I’ve said this before, but I love telling that I grew up in a family of 13 children. I was the second oldest. My older sister, Sherry, and I started school together because she missed the cutoff date due to her November birthday. We were only 11 months apart, so she started school with me the next year. We were the first to go to school and the first to graduate. Sherry did not want to go to college. She found a job doing secretarial work for the FBI. That was a first for our whole family!
My first desire for a lifelong job was to be a Mom. I had the best Mom in the world! Unfortunately, I had no boyfriends through high school, so I looked at other options. I also wanted to be a singer or a writer. My dad said that those jobs would not pay my tuition during college, or my rent after college, so I’d better do something else.
I loved telling stories and singing to my siblings. I decided to become an elementary teacher. I could tell stories and sing to my students. It would help pay the rent. I enjoyed teaching, and was very good at it, but all of the 29 years I spent in the classroom did not deter my desire to sing and write stories and songs.
I found a wonderful husband at college and we had three beautiful children; two boys and a girl. Hallelujah! I was doing one of the best jobs in the world; being a Mom! I wrote songs for my children and others. I sent them to publishers and one of my songs got accepted for publication in a songbook. I was thrilled. Now, if I could just get my stories published.
Each summer I wrote stories and mailed them out to publishers, but all I got were rejection letters. At the same time, I sent out my new songs and got the same result. For some reason, those letters did not make me quit writing songs and stories. I just determined to keep rewriting them until someone thought they were worthy of being published.
In the meantime, I kept trying to be the best Mom and teacher I could be. Each fall, I would start back to school and tell my students stories, read to them from good books, and make up silly songs like “You Can Tell by the Smell.” That was a hygiene song for health class. I wrote ideas down in journals, participated in workshops on writing and songwriting, and kept a notebook and pencil next to my bed for thoughts and lyrics that came to me in the night.
My kids grew up and all three graduated from college and were gainfully employed. My boys each married a wonderful wife, and blessed me with grandchildren. My daughter became a nurse and made us so proud of her calling. Life was good. Here I was a successful teacher, Mom, and Grandma but I still struggled with what I wanted to do with my life.
Now God came into my life in college and I depended on Him for everything. I asked him one night, when I was contemplating my desire to sing and write, “God, should I continue putting so much effort into songwriting and trying to get my stories published? Should I just forget about all of that and try to be content being a Mom and teacher.
As usually happens after I ask God a question, I go to His word and the answer is there. I turned to Ecclesiastes 11:6 and read these words. “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” I had my answer! Don’t give up on things you want to do that God could use in your life. Keep working on all of the things you enjoy that can bless the people around you. God is the one who put those talents in you and the desire to use them.
So I kept writing. I kept singing. A few years ago, I was asked to sing in our church praise band and I love using my voice for God’s glory. Over the years I have had several songs included on artists’ albums. Maybe someday one of those artists will become famous, but if not I will just keep on writing and singing my own songs.
Then when I knew retirement was close, I wondered what I would do with all of those hours that were now mine to spend? While I prayed about, and contemplated that, I got a phone call from a publisher who wanted to publish my first middle grade novel! I retired from teaching and am now a published author besides all of my other titles.
Are you still asking yourself, “What will I do with the rest of my life?” Here is the advice of someone who has been there. Quit worrying about it. Life is more than one job. It is a smorgasbord of jobs. Some you love, and some you don’t. Some you do just to keep food on the table. Some you dream about and keep working to make those dreams come true. Some you fall into and love from the start. Some are given to you by God and you feel led to do the best possible job so that He is glorified by your work.
What is important is that you do everything, no matter what it is, to the glory of God. Then sit back and watch Him use you in ways you never thought you could be used before. God has a plan for your life, and it includes all of the jobs you’ve had or will have in the future. Don’t be afraid to diversify your job searches. The next one might be one you thank God for every day. In the meantime, work your current job to the best of your ability because you represent your Creator; the one who knew we all needed work in the first place.