Better fasten your seat belts because this could be a long one - I'm thinking back on the past year and reflecting on so many lessons...
This time last year I had just cleared out my desk, said good bye to my career in nuclear pharmacy, & I was officially unemployed. I remember feeling so many things - sadness, loss, anxiety, & just a twinge of hope that I would actually get some things done & get caught up on some sleep. It was a weird feeling. I was grateful that I had time to do things I hadn't had time for before - time to help take my grandma to the doctor, time to spring clean the house, I even took time for a couple of Girl's Shopping Days with my aunt, sister, & grandma. Since G-ma's death in January I'm so glad that I was able to have those extra special days with her. And looking back, during that time I got to spend a lot of time with people that I wouldn't have otherwise...crafting days with Beth & Laura, Missy came from Vienna for a three day visit, my annual college girlfriend get together...it was wonderful.
So I spent most of September visiting & also working on wood crafts for our first ever attempt at manning a booth for a craft fair. Mike & I slaved away for hours making different little goodies for our booth. We had a lot of fun & there was a tremendous amount of nervousness before & during those days in the big tent. It was a disappointment on many levels but it was good, too. I love how God does that, by the way. Just when everything seems awful He opens my eyes to the blessings in the situation. Maybe we didn't sell much but we spent extra time with family & that was so very good for our souls. Maybe we have tons of leftover inventory but Mike & I spent so much time side by side helping each other create & enjoying each other's company on a new level. And of course, since a year has passed the sting of disappointment has numbed & it's easier to see the blessings. Would I do it again? Not exactly the same way but yes, I think I would take that leap again. And with the little business tricks we learned I think maybe we would be more successful the second time around...maybe.
Then in October the job hunt began in earnest. I updated my resume & began the search by dropping a copy at every pharmacy here in town that was closed on Sunday. I felt kind of silly doing that because not one of them was actually hiring at the time. I just knew it was possibly a way to get into a field I was already qualified for without working for a national chain that would be open 24/7. Then I began looking online. Online job hunting is so miserable I would take a break and spring clean. Yep, I'd rather move furniture so that I could vacuum behind it than surf the web looking for a job. It took me forever to fill out applications & upload resumes & blah, blah, blah. Right about this time I started day dreaming about what I would do instead of getting a job...I would become a world famous blogger! But suddenly I had nothing to say. I would write a book! But suddenly I had no attention span for sitting still. I would get pregnant! With twins! God had other plans on that one, too. So I kept slogging through it day by day. It was discouraging. I thought maybe I would look for another type of job, start another career. The thought of going back to school gave my stomach a twist. So I kept waiting & praying & looking & cleaning.
Then I got a phone call from a cheerful sounding lady named Roxanne. She is the pharmacy manager of a clinic pharmacy here in town (one of the pharmacies where I had dropped a resume). I was really startled to get a call from her because I knew that her pharmacy had virtually no turnover. There are only two pharmacists & two technicians, all of whom had been there over 10 years. It turns out, one of her techs was leaving to be a nanny for her new grandson. And all the things that fell into place for that to happen I don't have the time to tell you, but it blew my mind when I heard the whole story. It just made me realize how involved God is in our lives. He can open any door. Long story short, I began working at that clinic full time, Monday through Friday, last November. And I even started out at a higher hourly rate than I was previously earning. Exceedingly abundantly above all I had been praying for.
But then there were some bumps in the road. Retail pharmacy is not a very fun job. I had a bit of a hard time acclimating. I was coming from a job where I rarely spent the whole day in the office. I had plenty of down time & a boss who didn't care what I did with it. We didn't punch a time clock & lunch was on the clock so I worked just an 8 hour day. Plus, I hadn't had to work directly with patients or any of the billing to insurance companies. Then there are the inevitable issues with coworkers. I really like my coworkers on most levels. There are just those little niggly issues - control issues, communication issues, frustration issues. I decided I was miserable & needed to start looking for something different.
And before I had cracked that first online job search, I got a phone call. It was from another pharmacy that I had left a resume with on that day last fall. I went through the interview process with them & waited for a call with a job offer. No such call came. So I dismissed it. A month later they called again & wanted another interview. I went in & had such a nice interview. These were people that I really seemed to click with. They offered me a full time position for a comparable hourly rate & somewhat better benefits. The only real difference was that I would be working four 10-hour shifts. That extra day off every week was looking extremely good to me. I could spend more time with Grandpa & Dad! It would be like an extra Saturday! No more scrambling around late in the evening trying to get housework done! I was thoroughly enticed.
But I knew that I should really discuss it with Mike. We sat down & drew out a pros & cons worksheet. I was feeling the Lord tug my heart one way & I was wanting to pull the other. This new job would be so good for me! I could get away from things that irk me & have a different schedule & it would be great! But I couldn't get over the notion that the new schedule would be bad for us, the Mike+MaryAnn. If I worked a ten hour day I would be getting off work 3-5 hours after Mike. We wouldn't be able to eat dinner together on those nights. I kept hearing the echo of a proverb ring in my mind, "A wise woman buildeth her house, but a foolish woman tears it down." I'm not even sure if that is all in one verse or if it's a snippet from two different verses that I put together but I could not get away from that truth. I could choose what was good for me or I could choose what was good for my marriage.
So I stayed put. And some days I just shake my head & choose joy because it's not easy to be there. But it's just fine because I have this other verse, II Corinthians 4:1 "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy we FAINT NOT." I remind myself that this job is indeed a ministry. God will strengthen me for it. He will cause me to be effective if I yield to Him. And there is no doubt that I daily rub shoulders with people who need Jesus in their hearts & in their lives. I'm grateful He found me worthy of the position. I hope I can be salt (being distinctively different) & light (a visible testimony) right there in that pharmacy, where He put me.
It's been a big year. Lots of events, lots of feelings, lots of lessons, & so much to be thankful for. God is faithful. That's one of the things I love about Him most!