I had been at the cleaning gig for nine years when my husband suffered an unfortunate accident that resulted in the loss of his right arm. About six weeks later, while we were still reeling from this change, I stopped to pick him up from the community college where he taught an Accounting course. While I waited, weary and dirty from a day of cleaning houses, I sat in a chair in the hallway. Suddenly the manager breezed by.
“I need to talk to you before you go,” she said to me. “About some work.”
I watched her disappear into her office. Forget it, I thought. I am not interested in adding one more cleaning job to my list, especially one the size of this. I felt tempted to sneak out, but she caught me and called me into her office.
To my surprise, it was not a cleaner she was looking for but an evening clerk. Someone to man the office from regular quitting time until evening classes began. The work would be cyclical and varied. It paid more than I currently made. And if I wanted, I could take classes free of charge as long as they were relevant to the job.
It might have been a no-brainer, except that it would mean I’d be at work during those critical after-school, homework-coaching, chore-nagging, supper-preparing, kitchen-cleaning hours. How could I do that to my family, especially during this traumatic time when my husband was trying to navigate the chaos of his new life? I prayed and sought advice from my mother and sisters, who encouraged me to go for it.
What I couldn’t see then was that God was holding a unique door open and if I didn’t step through it now, the next several doors after this one would remain closed to me.
Though the hours did prove challenging, I spent the next four years at that job. The rusty hinges of my office skills were quickly oiled as I got up to speed with computers and took several courses toward the Office Administration certificate—free of charge.
By this time I’d also been hired one day a week at my church, leading the drama ministry I’d been involved with as a volunteer for several years. I quit all but two of my cleaning jobs (offices that could be cleaned on the weekend and for which I recruited the help of my teenage daughter).
I look back on that time now as one of the craziest in my life and the life of my family—juggling three part-time jobs while raising three kids—and Hubby and me with only three hands between us. “Help me Jesus” became my breathing prayer.
It was during this time that our church secretary asked if I’d consider writing an article on stress for our women’s ministry newsletter. Stress? What did I know about stress?
I gave it a shot. Feedback started coming my way. A seed was planted. I think I’d like to do more of this, I thought.
But that’s a story for another day.