A Change of Plans [My Story, Part 6]
Last Week I left you hanging by telling you that I needed $10,000 to go to Bible school in Germany, and that I had just set my plan in place for saving the money. Two years of saving, I hoped, would get me there… not with much to spare, granted, but I’d be able to pay my tuition. The joy of travel, I figured, would be a luxury I would have to do without.
At the time I decided to stop working for myself to get a minimum wage job and start saving, I was still booked almost a year out for cakes. So, I planned to keep doing cakes, just until my commitments were all met– and I resolved not to take any more orders until I had settled into a new schedule at a new job. Any cakes I did then would have to be on the side.
I thought about what type of job I should apply for. Having worked in the wedding industry, I was familiar with a few companies I thought I would enjoy working for– one of which was a decorating company. Still, I thought to myself- there is no way they will be hiring. So, I set the thought aside… the best I could hope for, with myself as my only reference on my resume, would be something in fast-food, I thought. With my portfolio to speak for me, I could easily get a job making cakes for someone else’s business, but since I planned to return to mine when I got back, that didn’t seem like the best idea.
My plans were set, and my mind was made up: I had a chunk of money to earn, and a school in Germany to go to! Wherever I had to work, I would work.
In the spring of that year, however, my plans were slightly altered.
Around the time I had decided that I wanted to stop making cakes, the time I had prayed “Lord, provide for me to go earlier if it’s your will,” was the time that my Oma (my mom’s mom) had passed away. It was an emotional, difficult time – but one thing I know about my grandparents was that they wanted, more than anything on earth, that their children and grandchildren would know Jesus and follow him. I have a little note from Oma, given to me just before she died, expressing this in writing, along with the verse from Matthew 6:33 that says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
The spring after Oma passed away, I was told that Oma and Opa had left an inheritance for their children and grandchildren – and the amount gifted to me was exactly what I needed to go to Bible school, exactly that amount that I had prayed for.
At first, I prayed and pondered the wisdom of spending it all on one thing – Shouldn’t I save it, and put it toward my future?
But there was the thing: This was an investment in my future. In the future of my character, the people around me – it was an investment in the Kingdom of God, in my life and the lives of those impacted by me. This is a way that I think Oma and Opa would have been pleased for me to spend it, I realized. This is a good use of this gift.
It was a little jarring to think that my 3-year plan (1 more year of cakes and then 2 of working and saving) suddenly came to a complete halt. With the funds so quickly provided, I could have gone that very year. Still, I was booked through the fall already, so I took that as God’s leading on timing – I would not go in 2013 but in 2014; because that’s when I was free. I applied to Bodenseehof as soon as they started accepting applications, and, joy of joys, I was accepted! I would be able to go a full year sooner than I thought!
At the time, I was working on some freelance photography, blogging, and making cakes – all of which required a computer, and mine was pretty much toast. So, I took some of the money given to me to meet that need – and spent the next year saving to replace that purchase, and supply my other needs.
At the end of my year of cakes, I started to get a little excited/nervous – I still needed a job, and there was no guarantee it would come quickly, or easily! Since I’d been given so much, however, I didn’t have to work immediately in order to save enough; in fact, I secretly hoped that I could have a few of the winter months off to just help out at home and take a rest from my busy time of running a business. I was pretty burned out.
Around that time, I was asked to do some freelance photography for one of the winter wedding shows in the city. Looking for any extra income, of course I said yes! It was there that I reconnected with the owner of Elegance by Design, my top “I wish I could work there” choice– who asked me what I was up to. “I’m looking for a job, actually” I replied– and to my surprise she told me that they were hiring! She made a note that they might call on me, and, long story short, they did! Without an interview, and with my departure date for that fall just fine for them, she told me “I won’t need you to start right away, though – you can come in the spring, when the wedding season starts to get busy.”
Just like that, I’d been given the FULL amount of money for my tuition, a job, a few months off to recuperate from burnout, and the perfect hours on the perfect days to provide the perfect amount of income for my time away. And THEN, to top it all off, my church held a fundraiser for my trip – which almost exactly covered my flight, thus allowing a little extra money in the budget for me to travel after all.
I was pretty much beside myself with joy and thankfulness. What on earth?? So many good things, all at once! God is abundantly kind and gracious, and I felt so… humbled to be given so much. I’d never imagined that I could be so blessed.
Since this is getting a little long again, I’ll pause here — just to say PRAISE the Lord – HE IS GOOD!! Next week, I’ll begin to share about my time in Germany, and the grace that the Lord lavished on me while I was there. It’s actually… still hard to believe.
To Be Continued…