“I once thought that God’s goodness to me was measured by things – a nice job, a car, and other material possessions. God showed me the error in that way of thinking.” – Frances Uzoukwu
“God was a footnote in my life for a long time,” said Frances Uzoukwu. “I had planned out my future, setting goals to make a certain achievement by a specific day. God could be part of what I was doing, but I wanted to control the timeline. I labeled all of that self-confidence, but in reality, I was full of pride.
“I was born in the Dallas area, and my parents immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria before I was born. Raised in the Catholic church, I knew God loved me, but I had no idea what the cross meant until I was older, and someone preached the gospel in a way I could understand. Because I was raised in a works-based tradition, I couldn’t grasp what grace could mean in my life.
“For many kids growing up in a family with parents who are immigrants, you’re given three choices for your career: doctor, lawyer, engineer. When I chose to study business, my father was a little concerned. My parents had high expectations, and I strove to be part of various campus organizations, get good grades, and study abroad. One of my biggest fears as I was going to Texas A&M was not being able to find a job when I graduated. But when I landed what I thought was my dream job as a buyer for a major retailer, my family was relieved.
“I had heard that life was hard during those first few years after college graduation, but I didn’t entirely believe it. I thought I’d have an apartment, make my own money, and enjoy my freedom. The truth is, it was a rough transition, and I was miserable. I was told by my employer at the end of my first major project, that if my performance and behavior didn’t change, I would be let go. I was a ‘get-the-job-done’ kind of person, but I was introverted and reserved. I tried to overcome my boss’s displeasure with me by coming in early, leaving late, and rarely taking time to rest. That wasn’t enough, so I was let go.
“I was so shocked to have lost my job. After a few days of feeling numb, anxiety, panic, and anger set in as I thought about my student loans and apartment rent that would soon be due. I felt like I’d failed my family, and I struggled to believe that God had a plan for me.
“Fortunately, the Lord put on my heart to go to Careers in Motion, Watermark’s jobs ministry. It was great to be around people who were in the same boat as I was, and to be encouraged by God’s Word. They helped me not despair as the job search dragged on and on. In my pride, I’d actually given God a timeline of six weeks to help me find a new job. Pride and comparison to others were such struggles for me, and the Lord used my job search to help me see my sin.
“There were so many highs and lows as I continued to look for a new position. I battled the ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’ as I questioned whether I had pursued the wrong career. But as I grew in God’s Word and opened my heart to the community of friends He placed around me, I learned how to trust God while dealing with disappointment. Although my circumstances had not changed, I experienced peace from the Lord, and my fear was replaced with hope.
“Looking back, it’s amazing to me how much the Lord changed my heart. Rather than anxiously expecting a job on my timeline, I prayed and put my trust daily in God, whether a job interview went well or not. When I finally found a new job, I didn’t celebrate my accomplishments; I praised God and thanked Him for the gift.
“I once thought that God’s goodness to me was measured by things – a nice job, a car, and other material possessions. God showed me the error in that way of thinking by allowing me to lose my job. Through that experience, God drew me close and helped me see that He is the good in my life. I learned who God is and what Jesus did for me on the cross, and what an astonishing gift grace really is. Now I consider the peace, joy, and love of God the good things in my life. Whether I have a job tomorrow or not, I am loved and valuable to the Lord.”