This Christmas was a rough one for me. It all started back in August. Our family was realizing some financial hardships and needed to figure out a new strategy (I needed a part time job). While I could have just waltzed out there and found a great full time job, or even decent part time job, most of them meant that Princess Pea would end up in child care of some sorts. That was against many parts of me. After weeks of looking, sitting in interviews, being rejected, getting hired then having the job fall through at the last minute, I began to question a lot of things in my life. But our family was blessed and I found a job.
I worked two days a week at a child care center. Pea came with me on those two days. It was a rough adjustment at first, but then my paycheck came, and I realized that this was the answer to our prayers. Then I was called to Jury duty. I had to take one of the days I worked off in order to go. After I was dismissed, I got a phone call from my work. I was worried they were asking me to come in. No, they were laying me off. It was two weeks before Christmas and I was jobless.
I was feeling really devastated with my life. Besides the loss of job, there were other disappointments going on that were hard to bear. I felt like Christmas was no longer this amazing time, but a pit of despair. When talking to my mother, I remember telling her that it was Christmas, a time for miracles, a time when everything is supposed to work out. The wise woman that she is softly told me that Christmas is a magical time, and many miracles happen at Christmas time, but that doesn’t guarantee everyone a miracle. She said a lot of people wind up depressed because they’re expecting a miracle that never comes.
I realized that this was true. I was becoming depressed because I was demanding a miracle, my Christmas miracle, to be this big all-inclusive thing that would magically solve my problems. But I had to remind myself that Heavenly Father is not a genie granting wishes. He is a loving parent who sometimes lets us hurt so we can grow.
I told Heavenly Father that I accepted that I wouldn’t be getting my miracle for Christmas. He, of course, proved me wrong. Several people suddenly blessed our lives. We found our family was being taken care of in so many tiny ways that added up big.
I worked my butt off, jumped through hoops and ended up with a new job. I now work teaching English to children in China for VIPKID. I teach while everyone else is asleep. It is an adjustment, and just like any change, there are pros and cons.
As I have reflected on miracles and Christmas time, I have come to realize that it’s not just Christmas that is a time for miracles, it’s every day. I also realized that miracles don’t work like restaurants. I can’t walk up to the counter and order financial stability with a side salad and a drink. Miracles are more like a Christmas gift. They’re thought out, wrapped up, and tucked under the tree until you’re ready to open them up. You may not like what’s in the box, but it will be just what you need.
Miracles aren’t just meant as a one-time thing or something that just randomly happens to us. We can ask for miracles, just like we ask for the safety of our family, food on our table, or comfort in times of sorrow. We can ask Heavenly Father for a miracle. I can’t count the number of times this month where I have hit my knees and told Heavenly Father “I know you’re busy, but I’m stuck here and I need a miracle.”
I found that my open ended prayers were answered much faster and sweeter than the ones where I added instructions like “Hey, I need a miracle, like a job at this place.”
Miracles are tiny tender mercies from Heavenly Father. Sometimes they’re huge, but more often they’re small. Many times they don’t eliminate the problem, but show a way out. I found in the midst of discovering my new job, I hit a lot of obstacles and troubles. I had moments where I was down at rock bottom. I was upset and miserable, unable to see how this was going to be a good thing and a blessing to my family. I remember I did my final practicum and I incorrectly got an email saying I failed and would need to do additional steps if I wanted the job. I cried. I was ready to throw it all away and be done with everything. I did stop and ask Heavenly Father what He thought I should do. I felt peace and decided to do the additional work. Well the next day I got an email alerting me that I had in face passed and that there was no additional work that I had to do at all. It was a miracle.
Life is strange, hard, and horrible, but life is also filled with sweetness, love, and miracles. We just have to know how to find them.
P.S. If you’re interested in working for or learning more about VIPKID, here is my referral link: http://teacher-recruitment.vipkid.com.cn/home.shtml?refereeId=3043580