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"Your job is under threat of redundancy" by Jude Dent

This is what my husband was told during lockdown. It didn’t come as a complete surprise, as the company had made a public announcement that it was cutting 25% of its workforce, but the impact on our family was just the same.

As a couple, we had both experienced redundancy before but this time it was different. This time we had a family, more financial commitments and were much closer to 50 than before! This time we seemed to have fewer options, be that real or perceived. This time more eyes seemed to be on Simon, and he was certainly feeling the pressure.

“You must be so worried” people would say to me and I would say “yes” but in truth I was lying, because I wasn’t worrying at all! Some might say that this was because I was burying my head in the sand; others that I was letting my husband take all the responsibility.

I didn’t really know at first why I wasn’t biting my nails in fear of the future. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that being a Christian grants you immunity from life’s troubles; after all, Jesus didn’t exactly have an easy ride when he was here, did he? I’m not great on my knowledge of the Bible either; I stand more chance of winning Popmaster on Radio 2 than a Bible Quiz any day! So I looked up these verses to explain what I have been feeling:

Matthew 28:20 Jesus said to his disciples “I am with you always, to the end of the age”

Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; ………….I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand”

For the first time in my life I can honestly say that I completely handed myself over to God. I knew with all my heart that he was in control; that he had a plan for us and that all I had to do was trust him. And this gave me a sense of peace that I had never really experienced before.

Now, don’t get me wrong, life in lockdown “chez nous” has not exactly been a walk in the park! We have, however, had some wonderful and uplifting moments together. Completing the Couch to 5k with Simon; running early mornings before the cycle path became busy was a real highlight. Rekindling my love for gardening and our allotment has been another blessing – who knew that so much joy could be had from a newly-built compost heap and a scarified lawn?!

The moments of calm I have found whilst digging and weeding have been when I have been the closest to God, finding myself lost in my inner conversations with Him. And he has rewarded me tenfold with the most beautiful display of flowers, verdant lawn and best crop of carrots ever!! And then of course there was the daily Dent Scrabble challenge!

There has been a playlist to my lockdown too. Or rather, one particular song that has stuck in my head throughout and given me strength when I have needed it the most – be that when my legs felt like lead after only 5 minutes of running or when dark thoughts about our health or future have crept into my mind. The song is “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken” by Henry Francis Lyte. It’s difficult to pick a particular line that resonates with me; the whole song does and I’m dreading singing it when we are all back in church together again, for fear of blubbing throughout the whole hymn!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, here’s a poignant taster to leave you and bless you with:

“Think what Spirit dwells within thee

Think what Father’s smiles are thine

Think that Jesus died to win thee

Child of heaven, canst thou repine”.

PS Last week we were told that Simon’s job is now no longer under threat of redundancy. God is faithful! Hallelujah!

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