One year ago today life changed. I said goodbye to my work family to focus on my real family.
I thought I would start a Podcast and write a book after taking a part-time job, but the job quickly turned into full-time, and that dream still sits shelved. I thought I would be starting school this semester for counseling, but that’s also on hold due to time.
I am okay with all of it being on hold because I know life happens on God’s time, not my time. He needs me at the church in roles I never imagined I would be in a year ago. But He also needed me to learn lessons. Here are a few I have reflected on…
1. Track Your Time
Since 2008, I have been a salaried employee. My first salaried job, I had an employer who taught me to believe salaried meant on the clock around the clock. That developed a solid work ethic for an employer to enjoy but an awful understanding of work-life balance that I carried with me until … well, to be honest, I’m still working on breaking it.
At the church, I’m “hourly”. Which means I punch a time clock for 40 hours a week and go home (in theory). In doing so, I have realized how much time I truly spend (and spent in the past) at work.
2. God First, Family Second
This one has been the hardest. When I start each day in the Bible and prayer and walk in God’s will, life is good. I have strived this year to put family before everything else outside of the aforementioned 40 hours and my time with Christ. In doing so, I have built a better relationship with my daughter. I’m still struggling to balance time in the relationship with God and my husband.
3. How to Pray
I don’t think you can say prayers suck, but I never really knew how to pray. My prayers the first 40 years of life kinda sucked. I prayed selfishly when I needed something. I hated to pray out loud. Over the last year I have learned to intentionally pray for others. I have prayed beside total strangers. I turn to prayer multiple times per day. I have been blessed to sit in staff meetings where we start every meeting in prayer for the group and end it in prayer for others. If there’s one area God knew working at the church would grow me in, it was developing my communication channel with Him.
4. How to See God’s Hand
I didn’t ever stop to see God’s hand in the storms and ashes of life until the spring of 2021. I had a mentor teach me how. Over the last year at the church, I have had a church family show me their experiences, too. But the most spiritual moments have been meeting the random people God sends to the church. The stories I could share are endless, but they have showed me to trust God’s timing.
5. People First, Then Projects
In the same breath, it’s easy to get so overwhelmed with projects that taking time to visit and serve people gets put on the back burner. I have spent the last year reminding myself that no matter who walks in my office, the project I’m working on can wait. And I have been amazed that God always makes it happen. I pray before rewriting my to-do list every week (and reprioritizing it daily) that His will will be done. I have remarked more than once that projects seem to just fall into place easier than they ever have.
6. Don’t Get Your Value From People
Galatians 1:10 has been my verse this year. There was a season where I fell back into trying to please people instead of trusting Christ. As it was happening, God placed the book “Instruments in the Redeemers Hands” in my path. I realized that when I struggle in feeling unappreciated, the person I’m allowing to direct that feeling is me. I’ve also learned to pray for those I am struggling with. I may not be able to turn the conflict around, but God can … and has!
7. I Can Learn Anything
When I was asked in November to step into the finance role on top of marketing, while training a new employee and going through training myself, I knew it would be tough. But God provided training. I have learned more about taxes, nonprofits, payroll, and HR in 8 months than I knew was possible. Some days I have to remind myself that finance would be more fun if the language of business was chocolate and not numbers, but I just repeat the words I once heard someone else say, “I love numbers and numbers love me.”
I’ve also realized God was providing the training all along. It took a few weeks for the 10 key speed from working 2 years in a cash office in college to come back, but it did. It took a few months for the memory of doing Quickbooks for several years to come back, but it did. And I am still struggling to balance what could easily be two full-time positions, but the skills God gave me to organize and plan are used daily.
8. Kids Don’t Stop Growing
My daughter starts 4th grade this year. I cry as I type that. She’s halfway to adulthood. Some days I see the wannabe grown up independent version of her mix with the little girl still inside of her. I have to remind myself to play hide-n-seek and the things she wants, no matter how tired and out of shape I am. I don’t do well at being the playmate mom she needs me to be sometimes, but I am trying.
9. God Always Provides
I took a substantial pay cut and lost all benefits to take a “part-time” job. We have had to change some things we took for granted to make ends meet, but God has provided. Sometimes I get stressed and don’t remember to trust He will, but He does.
The last month we have seen part of our ceiling collapse, I’m going through a health issue, and as I type this, we don’t have water. But God has provided affordable repair, free medical advice from knowledgeable people, and on Monday, we should get a discounted new water filtration system installed. He’s also placed opportunities to earn money on the side, or random appreciation gifts, at just the right time to cover surprise expenses.
10. Goodbyes Aren’t Forever
Finally, I have been blessed to still keep in touch with a lot of my LifeNet work family. One in particular has served as a mentor on multiple occasions when he didn’t have to. I’ve been blessed to be able to assist with projects behind the scenes from time-to-time. I’ve had random TXTs from people on the days I needed them most that reminded me I was missed. Most importantly, the friends I made there are still my friends today.
There are a lot of other lessons I have learned, but 10 seems like a good place to stop. Thank You God for 41 years of shaping my life. Thank You for recognizing when I needed a reset and helping get me back on track. Thank You for all You’ve taught me. Thank You for whatever the future you have planned for me holds!