I’ve mentioned before, in previous posts, that I worked at a place called “Bushels”. (A small local Mennonite store with a deli/bakery.) In this post, I’d like to give you just a little bit of back story as to how I actually ended up there and where the Lord took me in it.
I’ve grown up a very conservative Christian girl, to which I have never once regretted. That being said, my dad has never really been supportive of “women in the workforce”. As young women, our focus should be at home. Being “keepers at home” is one of the things listed to teach young women in Titus 2:4 and 5. It is important. But it also isn’t a sin for women to work outside the home either. My dad has always been very protective of his girls, as any good father should be, and I knew as a young girl growing up, that if I would ever work outside my home someday, it would have to be a very special job that met certain requirements. A safe environment being one of them. And somewhat conservative surroundings another. Because my heart was to both obey and respect my dad’s wishes, and I assumed therefore, that I would probably never have a “real job” anytime soon (other than our local housecleaning business). With a desire to please my dad, I asked the Lord one thing- that if He ever wanted me to get a job outside my normal home environment, that He would open the door in a way that my dad would be more excited about the idea than I even would be. With that being said, I was pretty sure I’d be jobless. 🙂 But those were my requirements and I held to them.
In the spring of 2013, I found my life changing unexpectedly, and began to pray about new things. Getting a job was one of them. I mentioned it to my dad and just continued to pray about it. I remember when “Bushels” was first brought to my mind. I thought to myself, “Aw, it is perfect. Conservative and safe.” I remember conniving at one point, to maybe get my dad to have the Mennonite family (who ran the store) over for dinner. Besides we were already somewhat acquainted, and had been meaning to have them over sometime anyways. It would be the perfect way in! But, the Lord never gave me peace to push for it. In fact, He told me to leave it alone and wait for His will and timing, whether that was Bushels or not. So I waited. About 3 months.
Unannounced to me, my dad went into the store early that May and while ordering deli meats & cheeses, had a conversation with the man who would later become my boss. Apparently, the fact that he (Mr. Jeremy) needed extra work here and there came into the conversation, and my dad mentioned that his daughter (which would be me) might be interested. My dad never told me and about a week later, I got a call. “If you are still interested in working part-time, let me know in the next few days.” What? I was never so surprised. So I quickly began to pray about it and consulted my dad. Honestly, at first I was a little nervous about the idea, but my dad had full confidence. And believe it or not, my dad was more excited about it than I was!
I asked the Lord that my dad would be supportive and excited about a job that met certain specific requirements, and He answered that request.
The Lord gave me Matthew 14:27– “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” And there was peace.
So began my almost 2 year career at Bushels. And I learned so much. And more than just simple things like, how to slice the perfect thickness of a piece of Havarti cheese without it crumbling apart, or getting your pound of sliced meat down to the exact ounce on a deli scale, or how to make the perfect deli sandwich in less than 30 seconds, or how to make food labels and package cinnamon rolls efficiently. There were so many life lessons. Like, learning to be more confident in who I am as an individual person. I’ve always struggled with that. But I was no longer introduced or perceived by others as just “the youngest Bickish girl” – but instead, as “Lynea”. I could no longer hide behind my family. I didn’t have my outgoing and bold older sister leading the way! No, instead, I had to step out of my comfort zone. And while learning to be an individual outside your family circle seems a small thing, it actually made a big difference in how I carried myself as a person.
The Lord also gave me many different opportunities to witness and talk with people. It challenged what I believed and why I believed it; to be able to “give an answer for the hope that lieth within [me]” and to defend my faith for myself. I built relationships with many different people and learned how to reach out to them. It was a blessing and a joy. Although there were hard and lonely lessons too. Such as, realizing and learning to be okay with the fact that you are different than “the average Christian” or professing Mennonite and therefore rejected as the “outcast” of the group. Which, isn’t always fun. 🙂 But certainly worth it. (Please consider reading my previous post Outside the Camp.)
In the fall of 2014, the Lord began to close the door to the Bushels store. His timing, again, was perfect. I was tired and busy beyond belief, and my family was getting ready to move. It was time. And by December I gave my notice. Some things in life are only for a season, and Bushels was one of those. But it certainly was a blessing in many ways and I am thankful for everything the Lord taught me during that time and how He used it in my life.
The truth is, waiting on the Lord is a wonderful place to be. As young Christian women, let’s not settle for what the world tells us is normal! Let’s not settle for what even most “Christians” will criticize or shove down our throats! Who says you have to get a job in “the real world” by the time you are 18? Or go to a Christian or secular college? It’s okay to be different than the majority. It’s okay to stand alone, if need be. To stand against the strong tide of society. When He sets a standard for us, no matter how impossible it might seem at the time, we can trust Him to provide through it. Is it wrong to get a job as a single young girl? No. Is it wrong to go to college? No, it certainly isn’t. But when Christ sets a standard for us, it is wrong to endanger that standard by compromise. We don’t have to compromise! So many young girls I know are choosing to settle. Don’t! Whether that is a job opportunity you just can’t get peace about, or maybe a standard that has been somehow crossed in some way, or a decision that goes against your convictions, or maybe a young man that just isn’t His perfect will for your life and you know it; it isn’t worth settling for.Recently, I was asked to help fill in at Bushels again for several days during the month of April. Due to certain circumstances, they needed extra help. I was a little hesitant, and the long drive and long days certainly didn’t seem that worth it to me. But the Lord not only opened the door, but actually had to end up pushing me through it. I think He knew that He’d have to, because I wouldn’t have walked through it again willingly of my own accord. 🙂 And again, He proved faithful in regards to this little work place. He gave me one of the neatest opportunities to talk to one of the young Mennonite girls there that I used to work with. Just being able to share more of my faith with her, and actually watch her listen and consider what I had to say. It thrilled my soul and I came home smiling to myself, because I knew why He had wanted me to go back.
Psalms 27:14 says- “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
We can wait, because He abides faithful. We can stand against the normality of our modern culture, because He gives us the courage to. We can go on in His perfect will for our lives, because He is our strength.
This is me (on the far right) with some of the other girls there.