My not so brilliant career
But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
Habakkuk 2:3 Living Bible (TLB)
When the Editor first asked me to share my journey, my heart sank. It wasn’t that I was afraid to tell my story; it’s more that I felt I didn’t have a story worth telling. I’m just an average wife, mother, daughter, friend … no outstanding achievements, no huge crises to deal with and no rags to riches glory — nothing spectacular at all.
I grew up in a loving family, attending church from before I was even born. Growing up in Sunday School, Girls’ Brigade, and church, I learned to love God as a child and, as a teenager, made a conscious decision to commit my heart to the Lord. School was mostly great — I was bright and always near the top of the class academically, but not being terribly sporty I suffered the usual torment of always being picked last for teams. I went on to uni and while boarding at a Toowong-based Bible College met a young Zimbabwean immigrant who turned up as another boarder. We graduated, got married, had jobs, then had children and almost 28 years later we’re still married and the kids are both taller than I am; the youngest is even taller than his dad — something in which he takes great delight.
Along the way there have been the usual ups and downs: bills to pay, stitches (youngest child), broken bones (eldest child), spinal surgery twice (that one was me), houses bought and sold (and in hindsight, not always at the best times), family births and deaths, and more study. We’ve had our challenges, like every other family, but nothing huge. So, I wondered how my journey through life would inspire anyone … I mean, here I am, at 50, still trying to figure out what great purpose God has for me; is it still in my future, or did I somehow miss the signpost along the way?
For the last 3½ years I have been, mostly, unemployed. I’m not sure what I expected when I left my last permanent position, but I don’t think it was this. I hadn’t formally applied for a job since 1989 and was about to discover that the world of job applications had moved on, considerably, in that time. Still, I trusted that God had a plan and hung on to Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT) But, selection criteria — oh, how I love thee. Not!
Throughout this season, God has been faithful. Early in 2011 I was struggling with a particular job application and I had a phone call from a classmate: had I read my email? I was offered a short-term role in a research project — it literally fell into my lap! Now that was a stretching experience, reading through about 2 feet of academic papers on Blended Learning and then distilling that into a ten-page literature review. From that stemmed a couple of other opportunities to be a research minion and the chance to become practised at transcribing research interviews; but nothing long term.
I’ve certainly not been idle! Towards the end of 2011 one of those God-ordained meetings took place; an organisation on the periphery of my world had a need for some resources to be catalogued — and I had the skills to get it done. It was a big job — I kept a record of the project (mostly so I could feel I was actually doing something productive) and all told I catalogued 4360 resources in about nine months. It was virtually a full-time job and I know some of my friends thought I was mad doing all of that for nothing, but to me it was so obvious that God wanted me to do it that it was a done deal. My philosophy during this season has been to do what my hands find to do — which isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed sleeping in, a lot (something other night owls will appreciate). Another couple of volunteer projects came along which sharpened some of my professional skills and one even resulted in a jointly-authored journal article, a bonus that I could add to my résumé.
But, without question, the hardest thing to deal with has been the rejections, usually by email; you know, the ones where you haven’t even been offered an interview. Each and every time it feels like a kick in the guts and staying positive is hard. I would pray, “I know you’ve something amazing in store, Lord, and if this job wasn’t meant for me, then I’d rather not have it, but if you don’t mind I’ll just have a little cry first.” And the bills would come in, requiring me to juggle finances, move money from this account to that, and then after payday, move it back. Yet, somehow, we managed; no, more than that, we were blessed! The kids’ school fees were higher, the rent was higher, the total income was less, but we were OK. The Lord really knows how to stretch a dollar! And at the most financially difficult moment, my husband rang: had I read my email? His firm needed someone with web-related skills, urgently, and so a 6-month contract landed in my lap, with a salary more than triple that of the job I had left 2½ years earlier!
That was last year and the contract finished in December, so, yes, I’m back in the hunt for a job again, but I have learned that my God can supply all my needs, according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19); I have gained skills that I otherwise wouldn’t possess and, above all, I’ve learned that God’s got this! It might not be the timetable that I would have wished for, but His timing is always perfect … and I have a job interview this week. Maybe this is the one, or maybe it isn’t; only He knows and I’m content to leave it in His hands.
Meryl got that job — as a web content editor for a large Queensland government department. She has worked steadily ever since, gaining considerable experience in web content editing and management. Currently based in Canberra, she is working on an enormous project building a new website for a large federal government department.