By Dianna Hobbs
“I’d kill myself if I were married with kids and still working here,” she said to me with a dismissive laugh.
Fresh out of college, snarky and consistently insensitive, my younger-than-me manager at the department store made it very clear that she had no respect for me.
In her eyes, the fact that I was older than she was and working a minimum-wage job to make ends meet for my family, meant I was a loser.
And she told me so without hesitation.
Before that moment, we got along just fine. At least I thought we did. She was funny, intelligent, driven and outgoing, and we chatted frequently.
She and I began working in the bridal department around the same time and had no issues, until the day her behavior unexplainably changed. All the smiles and light-hearted banter stopped and the mean-spirited insults began.
I can’t deny that her words stung. As hard as I tried to keep the verbal daggers from penetrating, my skin wasn’t quite thick enough.
A while later, the boss over all of us came and notified me that I was the top earner in the department, and offered me a raise. She thought I had potential to soar in the company and told me I should be in management.
My formerly kind manager knew this information before I did and failed to disclose it. She, instead, chose to deride me, knock me down a few pegs and make sure I realized how low I was on the societal totem pole.
Now, let me just tell you, the whole top earner thing was jaw-dropping news to me. I didn’t view myself as a particularly strong salesperson. I was helpful, attentive, honest and always as friendly as I could be to customers.
I certainly wasn’t competing with anyone.
Furthermore, since the commissions weren’t showing up in my paycheck, I had no knowledge that I was raking in that much revenue for the store.
So, aside from there being no financial benefit, my perceived “success” strained my working relationship and forced me into mental warfare. I didn’t feel successful, that’s for sure.
It took all the prayer and Word I had in me to uproot the seeds of inferiority planted in my mind by a young woman determined to keep her foot on my neck. It baffled me, since she was in a higher position and made more money than me.
I didn’t sign on for all the adversity and drama. I just wanted to do my work with excellence, be compensated, go home to my loving family and assist my husband in paying bills.
I had no hidden agenda.
Although working as a sales associate wasn’t what I imagined I’d be doing as a wife and mom with a college degree, it was what my situation called for at the moment. I was just grateful to have employment and be able to contribute something at home.
Nevertheless, Satan did all he could to use my manager’s sharp tongue to poke holes in my confidence. He echoed her words and told me I was “too old” to be “this far behind in life,” as if it were too late for God to unfold His purpose.
Despite his attempts, let me be clear. Yes, my feelings were a little hurt and my self-confidence took a minor hit. However, I was in no way convinced that God was finished with me. I firmly believed then, just as I do now, my times and seasons are in His hands. I am not defined by temporary circumstances, but by His eternal word.
I believe the Lord allowed me to go through that experience because He knew, once He launched me into ministry, I would encourage others who the enemy had lied to and attacked just like me.
This is not the end for you. God has more for you.
On this, Day 20 of our “The First 21 Days” online devotional series, God wants you to know it is not too late. You are not too far behind. You have no need to be ashamed of your process. Wherever you are today, give God glory as y ou wait for breakthrough and manifestation.
In 2016, move forward confidently knowing He has a plan for your life. No matter your age, education or income level, marital status, employment situation, health condition, or personal circumstance, God is not limited by your limitations.
He will make up for the years you thought you lost. He will pull you out of last place and put you in first place so that, through your life, others will see His awesomeness.
Friend, even when I was scraping by week-to-week, selling bridal gifts and operating in a hostile work environment, God knew what He had placed in me. He was fully aware of how He would use my life to glorify His name.
He has plans for you just the same.
I don’t know what you’re going through or what kind of opposition you’re facing, but God wants you to know, again, it’s not too late. You will rebound. Even if you have failed in the past to reach the goals God placed in your heart, a change is coming. You will be a reflection of His goodness, grace and favor.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV).
Even when your advancement and elevation don’t happen on your—or society’s—timetable, God is still able. He isn’t hung up on your age, biological clock, deadline for certain milestones, or personal ultimatums.
God doesn’t do what is most convenient for our schedule, but what is most conducive to Him receiving glory.
In John 11, when Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick, Jesus didn’t rush to Bethany where he was.
He didn’t hurry up and show up on the scene.
When the Savior, who had power to heal disease, heard the news that Lazarus, the disciple He loved was ill, in verse 4, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
The Messiah didn’t arrive until after Lazarus was placed in the tomb and family, and friends were mourning his death. Jesus let the situation get to the point where no one thought it could be helped or turned around.
After Lazarus had been dead four days, that’s when Jesus performed the miracle in verses 43-44 and resurrected him.
Always remember, everything is about His glorification, so that others will believe that He is who He says He is. It never has been nor ever will be about us.
After Jesus raised Lazarus, verse 45 says, “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.”
They had to first become eyewitnesses before they could become faith witnesses. They needed to see what Jesus did in order to see who He was.
Right now, you’re dealing with some things and you don’t know how God is going to turn them around. Well, I’ve got good news. He specializes in desperate situations. He lets you face the too-high mountain and walk through the too-low valley, so you can see that He is too powerful for any obstacle to withstand.
God’s going to reveal His glory.
In Luke 8:40-56, Jairus, ruler of the synagogue had a 12-year-old daughter lying at the point of death.
Desperate for help, this distraught father threw himself down at Jesus’ feet, imploring the Savior to come to his house and heal her.
Jairus is a Greek form of the Hebrew personal name Jair meaning, “Jehovah enlightens.” Through the miraculous resurrection Jesus is about to perform at Jairus’s home, He enlightens, illuminates, gives insight and opens our eyes to who He is.
Before Jesus made it to the residence to attend to the girl, a woman with an issue of blood, who had been sick 12 years—the same amount of time the ill girl was alive—came seeking healing in verses 43-48.
She interrupted Jairus’s moment by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment and receiving her deliverance.
Meanwhile, the delay proved fatal for Jairus’s daughter. In verse 49, a messenger from the house came and told desperate dad, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.”
All seemed lost. It looked hopeless. Jairus had reached Jesus, told Him about the problem and yet, it appeared too late for him. But in response to the news, Jesus told Jairus in verse 50, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”
When Jesus arrived at Jairus’s house, it looked just like the scene at Mary and Martha’s place. Folks were mourning, wailing and bawling their eyes out over the tragic loss.
“Stop wailing,” Jesus said in verse 52. “She is not dead but asleep.”
In this moment, God’s message to you is stop wailing. Stop speaking negative words. Stop expecting the worst. Stop complaining. Stop worrying. Stop stressing. Stop accepting defeat.
I know that might sound strange, just as it did to those mourners at Jairus’s house. But God doesn’t see your situation like you do. He doesn’t step on the scene and react to what’s going on. He enters the picture and changes the outcome.
According to Scripture, when the Messiah said the girl was only sleeping, the statement was so bizarre to those at the house, that they took a break from crying and went to laughing.
They didn’t know that an enlightening was about to happen. Jesus was getting ready to showcase His power in a way that none of them anticipated.
He took that girl by the hand and told her to arise. And at His command, life returned to her lifeless body. It was a miracle.
That day, God showed Jairus and all the doubters that He brings hope to the hopeless, life to the lifeless and is always on time, even when conditions say He’s too late.
In Genesis 18, when God promised Abraham and Sarah an heir, the man known as the “Father of Faith” was 75 years old. By the time Isaac arrived, Abraham was 100 years old, which means he and his wife had to wait 25 years for manifestation.
But God’s promise was revealed.
He hasn’t changed. God wasn’t a liar yesterday and He isn’t a liar today. God wasn’t a failure yesterday and He isn’t a failure today.
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19, NIV).
Recognize that the same power that raised Lazarus, healed the woman with the issue of blood, resurrected Jairus’s daughter and granted Abraham and Sarah a son when they were past the age of child-bearing, is at work in your life.
In 2016, know that every negative situation you face is in the capable hands of our sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV).
He has allowed your too-late, too-hard situation to prove that it is never too late and nothing is ever too hard for the Lord.