My months of waiting are finally over! Many of you know that I have been substituting at the schools for any position I could get. I filled in for janitors, cafeteria workers, teacher’s aides, and teachers. During this time I was actively looking and applying for full-time jobs. Last year while working for the school full-time as the high school librarian, I had a thought, “maybe it would be better to be a substitute so my schedule can be more flexible for ministry.” But since everyone got use to me working at the school all year… those pop-up needs were happening less and less this year. As a result, it’s been a loooooong five months for me personally.
I have been technically unemployed for five months. Most of the shifts I have been working are night janitor shifts. So therefore, I am working alone. I’m not officially paid to be a youth minister. I submit expenses to LightShine like my mileage, travel costs, and supplies for the ministry. They then reimburse me for those funds spent out of what people have donated. Substituting has only given me about five to ten shifts per month each month since September. If you count the summer break, I wasn’t working a steady job for about eight months. And believe me, I was applying. With the after-school programs I ran also on hold during all of this time, it left me very idle. That idleness began to wear at my soul after a while. This last cycle of depression lasted a strong six weeks where it didn’t seem like it was going to lift. I felt like I started to regress as a person, and even my friendships were being impacted. I was becoming very negative and venting that negativity out on those closest to me. Unfortunately for them, they were the only ones I trusted with it. People are always surprised when they find out I am diagnosed with clinical depression. It’s a topic I am outspoken about, but at the same time, I don’t broadcast to people when I first meet them.
I don’t have the answers as to why I went through this season. But to be honest, I wasn’t asking them. I didn’t really question why doors were closing. I did often ask God, “What does this mean? Should I relocate.” In addition to my new job that I started Monday, Game Club is scheduled to restart on February 11th, pending any final hiccups. It seems like things are starting to finally pick up. You know what’s crazy? Is all of this positive change started after a church service two Sundays ago. It was the Sunday after my interview for the new job I started this week.
I really appreciate Kim Heinbaugh and his leadership at Tazlina Fellowship. This is the church I call home in this area and he is the pastor. They always give time for testimonies but this Sunday was different. God was doing something. My friend Dennis got up and shared a testimony and then Kim opened it up for anyone else to continue before we started worship. Curtis then got up and shared and before we knew it we were having a service focused around testimonies. Want to know the best part? After each person shared their good testimony or their prayer request, Kim took a moment to pray for them and asked others to come up and encourage them. After the third person was sharing I felt I should too. I had just shared when I preached the last Sunday of December, but a lot of people weren’t there. I had nearly convinced myself not to share and I looked over at my Alaskan nephew Kameko. He looked me straight in the eyes, pointed towards the front and said, “Go up there.” Without a moment of hesitation after that I went up and shared. I updated everyone as more of a prayer request. I shared my frustrations of being unemployed, of having the Jr. Youth on hold due to not having liability insurance, of having the Game Club on hold as we work out all the details with the new administration. It had been a long and frustrating five months for me. And I laid my burdens down in front of my church and asked them to pray for me. Man, after they prayed for me I knew something was different. After church many people came up to me with ideas about fundraising, getting our own liability, getting a building/property, and even donating to my needs. I felt so loved and appreciated. This was truly the turning point in a positive direction for me. The best part? I wasn’t feeling so alone anymore.
So, what’s this new job you may ask? I didn’t intentionally string you along to the end to tell you the good news. But, would you take a moment to head on over to my Facebook Page and see my most recent update? I share all about my new job there. If you haven’t already, please give the page a like. And if you would like to see my updates as often as you would your friends in your news feed, please follow it as well. You don’t need a Facebook account to view it as it is a public page.
Click this link, A. P. Smither Facebook to see the page. It is the post at the top titled “Evening everyone.”
Author: A.P. Smither
Editor: P.J. Walk
Blog Disclaimer: views and opinions expressed by A.P. Smither do not necessarily reflect the views of his editors, current employer: Copper River School District, or ministry affiliates: Light Shine Ministries and Hope of the Nations Christian Center.