Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Celebrating The Unseen

Six years ago, I was preparing for a job interview with a company I had worked with for 8 years in the past. It should have been simple; it was basically the same position I had when I was employed with them years ago. I was very familiar with the company and the particulars of this job.

I went in, did the best I could given their very irrelevant interview style, and hoped for the best.

A few weeks later, I received a letter in the mail stating that while they appreciated my interest in my old job, they had chosen an applicant with more experience.

More experience than someone who had already done this job? How is that possible?

I had been out of work for several years, and we knew that we couldn’t keep living on one income much longer. This job would have been such an answer to prayer, such an immense blessing. And yet, that door had clearly closed for reasons we struggled to understand.

The kids were young; 3, 6 and 8. I stood at the door, rejection letter in hand, and called out for the kids to get ready to go for a drive.

I had a pocket full of change, and given how much we were struggling financially at the time, it may as well have been $1000. The thought briefly crossed my mind to put it toward something of longer lasting value, but I knew that although this outing would cost me a few precious dollars, the opportunity to teach the kids about faith and God would be priceless.

Where are we going, Mommy?

We’re celebrating, sweetheart. I’m taking you to McDonald’s for ice cream!

"ICE CREAM??!" The kids were excited, but curious... “What’s the special occasion?” They knew it had to be something big, they understood that there weren’t extras for trips to McDonald’s, even if it was just for ice cream.

Well, honey, you know that big job interview I just had, the one for the job I used to do? Remember how perfect that would have been for us?

Yes!! Did you get it? Did you get the job?

No, that’s just it, sweetie, I didn’t get the job... so we’re going to celebrate. Right now.

But... I don’t understand.

Well, you know how perfect that job would have been, right?


And how much we needed it, eh?

Uh-huh.... but Mommy, you didn’t get it.

Right. You know what that means?

We’re still broke?

[laughs] “Well, other than that...

Silence. Confusion.

I parked the car at McDonald’s, turned the engine off, and turned around to face the kids.

It means that God has an even more perfect plan... and honestly, I can’t begin to imagine what could be more perfect than a good paying job that I’m already familiar with, a job I loved... but that’s what this means. God has a better plan than even this, and if it’s better than this, imagine how amazing it will be? It will be incredible! I’m so excited, guys, I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do. We’re going to celebrate in anticipation of His blessings, His provisions.

God has a better plan?

He sure does. You’ll see.

I’m sure that at their age, they didn’t grasp the magnitude of that moment, of that lesson... but as we said Grace over our McDonald’s ice cream cones, we were grateful. They, for the opportunity for ice cream... me, for serving a God we could trust.

November 2nd of that year, months after we celebrated over ice cream, the phone rang. I remember the moment as though it was yesterday.

A job offer.

Not just any job offer, but one with the federal government. Full benefits, full time.

And more than double what I would have made if I had been offered the other job earlier that year.

When can you start?

Another leap of faith.... “How about next Monday, Nov 7th?

We didn’t have any childcare arrangements in place, but this would give God five days to provide that too. I knew He would.

The next day, our phone was disconnected.

We hadn’t been able to make our payments, we had reached the end of our financial provisions... but not the end of His. He had even made sure we received the phone call just in time.

Looking back, it’s easy to see how He had provided, but what was important was to trust what He’d provide in the future, what we couldn’t see ahead of time.

God knew the path ahead, He knew the provisions He had for us. All He asked was for us to trust Him.

We had every reason to trust Him, and no reason not to.

Six years later, that story is still being told. In Sunday school. At home. In Bible Study. Here.

Most importantly, it's still being lived out. We've had plenty of opportunities for ice cream in the past six years, celebrating what the world would see as "disappointments" with faith. In fact, we've had so many, that I've had to restrict the ice cream to just the biggest so-called-disappointments.

Just this past week, I received yet another opportunity to celebrate the unseen.

The world sees things from a good or bad perspective, but God sees all things as an opportunity for His Glory, and sometimes, the worse it is, the more glory He can gain from it. That means that the worse the potential outcome, the more it warrants a celebration.

We're going all out. This time, before the outcome is even made known to me, the celebrating will already be under way. Friday afternoon, a few of us from Bible Study will be gathered in His name, breaking bread and sharing this tradition with each other. Will you join us in praise from where ever you are?

Whether He takes this cup from us or we must walk through this trial, He is who He is, and His name will be glorified.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:11-13)


Anonymous said...

My favorite story. I have shared it with many people already. The longer version... I learned a lot from that ice cream outing. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and to others. Somewhere in my life I must have done something good to have been blessed with such a daughter. I love you.

Our Family said...

I'll raise an ice cream scoop to you this Friday, you can count on it. We've got just enough left in the freezer for a remote celebration with you.


Kelly said...

Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for touching my heart today. I needed this - really. I'll be thinking of you on Friday and praying for you.

JD said...

God placed it upon my heart to share this, even though it's been six years. He wanted me to share it this week, for reasons I may not yet know, or perhaps never know. At 3am the night before last, the Holy Spirit made me restless, and I could not get settled, that's when I knew to write, that He'd meet me there and give me the words... so glad, so grateful they touched your heart, and that this story ministered to you for such a time as this.

If there's anything we can praise Him for on your behalf tomorrow, please let me know, we'll join you in prayer and praise!! Your prayers are so appreciated -- He has blessed me through you.

Megan @ Faith Like Mustard said...

Oh my! I LOVE this story and I SO wish I always had that perspective. I will work on it for sure!!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Loved this your blog

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