In spite of my big award, I did not yet have a job to go to upon graduation. I had been job hunting since the beginning of the year with all the skills I had learned and my beautiful résumé. I was saddened to find that many ministry job postings literally said things like “the ideal candidate for this job is male and married.” I wanted to be a Small Groups Pastor and applied for those types of positions, but didn’t even get an interview for one. In spite of the fact that I grew up in church offices and had extensive volunteer church experience, I had never worked on a church staff and that was another black mark against me. Young, single, female, and inexperienced, I was not anyone’s ideal candidate.
I was completely open to go anywhere God called me to go. I applied for jobs all over the country and considered overseas missions work. I still really wanted to return to Nashville, but I had learned my lesson about telling God what I would and would not do. I didn’t even ask Him if I could go back to Nashville. I just kept looking everywhere I could.
Moses and I moved in with my sister and her husband for a few weeks, but they were newlyweds and not excited about my cat, so I knew I needed to find another temporary place to stay. My old roommate in Nashville was going out of town for the summer and offered to let me and Moses stay at her house while she was gone, rent free. In fact, she offered to let us stay with her until I found a permanent position. I missed my friends and my church in Nashville, so I decided to go back and enjoy my time there for as long as I could.
I had done an internship at my church in Nashville the summer before with the Director of Women’s Ministries. She had supported me during seminary by allowing me to interview her for course work, praying for me, and staying in touch. When I did my internship with her, I had a tiny office in a far corner away from the rest of the church staff. Any hopes I had of impressing the senior pastor or other church leaders were quickly dashed. I spent four weeks there and never saw the senior pastor one time outside of the pulpit on Sunday mornings. I worked closely with the Women’s Director during that time and I learned a lot from her. She mentioned wanting to hire me, but explained that she could not get an additional position approved.
When I returned to Nashville during the summer of 2006, she took me aside and told me that God had granted her favor with the church leadership and she thought it was possible that she could get me a job in Women’s Ministries at the church. I didn’t really want to work in Women’s Ministries and questioned the type of job it would be, but she was insistent. I seriously doubted that it would work out and didn’t put too much faith in what she said. She asked me to have patience with her.
I found out several months later that she and the widowed senior pastor had become romantically involved! I was shocked at the news and didn’t believe it at first, except it explained why she suddenly had favor with the church leadership. Over a period of several months, it became clear that she and the senior pastor would get married and she would eventually need to be free from her current position. The story is long and convoluted, but in essence, here is what happened: In December, 2006, I was hired to help the transition go smoothly and in January of 2007, I became the Director of Women’s Ministries.
In July of 2008, the senior pastor retired and the associate pastor took over his position. The staff was reorganized and I became the Community Groups Minister. I still maintained my position with Women’s Ministries, but have also been working to build a small groups ministry in the church since that time.
In addition, a member of one of the women’s Bible studies that I led last summer turned out to be the head of a Christian publishing house in town. She contacted me to write articles for a book series she publishes. Through that relationship, I’ve now had the privilege of being published twice and am working on a third article for the latest book. She also gave me a part time job as a contributing editor. My dream of becoming a published author has already come true.
When I consider what God has done for me – allowing me to return to the place I love, allowing me to work with small groups and create a new ministry, giving me a wonderful church home, and so much more – I stand in awe. Life is not perfect, but I am blessed.
Many difficult and troubling things have also happened during the years I have just finished describing, but this is my testimony of the good things God has done for me. My life is not charmed, and God has tested me many times along the way. I have often been frustrated, sad, hopeless, and felt very alone. But this one thing I know – I purposed in my heart to be obedient to God and to give Him all that I have. In return, He has given me tremendous blessings.
God has not yet provided a husband for me, but He has filled my life to overflowing with the best of friends and a true church family. He has taught me that He is the lover of my soul. He is the One who truly satisfies. No human love could ever bring me peace and joy like the love I feel from Him. I have peace, knowing that God will continue to provide for me and make a way where there seems to be no way. On this day, June 29, 2009, I am not dating anyone. I am, however, completely wrapped up in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Any man who wants to come into my life in that way will have to be so full of God that together we are better than we could be apart.