Trust God with your Story

Traci Jahnke

In my first career, I was a computer programmer. I started at age 20 and worked in that field for several large St. Louis-based companies for almost 15 years. The stress of the deadlines and responsibilities, plus being 60 to 75 minutes away from home, and parenting three daughters was too much. Thankfully, I was able to leave my job and stay home.  Since I had never had the ability to stay at home with my girls when they were little, I truly appreciated the time to spend with them as pre-teens and teens.  Six years later, as the girls were starting college (and one was getting close to marriage, although I didn’t know that yet!), I decided it was time to pursue a part-time or full-time job to provide income.

I applied for any and all kinds of local jobs: hospital, business offices, Dairy King. I couldn’t get an interview anywhere!  Except Dairy King, but they told me I was overqualified.  It was causing me self- esteem issues, of which I already had plenty.  My pastor’s wife was an amazing encourager and friend. She was a high school teacher at a nearby school district and had been telling me for years, that when I was ready to get another job, I should get a paraprofessional certificate and work at a school; she thought I would love it. So, I applied for the certificate, got the background check, and received approval. I was interviewed and offered a part-time job at an elementary school.  I was so excited and yet so nervous!  I fell in love with the school setting in that semester, as only a part-time aide. I felt at home with the students and enjoyed the relationship I had with them.

When summer break came, I was released, as is the custom for non-seniority aides. Since there was no promise I would be rehired for the fall, that summer I started job searching again. I had everyone in my church praying and all my friends giving me possibilities. I did not receive a SINGLE PHONE CALL, much less an interview. It was getting stressful.  Internally, I was really struggling, because I realized how much I loved working at a school, having an influence on children.  I really had no idea what God wanted me to do, but I just kept praying and assuming He would make it clear.

On a Thursday in early August, I received a phone call from a principal at a different elementary school in the same district that I had worked in the prior spring semester.  I had never met him; only knew his name.  He offered me a job ON THE PHONE.  He offered me a FULL-TIME job on the phone and told me to come to staff orientation the next day and start school the following day!  I don’t even know if I made any sense in that conversation, but as soon as I hung up, I literally fell to the floor crying with astonishment and joy.  My daughters that were home came running because they thought I was ill or hurt.  “Mom!  What’s wrong?  What happened?” I said that God did not just answer my prayer for a job. He gave me a job that I enjoyed, with more hours and more pay! And He waited to reveal it until the day before orientation!  He is good and He is in control!

Actually, God did much more than that. He gave me a position with the best boss, who is approachable, compassionate, and a great leader. God has brought friendships at the district that have blessed my life! God has brought challenges and opportunities to talk about Him, and to be a servant of prayer for students’ and their families. Recently, my mom was hospitalized and critically ill. My boss and two amazing women in the district, made it possible for me to spend all 26 days at the hospital with my mom. They took care of all my responsibilities and freed me to literally spend every day with my mom until she passed away.

God had a plan all along; His plan turned out to be SO much better than mine.  He cares about the details in our lives – trust Him with your story.

“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:7

10 Things I Hope My Children Remember in Life

Olivia Brinker

Once I had my first child, I immediately began planning her life. How would I discipline? Where will she go to school? When will she get her first phone? Can I be her best friend? So many thoughts ran through my head and as I began relaying all the plans I had for her to my husband, he brought me back to reality and said, “Stop”.

I couldn’t possibly know who she would become years from now, or where life would take our family. I had to be okay with trusting that the Holy Spirit would guide me in making or not making decisions for my kids.

So, as I wait not-so-patiently for life to throw us curve-balls, I can only hope that my children will remember certain things along the way.

  1. Life is hard because sin exists.

You will most likely wonder why God allows such horrible things to happen to His children. I’m trying hard now and will continue trying to help you understand the existence of sin and how it has infected our world. I can tell you from experience, the devil loves it when people doubt the Lord and he strives to beat us down until we do. Always remember that God is good. Which brings us to number two.

  1. God loves you.

Never solely rely on a human being to make you feel loved. This is something I still struggle with and I hope you never have to. Your friends, your significant other, even your family will never be able to love you as the Father loves you. Always remember that – when someone has let you down and you feel alone, the Lord loves you and is always with you. He loves you even when you screw up. Which brings us to number three.

  1. You are not perfect and that’s okay.

Don’t ever think that I expect you to be perfect. I hope you always feel comfortable coming to me when you mess up. If you don’t, remember number two. Don’t try so hard to hide your flaws from the world. Everyone has them and yours can be used to bring people to the Lord.

  1. Church and studying scripture is important.

The world will try to make you think that this is a dying practice. It is not and it is extremely crucial that you make it a top priority in your life. Going to church regularly will bless you in so many ways; friendship, knowledge, peace. You will need these things in your journey on the narrow path. Also, if you’re reading the Bible and are having trouble understanding it, don’t stop. Your soul is soaking up more than you can tell right now.

  1. Be quiet.

It is beneficial to apply this in your relationship with people and your relationship with God. Sometimes it’s just better to hold your tongue. Not only can it prevent further altercation, it can allow you to give the Lord opportunity to speak to you. Don’t ever ignore Him.

  1. If you are given an opportunity to share the gospel, take it.

The Lord will place you directly in front of people (sometimes literally!) who desperately need Him. The Holy Spirit can do amazing things through you even if you feel incredibly inept. You could be the person God uses to save someone from eternal suffering. That is a huge deal!

  1. Learn to love the unlovable.

This is extremely difficult but also incredibly humbling. When you choose to show love to someone who seems so undeserving, you will have a whole new admiration for Jesus Christ and His amazing grace. Also, God tells us to do just this. So, you should probably do what He says.

  1. Being a Christian does not mean you are better than those who are not.

Society tries desperately to portray Christians as hateful to those who don’t believe what they do. Don’t be a Christian that falls into that category. To be a Christian, you have to first admit that you are a sinner by birth just like everyone else. Being a Christian does not give you the right to look down on those who aren’t. In fact, you are to do the opposite, because salvation isn’t based on our works, it is all grace. Just like in number seven, you are to love them just as Jesus did while He lived among sinners.

  1. Pray.

It gets so easy to take prayer for granted. You will probably get in the groove of praying a little like this; “Thank you for food and family, and a job, and a house, etc. Help me get over my cold. Amen”. These are all fine and dandy to pray for, but your life will be chock full of things that need prayer. Don’t be afraid to pray for big things. God can handle your requests and if He doesn’t answer the way you wanted, that doesn’t mean your request was too big. Instead, it just didn’t fit His plan. Also, prayer is not always about needs or thanksgiving, it is a time to listen for the Lord. I know, you can’t hear Him physically, but you will know when He is trying to tell you something. Prayer is how you and God get to know each other. It is where your relationship begins and ends. It is impossible to live for the Lord without it. Put into practice with number four.

  1. Never leave your mother.

Okay, okay, I’m not being serious. Or am I? I hope you know how much I love you and how extremely important it is that my days are filled with your smiles and conversation. I am perfectly fine with you having a life of your own, as long as it is within a ten mile radius from me. You are toddlers as I am writing this, so my opinion on this matter may change in the years to come. So, take all of these points seriously except for number ten.

 

Coming soon!

Look for our first blog post soon!  Get to know us by checking out “Who We Are” in the sidebar and the “Welcome” tab.  We are excited to share a bit about “chaos” in life, as well as “quiet times” in life. Whether we bring a smile to your day, or a serious thought to ponder, we look forward to connecting with you!        – Traci, Olivia

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