We are all either in the place before the wilderness, in the wilderness or just after coming out of the wilderness. What I got out of that Bible study is to trust God before, during and after that "wilderness" and that coming through a "wilderness" is where you will grow closer to God and grow deeper in character. He uses the wilderness times in our life to bring us closer to Him. Of course, there was a lot more to the bible study but that was what I walked away with.
It's not like I didn't already know to trust God. But what hit me was seeing clearly that the time to trust God is way before the wilderness. Because once in the middle of that dark place, God will most likely feel like the enemy if you're not already in a relationship with Him...knowing He will not forsake you.
For me, knowing God is praying to Him and then listening for Him as well as studying His word (which I admit I've come to later in life). Using my gut instincts and forging ahead all the while, checking in with Him and listening for Him. And His voice is more of a tap on the shoulder for me......or a "feeling" of this is right. In some of my own wilderness times, I turned to God fully trusting. And in some of my wilderness seasons, I turned away.
Turning to Him is what He wants. But while we wait for Him, He wants us to trust Him, be led by His Spirit, cast our anxieties and worries on Him and forge ahead.
Like Dr. Phil says, "Pray to God to save you, but pick up the oars in the boat!"
So this Spring, I felt that feeling that the time was right for change...I felt that tap on the shoulder, that nudge. And I resigned my job that I loved....however budget cuts were changing the atmosphere.... without knowing what the future held. I am a hard worker and I knew I would find something. I just didn't know what and when. But it all felt so right. I had a real peace about it.
I should say here, that I know how fortunate I am. My husband has a career with the benefits so I am able to quit while looking. This husband does not spend money on clothes or bright shiny things so the money I bring in helps with college apartment rent and let's just say a new shirt now and then. I stayed home for the most part to raise my children, but with no spending money, it's not all that. And now my children are almost all raised but the college years leave little "mad money." So I have had the jobs that provide the little extras....although there have been years when my jobs put the groceries on the table. I am happiest when busy...and Chuck is happiest when I bring in a little cash flow. Winning.
So the plan ...if I had one...was to fill out the paperwork to become a substitute for the school system I had just resigned from. Then substitute while looking for a permanent job. I got the paperwork complete and sent it in. The next substitute training was in July, so I was waiting.
And trusting. And listening. And peaceful.
About this same time, I went to a graduation party and ran in to a friend who works at a store called Magpies in Sugarland. The second she saw me she said, "Hey, Magpies is opening a store out by you......you should get a job there."
Shout out to Peggy with a huge thanks!
And the rest just seemed to fall like a stack of dominoes. She gave my number to the owners, they called me to come in and meet them/interview. I filled out the paperwork. They asked me to work for them. I said I would be honored. And now I go to work on August 1.
The best part...it's 3 to 4 days a week, 11 minutes from my home and the cutest store ever. Magpies has been in business over 27 years starting in their Bellaire location adding a second location in Sugarland and now their third one in Cypress. For those of you not from here...these are all areas of the huge Houston metropolis....central, southwest and now northwest area.
For those of you in Cypress....Magpies bought out II Friends on Barker Cypress.
And here's where it gets just like a direct hit from God:
When I was in my twenties, my sister and I worked at the same mortgage company. We went to lunch together every single day. We stumbled on Magpies in Bellaire because it was next to a place my sister had her hair cut. We fell in love with the store and would stop in at least once or twice a month on our lunch hour. I loved everything about that store so much. I even wallpapered the kitchen in my house with the same exact wallpaper that hung in Magpies. It was the mid 80's so the paper was country blue and rust...ha.
And I can't tell you how many times I said OUT LOUD this past year...."the perfect job would be 4 days a week."
And part of finding a job was finding one without a long commute which would eat up my paycheck with gas for the car.
So here I am, 27 years after falling in love with a store called Magpies....I will be working for them 3 to 4 days a week only 11 minutes away!
If I could lift up and look at my life as a timeline much like God does, I would see how He was weaving this together all along.
I am going to miss my school friends that I got to see daily. I am going to miss kindergartners and the way they made me laugh. I loved working for the schools for the last 7 years...especially because of the friends I made. But I will be tapping in to another side of me. And hopefully, I will see a lot of you in the store.
The 2 weeks leading up to the August 1rst opening (if all goes as planned), I will be helping the owners by painting some furniture for the store. I painted a sign for the door on Saturday...to hide the progress going on inside. I cannot wait. It's going to be great!
Thank you, God.