I was moving hummingly through the grocery store. I was happily casing the aisles, looking for things I may need, but had forgotten. I swung my cart around the end cap and started down the cereal aisle, and there she was.
She was engrossed in looking at the cereal and comparing it to a coupon, but I knew it was her from her profile. My stomach immediately began to feel sick. My happy mood dissipated and was replaced by a need to run, or cry, or both.
I quickly swung my cart around and hurried out of that aisle and darted down a couple aisles to make my get away. I didn't like the feelings that were engulfing me. I wanted them to stop. What do I say if I run into her, I thought??
It was almost eight years ago, to the day, that I last saw her. I was sitting in her office and she was chiding me for shirking my responsibilities and not performing well in my job.
Earlier that day, my preschool teaching partner had left our room to make some copies. One of the cherubs in my class, in complete innocence, asked a question that triggered a welling up of tears that wasn't going to stay in.
"What's Mr. Bev like Ms. Bev?" she queried. Her eyes searched mine. She didn't know or understand what divorce was. She didn't know the personal hell I was going through.
"Excuse me," I said and slid around the door jam to my open room to a place just outside the door where they wouldn't see me cry. The hot tears burned down my cheeks as I tried to gather myself to step back into the room.
At that moment she came down the hall. "What are you doing outside your room, Ms. Bev?" she asked with disgust. "You KNOW there needs to be one teacher in the room at all times."
At the end of the day, as I sat crying in her office, she told me that she was letting me go. It was obvious to her that I had too much going on in my personal life to be an effective teacher. There was no compassion in her expression. She simply told me that I could collect my things and that today was my last day.
She had no idea how desperately I needed that job - even the little bit it paid. I didn't have a husband and as of that day, I didn't have a job. In one fell slice, she had effectively taken me to the newest low in my life. I was depressed and I knew there wasn't much lower that I could go.
In a week, I will be going to a farewell open house for a woman who was clearly God's gift to me in what I walked through. In fact, she is the one who inspired the name of my blog. She read God's Word with me that spoke of God's great love for me. She reminded me that one person does not determine my worth - my worth and identity are only found in Christ and He had already deemed me worthy....worthy of dying for. She countered the attack on my soul.
She held my hand, looked straight into my eyes and reminded me of what I had forgotten - that I was God's beloved daughter and He delighted in me. She encouraged me that no matter what I walked through, it only mattered that I walked well through it with God. Walking well didn't mean stoic, it merely meant that I kept walking and holding His righteous right hand.
God gave me Jan, and He also gives me the gift of the Holy Spirit. I think the Holy Spirit sometimes gets little respect. He is our inner Guide - God's gift to be with us always to guide, give wisdom, enable us to discern, to groan for us when words won't come, to comfort, to counsel, to be our advocate, and to literally be God in us.