Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coming Through & Going On

 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
   and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
   when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
   guard it well, for it is your life. 
Proverbs 4:11-13

A good portion of my life has been spent in the offices of various business disciplines - - largely manufacturing.  Everywhere my briefcase traveled it landed in the realm of Marketing or Customer Service.  In these I came to understand servanthood in a much broader sense than I'd known it previously.

Long ago & far away I entered the work world by way of Pacific NW Bell.  There, in much the same fashion as Laugh-in's Ernestine (Lilly Tomlin), I would utter my most profound "Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" (snort-snort).  Laughter aside ... I learned to handle crisis calls as well as local long distance.  Problem solving was the day's by-word.  It was the Viet Nam era, so I patched through many a soldier to a loved one state-side.  Split shifts & long weekends, which made for many a newlywed challenge, eventually sent me packing.    

I took a few interim steps - several in a more personal manufacturing manner:  motherhood.  But once the children went to school I found myself working for the world's largest grower & shipper of fresh cut Christmas trees & floral foliage: The Kirk Company.  Behind the administrative scenes I allied my efforts with those of Marketing and, after a few years found myself captaining the Customer Service ship.  A financial blight hit hard, rendering this once mighty giant of all things Christmas to a shadow of it's former self.  After eight years I moved on.

After a few years of bouncing between employment walls (or lack thereof), I made my way to the company I'd call home for ten years:  The Lucks Company.   Within the halls of all things Bakery, Lucks provided a wide array of commercial baking equipment, bakery supplies and decorative items to wholesale bakeries, grocery chains, schools & other institutions.  My segue to this industry began, again, in Customer Service though it eventually lead to my heading up numerous departments:  Customer Service, Inside Sales, Warehouse, Purchasing and Shipping.  What might have been work or stress to another, became my hobby - a pass time I relished for ten years until the day we decided to move to Arizona.

In Arizona I wrestled with the employment market, uncertain if I wanted to work at all, but certain I didn't want to retire at the ripe old age of 52.  Semi-retirement sounded like a good compromise.  So it was that I heeded a friend's call to work for Remuda Ranch, a large Christian medical facility devoted to the treatment of eating disorders in women.  There, hidden away in the smallest office at the farthest corner of the Administration Facility, I worked alongside the Executive Director.  Need I say this was a swooping descent from my former life?  It was, and it took me quite some time to adjust to this relatively insignificant role.  I grew to love it, and was saddened to bid farewell when hubby's employment took us from Arizona to California for one very brief season.

Upon our return to Arizona a good friend and State Farm executive hollered for help.  Responsible for numerous agencies via their Regional Corporate offices, he was left without an administrator and asked that I come aboard.  I'd no sooner gotten my land legs in this new & strange industry, when my pastor asked me to join our church's staff.  Seems even churches have need of infrastructure, and I was delighted beyond words to climb aboard.  So it is that I packed my satchel of skills and made the move.  I remained there for four years until we returned to Washington State just last year.

So why have I blogged about this today?  It's certainly more reflection than boast because I've had so little to do with how the path was laid out, or even in the going upon it.  I didn't study long for, or seek hard after it.  It's to remind myself that every place & every season - now as then - has been & will be ordered by the Lord.  There have been so very few days in the realm of work that I could call unpleasant.  Most have been full & rewarding & challenging.  I have been so blessed to work with & alongside some of the most dedicated teams you could ask for - - just one among the many.  How could I have orchestrated all that?

So why do I need a reminder?  Because I continue to wait upon Him for direction as it concerns the what now?/what next? questions I have.  I may have retired in the world's eyes, but all the aforementioned has been and will continue to be used for His glory - of that I'm certain!  Even now, in this quieter side of living, much is being readied. 

Above my kitchen window is this little signage:  If God has brought you to it, He will bring you through it.   Another, like it, is a great companion:  God rarely does a work THROUGH you until He's done a work IN you.

He did.  He does.  He will.  I like that.

The LORD makes firm the steps of 
the one who delights in him
Psalm 37:23

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. 
How then can anyone understand their own way?
Proverbs 20:24


Pain to Purpose said...

Loved this post! It was so interesting to hear about your work life. I really love your sign. Indeed, God always will finish the work He has started!

Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

Aw yes, the waiting game. I'll be interested in hearing (err, reading) what God's doing, even the quiet doings. I have found it harder to be on the "quieter side of living" for too long but even that's being stretched out in me. And I love the great reminder you have of the path He directed all along the way for you. It brought to remembrance, as I was reading, my own path.

Beth E. said...

Getting to know you better helps to deepen the level of our friendship even more. Oh, the down side of living across the country from one another! Until then, I believe we are long overdue for a telephone chat. :-)

Big hugs...

Just a little something from Judy said...

Perfect reminder for me of the reality and truth of Psalms 139. Each step is directed by the loving hands of our Heavenly Father, whether we realize it or not. I found this post so very interesting. What a lady and what a journey you have been on. Can't wait to see what's ahead. God's placements of His children, certainly are stepping stones, and sometimes it feels like they are "three steps forward and two steps back."

Thank you for the privilege of stepping into your past and present, for a few minutes today.

Rebecca said...

Between the lines, I read of a rare and wonderful combination of competence, reliability and kindness in you, Kathleen. I can just imagine how you blessed every office you walked into and every life that your own touched in days gone by....

I expect that your present and future are/will be no exception to God's pattern of placing you in a spot where you represent Him to the optimum.

Thank the LORD that He directs our step!

Maryann said...

I enjoyed this post, liked getting to know more about you. Knowing he is the one directing my steps is the one thing I hang on to when the wait get hard. He does know the plans he has for you! Loved the two quotes

Granny said...

Thank you for being so open & sharing your past work experiences. It shows just how open you've been to God's direction in every aspect of your life. I share a similar work-life in that I have been in several work environments & different industries -- from commercial real estate to teaching to insurance. All of these experiences have helped shape me into the "stay-at-home Granny" that I am today. At first I had a hard time with my days not being planned for me, but then I realized that throughout every experience I was "being where God needs me most" ... Thank you again for sharing.

manthano said...

And we thank the Lord for putting you
in the blogging world.

myletterstoemily said...

you have had such a varied work path. it
is inspiring . . . just like your blog!

Ron aka TheOldGeezer said...

I retired July 2005 from work but never from life. Everyday is a fresh new adventure and I always look forward to what God has planned for me. Although I must admit I'm glad He doesn't tell me somethings in advance or might never venture out the door :-)

Take care and have a nice day :-)

Thanks for your recent comment on My Blog

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I also needed this reminder as I am asking God "what now, what's next"...and He has ordered my steps.

You have had such a rich life in so many ways...and I can't wait to enjoy this season as God continues to order your steps...enjoy the journey

Peggy said...

Thanks for sharing all the ways God has led you through your whole work life. Isn't it great how He leads us into His will every step of the way.

Denise said...

Amen, well said my friend.

Sonja said...

Feeling very similar things over here!

I love the map of your past work experiences... it could be a book, it IS a book, Kathleen's book. Now for the next chapter! :)

Terri Tiffany said...

You've been blessed in you work:) You have also encouraged me to wait on Him to direct me to my next position here in Texas. I wish I had friends and people to point the way but I don't so I have Him!

Saleslady371 said...

What I'm seeing here is is that just as you did not orchestrate that wonderful resume, we can believe that our next steps will be divinely ordered. Wonder what He is planning for you.....

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Waiting with you, friend. It's a healthy habit to trace the faithfulness of God in our history. It reminds me that I have never been alone, not for a single moment.