Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lessons & A Grateful Heart

I want to take a moment to flashback to this summer when I wrote about needing a job. As summer came to a close the pressure steadily rose to find a part-time job in my little college town. I applied eight different places and nothing happened. Even the store that I was almost certain I would be granted an opportunity at never called me back.
So I was completely surprised when I received an email from the director of the preschool at my university about submitting a resume/application. I had emailed her in late July, but when she never replied I thought surely that door had been closed! As soon as I saw her reply, I filled out all that I needed and went to turn it in in-person. I had a deep assurance that God would provide a job, but everything within me wanted to work at this preschool. I wanted this job; it seemed like a perfect fit for me. The following day I received an email from the director and you may or may not remember when I talked about getting the job. I was ecstatic and so very thankful!
However, when I went to the staff meeting I discovered that they did not need anymore classroom teachers at the time, but they did need a “cleaning lady.” They needed someone to come in each day to mop the classrooms, vacuum, and such. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. The director said that she had been very impressed with my resume and that she wanted me to be a part of the team, but there just weren’t any hours available in a classroom at the time. She asked if I would be the cleaning lady for the time being. It was a way for me to get my foot in the door. I reluctantly agreed.
I walked home from the meeting with my shoulders hung low. My thoughts were along the lines of this…”Lord, I’m truly thankful for a job, but a cleaning lady??”…”This is going to be the l-o-n-g-e-s-t semester”…”How am I going to get enough hours?”…”I just want to be in a classroom like the other girls!”
After an evening consumed with toxic thoughts, I decided that I HAD to change my attitude. I turned to the wisdom of a woman I deeply admire…from that moment on I decided that I was going to be thankful for the job I had been given.
"This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” –Elisabeth Elliot
As I reflect on the semester, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. God used this job to teach me and humble me in so many ways. He used this job that I never even expected to be given. I went in every afternoon and while I cleaned I had the privilege of seeing every child at the center. I got to know who their parents were as they were picked up each afternoon. I was able to have many conversations with my director. I got to interact with her in a way that I wouldn’t have if I had solely been in a classroom. I was able to pick up several extra hours by subbing in classrooms.
Most of all, I came away with an even deeper appreciation for custodians. When I have my own classroom (just 2 1/2 more years!) I’m going to make sure the custodians at my school know how much I appreciate and value them. I’m going to make sure I always let them know how genuinely grateful I am that they’re a part of our school team. I’ve also stopped to thank the cleaning ladies in my apartment when I see them in the halls.
I haven’t had to clean the past two weeks because the preschool was able to hire professional cleaners. I’ve been working solely in the three year olds classroom, and I love it. I’m so thankful I get to spend time with these kids, but I’m also so thankful for my semester as a “cleaning lady.”
God is faithful in even the smallest of ways. Even when it’s not what we expect He provides. And I’m learning that His way is the best way.


Kiki said...

I loved reading this post! You are always such an encouragement to others and I love that you share these life lessons that are applicable to everyone, too. Reading about your new mindset and attitude change is definitely a great reminder for me--especially on those tough days at work!

Rachael @ heldbyHishand said...

Hey Samantha,
This is such a beautiful reflection. (Side note: Love seeing your Instagram-ed pictures of little ones!)
I love that God is faithful. And I love watching the way you grow as you are faithful to Him... it's something I really struggle with.
Anyway, this post hit home a few things for me, and I just wanted you to know...
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
xo Rachael

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