I had just finished tucking in my three-year-old daughter for a nap. The house was finally quiet with my kindergartener at school. I slunk into my corner of the couch with my hot coffee, and opened my laptop to write as I do every day. Upon typing my first words, I heard the screeching of the garage door opening. Doom immediately entered my stomach and sat like a boulder. I had been dreading that sound, and knew what it meant. I stood up and peered down the mudroom hallway. There, stood a man, white with shame and guilt.
“I got fired,” my husband said.
“What?” I said. Although I had seen it coming, I was trying to digest this new reality.
He stared down while he took his shoes off. Then he picked his eyes up, looking straight over my head—avoiding my eyes and said, “I got fired, that’s it.”
Sweat accumulated in the curve of my armpits. I went back to the couch and shut the top of my computer. I took my husband’s hand and we sat down together. As we talked, a sense of calm slowly swept over me. I call that the Holy Spirit. My husband however, spoke anxiously, nervous about our future.
We label ourselves Christians, but we are non-churchgoers for various reasons. We pray before dinner and at night with our small children. I do my best (OK, I could do better) to read devotionals or words that will attempt to keep me connected to God. I’m far from perfect. I swear 262 times on a good day, I’m great at throwing pity-parties, and I sin more compared to the average Christian woman. Yet, I have a relationship with God because I’d be a hopeless spirit without Him. I’d stand empty. And when my husband lost his job, He created a sense of peace within me by simply trusting Him.
Days passed. My husband polished his resume. He applied. He interviewed. Days turned into weeks. He got denied. Weeks turned into months. With each passing week, my husband’s ego shrank until finally, it disappeared.
That’s what needed to happen. Humility needed to be restored. He needed to find a faith outside of himself. Luckily, he found it at a food bank.
On a whim, a friend asked me if I would volunteer with her at an inner-city church on a Tuesday. With both kids at school, my husband and I went together. We helped the volunteers place food in the paper bags for the poor.
The following Tuesdays I was unable to volunteer, so my husband went on his own. At first, he was nonchalant about volunteering at the church by himself. “It was fine,” he’d tell me after coming home. But after each week, he came back from that church a little lighter—his head a little higher. And finally, after a couple of months, I heard that screeching door open again. He walked into our family room with his winter coat still on. “How’d it go?” I asked.
Visibly shaken and gulping down his tears, he said, “Good. Really good.”
In that moment, I saw it: the Holy Spirit had finally jumped into my husband—magic was ignited.
My husband continued. “A recovering alcoholic, a man who lived on the streets for over a decade, joined hands with me and began praying for me. Right there—on the spot.”
“That’s amazing, honey,” I responded.
He no longer cared about having dry eyes. “It really was,” he whispered. He cupped his face and let tears fall.
Each week my husband would bond with different men volunteering—almost all of them had fought some kind of addiction in the past. They had hit their rock bottoms, and God pulled them to their feet. He wiped the dirt off them, made them clean, so they could start anew. And my husband witnessed these men standing—still imperfect—but tall. It’s these men, these seemingly broken men— who helped open my husband up to the true feelings of God.
I recognized those tears in my husband. It was God and the Holy Spirit working their magic inside of him. Although society deems tears as a sign of weakness, especially with men, those tears showed he was becoming stronger.
Through the weeks, my husband has had a surge of energy. He still has yet to find a job, but something is happening that is far more important. He’s more cognizant of others. He wants to make this world better. He’s putting his trust in something other than himself. Although my husband is quiet, this new energy is not—he’s impacting everyone he stumbles into. Now that my husband has welcomed God in his corner, he doesn’t need his ego. Yes, he worries about when he will land that next job. But he now knows that the time will come when God will open that screeching garage door to my husband’s next, great opportunity.