You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts You. (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)
People with their minds set on You, You keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. (Isaiah 26:3 The Message)
I QUIT! Those words can bring emotion, fear, resignation, closure, relief, comfort, pain, anger, frustration, joy and many more emotions too numerable to count. Have you ever said those words or wanted to?
When I was 17 I had my first job at T G & Y. You “baby boomers” will remember that place. It was an upgraded Woolworth store (another baby boomer reference) so let’s see if I can make a reference for today’s world. Okay how about a much smaller Wal-Mart. I worked in the fabric department cutting fabric and making sure it was always ready for customers.
Since I made all of my own dresses in high school this was a bonanza for me because I got a discount. I got to see all of the new fabric as it came in and all of the new up to date McCalls and Butterick patterns. Pure joy for this budding seamstress! I even learned how to “ring customers up” at the cash register where I had to push buttons down and actually make change using math in my head. Someone gave me a $20 for a $5.17 purchase I had to figure out the difference. I have to confess there were times I put my own money in so the register balanced but that didn’t happen often. I did not now until much later in life that you were not supposed to do that!
During that time I was very active in my youth group at church and going to church was the high light of my week. Being around the folks at First Baptist La Mesa was my joy so you can imagine my disappointment when I saw Terrie Smith on the schedule to work Sunday opening at 10AM. My heart was crushed. I loved my job and the perks it brought especially regarding the fabric end of the deal but I loved going to church more.
Sunday came and I went to work heavy hearted, almost in tears. Mr. Krings was the manager and a guy named Tom was the assistant manager who acted like he was the king of the world (you know the type). Compliant, never make any waves me just went along with my shift.
Never working on Sundays Mr. Krings came in to the store that day to retrieve his coat. He saw me standing at the fabric counter kind of dabbing my eyes. I kept thinking “It’s 10:30 now everyone is singing” “it’s 10:45 now Pastor is preaching” etc. As I saw him walking over to me to inquire if I was OK I wiped my eyes and tried to look bright. When he asked me I lied and said yes. He said he would be in tomorrow if I wanted to talk to him.
That evening I went to youth group and church and shared my dilemma. I really needed my job as it was the only way I would get anything I needed. In my family there was barely enough money for food and we were always borrowing from neighbors; but that story is for another day. Through the discussion we came to the conclusion that I needed to quit my job if I had to keep working Sundays. I was determined to test my faith in God. I knew He would provide for me.
The next day I went in early and requested to talk to Mr. Krings. He was such a kind gentle man who always wore black slacks, white short sleeved shirt, thin black or navy tie and a pocket protector full of pens. Nervous cannot begin to describe that 17-year-old me. I told him I was a christian and very active in my church and that missing Sundays was not an option for me so I was giving my 2 weeks notice. I let him know how much I loved my job and especially took pride in keeping the fabric department looking customer ready. He commented that I was a hard worker, a bright spot to my customers and he did not want to lose me. He told me to sit tight that he would work something out. I was grateful. Later I found out that Mr. Krings was a deacon in his church and did not work Sundays so he could go to church.
What happened next was astonishing to me. He told Tom, the overpowering assistant manager, not to schedule me on Sundays. Well that did not sit well with Tom! He came to me and said as much. I told him I went to church on Sundays and he told me it was not his problem. That is when the work place harassment began before it was “a thing”. No reporting him in the 60’s. Today that guy would have been fired in the spot!
The schedule came out and I only had a total of 8 hours. Since it was summer I was used to working every day. I inquired about the schedule and he said I could have worked all day Sunday but I asked not to. Yes I cried and ran to a co-worker. Little did I know she was in Tom’s back pocket and told him everything I said. Dummy me learned a lesson about keeping my mouth shut.
As time went by things got worse. Nothing was right at work. I went in very sick one day to the point of almost passing out and Tom would not let me go home. I still did my best praying all the time, walking closer to God than ever, making reports to my youth group, building our faith in a sustaining God who was proving Himself over and over to me.
That fateful day came when sweet kindly Mr. Krings got transferred to another store. Cue the foreboding music in the background ( dunt dunt dahhhhh). You guessed it; Tom was our new manager and my name was on the schedule for Sunday! This was it. Putting all of my faith in a living God Who had been holding me all together while this little titan took advantage of his workers gave me the courage to do what I had to do. I told him I had to quit. He sat right down, wrote me a paycheck and escorted me to the door. I was holding it together until I got outside then burst in to sobs.
My mind immediately was calmed by “thinking in these things”. My Sunday school teacher the day before had taught a lesson on Philippians 4:8. I prayed and asked God to bless Tom because I had been taught to love my enemies and pray for them. Tears of utter defeat became tears of success in Christ. It was like a movie scene. I wiped my tears, smiled at passersby who were starring at me, raised my head high and walked home.
A few weeks later I got a job as a gift wrapper at The Broadway which is now called Macy’s. There were so many people working there they didn’t need me on Sundays. The store did not have a fabric department but I did get a discount on ready made clothing. God guarded me through that traumatic experience in my developing teen faith experience years. I was taught by faithful servants of Christ to trust Him, walk with Him and give my faith a test drive. That experience was a huge building block in my walk with an ever faithful God Who never leaves me or forsakes me. I was committed to Him and knew it even more day by day. Leaning on Him and hoping confidently in Him; not quitting Him gave me the courage to seek other employment and continue to trust His sovereignty in my life.
I never knew what happened to Tom but he has crossed my mind through the years. I know Mr. Krings has a jewel in his crown with my name on it. Keep at it dear friend. Keep trusting, praying, focusing your mind on Christ. Don’t be a quitter where He is concerned. Things may not be going “your way” right now but hang in there for He knows and sees the big picture. Give Him your total focus and take your faith for a test drive. ️