On July 21st 2008, Scott and I were on our last day with the kids and Poppa Mike finishing an incredible two-week vacation in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We were all up early to get a couple good hikes in. At the same time, Scott and I peeked at our Blackberries before stepping into the National Park and out of cell service. There was an unexpected email from our CEO with an “Important Announcement”… Roche, a silent but majority owner, had made an offer to buy all outstanding shares of Genentech. It took Roche over eight months to get the deal closed, but on March 31st, 2009 it happened. Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2009 there were ongoing strategic discussions as how best to consolidate the companies with duplicate personnel being notified in August if they would be the ones to lose their jobs. Scott and I both retained our jobs.
What was interesting in that year of uncertainty was how God used the time to prepare our hearts, particularly mine, for something completely different. We had pretty much determined by that time that the kids were ready to grow our family. They were happy and we were all settled in together. The hesitation to move forward with adoption was on my part… how would I manage my job and a child or children at home full-time? It was not uncommon for me to be in my home office for 14 hours a day, and that was when I wasn’t traveling two to four days a week. It would be impossible to keep this job and have a child… besides, who in their right mind considers quitting a good paying job in this economy??! My job was all-consuming and I was filled with fear when I couldn’t see clearly how it would all get worked out.
But as God promises, He worked it all out beyond our wildest expectations and was extraordinarily patient with me in the process. He spoke to us every step of the way, providing reassurance and showing us His awesomeness. During that year, He kept saying to me… ‘For God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, and love, and of sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7). The voice was so loud that Scott and I had that verse stenciled above the window in our master bedroom overlooking the Smoky Mountains.
My first step in obedience was a baby one… I committed that if I lost my job then we’d be ready to move forward with adoption. It was only in hindsight that I saw the foolishness of this mindset… God wanted us to trust in Him, making this decision for Him and one or more of His children, not as a consolation to losing a job. But He still used it all in His Plan in that when I didn’t lose my job in August 2009 I realized how disappointed I was. By early December 2009 we had our application packet from Bethany and were moving forward… despite not knowing all the answers down the road.
God spoke to us over and over again, showing us that He was with us and would provide.
On December 30th, 2009 I received a call from Scott’s boss… Scott had been selected for one of the most prestigious awards at Genentech, one that was recognized throughout the industry. A video crew was to fly to Knoxville to secretly film the family congratulating him, to be played in late January 2010 at the awards ceremony in Las Vegas in front of 4,000 colleagues!! Ok, maybe we could be safe with one income… not that I didn’t have complete faith in my husband as a provider it’s just that, after 20 years in the professional work force myself, I’ve always felt for single bread-winners who have a family at home… what pressure. I guess that’s when I learned that with God, Scott’s not alone in providing for our family. We also had been blessed with a spirit of frugalness in that we had saved quite a bit of my income over the years.
Then in March 2010, Scott and I spontaneously decided to cancel our Spring Break trip to Aspen and chose instead to travel to Central Asia with a small group from our church on a mission trip. The experience was life changing. We returned a week later on the day before Easter feeling as if we’d been gone for only five minutes. It was the Monday morning after Easter that the NEDC called and offered us an appointment for that Thursday… they just had a cancellation and we were local. Had we been in Aspen, we wouldn’t have been home to return the call until Wednesday and likely would have missed the opportunity for that appointment.
And then in early Summer, as we were anticipating our transfer, my cat Charlotte suddenly took ill. She had been with me for 17 years. I’ll spare you all the details, but she was my baby. She took to my lap every evening as we sat on the couch, and hung out with me in my office all day. Scott had a good heart about it when she would walk over him to get to my lap… not that she didn’t take his if I was out of town. The only exception was for about a two-week period of time last Winter when she would not settle into my lap… she’d spin and spin and then go to Scott. What’s funny is during those days Scott and I suspected I was in early pregnancy (which was obviously not viable). I know Charlotte could sense something was different too. Charlotte died on July 19th, 2010. One of my dear friends called it the circle of life, and it was true. Charlotte gave me one full day to grieve her before we went in for our transfer, and what turned out to be our twin girls. God had given Charlotte to me to hold and take care of all those years, and as it turned out she stayed with me just long enough to provide me companionship until I had another baby to fill that spot.
Our transfer was July 21st 2010, two years to the day after we received the first announcement that our company was being acquired. As our babies grew this Fall, there was an announcement that another downsizing was coming, rumor had it at 4,000 jobs. I manage a team of three people, most of my fellow front line managers have teams of seven to ten. I knew this time I was a prime candidate for job elimination, as my three team members could easily be folded into another team.
On November 17th at 8 am I got that call… I would receive salary until I was scheduled to go on maternity leave (without expectation of fulfilling any current job responsibilities), then short-term disability (eight weeks pre-due date plus six to eight weeks post delivery), and then what equals a 60+ week severance package. I was five months pregnant with twins and effectively retired but with another year and a half of salary. What perfect timing… all by His doing. And what’s most important to us… there was one more employee and his family who were able to keep their job when they really wanted it.
Scott was nervous that I would have a difficult time slipping into retirement, managing our house rather than multi-billion dollar negotiations. I’m pleased to say God’s timing and the preparation of my heart, as always, was perfect. I would definitely be clinging to my career without Him, but am doing wonderfully thanks to His patience, love and faithfulness… I can’t imagine a greater blessing than our healthy, growing family and being here full-time to take care of them. Ephesians 3:20