[ Godsends ]

A Match Made in Heaven

Layoff. The word whizzed up and down the halls of the bank where I worked. Years before, the bank had lost money on failed loans; now, in the late eighties, the steady decline called for restructuring and eliminating jobs.

For my co-workers, a layoff signaled the end. But for me, it meant a new beginning. I couldn't wait to leave a job I'd hated for two years.

But where would I go? I'd been at the bank for more than twelve years - right out of college. I enjoyed a healthy salary and good benefits. A degree in English and a love of words - where would I use these? Could I, a single lady, survive?

In early 1989 I filed for unemployment and made contacts every week to find work. But by springtime, nothing had opened up.

Knowing of my skills and desires, a friend suggested I consult a book at the library of publishing jobs in my area. As I sat at the table and flipped pages, a librarian walked by. "What are you looking for?" he asked.

After I explained, he pulled a reference book off the shelf: Grade's Book of Publications. I turned to Denver, Colorado (where I live), and found a small Christian magazine listed. No street address; just a P. O. box.

Fighting doubts that mounted in my mind, I went home and zipped off the same letter of introduction and resumé I'd sent to a dozen other companies. This is such a waste of time, I told myself.

But desperation pushed me: My unemployment money would run out in a few weeks. Rather than run out of money, I decided to call an agency for temporary work.

I asked God about my idea one morning during prayer time. "Will I mess up Your plans if I call the temp agency?"

Deep in my spirit, a nearly audible voice shouted, "Yes!"

His answer made no sense to me, but I obeyed it anyway.

About ten days later, a friend told me about an opening for a copy editor at a Christian publishing company two hours north of Denver. It would be a long drive for me if I got the job, but at least I could use my skills and education.

Unfortunately, the interview required taking a copy-editing test. Those strange correction marks on paper meant nothing to me. I did my best on the test but knew I blew it.

As I drove home after the interview, I ignored God's emphatic voice I'd heard earlier. "You're out of time," I told God. "If the phone doesn't ring this afternoon about a job, I'm calling the temp agency tomorrow."

That very afternoon a message was on my answering machine from the editor at the Christian magazine I'd contacted. When I returned his call, he asked, "How did you know we were looking for someone? We haven't told anyone outside our organization that we need to hire."

How did I know? I didn't, but God did. As it turned out, the magazine had been also looking to fill a completely different position for a year but hadn't found anyone with the right qualifications - until my resume came along. Within a week after he interviewed me, seven months of waiting ended and I got the job that was meant for me.

That was eighteen years ago. I'm now associate editor of that magazine, doing what I love to do and experiencing every day the hope and future God had for me all along (Jeremiah 29:11).

Sherri L.

Denver, CO