Missions seems to run in my family. I feel that I can relate to how Luke Skywalker must have felt about the force… my parents have it, my sisters have it, my church has it. For as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by people who take time to love their neighbors, both near and far. Through my family and Friendswood Friends church, I have had the opportunity to take part in many acts of service and love. It was not until recently, though, that my husband, Eric, and I were able to experience missions from a different perspective – from the perspective of the ones in need.
We had a plan all ready for when we graduated from college and got married. I was going to automatically find a teaching job that I loved. Eric was going to work for a year and then attend law school. We had no doubts that he would get a really great temporary gig that would help prepare him for being a law student. Unfortunately, we graduated right when even teachers with experience were not finding jobs. Being a teacher with no experience, I had many interviews that ended in a call saying, “You were great! Our second choice! If only you had some experience”. Eric was not having any luck either. With no jobs and thus no income, we began to struggle with basic questions like, “Where are we going to live?” We also began to doubt our self worth. “Do we really have valuable skills to offer our community? It seems like no one is interested in us.”
During this time Eric and I learned a lot about each other – how best to comfort each other, how best to distract the other from yet another letdown, how we could both lean on each other to help keep our feet. Also during this time, we began to see God’s people move and reach out to our situation. In the year that Eric and I could only find hourly work as a High School Aide and a waiter, two families opened their beautiful homes to us, allowing us to stay while they were away, giving us time to find jobs. Another family from the church began to hire Eric for odd jobs they wanted to accomplish around their house. True, these loving people had plenty of work for him to do, but they also knew our need and were so generous with their friendship, knowledge, and pay. And then there were the numerous people who offered us all their prayers, encouragement, and job searching tips. All these people helped Eric and I to see God working in our lives at a time which otherwise would have seemed spiritually dry.
Our circumstances have changed a great deal in the last few years. The hourly aide job opened some doors for me, and I am now finishing up my second year of teaching high school math. I recently accepted an offer for a dream job – coaching tennis and teaching math at the high school I graduated from, and I can’t wait to get started. Eric is doing well in law school and is looking forward to a paid internship this summer. We have purchased a great starter home, planted our first garden, and made lots of new friends. We are very thankful for God’s blessings to us, and for being in a place where we can once again minister to others. But we will also always be thankful for the lessons we learned in a time of need, and in the humility of allowing others to minister to us.
This Friends Journal entry is written by Sara Byrne.