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.