“I’m so sorry,” I said, stoically, “but as much as I WANT to accept your offer, I’m going to have to turn it down.”
There was hesitation on the other end of the line. Perhaps even disappointment. The elder board chairman had expressed their overwhelming support when offering me the position – a dream job, in my opinion. One I knew I’d love; a ‘from-the-ground-up’ position as office administrator of a new, non-denominational church which showed great promise!
My family was thrilled to have found this fledgling congregation recently, and even more thrilled at the prospect of this challenging position on staff. The board was made up of some well-respected, Godly men – many of whom I had known for some time in the community. I applied, interviewed, and was offered the position. I wanted it so badly, but one thing was standing in the way – insurance.
I had great benefits in my current job, but benefits weren’t offered by the church. We would have to get insurance through my husband’s employer – a small business, with significantly higher costs.
I was honored and oh, so excited at the offer, until we crunched the figures. I had to say no. So, the call had to be made. The pastor and elders understood, but asked me to give it more thought and prayer. It was decided I would give my final answer by 5pm the following day.
So, that night, my husband and I did more thinking and talking and figuring. And praying! What did God want us to do? It was a difference of several hundred dollars a month, and we felt we just couldn’t do it. We were a family of four, with two nearly-grown children about to leave the nest. Our son had a job, with insurance. Our daughter had just graduated from college, and was trying to get her first teaching contract. We could afford the insurance premium for just Jim and I, but needed a family plan. Essentially, delaying the answer until the next day only extended my pain of saying no when I so wanted to say yes!
I knew there were other qualified applicants who were, no doubt, eager to hear if they would be offered the job. Not wanting to delay any longer, early the next morning I reached for the phone to make the call. But God somehow stopped me from doing so when He seemingly asked me…“Don’t you remember, my child? I’ve got until 5 o’clock!”
Okay, God! I thought to myself. And, I put the receiver back on the hook and started my day.
Work was a blur. The hours flew by. I was startled by a ringing phone at 3 o’clock, and was delighted to hear my daughter’s excited voice. She’d been offered a contract. And, she was in tears! Within a few seconds I was, too! (Strange how that happens to us – it must be a mother-daughter thing!)
A week or so earlier, she’d had a strange call asking her to schedule an interview for a position for which she hadn’t applied. She explained to the caller that there must be some mistake, as she hadn’t applied for an early childhood position. But, when she told me about the call, I said, “You know, Shawna…this could be a ‘God thing.’ Are you WILLING to teach preschool?” She said she was, so I suggested she call back, saying that even though she wasn’t certified for that age level, if they were able to provide provisional certification, she WOULD be interested in interviewing.
So, she did! The rest was history. We were on the phone, in tears, praising God for her answered prayers. She’d been offered her first teaching contract – WITH BENEFITS!
“Do you know what this means, Shawna?” I asked. She had been so stressed about finding a job I hadn’t told her until now that I’d turned down my offer to keep her on our family policy!
Now, she was in tears! And, I was too! Again! “Well, Mom!” she said emphatically, “Get off the phone, and make that call!” So, I did!
God worked everything out less than two hours before the deadline, answering two prayers at once.
I served in that position for nearly a decade, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the church grow from a congregation of 40 to one of nearly 500; from a store-front office and rented auditoriums on Sundays to a multi-million dollar worship center where many lives have been touched and changed, ever since. God truly blessed that ministry, and blessed me by allowing me to be a part of it.
God remains faithful, and His timing is always perfect!