Work with what ya got.

Have you ever looked back in life to realize how much your past has led you to where you are now? It’s pretty cool, how things work out.

When I look back, I think of God as Jehovah Jireh. Don’t worry; it’s not a creepy name for God used by cultists, I promise. It’s the Hebrew name for “God the provider”. As I go into the next few weeks, I will see more hours on my paystub, more money in the bank, and just another manifested promise of God’s provision in our life (mine and Aaron’s).

I started teaching piano lessons when I was 14 because my current teacher was leaving, I was one of her best students, and they had no one else to teach. So there I was, teaching all ages and couldn’t even have my own bank account yet. I taught for six years, and taught all ages, from four to fifty-something. I also taught, unknowingly, the wife of my future youth pastor. Pretty cool! I also got experience teaching special needs because I had an autistic boy who couldn’t communicate, but he learned.

Six years later, I quit my job teaching piano because I needed something more stable. I was in college, working my way through and taking loans out the wazoo. I found an internship at a tutoring center. In addition to teaching piano, I tutored lots of students, including other college students at my university. I learned a lot about pretty much everything that there is in that position, and after graduation I worked as a teacher there for a little bit.

I started teaching full-time three Augusts ago (wow, that long already?!) and felt very prepared for working with different kinds of kids, needs, and even parents. When you do freelance tutoring, you talk a lot with the parents. They want to see results, or they’ll “fire” you. Then your “business” is hurt because you don’t have a good reputation by word-of-mouth.

Anyway. After working for a few months in retail last fall, my connections at a district, and my teaching certificate got me my aide job in first grade. Enter preconceived notions!! I never thought in a million years I’d enjoy working in a self-contained classroom with 26 whiny six and seven-year-olds. However, I loved it. I learned so much from the teacher about teaching phonics, spelling and reading, and how to relate to kids who haven’t hit puberty yet.

And wha-bam! Here I am in Texas, no teaching jobs are available, and I have about $350 and a few tests standing in between me and my Texas certificate. I felt really discouraged at first. I’d applied to about a dozen aide or clerical positions with no luck.

However, my previous experience at the tutoring center and being certified (my Illinois one is still valid) led me to the job I have now at a franchise of the same tutoring center! In the past couple weeks, we’ve gone through a lot of transition with one of the directors leaving, and I was slated for the position along with a couple other teachers. In a few weeks, I’ll be filling this position and working close to full-time hours (and getting a raise!). In a place where it’s hard for people to find a job, much less military spouses, I feel incredibly blessed.

The cool thing is that this was an answer to our prayer that God would give me favor with my boss. I believe excellence and integrity honor God, and then in turn, God honors excellence and integrity. I’ve had this inclination that I wouldn’t have to do anything extra to obtain a job in my field here in Texas, like throw down a few Benjamins for certification tests.

This is how God works: mysteriously. You don’t really know how things will work out, but you should continue to be faithful. These are the principles Aaron and I follow: Tithe. Be a good steward of what you have. Live within your means.

On several occasions in the past year or so, I’ve seen a rainbow at the perfect times. Once last summer, I was driving across the Illinois River and I was so mad and discouraged about not being in Korea and not knowing what would happen. But I tried my darnedest to pray and trust. That was hard. I saw a double rainbow here in El Paso shortly after we arrived, when again I was feeling hopeless and discouraged about my job situation. And yesterday, I saw yet another rainbow as I came out of the grocery store, picking something up on my way home from work.

This is what I’m not saying…

  • If you don’t have faith, you’ll be poor.
  • If you do have faith, you’ll be rich.
  • If you pray, things will always be easy.
  • If you don’t pray, things will always be hard.

Sometimes life just happens. However, we can be confident that God’s promises stand, and He provides everything we need. We just need to be faithful, obey, and trust. We may not always have excess. Lord knows we don’t right now! But we have what we need at the moment, and that’s all that matters.

One of the members of our small group mentioned that when he worked at an orphanage in rural Mexico, they had three rules about prayer:

  • Believe that you will receive.
  • Be thankful for everything you receive, even if it’s not exactly what you wanted. (Um.. ’96 Honda with 215K miles and no A/C and ’97 Toyota with 165K miles and paint rubbing off? Hey, they’re paid off and get us places!)
  • Be generous and give away something each time you receive.

I’ll end this post with a story he told about “El milagro de los pavos”.
In this orphanage off the beaten path in rural Chihuahua, they were approaching the winter season with very low food supplies for the orphans and staff. In their prayer time with all the children, a three-year-old boy wanted to pray for turkeys. Every week, he wanted to pray for turkeys. (In Mexico, it’s tradition that turkey is served on Christmas.) So, they prayed for turkeys. It seemed a little silly, but they prayed every week. They told God that if they got three turkeys, they’d eat two and give one away. Christmas Eve, people rolled in with turkey after turkey, never hearing that that’s what the orphanage was praying for. They received a total of forty-six turkeys!

Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.'”

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