After the sudden passing of my husband of 43 years, I found myself a widow with many changes to face. I decided after a period of time to look for part-time work to not only help supplement my income but to also keep me busy. I had over 40 years of experience working in an office environment: Secretary to the President of an oil and gas company, Secretary for the Administrator of a major hospital in New Orleans, and Office Manager and Administrative Assistant for a large church. The position I held at the church came after raising my two children. I served there for 25 years. However, the challenge of something different appealed to me.

In looking for my part-time job, I was hired as a coach for a ladies only gym. Talk about a different environment! Until that position, my only experience with a gym was to join and rarely go! But I looked forward to seeing these ladies three times a week and bonding with them as we worked out. Over the years, we laughed and we cried. From time to time. many went through heart-breaking, even tragic, situations. I found the Lord using me to speak life and encouragement to them. My time there ended with the closing of the gym. I knew I had invested in these ladies, and they had certainly added much to my life as well. Many are close friends to this day.

The rest is history!

I knew in my heart the minute my friend called that this was an open door I was to walk through. I knew it would be more than just a job to me. It would be a place where God would use me to be a blessing. And, He has! For 4 years now I have worked where there is staff 24/7 to assist and work with mentally and physically challenged adults. What I did not know in the beginning was what a challenge it would be. It was more physical than I expected at times. It was emotional. It was many times non-stop but so rewarding.

Still working there today, I coach and instruct the residents on how to do daily chores. It’s a challenge and reward to see them learn. When I begin my shift and their faces light up when they see me, it touches my heart! I can hardly get out of my car before I hear voices calling “Hey Ms. Sandy!” or “Ms. Sandy is here today.” It is so special to hear some of them call me “Mom” or “Grandma.” Even when weary, as sometimes I am, it uplifts me and God gives me strength to carry on, because I know I’m where He wants me to be for a season.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2)

I wanted another job where I could encourage others, even pray for them, and invest what I had to offer into their life. Little did I know what God had in store for me! I was searching, but to no avail. It seemed nothing would open up for me.

God is so good. He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider! During my time unemployed and searching, I was able to help my sister and brother-in-law in their large and amazing antique store. They were gracious and a blessing to me (even now, as I still help periodically), but God had something else in mind for me.

One night, I was talking to the Lord about my situation and wondering why no door was opening. I earnestly began praying and specifically felt to ask, “Lord, will You open the door for a job where I can be used of You and be a blessing to others?” The very next morning, I received a call from a friend who had mentioned to me a few weeks earlier a place looking for employees, either full or part-time. I hadn’t contacted them yet. It was no coincidence that this friend called to remind me to apply there.

It's a delight to see transformation as the residents learn something new, or their excitement when going on a special outing somewhere. I’ve witnessed the joy on their faces as we sit on lawn chairs at an outdoor concert, or their eyes light up as they view a spectacular Christmas lighting event. I’ve felt their thankfulness when I help them prepare a meal. I’ve celebrated with them when they return from Special Olympics, eager to show their awards. I’ve teared up at an annual pageant many participate in as they sing or dance to the music they have selected and as their dreams are shared aloud to the audience. I’ve rejoiced with them as, innocently doing their best, they are so proud of their performance, without a care in the world of what anyone thinks.

They find pleasure and happiness in the simple things of life. These dear folks have a life where they can live independently, surrounded by friends and staff who care for them. They have family beyond any other family they may have. They have excitement and appreciation for all that is done for them!

I encourage those reading this article to sincerely pray, as I did, for God to open doors where you can invest in and be a blessing to others. Let Him guide and direct your path, taking what God has invested and imparted to you, to bring joy, help, and encouragement to others. Time is short. The harvest is ready but the laborers are few. Just say, “Yes, Lord, use me.”

Since I was hired as staff 4 years ago, I have started a Life Group, teaching Bible stories and singing songs. I also lead a singing group for those interested in practicing and learning special songs. Even when I’m not working, I have found that at activity time the staff working have them singing these songs. They enjoy everything from fun secular songs to patriotic songs and the precious old hymns. And they love the children’s Sunday School songs!

I went for a job where I could help invest and transform a life… But, because of these I work with, the life that has been transformed is mine!