Monday, April 03, 2006

Times, they are a changin'

I think the beginning of Daylight Savings Time is probably my least favorite day of the year. I adore a good night's sleep, and to have that sleep thwarted by being robbed of an hour of slumber seems brutal and needless.

However, I was utterly unable to sleep last night anyway, so I suppose it didn't really matter too much.

It has been a week of unbelievable ups and downs, all of which caught me quite off guard.

To begin with, I signed a group last week that I had been pursuing since December. I finally got the owner to commit to allowing me come in and present my product to his employees, and I was THRILLED! It felt like a long-fought battle had finally come to an end, and I was the victor!

I called the business owner on Wednesday to confirm our appointment for Thursday, and he told me he had been trying to reach me. Apparently, an agent had been in to see his employees last fall, and his employees expressed no interest at that time and had no interest now, and he didn't want to waste company time. Now, this was quite a different story from the story I got the other FIVE TIMES I talked with him. It made no sense, but try as I may, I just was not going to get in the door.

This was very upsetting, as I was depending on generating some income from this. I have not been writing a lot of business over the last couple of weeks, and I really needed the sales. But, what was I to do? I chalked it up as a loss, and went on with business.

I went to training on Friday, and in the middle of one of the role playing exercises, my regional coordinator told me that the whole thing was starting to make sense. Apparently, a former agent, who is now a major medical insurance broker and happens to have an account with the business I just signed, decided that if they were not going to sign the group with supplemental insurance, nobody would. So, they simply advised the owner not to allow me in, stating that they had presented the product to the employees before, and there was no interest and it would be a waste of time. As he has been their insurance broker for years, the business owner simply took his advice.

Lo and behold, there is now new business written under the writing number of the former agent. I would not want to be in their shoes if this business was written on an account they secured fraudulently, that's all I will say.

While this news was certainly not the best news, it at least helped make sense of what happened. I could not figure out why, after months of communication, suddenly everything was different.

Before the end of the training, I was offered a part-time job to do some sales and administrative work for another business running out of our regional office. This was a most welcome offer, as I have been in dire need of something to help me get by until I build my book of accounts. It has been all I can do lately just to put gas in the car, and were it not for the kindness of friends (Jesus with skin on), I do not know what I would have done.

Later in the afternoon, I had an appointment with my chiropractor. He had promised me a couple of weeks ago that he would provide me with some good leads, and I was going in to see him to collect those leads.

He asked me how things were going, and I said things were very slow. I explained that I am having a very difficult time finding businesses that have not already been tapped by previous agents, or who have not already signed with an agent. I was very honest, and said that my income so far this year has barely been enough to live on, and if things do not start improving at least to the point that I can afford gas and groceries, I am going to have to look at other options. I told him about the part-time job, and that I was happy that came through for me. I was trying to make the best of it, even though the situation is difficult at best right now.

He asked me if I wanted to do what I am doing. I didn't answer right away, so he continued. He said that he didn't think I did. He asked me what I would like to do, if I could do anything at all. I told him I wanted to help people, and that was part of what drew me to the job. I told him that, ideally, I would love to get married and serve beside my husband in ministry. That would be a dream come true for me. I told him that I wanted to take all the painful things I've been through in my life, and turn them into something positive that will impact people's lives and help bring about change for the better. I shared with him that I am going to school this fall to begin learning ASL, because the deaf community is sorely ignored and that bothers me.

He just nodded and listened, then when I was quiet for a moment, he grabbed a business card and put his home number on the back. He told me that he brought me in the office under false pretenses, but he had a project he was working on and thought he might have a place for me in it, but I wasn't ready to hear about it. He told me that I would be able to help people, and make a living doing it, but I wasn't ready. He asked me to keep him informed of what is going on in my life, and when I was ready to hear his ideas (meaning, I think, ready to let go of what I am doing now and be open to going forward with what he has), I could let him know.

He told me that, if it were him, he would not waste anymore time in doing what I am doing, because the market in this area is saturated. I have to say, that thought has crossed my mind many times, and it never occurred to me that I really did have the power to make that choice. I am not ready to yet, but I do have a stronger sense that, if this doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world and there are other things out there for me.

At the end of the day last Friday, I had a strong exhilerating sense...that things were turning around. That, one way or another, God once again proving Himself faithful. Nothing in our lives is in vain. Nothing is wasted. I think there are times God is intentionally vague and seemingly silent with us, teaching us those hard lessons in blind obedience and all-abandoning trust. The kind of trust that declares that though He may slay us, we will yet trust Him, even if all logic and reason and earthly wisdom would tell us not to. The kind of trust that asks us, at least for awhile, to be His fool.

I was sharing all of this with a dear friend of mine, and told him that I needed him to pray that God would provide a car for me. The '92 Blazer I've been driving for the last few years has been draining what little financial reserve I have, with gas prices being as they are. I told him that I very badly needed something more fuel efficient for as much driving as I do.

Well, my sister and I were out for a walk today, and came across a car for sale just down the road from my house. It seems that it was put there just for me. The owner lives right by the high school, and said she expected one of the high school kids to buy it, as they would be going past it every day. But, they have been on break, so nobody had been by to look at it yet. (Of course not, I thought, because God meant this car to be mine! lol)

This car is much smaller than what I am driving right now, gets 30 mpg, is in great condition, and if all goes well, that car will be in my possession within the next couple of days. The price on the car is very low ($1500), and with what I'll be saving in fuel costs, I have no doubt I can afford the payment on the loan.

God is amazing in the way He works. He stretches us to the point that we think we cannot bear it anymore, then He makes us bear it a bit longer...but then, in the most amazing, breathtaking ways...He brings us blessings that we could not have even imagined. The greatest blessing, for me, has just been witnessing God's faithfulness in this, over and over again. He has not made me rich, He has not given me an expensive car and a nice house, with a financially secure husband and 2.5 children...but He has taught me priceless lessons, and in doing so has given me greater riches than anything I will ever find this side of heaven.

Does that mean life is always easy and I never complain about my smelly apartment (problems with the heat...I have no idea what...), my deficient funds, or lack of a husband? No. But it does put all of these things in a different perspective, and I am learning that He really does make all things beautiful in HIS time.

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