the last few weeks, and as I sit down to write my thoughts, my eyes glance back and my heart boldly says, “Look at what God has done!”


When I left my job in church ministry last September, I was sure God would have a job lined up for me immediately. I did my part in the process: I applied for jobs, I interviewed, I prayed. But nothing came through so I stepped off staff with my head titled back and my hands wide open.

“God will you provide for me?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said (as always), “but stop applying for jobs.”

What?!?!” I thought. “Stop applying for jobs? But if I stop applying for jobs where will the money come from?”

“Stop applying for jobs,” he persisted.


And so I did. I took my hands off the keyboard and slowly backed away from indeed.com.


I’ve learned something over the last 11 months - that provision doesn’t just come in the form finances. It comes in the form of rest. It comes in the form of renewal. It comes in the form of joy, of laughter, of friendship and healing.


God knew exactly what I needed in these last 11 months. He knew what Dan needed. He knew what we needed. I was so hesitant to say yes when he told me to rest, but I’m so glad I did. 


God’s gift of provision comes in many forms. When he offers us a gift, let us not be so quick to ignore it.


As I transition out of my roll as a full-time freelancer, here are 6 things that I’m incredibly grateful for. I hope that as you read them, youre encouraged to take stock of the gifts that God has given you, no matter what season you find yourself in. His gifts are always present. Sometimes it just takes a little intention to notice them.

1. Time with Friends

A funny thing has happened over the last few years - I’ve accidentally managed to work almost exclusively with and/or for my friends.

In 2016, when I was hired to work at Soul City, my friend Chrissy was actually my supervisor. She was getting ready to leave staff, and for 6 glorious months we got to be coworkers while she trained and supported me.

After that, my friend Lauren came on staff part-time to help fill the interim gap in our family ministry.

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Then, in 2018, I started working part time for Neat Method, and guess who also worked there - Chrissy, Lauren, AND one of my other BFFs Betsy. 

It’s been such an unexpected treat to work with all of them for the last year-and-a-half. Sometimes, we’d have a job in the suburbs, and I’d get so spend 2 hours in a car catching up with them. Every time I’d think, “Wow! I’m getting paid to hang out with my friends right now. What a rare gift!”

 

2. United Way

In January, I accepted my first big freelance contract and it was a doozy. I learned SO much. I had to work really hard, I cried a lot, and I had to learn to speak up when I needed additional guidance from the client. I also learned a lot more about the freelance process and what I should expect/what clarifying questions I should ask before a job begins. Not only that, but I got to learn a TON about Chicago’s history and the amazing nonprofits that are lifting up neighborhoods that have been systemically under-resourced.

And as a bonus, I also got to work with (you guessed it!) another one of my BFFs - Kiara!

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Kiara is the Senior Communications Manager at United Way of Metro Chicago. She’s the one who recommended me for the job then I got to witness, first hand, what a PR badass she is and I learned a lot from her. It was so fun to work with her and navigate all the complex things that come with working for your friend. I’m so grateful for Kiara, and getting this extra time with her earlier in the year was such a gift.

 

3. A wonderful man named Dan

Gosh.... there’s just so much to say about Dan (he’s my husband in case you were wondering). 

In this season, specifically, I’ve been grateful for his support. He has never once questioned my decision to take time off from applying to jobs. He’s been supportive and encouraging, pushing and challenging me when I needed it. I’m grateful because without the hard work he put in at his full time job, I wouldn’t have been able to take time off to rest and recover! My guy has had an incredibly difficult few years, but in the midst of it all, he’s never stopped loving, caring about, supporting and celebrating me. I could go on and on and on.

I got a good one, you guys, and for that, I am so so grateful.

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4. Rocio

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Rocio before, but this woman is truly a magic maker (she’ll appreciate that name). In September of last year, I asked Rocio if she would meet with me once a month and mentor me through this transition. 

I’m not joking when I say this woman has super powers. She sees people in ways that I’ve never experienced. She hears from God and senses his leading in a way that can only be described as supernatural. She’s humble. She asks great questions, and she’s fun. I’ve so loved building a relationship her, and I’m so grateful for her guidance and encouragement as I’ve leaned into God’s calling on my life.


5. Time with family 

Some of you may know this, but in March of 2018, my sister tragically lost her baby. She went into labor at 22 weeks, and sweet Carl Douglas didn’t make it. It was such a sad time for our family (and still is in some ways),, and I was grateful I had the ability to spend the weekend with them right after the death happened.

Then, in February 2019, miracle of miracles, she gave birth to my nephew Kellen. Since I was freelancing at the time, I got to go fly to Tennessee and stay with her for a week while she was on materiality leave, and we had the best time!

This year has afforded me the most time to spend with family that I think I’ve had since I moved to Chicago (maybe with the exception of wedding year. My sister and I both got married in 2015 so there were lots of festivities to attend!).

Not only that, but this was the first summer I got to spend the 4th of July at my aunt’s lake house in Tennessee. Every other year I either couldn’t afford the plane ticket or had to direct a summer camp! I’ve loved the extra time I’ve gotten to see my family, especially in such a rich season of loss and gain. It’s been a real treat, and such a gift.

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6. Rest

I mentioned this one earlier, but rest and recovery have been the truest gifts of this last year.

It is not lost on me how unusual it is to have almost total control over your own schedule. I have worked part time for Neat Method (controlling my availability), freelanced, and I’ve had 0 kids that I’m responsible for (which, as I’m writing this I realize is true in a number of ways. I don’t have my own kids yet and I’m also not responsible for hundreds of summer campers or Sunday morning church families!). 

It’s been great! I’ve woken up most weekday mornings around 6am and then did whatever I wanted until about 10:00am.

Some mornings I went for a walk. Some mornings I went to a coffee shop and wrote. Most mornings, I sat on my couch drinking coffee while I read the Bible and prayed. 

THIS WAS A GIFT! One that I do not TAKE lightly. I know it has been unique season. I know not everyone is afforded this luxury of time and space so I have done my best to take it in and make the most of it, and I’m so glad I did.


Here’s to new seasons. May we never forget to move forward in gratitude and grace.

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Rachel Clair