I worked for a newspaper for ten years but was always desperate to have children. When I had my first daughter, Charlotte, I prayed, “Lord if you will let me stay home and look after her, I will help others and look after their children”.
God did answer my prayer and I didn’t work outside the home for 5 years! Things were very tight but thanks to parents stepping in when appliances broke down and little church weekends away which made us feel as if we had been on holiday, we managed. After the birth of our second daughter, Steff, we were fast outgrowing our little two bed flat, and Sean Avard helped us sell it. We didn’t have to wait long: the first person bought it! That was such an answer to prayer as we prayed we would be patient and not put it on the market too soon, to save us the heartache of having it on the market for a long time.
A leap of faith
We bought a little house in Southwick, which was another leap of faith as we had no idea how to pay for it. It was very exciting, as it was the first time we had a garden! I actually wanted a different house in Portslade but my husband Dave was adamant this was the right one, and I felt God’s leading that it was right to trust him in this. (It was so right, it’s a beautiful area with lots of friends and we did end up moving 6 years later, but only two roads away and a year after our third child Jon had been born.)
My friend Jackie suggested I try childminding: this was such an answer to prayer and helped pay the mortgage, and the girls always had someone to play with (when they weren’t arguing with them!). I ended up caring part-time for 35 children, which was a real blessing – especially when I was broody for a third! We are still in touch with quite a few of those families.
Now is the time to look into the distance!
We have always found finances to be tight but it really keeps you reliant upon God. I had the idea of adding two rooms in the roof which enabled us to host language students all year round. At the end of 2011 I started to wonder if I should still be childminding. It was getting difficult to go to important meetings at our teenagers’ schools with small children in tow. Then a friend sent a postcard saying that when she had been cycling along the seafront she felt God told her to tell me, “When you are cycling you can look at the path straight ahead or into the distance. You have been looking at the path straight ahead, now is the time to look into the distance!” She felt this message was for me and didn’t know if it meant anything!
I never do anything suddenly…
Whether to continue childminding was a very hard decision to make, as I don’t like letting people down and my decision affected other peoples’ lives. Then I really prayed for guidance and opened my daily reading and the title was, ‘Today could be your day for a suddenly’. I never do anything ‘suddenly’: I usually plan, so this really helped me make that hard decision to give up. Many of the children were leaving me to go to school and the one family left thankfully found another good childminder locally!
Now is the time to look into the distance!
In the time it took to get another job, the money from the students was invaluable. I was able to try quite a few voluntary things including the Basics Bank, which I still do one day a week and really love. However, six months after giving up work, I still had no direction and I sat and prayed and cried. Then at Christmas a cousin told me of a job going at the Royal Sussex County Hospital as a ‘Maternity Care Assistant’. My daily readings were so encouraging and by the time I applied for the job I was really trusting in God and very peaceful and hopeful that I might get it. Seventy people went for two jobs and I was offered one of them! I’m amazed how many times God uses others to bless us – I thought it was supposed to be the other way around! I ended up with a job I didn’t know existed!
I sat, and prayed, and cried
God has been so faithful. I have found it to be quite a fulfilling job. It’s not the end of the story, as recently I haven’t had many shifts because the job is ‘bank’, so I am finding out if I can do more training and maybe move into different departments where there are more hours available. It’s so amazing that when we trust Jesus as our saviour He guides and cares for us now, not just when we get to heaven. How quickly we forget that everything we have comes from Him! Remember, ‘Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God‘ and also, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?‘ If you’re in that place of desperation or confusion, keep trusting: He won’t let you down and He will give you the grace you need for each step to keep trusting!