We have been a one-car family for some time now due to an accident that I had with our second vehicle a few years ago. Hence, when I was told by my employer that staff would no longer have access to company vehicles – I began to worry as I realized I would have to use our family car to meet mandated requirements.
The current position I held required me to travel around Washington, DC to provide services to at-risk children and families. This included schools, homes, and juvenile court visits on a daily basis. While mileage reimbursement was offered, it wasn’t quite an equal trade-off to the wear and tear that would accumulate on our vehicle over time.
My supervisor and I regularly meet for one hour every week for supervision while I am in the process of becoming a social worker. One of my weekly tasks is to review cases and share each family’s progress and areas of difficulty. My supervisor and I then reconvene to discuss new strategies we can implement to help the family discover their strengths.
For some time now, I have had the desire to apply for a new position within the agency. The position was a school-based worker, which would allow me to be more stationary. This would mean that I would only service students within one school and would no longer have to travel throughout the city. I also like the hours of the school-based position, which would allow me more time with my children. The working hours were during the day – no longer spilling into the evening like my current role. My family is my first ministry and I cherish the time we spend together.
During my weekly supervision, I used this as an opportunity to share my new interest. I received favorable feedback as my supervisor stated that I would be a great candidate as upper management is looking for employees that can represent them well in the schools.
My role would be a contractor. This meant that while I am employed with the agency, my work is done outside of the school, which requires minimal supervision and the ability to work independently with integrity. I have all of that! I can do it! I walked away with excitement as I thought this would be the perfect fit for me.
Since having the conversation with my supervisor, I would occasionally inquire if a school-based position had opened up – however, I was always told “no”. Months passed and I would hear of several colleagues that had become school-based employees. Huh? How? Why are so many others able to transition but whenever I ask, I’m told there is nothing available? I began to get discouraged. I said, “God, don’t You love me? I want this new position so that I can spend more time with my family. I want to put less strain on our vehicle. Why aren’t you making this happen for me?”
I was at a crossroad. Would I begin to complain and take on the victim role – woe is me? Would I take my frustrations out on my husband and children? Would I stop putting my best foot forward? Would I become ungrateful? In life we have a choice. We can either succumb to our circumstances or we can choose to rise above them. While I was dissatisfied, the Lord continued to tell me to do my work as unto Him. So that is what I decided to do.
Two years went by in my same position while other colleagues transitioned into stationary school-based positions one after another. I continued to have daily conversations with myself that the Lord knows my life and He knows what is best for me. This was a daily mindset I had to choose to walk in that no one else could do for me.
One day my supervisor asked, “Mrs. Jennings, can I see you in my office?” Uh-oh, did I do something wrong? Were they eliminating my position? All of these thoughts flooded my mind. Cast them down Kristin, just walk with your head up. My heart began to pound, and I began to whisper to myself, “You may feel scared but walk confidentially – you don’t know what may come out of this meeting.”
“Mrs. Jennings, we have a school-based position that we think you would be a great fit for,” my supervisor says. “Would you be available to meet with the school’s principal for an interview this upcoming Wednesday?” Everything in me leaped. “Yes, I am available!” I responded. “Thank you so much for considering me.”
I interviewed with the principal and was immediately hired. I was elated. My prayers had finally been answered. God had not forgotten about me! I settled into my new role and everything was perfect.
Well, not quite. About six months after working in my new position, the agency made an announcement that they would close within the next three months. What? Really? I finally am in a place where I feel I am able to grow and the agency is closing? I lamented, “God, why would You give me something just to take it away from me?”
Fear and worry began to creep in. Again, I was faced with another choice. Would I choose to be afraid, or would I have faith? God is sovereign and can do what He wants to do – so if it was His will that I start this position only for it to end, then that’s what it is. Accepting this was easier said than done and I had to spend many mornings praying that this is the mindset that I would keep.
Two weeks before my last day, the principal of the school asked to meet with me. She shared that she had been watching me for the past few months since I started and had been very pleased with the relationships I built with the families and staff at the school. She shared that she has seen a lot of improvement with the children I serviced. She stated that although the agency was closing she would like for me to stay on board as a District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) employee and continue providing services to the families.
What? Are you serious? This has actually been a longstanding prayer of mine. My children attend DCPS, so this would afford me the opportunity to be on their school schedule. I would be able to spend more time with them in the mornings and evenings. I would be an employee and no longer a contractor. I would also have a summer break – something that I have always desired. The icing on the cake: the school is only seven minutes from my parents’ house, which means I can visit my mother after work before I head home. Ahh thank You, Lord!
The reason I kept hearing “no” is because the door had not opened for me yet. The Lord had a specific opportunity for me – at this specific school with this specific principal. None of my colleagues that had received school-based positions before me had been offered this opportunity. God would not move until it was the right time. His timing is perfect!
My takeaway is to always trust in God’s timing – even in the “no.” The Lord knows what is best for our lives. He is always for us and even in His delay – He is working behind the scenes waiting to show His power – at the perfect time! Trusting in God’s timing is a great reason to celebrate!