Late June of 2022, I received a phone call from a friend I had reconnected with about a year and a half ago. After the friendly greetings were over, she said she had something she wanted to ask me that was very important. I said ‘ok.’ She began with how long it had been since she had had a real vacation without her client and she was sensing a real need to get away. That was not new information to me because she had expressed those feelings many times before.
Then she said, “Would you consider coming here and keeping my client for 10 days while I take that much needed vacation?”
Honestly, my heart sank and I began to want to back peddled out of that conversation. I was not expecting that question at all. She explained ever so gently that she would pay me her salary and I could bring Gracie, my dachshund, with me because her 3 dogs would be at the boarders. She promised to fill the refrigerator with food for both her client and me so I would not have to be concerned with bringing food for myself.
Then she said, “Isn’t there a project you want to do around your house that this extra money would be good for?
Then there was a pause and a silence until I could gather my thoughts.
I have never asked her how much I would make because that was never important to me. My concern was primarily for her client. Could I do or should I do what she was asking of me? I know her client but not well. It’s not that I thought I couldn’t do it so much as thinking that 10 days is a long time with a ‘non-verbal’ person, if you don’t know what you are doing. I had done one-on-one work before but this would definitely be out of my comfort zone for sure. My mind searched for a reason to say no as I quickly prayed, “Help me Lord!’ or more like “Rescue me here, Lord!.” but there wasn’t a reason or a rescue to be found. So moments later, I found myself saying ‘yes’ even though I wanted to say ‘no’. I could sense the surprise in her voice when I said yes so quickly. I told her “as far as I knew, I could do it.” She thanked me and said she would be in touch with more details as the time grew closer.
After I got off the phone, I began to pray fast and furiously. Lord, did I give the right answer? Is this Your will? If this is Your will, I will be fine but if it is not, then I need to talk to my friend again quickly. I don’t want to go where you have not sent me and cheat the person of the blessing who is, but I do know that ministry to others happens in all kinds of ways and I will go if you are sending me.
Within moments, the Lord brought to my memory Memorial Day just the month before, when my friend and her client had been over having grilled hamburgers. During the meal, my eye caught an object resting between us. When I reached down to pick it up, I realized it was a penny. I thought thatwas unusual and later put it on my desk for safe keeping. The penny on my desk was what the Lord was bringing back to my remembrance. It was unusual to find a penny right there and it was positioned closer to my friend. For years, finding pennies in unusual places has been a special language between Holy Spirit and I. Naturally speaking a penny means “one cent” but spiritually speaking it means “one sent”. The Lord was saying, “Even before you said yes, I had already made plans to send you in answer to her need.” Then I knew it was His will and a divine assignment for me. Even though I felt a little unsure of myself then, I knew He would provide all that I would need. I have learned from experience that obedience to His directions brings about the blessings. Peace and then excitement filled my heart.
As I have studied the book of Joshua in the last few weeks at my bible study class, I have learned what happened to Joshua several times when he did not make the time to ask God for wisdom and direction. He thought he knew what to do and that God would be with him to bring about the victory no matter what. Unfortunately that was not what actually happened. Before attacking Ai, Joshua listen to the human wisdom of his men on how to attack the city and it sounded like a wise plan to Joshua so he told his men to go ahead without consulting God first. When all was said and done, thirty-six Israelites had been killed, the rest ran way in fear, and there was no victory. The experiences of the Israelites in the Book of Joshua are so realistic and have much wisdom to offer us today. Human nature hasn’t changed much over time.
Sometimes like Joshua, we get in a hurry to make decisions on our own. “I can decide this one Lord!” we think with enthusiasm and confidence but then later find out we should have waited to respond until we prayed for God’s wisdom and direction. Events didn’t turn out the way we thought they would and we are left hanging our heads. In other words, asking God to bless our plans without first going to Him for His, can lead us into consequences we hadn’t prepared to face. Assuming what God’s will is, just because it “seems” wise to us and others, can get us into all kinds of trouble. The choices we make on an everyday basis matter over time. Learning to do things ‘with God’ instead of ‘for God’ can make all the difference. There is no substitute for spending time in His Presence seeking for His will.
So in August, I filled out the job application that my friend’s company was requiring and gave them a copy of my old resume (I have been retired for years), college transcripts and social security card so that I could be officially hired for both our protections. I got drug tested and attended all the training classes required. Those experiences were enlightening having been retired for a number of years. Seemed like a lot for just 10 days but then again I am thanking God this job will only BE for 10 days!
I am looking forward to ‘my new client’ and I know she is too because of how excited she acted last week when I showed up at her day care facility with my friend for a little bit of training.
This Friday, I will start my new 10 day job and this time next week I will be halfway through God’s assignment. Please pray for me. Although I know I have prepared as best as I can, there is still a little nervousness because of “my” client being non-verbal. You can bet that Holy Spirit will be on speed dial every step of the way. But...no matter what I may encounter over those 10 days, God makes me aware that His wisdom and faithfulness are always by my side when I seek His counsel. And...I look forward to the blessings that are to come!
I want to leave you with this scripture:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And he shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to our flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3: 5-8
UPDATE: God helped me through it all...and the tougher spots, He made smoother. My client and I enjoyed each other and even laughed at times. I rejoice in His faithfulness to us both. And my friend...she came back restored too.