Word for Word…

Allie Stripes

Sometimes I can’t help but sit in amazement, completely awestruck by the way God answers my prayers. I’ve always believed in Him, and in His presence and grace. Ever since I was a child, I’ve prayed conversational prayers; remaining in constant dialogue. And I’ve always believed that He was my protector.

Yet, I still get starry-eyed when He answers those prayers. …Those, oh so specific ramblings. There are times when He delivers in the most unexpected, but pointed way. It makes me want to cry, or shout or scream (all happy things, of course). It makes me excited to know Him. It makes me never want to not know Him.

Of course, He’s answered countless prayers on my behalf–and I don’t take any of them lightly. But there are three times in recent history where God has shown me extreme favor through absolute clarity. There have been three instances where my prayers were answered in ways that stunned me… and not a moment too late.

Here’s to the first time…

***

I moved to Charlotte in 2013, with plans to get settled, find a job and freelance in the evenings. I’ll save the hard-knock details of my “come-up” for another post. But, suffice it to say, in an effort to stay afloat, I wrote for my life. My Los Angeles and New York connections within the entertainment industry afforded me 5-star lodging on my linesister’s couch. 🙂 And when I needed something more consistent–after a string of failed 9-5 interviews–I crawled into the offices of an underground newspaper and begged for a job.

By the time my linesister decided to upgrade to a two bedroom, I was able to pull it together fast enough to rent a room.

Now don’t be fooled… my blow-up mattress, suitcase and little brown body were all that occupied the space. It was hardly a luxurious experience… but it was a blessing nonetheless. And soon enough, I was able to afford my own apartment.

Anyway, I continued to freelance for another full year. I considered myself fortunate. It wasn’t perfect… (Like I said, I’m sparing you a lot of the gritty details here.) But somehow, the “career of my dreams” seemed to be falling into place. I had the flexibility I wanted. The entertainment access that I craved. I was able to expand my skill set and explore the city even more. I was pretty happy. And though my mom definitely saved the day a few times, I pretty much had it under control.

Then… fourth quarter hit.

In the world of entertainment, this is like… dead air. Everything starts to wind down. And though I had been fortunate enough to secure a substantial amount of work the year before… I hadn’t planned as diligently for winter 2014.

I had already quit the newspaper job after a falling out with the editor. I’d then quit another job after the company’s founder added titles to my position, while reneging on our salary agreement. A third company–shady, and now defunct–tried to short me of my pay. My desperation prompted me to roll up to their offices with my trench coat looking winter jacket, effectively ending my time there. Details, details… but it was hard times.

Finally, having lost the desire to remain within the world of entertainment, I decided that I wanted a faith-based job. If not that, then I wanted a position which would simply allow for me to be an executive assistant. That’s all I wanted. I could always freelance on the side. And I already had a passion project underway. I wasn’t looking for a job to fulfill me (as I had in the past). I just wanted a job that was fulfilling. (There is a difference.) My sister–who was doing very well in her human resources position–explained that employers tend to look for ambitious candidates, and suggested that my wishes might be viewed as complacency. Of course, that made sense to me as well.

I must have submitted at least 100 applications over the next 6 months. I reached out to all sorts of companies. Tailored my resume for a wide range of positions. I went on interview after interview. I left voicemail after voicemail. Tried temp agency after temp agency. I prayed prayer after prayer.

My mom helped tremendously in the beginning, paying two months of my rent. It allowed me to catch up on my other bills. I eventually landed a temp job at a call center right as her help (and my money) ran out. I prioritized, realizing that the majority of my checks had to go toward rent. I thanked God every day for the job. It was extremely low pay, but I knew that if I could just be grateful and hang on, it would lead to more opportunity. Two months in, I was still thriving: working the night shift, interviewing by day and budgeting my life away. But… I ended up letting one bad week and two irritating supervisors drive me out the door. Defiantly, I hung up my call center headphones, grabbed my purse and marched out. I quit on the spot.

Then… I cried for a month. In between applying for every job in Charlotte. I cried. I owed DirecTV so much money, I couldn’t even afford to cancel my service. I cried. I felt so bad about quitting that I only told two people that I was no longer working. I felt as though I had betrayed God. So, out of shame, I lied, I cried and I prayed.

One day, my mom sent me a job listing that she found on Craigslist (which I thought was odd because she had spent weeks telling me that I would never find anything legitimate on that site). When I opened the link, my jaw dropped. It was a faith-based organization–with a music component–looking for someone to serve as an executive assistant. Oh, and they were clear. They were looking for someone who only wanted to be an executive assistant.

Two weeks later, I sat in the office of the company that has served as my employer for over a year now. And I still remember that interview… I felt it. I knew that it was where I was supposed to be. They said all the right things… The atmosphere tugged at my heart… And my would-be boss even told me, “I’d like to think that this is the job that all of your experience has been preparing you for.”

I wanted to cry… again. I knew that it was the greatest gift that God could have given me. Not just a job, but the job; the most poignant answer to my prayer. A word-for-word acknowledgement that He is faithful and that He will see me through.

(Now, don’t get me wrong… everything did eventually catch up to me. I mean… the day after I got the job, my car got repossessed and I found out that I was in the process of getting evicted. But… at least I had foreseeable income and everything worked out. I still have my apartment… and my car. #SilverLining)

I needed to go through all of the hardship. Because once God sent me my blessing, I needed to be prepared to cherish it. I needed to make a promise to my blessing, just as God had made a promise to me. I needed to remember not to throw it away. And I needed to be humbled. I needed to make a vow in the beginning–during the good times–that should hard times arise, I would stay.

Unless God orders me to move (with the same precise clarity that He showed me when he brought me here)… I’m staying. And guess what? I’m no longer just an executive assistant. Over time–using my array of skills–I’ve become so much more! 🙂

***

There is something about God. Sometimes He’s silent. Sometimes it seems like the uncertainty will last forever. But, once your will aligns with His, He will prove the power of your tongue and His ear. Please believe that He clings to every word. Word for word.

 

Love,

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