Since the early days of this adventure, we have felt that God did not want us to pursue a job. We felt that God desired to show that he is more powerful than the god of money and that, if we trusted him, he would provide. I have also written extensively about how crazy this notion was to me and how I decided to pursue a job, despite what we felt God telling us. My motive in pursuing employment was always clear, I wanted to provide for my family and a job is the only way I knew to do it.
If you recall, from my earlier writings, I tried to find employment for many months and gave up, when it became painfully obvious that God was not going to allow that to happen. It has now been two and a half years since we moved to Tennessee and we have been unemployed the entire time. True to his word, God has provided. We have always had a place to sleep (although, not always one that many would desire), we have always had gas for our vehicle, food for our bellies and resources to travel. All of this without money from a job, government assistance or going into debt. God has provided enough for us to live on, and many times we have had extra that allowed us to bless others in their God adventure. The provision rarely came from the same place and rarely (almost never) came when we wanted it to. We would simply tell God of our need and wait for him to tell one of his followers to help, if that is what was needed. As a result, we have met God followers from all over the world as they have responded to God’s call to action on our behalf.
One of the most challenging aspects of this adventure has been allowing God to be ALL that we need. As good Christians, we said that he was and we sang songs about it in church, but we did not believe it. If we had, we would have been fine with trusting God when we felt him directing us to not seek employment. We had allowed the American spirit (pull yourself up by your boot straps) to partner with pseudo-Christianity and form a paradigm that was completely incompatible with God. That paradigm had a god that was so small and powerless that the only conceivable way he could provide for us was via a “good job”. Thankfully, we have been able to shake that paradigm off and have resigned ourselves to truly trusting God alone with our lives. When we finally gave up, I got a job.
Jenny and I have had a lot of free time over the last two and a half years. We spent much of that time praying, researching what a life of faith looked like, historically, and reading about the faithful in the Bible. We also looked for opportunities to help others in need. We did not always have money, but we gave what we had. We watched babies, mowed lawns, helped people move, helped small business owners that could not afford to pay help and generally made ourselves useful. We watched the community Facebook page daily for opportunities to be of service. Late this summer, I began to see a trend in the community. People were complaining about their kids waiting 40 minutes to an hour each day for their school bus to arrive, while others were complaining that their children arrived at school an hour early. The issue was the result of a bus driver shortage in the county. Bus drivers were running two and three routes in an effort to get all of the kids to school (some late and some early). I saw different variations of this issue popping up daily and did not think much of it, until I talked with one of the bus drivers from my daughter’s school. He explained that he loves the kids and wants to continue to be a bus driver but the lack of help was stressing him out. I thought about ways to encourage him and help him, but I drew a blank. Meanwhile, I continued to see daily issues from the bus driver shortage, on Facebook. One day I told Jenny that if bus driving was not a “job”, I would step up and do it, because that is what our community needs. As a result of that statement, I sent a text to the bus driver at my daughter’s school. A few minutes later he called me and said, “great minds think alike!” That afternoon the bus garage had asked him if he knew of anyone that would be willing to drive the bus and he had given them my name. Well, I am not the smartest guy in the world, but it appeared to me as though God was pointing something out to me, but I was ignoring it because it was a “job”. Jenny and I prayed about it and decided that I should pursue it and God could shut it down if it was not right (he is really good at that!). I told God that this is something my community needed and I would do it, even if it did not involve pay.
I went to the bus garage and found that they pay employees while they are in training and they reimburse for the CDL and all associated fees/medical screenings. It sounded great! I had an interview and was honest about God leading us here, not working and only looking into the bus driver position because it was a need in the community. I was half hoping that they would think I was crazy and tell me to leave, but they were very gracious and went out of their way to help me get into the training program and get my CDL. About halfway through the first month of training, I asked a guy, who started at the same time I did, about pay and he said that he had been paid every week since we started! Normally, I would have stormed into the payroll office and demanded to know what was going on, but I was reminded that I was not doing this for the money. I was doing it because it was a need in the community. I still wanted to talk to the payroll person, but every time I looked for her she was away from the office. This went on for many days and became laughable. At this point I had been in training for over a month and had spent over $100 dollars (remember they reimburse) that God had given for my family and I to live on. Finally, the payroll person called me into the office and apologized. She explained that paying for training was a new procedure (an attempt to get drivers in) and I had gotten “caught in the paperwork” and subsequently, not paid. As a result, they were willing to pay me half again the original per hour amount and still reimburse me. That sounded good, and I certainly understood the confusion of a new process. I returned to the training program, with the promise that I would be paid for my training, reimbursement and even a signing bonus upon completion of my state CDL test.
As I am writing this, it has been two months since I started the training program. I have completed all of my training, passed my state CDL test and have been driving some of the most amazing kids to and from school. Parents have expressed their thankfulness that their children will now be to school and home on time and bus drivers have thanked me for helping relieve their stress. In short, I have been able to fill a need in our community and am confident that it is what God wants me to do. Are you wondering about the money? Me too! I still have not been paid. I am employed by the 9th richest county in the country, so it is not that they do not have the money. The explanation is that there was another paperwork issue and that I will be paid by mid November… maybe. I have not made a big issue out of it because we feel that God will handle it. After all, I am doing this because it was a need in our community, not for the money. God is funny…. 😉