There are some moments in life when I’m able to vividly recall exactly what I was doing at precise moments in time. September 11, 2001. 4:21 p.m., November 16, 2012. The moment when my daughter was born. And 10 a.m., May 12, 2014. The moment when my babysitter Keely called to tell me that she was interested in watching Maggie if I were offered a full-time English faculty position.
That moment felt pivotal to me because I’d prayed for God’s will related to every aspect of my employment for almost an entire year. From the moment I heard the news that the community college where I taught as an adjunct English instructor would be hiring a full-time instructor in the coming year, I began praying. I prayed for nothing but God’s will, but I’ll admit that I sometimes resorted to fretting about the details in my mind. I wondered if I stood a fighting chance against other candidates who would apply, knowing that my experience in other workplace settings didn’t amount to much when stacked against years of collegiate teaching experience. I wondered if all of my hard work as an adjunct faculty member would pay off, or if I would find myself teaching one or two courses for the next five years before realizing that my dream of teaching full-time might never materialize. I wondered if I should apply for other full-time positions or go with my gut and stick to what I really had my heart set on—teaching full-time at the community college I’d grown to love and wanted to retire from someday. And lastly, but probably most important of all, I wondered if God would provide caring, qualified babysitters to come to our home. I’d worked in daycare settings as a college student, and daycare was a last resort for us.
I began to pray “God’s will” and “God, open the right doors and close the wrong ones” every single day about my dream of teaching full-time, even before the job had been posted and long before other people on campus started talking about it. Slowly but surely, God answered my prayers and provided bits of confirmation through words other faculty members said to me, emails and gifts and notes from my students, student evaluation forms, and staff members who encouraged me in true Barnabas fashion.
When I interviewed for the position, I felt complete peace throughout the process. Some of my friends commented and asked me about my demeanor, questioning whether I was excited or not.
“I’m excited, but I’m not sure if I’ll be the person who gets the job. I’m just waiting to see what happens. I’ve just been praying for God’s will, so we’ll see.”
I really meant what I said. In truth, I probably would have cried if I’d not been selected; I wasn’t just applying for a job. I was applying for the opportunity to fulfill a personal dream and to share my passion for learning and literature and writing with students for years to come. By the same token, I trust God’s timing, and I don’t want anything that isn’t supposed to be mine anymore.
But on May 12 at 10 a.m., Keely called and told me she wanted to babysit for me. A weight lifted after she hung up the phone, knowing that if I got my dream job, my baby would be in good hands, too.
One hour later, my boss, the division chair for the arts and humanities division, called me.
She told me I had landed the job. I might have squealed.
I don’t remember 95% of what she said on the phone that day because after she said, “Bethany, I’m not sure if you realize it, but your students really love you,” I started crying silently.
I couldn’t hear anything else. I hope it wasn’t anything that she hasn’t repeated since then.
God knew that I needed my babysitter to call me that day before I got that second phone call. My mentor always tells me that God goes ahead and plans in love. I know that’s what He did for me that morning.
I certainly don’t want anything that isn’t supposed to be mine anymore. But I am so thankful for what is mine today.
Last week, I went to work in my office on campus even though I am not required to work on campus this summer. It helps me to focus and accomplish a little more since my beautiful toddler can be a little loud and difficult to work around at home. After sitting at my desk and grading speeches for my online summer course, I rubbed my eyes and decided to go to lunch.
While walking down the hall, I caught a glimpse at my own reflection in the window of an office door. Seeing myself, I smiled and instantly felt gratitude wash over me.
This is my life, I thought. Wow. Let me never take this for granted.
God, thank You
for all that You’ve given me
for all that You’ve taken away
and for all that You’ve left me with.