26 Weeks of Vacation
I am #50 in the Exodus
God parts the Red Sea Again in 2016
Blessed for Obedience
Dream So Big it Requires Divine Intervention
There are so many accurate and appropriate titles for this blog post but the one which most applies is Divine Intervention. I have not liked my circumstances for four years. Against all my own efforts, God kept me planted right where I did NOT want to be.
In those years, I overcame severe sensory challenges from a car accident a few years before. The one thing I told God I could not do was to work in a noisy cubicle environment. Guess where the one and only job offer was! I remember asking for a tour after my interview and much to my horror it was a bull pen with different music playing in every cubicle. People sang with their music, they played drums on their desk, they shouted to employees in the next room and my new boss told me he was particularly loud and obnoxious (his words). “God, you did not bring me this far to drop me in this pit of desperation without a purpose.” My first paycheck purchased Bose noise cancelling headphones. (I highly recommend them even if you don’t have sensory issues.)
One by one the loud obnoxious ones left the company, but not before I realized God was doing a work in me and the sensory challenges were manageable. In fact I became a senior member in my three year tenure with this small company of 30, not so much because I was the oldest person there, but because of the exodus of 49 others before me. I was #50 and ecstatic with my exit number.
During this exile in Babylon, I did what Daniel did. I ate healthy food, took a toaster oven to work and became friends with the king (which is this case was the head of the IT Department.) I was shown much kindness and offered much instruction which allowed me to master the madness. Only God can measure the effects of the salt and light shared throughout that time. I learned that even in the midst of chaos and no matter how challenging the environment, there is no reason not to give your best. After all, I was working for The King. Cheerfully pleasing God, no matter your circumstances is the main thing.
Throughout these years I agonized over my dwindling savings. It is difficult to support a home with one income. I had started over in life three times and lost big on some entrepreneurial ventures involving helicopters that did not fly. I could never envision being able to retire. I gave up looking for a husband as God has made it abundantly and laughably clear He has in mind for me to be single. So if being single was good enough for the Apostle Paul then it is good enough for me.
It finally hit me that I am no longer a spring chick. My 60th birthday is approaching and I pondered who in the world would hire an old woman. I don’t feel old and I don’t think I look old but people continue to ask if I am someone’s grandmother.
I am a great adventurer and the last three years of punching a time clock sitting in a cubicle, accounting for every minute and having no vacation time nearly killed me. In three years I had only one adventure road trip. I have a grand desire to explore the Grand Canyon and the entire southwest but how could this ever take place with no vacation time and no funds to travel.
And so I prayed. I enlisted others to pray and over and over for years we prayed. I believed that God would use everything for good. I believed that God would give me the desires of my heart. But how? And how long was I going to wait?
And then I got this urge to visit friends in Bloomington. No real reason to do this, but a firm desire was placed on my heart. I did not really know much about the man who had married a friend of mine. In truth, I really did not know her all that well because I took her girls to church for several years while she worked the weekend shift at the hospital. Her girls even call me grandma! God answered their prayers and brought them together as a family and they now live in Bloomington an hour away. We caught up on things and then I asked her new husband “Matt, what do you do?” He proceeded to tell me had a strange sort of job where he lived away from his home every other week living in another home helping people who were developmentally disabled. I had a lot of experience working with people with disabilities. My famous foster son gave me years of experience. As Matt explained the perks of having every other week off, as well as the joy of helping his clients, I was intrigued. I told him I could use a job like that. He looked at me and said “I can get one for you.” Four days later I was hired.
Friends have remarked often about my expectation for miracles. I don’t just want one, but a basket full. As I count them and give thanks for them, I realize it was well worth the wait.
Miracle 1: Someone valued my age and experience. Instead of succumbing to the dire statistics of companies not wanting to hire anyone over 25, I prayed for a company to be overjoyed with all my work experience, dedication, and varied talents. I was hired faster than a programmer seeking an IT job. The parents of one of my clients loved the fact that I was a grandmotherly type. I prayed for an opportunity to serve others and make a difference. I can actually do this job until I am 75.
Miracle 2: Time to pursue those many interests. With an insatiable appetite for learning and adventure, I want time to travel and learn and create. This job will give me 26 weeks off. Part of my job requirements are to take my clients into the community. I will be paid to explore Bloomington, Brown County, Nashville. We can all go on photo adventure road trips every day. We can swim, hike, shop, play and dream.
Miracle 3: I never thought I could retire financially. I prayed for a solution to my poor financial planning and the effects of life disasters that necessitated me starting over three times. And while I truly did not deserve to be rescued from the path I had chosen and the consequences for these choices, God always gives what we don’t deserve. That is what the gift of salvation is all about. I can live on the wage and have the option to work as much as I want on my off week to supplement my retirement savings and my travel budget. God took a hopeless situation and brought immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine which was my fervent prayer at the start of the new year.
Miracle 4: I need to run the show and I wanted to work from home. This job lets me be very entrepreneurial. I can plan each day to enjoy the best of what Bloomington has to offer. If there is a snow day, we can stay in and sit by the fire. If it is bright and sunny, we can hike and explore. I get to cook all the meals and can choose healthy delicious foods. We can plant a garden and a flower box. We can research and explore new approaches to autism. We can pray and I can read Jesus stories out loud.
Miracle 5: During these years of transformation from when I returned home to Indiana from a life in Florida, rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricanes of life, I stayed steady and trusted where I did not understand. I walked away from my job today honored at every turn. I served 150 vendors in my job and they called and wrote and some even cried. My coworkers were amazing at every turn. The management of the company surprised me the most. I found out on my very last day that they thought I had done an exemplary job and my nemesis even said I could come back if things did not work out. Don’t get me wrong, there are an equal number of business associates that are dancing in the street that I am gone. You either love me or hate me, there is no lukewarm! I’ve got news for them, I trained my replacement well for setting the bar high.
I endured the most difficult four years of my life. Apparently I was in training with a little testing thrown in for good measure. Choosing to follow God’s path, His recommendations, I resigned as leader of the universe and cheerfully endured where God placed me and did the work that He brought me. I was blessed beyond all measure, far beyond what I deserve. He does that you know. He loves you more than you might comprehend. He does amazing things when you love Him back and follow His lead.