Do you ever encounter that one person that brings light wherever they go? You know what I mean.,they are forever happy and you know it comes from the inside. Won’t you find a cozy spot and stay awhile to hear my story?
Okay, so what do I have to share with you today? Well, if you read my recent post about our debt journey, you would have had a snapshot view of what our life has been like. But let me take you back to my college years. Yes, we’re talking about 17 years ago I graduated college. wow…time flies.
It all started when I was in my third year of my second school. If you remember in my debt post, I first began my college career at a state school in my home state. Then later transferred into another small Christian college in another state. It was here JC and I got married in our third year of college, and I took on a job as Secretary of Student Employment, Purchasing, & Shipping/Receiving.
I had never worked during school, so not only was I a new wife with all those responsibilities, but also a full-time student in my junior year. Just a bit busy, eh? The job was I was blessed with was an answer to prayer. It would provide me a learning experience that I could use to further my future job, plus allow me the flexibility to work on campus and come and go to classes. It even paid well compared to most jobs on campus, so I couldn’t be happier. Except, (there’s always one of those) I was bored out of my mind!
Pushing paper across the desk, filing, answering phone calls, checking inventory was all okay for this organizing freak, but I needed more. I felt as though anyone could do this job.
It was in this time I met “her”. I will admit that being a northern girl in a southern world was not all roses. I didn’t find that southern hospitality everyone spoke about. It was more like, you’re a college student from the north and we can’t wait until you’re outta here kinda feeling. Anyhoo, I realized that all that didn’t matter and I worked past that to do my part as best as I could.
THEN IT HAPPENED
One day she walked into the office to get some supplies for her office of Financial Aid (the highly coveted spot to work on campus). She requested the basics like pens, and paper and then it happened. She requested in the thickest southern accent EVER: Jim cleeups. I am not making fun, but that is honestly is what I heard come out of her mouth. I turned around and headed to the cabinet that held all the office supplies while quickly saying a prayer that I could figure out what she wanted! Oh, and this isn’t the first language barrier I had experienced with her.
Oh, my heart was racing because I didn’t want to offend her in the least, but I had no idea what she was requesting. I turned back to her and said, do you mean these? Holding up something useless since I know it wasn’t what she was looking for. She said, “No, Jim cleeups, ya know that little box?” Okay…I can do this. I still had NO IDEA what she was saying and proceeded to hunt some more still praying for a translation to be whispered in my ear.
That’s when my boss walked in and I looked at him like I was about to faint and I asked him, “Could you help me find what she needs?” By this point she was all in a huff at this point and told him about the misunderstanding. Thankfully, my boss is also a transplanted northerner and was able to translate for me. GEM CLIPS! She was talking about a ridiculous box of paper clips!! I melt.
You can imagine how red my face became at that moment. She grabbed her items and huffed out the door. Meanwhile, my boss had a good laugh as I told him what had occurred. That is the summation of my relationship with her. But…the story doesn’t end there.
A few months later, I was taking my lunch break from my job when the head of financial aid and her came in to have lunch. While in line to get our food, he asked if I would like to come work for him. *hold up…did he just say what I think he said?* I was like a deer in the headlights. My future would be brighter if I got a coveted spot at Financial Aid, but what do I do about my current job that I knew was a blessing? I looked over at her.
I was stuck. Do I switch jobs and, oh, how do I tell my boss that did so much for me that I was leaving? I felt it was God opening up a door and I should take it and make best with what I knew to do – be honest and open. It was with much prayer and a bit of regret that I left my Student Employment job, but I was looking forward to getting ahead in the world. That made my old boss mad as he figured out what had happened. Someone came in and took his secretary. Ugh.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
My story continues…Enter in my new job at Financial Aid. I was eager to learn all that I could and do what I have always done – my best. In all my life I was always praised for going above and beyond in all of my past work experiences. My co-workers were two other students, the secretary, her, and the head of F.A. (who was the same man I mentioned in my debt story that told me of my $5000 gift). I will skip to the jist of this story. It wasn’t long before I started to feel I wasn’t wanted in the office by one person.
Plus, to make matters worse I found out by working in this office that my Christian school had its own issues that made my little bubble of a world crumble in despair. My question became, “Why does everything always get corrupt?” Remember, I was a baby Christian with 3 years under my belt, so life was supposed to be a bed of roses, especially at a Christian college.
Different things were done by that one particular person to make my life miserable. I went from being a highly praised employee my entire life for going beyond expectations to one of feeling like a groveling slug. I couldn’t do anything right in her eyes. What’s worse is that the harder I tried the more I it seemed I messed up.
Then what was already bad got worse…the head of the department had to leave out of town and she was left as boss. My heart sank when I heard he would be gone. Let me tell you that anyone who causes me to go home in tears day after day is not one worth fussing over, but I did. During that time the head of the department was gone my hopes of the perfect job crumbled. And, what’s worse is that when he got back, he called her and me in for a meeting to which I was bashed for not trying hard enough (all based on her take on things).
With a heavy heart I went home that night, and talked to JC. I told him I was done that I don’t need this on my resume if it meant I had to go through nightmares to get there. The next day I walked right into the department head’s office and told him I quit (the thing I hated most to do – I never quit anything). I told him he took her words against mine without even giving me the chance to defend myself and walked out of the office.
Ya know what’s funny? My other student coworkers followed in after I left to the head of the department’s office and defended me. They too knew that I was being abused. So, I asked God…WHY? Why did I have to be in that position? I am a student working my tail off and I don’t need this stress in my life!!
THERE IS AN END
Even worse was that I needed a job. So…guess where I had to go? Back to student employment to ask for a job. How awful to go back crawling back to talk to the secretary that took your spot and hope that they had anything open. At this point I just wanted something that would keep me out of the offices of this school. That’s how I ended up painting. My story continues with paint crew as my new life. I had every intention to rock that job even though I was getting paid much less and working harder than before.
Much to my amazement, I am full of delight. I could go to my job, work on a home, and walk away seeing the good I had done. I could leave my work at work. My coworkers were awesome people who loved and supported one another. I found the best of friends who loved and supported me. Although I was made fun of by other students for wearing my paint clothes on campus, I couldn’t have cared less. They could have their stuffy jobs and turned up noses. I was here to get an education and do what God wanted me to do.
Do you know that I learned much of what I use on a daily basis from that paint crew? Not only that, but the entire maintenance staff of the school renewed my faith in this establishment adding to my story. That there were people who truly sought the Lord. What a blessing to have gone through that much needed fire in order to be refined. I wholeheartedly believe God showed me that the office life was not for me. I knew sitting at a desk shuffling papers was not my life’s goal. However, I kept thinking it was the only way. Oh, how little I know.
In case you’re wondering, I did end up graduating as the only one in my field with honors. That’s all that really matters, not what one unhappy person did to me. God saw fit to bless me immensely and let me focus on my schooling. Doing the best I can with what has been laid in front of me is winning the prize.
Still to this day I my feathers are ruffled when I hear that name. However, I have learned to, “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. It’s like heaping burning coals on their head. (Romans 12:20) Praise be to God for helping me to see what I am not and who I AM.
If you’re still reading my story, I want to hug you. Thank you for being there to support me in what I do. It means more than you will ever know.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Phillipians 1:3-4
I invite you to pin and share my story because you don’t know if someone out there is encountering their Debbie Downer in their life. We all could use a few more nuts in our nutty bowl of life to share our woes.
Up next, I will be sharing with you a super fun DIY using these basic wooden crates. Any guesses? See the after HERE.