God is Faithful. He delights in us and wants to give us the desires of our heart. Truly. Here's an update on what has been going on in our lives lately. It may be a long post, but I want to give you a clear picture of how good God is and all that He has been doing. Grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and settle in for a few minutes so you can read this post without interruption.
If you have read my blog for very long, you know that I am a former school counselor that felt led to stay at home with my kids. I took a years leave of absence from my job at the conclusion of the 2010 school year when I had Mack and officially submitted my resignation in April of 2011 and decided I would not return to work. Although I truly do believe that God led me to do that, there were definitely days when selfishly, I longed to be back at work. Don't get me wrong, I am SO grateful that I have been able to stay at home, but it is H-A-R-D. Some days I am desperate for adult conversation or even just a conversation where the other person doesn't end up rolling around on the floor crying and screaming (a la Karsyn Rose until the age of 3!). I have always said that I would LOVE to find a part-time job that would allow me to work some and to stay at home some.
I don't know where you live, but in the state of NC, things are NOT good in public education right now with our budget. Positions are being cut, resources are drastically reduced, and classrooms are suffering. When I gave my resignation I inquired about the possibility of any new part-time positions and received a clear cut NO. These types of positions just don't exist in our county, not in the counseling field at least. At one point about a year ago, I mentioned to a friend who works in Personnel for a local school system that I'd be interested if there was ever a part-time counseling position. She said she would keep it in mind, but told me later that she thought to herself 'we don't have positions like that'.
Fast forward several months. Me and the kids have settled into a nice routine and are truly enjoying our time together. One Sunday about two weeks ago, a friend told me that there might be a part-time counseling position open and to let her know if I might be interested and she'd pass along my name.
I talked to Marcus and we decided that unless the position was at a particular early college high school in our county, we just didn't see how the schedule would work with childcare for our two kids. We prayed that if it be God's will for me to apply, that he would open the right doors. I received an email that evening and guess which school it was at?!?!? THE ONE SCHOOL I said I'd be willing to work at!
There were still a lot of barriers, though, so I didn't think it would work out and had basically given up on even applying. I told the Principal I was interested but that as of that moment, we had no childcare. She said we could meet one Saturday afternoon for coffee (best job interview setting ever!), and that we could chat. I almost talked myself out of going because I had decided there was no point in pursuing this job when I didn't have anyone to watch our kids if I went back to work. Marcus and I spent a lot of time talking about different options. At one point he said, 'what we need is for Mrs. Dena to keep our kids'. Mrs. Dena is the wife of one of our pastors at church and is a dear, sweet woman. We love her and know that she loves our kids, but she was already working in another job. I told Marcus she already had a job, so we kept considering options. He convinced me to go to the interview, so hesitantly, I went.
I met with the Principal (who is FABULOUS by the way) and was able to openly and honestly name every concern and reason why I didn't think I could do the job. Every excuse that I mentioned she was able to counter with a solution. Before our time together ended she had basically told me we could work out whatever schedule I needed to, that I would be doing all the aspects of counseling that I love (classroom guidance, advising, registration, etc.) and none of the ones that I don't (testing, 504s and IEP's), that she would be fine if I couldn't start until I had childcare, that she was willing to help teach me all the things I didn't know and needed to learn, and that she understood that my family would always come first. Not only that, but she is a Christian on top of it! I don't know about your career field, but things NEVER happen this was in public education here. Ever. We each decided that we'd pray about it and talk later.
Here comes the amazing part. That night, my awesome friend Carrie threw me a surprise birthday party (I'm going to blog about this soon, I promise!). While I was at the party, I was talking to some friends about the possibility of the job, but that I still didn't think I would take it because of childcare issues. Later on in the evening I was approached by Mrs. Dena who said she was beginning to feel like she was being led to approach me and ask me how I would feel about her quitting her job and keeping my kids.
Ummm...hello...did you just catch that? Read it again. This is the very same lady that Marcus said before, "what we need is for Mrs. Dena to keep our kids". We had never before mentioned this to anyone else, and Mrs. Dena had never kept our kids for us before (although her amazing daughter had). When Dena said that to me, I could hardly speak. It was absolutely, clearly a God-stop. We decided to each pray about it separately and then talk in a few days.
There have been other signs and open doors that have happened since then. They decided to officially offer me the position and make me the 'college ready' counselor. Guess what area I worked in for four years? College awareness and readiness! Here's another one- I decided that for me to be able to afford childcare and to work the schedule I needed, that I needed to have a 60% position. The position had been designed to be a half-time or 50% position originally. I decided that it couldn't hurt to ask, so I directly asked for a 60% position instead. Now remember, the school system budgets are TIGHT right now. People have lost jobs, lost supplies, are making do with less...but they said YES. Here's the crazy part. She was able to say yes because one of my best friends, Tina, had just resigned her position as a part-time speech therapist. They were able to take part of that money and put it towards my position!
~ Because Tina had been obedient and stepped out in faith when God told her to go to another job, now I was able to do the same and step out in faith with THIS position.
God orchestrated all of these events within less than 4 days of each other. I would have been hesitant to even consider going back to work, but from the beginning we prayed that if this was His will for us, that doors would be opened. Let me tell you friends, God has flung so many doors open wide that I have no choice but to go ahead and walk right through.
He has already placed many Christians around me in this new position and is clearly in the midst of setting up something big. I know and believe that He has a purpose for me at this new school and that it has all been ordained with His blessing. My children are going to be taken care of by a wise woman who was a missionary in China that home schooled her two amazing kids. She will love on them just like (if not better) than I would. I will be able to approach a new mission field and get to make Jesus famous in a whole new place.
I say all this to you to offer a word of encouragement. The Bible tells us that God is working together ALL things for GOOD for those that love Him, who are called according to HIS purpose. Let me say that again- He's working for OUR GOOD and for HIS GLORY. Does that always mean that things will fall together as perfectly as they have in this situation? Absolutely not. But friends, God IS working. Even when things are tough, He is crafting together a beautiful plan that will all make sense down the road. He loves you and delights in you and is
walking through carrying you through every step of every day.
I have a few friends that are in difficult circumstances right now. One is out of work, one is getting ready to take a huge step of faith and be without most of the things that offer us security in this world. And you know what? God's already got their beautiful plan in place, also. The difficult part is trusting Him when we can't see it.
I hope that this post has come across as it is intended- a testament to God's faithfulness and nothing to bring praise to myself. EVERYTHING that I have that is good is directly from Him and I want to give Him all the glory for it.
If you think about it, please pray for me in this new endeavor. Pray that God will be able to use me with the students, parents, and faculty I will come into contact with. This is a new school system for me, and I will be meeting many new people. It is my prayer that His light will shine so bright in me that others can't help but be drawn towards it.
Thanks for all of you who have been praying for me already. I love y'all!