The faithful: Loss of a job brings family closer together
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
The faithful: James and Andie O'Lexey, married, parents of three children. He earned a six-figure income before being laid off from Newfield in 2015 as a completion foreman.
DUCHESNE, Duchesne County — James O'Lexey was a foreman in the oil fields readying a $16 million well for production when he was laid off in January of 2015.
He'd moved his new bride, Andie, out from North Dakota, had three children ages 4 and under, an expensive sports utility vehicle and a house payment to make on an upscale A-frame home on four acres.
The good life the couple had worked so hard for, the things they valued, his worth as a 16-year professional, all appeared to be gone with a pink slip.
They were wrong.
"Nothing really made sense until we put God in the equation, and now it all makes sense," he said. "It's been the best year of my life."
Andie O'Lexey said her husband was working 12 to 16 hours a day.
Since the layoff, he said he's reconnected with his wife, spends more time with his children and the SUV with the $1,000 monthly payment is gone.
Born-again Christians, they've embraced their ministry, putting their faith in God and this new plan.
"We've been able to see in a very real way how God provides," she said. "We still have our house, we still have a car, and the bills are being paid."
James O'Lexey is now a small-engine mechanic. It's been tight financially, but when it looks like they won't make it, a repair job walks in the garage. He went back to school, got his commercial driver's license and began driving a school bus. The house is up for sale, but there's been little interest.
It hasn't been easy. Challenges never are. James O'Lexey still remembers the look on his boss' face, and the panic and shock he felt.
"I will never get in a position in my life again where I am devastated at the loss of a job," he said.
"We were just devastated. Two car payments, the fifth-wheeler, four-wheeler, all these things we filled our life with."
"It was silly," Andie O'Lexey said. "We didn't need all those things."
In this transition, they're focusing on their faith, their family, their calling to help others and the simplicity of letting go of what once was controlling them.
"We would never be where we are right now if we did not have that living faith," he said. "All these things we had filled our life with — and it is devastating to lose that, you think. But my faith, they can never take that away from me."
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