It was the most difficult time I can remember. Dr. Meece, the boss I adored, was killed by a drunk driver. He had been the long-lost family member I had been missing in my life. Having practiced dentistry for more than 30 years, his patients, as well as his employees, were devastated. We all walked through the funeral week numb to the core.
His dental practice was sold. I promised Dr. Meece’s widow I would stay 90 days, through the sale and transition. That put me leaving the week after Christmas.
I prayed and searched for work. I had been a receptionist and biller for Dr. Meece, so that was the type of job I sought. Resumés were typed and applications were completed. I prayed more and searched harder with no results. Time was ticking down. I began to panic. It grieves me to tell you that I was frustrated at God. I remember vividly crying on the way home one day. “God, is this too hard for you?” I asked out loud and then immediately apologized. I truly knew deep down that nothing was too difficult for Him! I was hurting, frustrated, scared plus lots of other things.
I contacted Dr. Boyd, a dentist friend who was going on a mission trip to Haiti with my husband. (We had talked several times about the loss of Dr. Meece.) I e-mailed him one morning: “If you know of any dentists who have openings, keep me in mind.” He answered back that he would. He didn’t know of anyone and hadn’t had an opening in seven years.
That day, that very day, one of his employees turned in her resignation. She was pregnant and wanted to stay at home.
My friend and I led a Bible study that evening at Otter Creek, a women’s prison an hour away. When I got home, I had a message to call Dr. Boyd and did so right away. I sat on the edge of the bed, as my beloved tried to listen to the conversation. There was a job he was offering, but it was not in the front office, it was to be a dental assistant. I blinked several times.
“An ASSISTANT?” I asked out loud. What in the world?!
“I think you can do it,” he told me. My beloved said, “Tell him YES! Tell him YES!” I shushed him.
I asked for 24 hours to pray about it and let him know. He said that was fine.
I needed an answer, the right answer! This was not at all what I expected. I had never done that type of work before. I was 44 years old. Was I too old to learn a new vocation? I had to work! Was this what I was supposed to do?! (I had many questions!) I went to my cozy reading spot and pulled out my Bible. “Lord, I need an answer from you!” And He gave it!
That very night, at the Bible study at Otter Creek, we had studied about Mary. I looked at my notes. My Life Application Study Bible commentary told that Mary was poor, young and a female-three reasons she was an unlikely candidate to do anything important in her day. That’s exactly what we had talked about as we started the Christmas story with the girls! God often uses those who are just ordinary and does extraordinary things with them! Mary’s news was great, but it would also be difficult. God would be with her through every up and down.
I took all that to heart. I went to bed with peace. And a few butterflies.
I called Dr. Boyd the next day. He gave me the job. That was 12 years ago this month.
Every year, I soak up the true story of Mary. It has meant so much to me since 2006. On good days, I remember how Mary’s story helped me. When things were/are difficult, I look back to those verses. I KNOW I made the right decision!
As a teenager, Mary was chosen because she had a heart for God and serving Him; an unlikely candidate used in a great way! And she was tough! She faced difficult times from the git-go! She didn’t flinch over the trek to Bethlehem and I doubt if she had a hissy fit when she landed in the stable. She welcomed dirty visitors right there in the barn after delivering a baby without a doctor and then received gifts from magi a short time later. She went on the run in the middle of the night to save her new baby’s life, trusting in her husband Joseph’s direction to Egypt without a GPS. She was tougher than a pine knot! One of my heroes is a teenager!
The God who was with Mary was with me in 2006 and is still with me today! It was hard I tell you. The hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s been the best thing EVER! It’s made me closer to God than I had ever been before and that was my prayer all along!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.