23- Where Are We Going, Lord?
Released from my teaching job, I was free to follow the Lord!
But where was He going?
I heard about an opening in a first grade classroom in a very small Christian school. Thinking it might be God’s direction, I applied and was hired to teach first grade. A woman my age, Karen, was slated to teach the kindergarten class.
Two days later when we arrived to set up our classrooms, we were informed that the enrollment was such that they did not need us as teachers. No moms at all had called inquiring about the kindergarten or the first grade. They had decided to combine the other grades and use their current teachers in an effort to keep the little school afloat. I was baffled but very relieved, as was Karen. My desire had been to move out of the teaching field, but I had applied for the job because I felt it might be God’s leading.
IT WAS GOD’S LEADING! –so that I could meet Karen!
Karen was a mature Christian who loved Jesus and had served with Campus Crusade for Christ. We spent some time together and I found out that her current lodging was temporary so I checked with my landlord and received permission to invite her to share my house.
Karen had been in Christian ministry and was seeking God about a new venture. I had a desire to be a missionary to Africa or to go to Major Ian Thomas’ Bible School in England. We both admitted we were interested in marriage, if that was what God had for us. Karen believed strongly that single women could have an adventurous Christian life, and I caught her enthusiasm.
We agreed that prayer would get us where God wanted us in His big world. It was difficult to promote ourselves before the Lord for an adventurous life with Him, but we believed in each other and had lots of faith to pray enthusiastically for the other one.
I asked the Lord to bring missions, marriage, or ministry to Karen, and she asked God to do the same for me. We tried to keep ourselves in a place of neutrality so that whichever way God might lead, we would not resist Him, but joyfully submit to His leading.
We prayed this way for each other every day.
A neat couple in my church, Doug and Judy, found out that I was not going back to my teaching job and begged me to work at one of their A&W restaurants—as a car hop.
As had happened at a previous juncture in my life, I had no goals or plans. I had a small retirement account through the school district which I did not want to tap into in order to pay my rent. I had received permission to leave my nets to follow Jesus. But if He had a destination in mind He wasn’t letting me know about it.
Spoiler: He DID have a plan, but if He had illuminated me about it, I probably would have messed it up.
I was relieved that the A&W car hops no longer delivered their orders on roller skates since I was 32 years old and out of skating practice and could not visualize myself cruising down the cement sidewalks precariously on small wheels while carrying trays loaded with food and thick glass root beer mugs.
The manager, Georgia, was very serious about her job and ours, and brandished her words with great fervor –like a sword! Her shrieks, “get those trays out!” kept us rushing at breakneck speed and a little off kilter. I was disgraced more than once when I dropped a customer’s tray before I was able to hook it onto his car window.
This time of my life was very humbling. I was experiencing the brokenness I had read about in books*. I was obeying Jesus by faith, leaning and depending on Him, yet not seeing any helpful markers, not sure where He was leading or even IF He really was leading me or if I was just a nutty new and bewildered Christian.
My duties included cleaning the bathrooms and picking up trash. On a day when I was seeking the Lord and fasting (which was challenging while working with the enticing aromas of grilling char burgers and hot smoking fries), I was in the side parking lot sweeping cigarette butts into the metal scooper. I caught a whiff of what seemed to me to be a heavenly scent. It was a mixture of cloves and unusual fragrances that I could not name. It came with the sense that the Lord was meeting me in my brokenness.
God met me and encouraged me.
The Christian life is a journey of faith from the beginning when we accept Jesus by faith–throughout our lives, as we walk by faith–and into eternal life with Him.
*Books: Through Gates of Splendor, 1957, Elisabeth Elliot; Hinds’ Feet on High Places, 1955, Hannah Hurnard; God’s Smuggler, 1964, Andrew van der Bijl; Streams in the Desert (devotional), 1904, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman; My Utmost for His Highest (devotional), 1926, Oswald Chambers.