During my last year of college, training to become a teacher, I experienced a disappointment that I later realized was actually a blessing.
Since I was about to receive my teacher’s certificate, I applied to two schools that were close to where I lived. One school was much larger than the other, and I was really hoping to get hired at the larger school.
I went for a job interview at the larger school on a Friday. The following morning, I got a phone call from the school and was offered the job, so, of course, I accepted. That being the case, I decided not to even go to the interview, which was scheduled for Monday afternoon, at the smaller school. Instead, I planned to call the smaller school Monday morning and tell them I had accepted a position with another school.
However, before I had a chance to call the smaller school Monday morning, I received a phone call from the larger school’s superintendent, who explained that the teacher who had been planning to quit had changed her mind, and, therefore, there was no teaching position for me. I was upset, but at least I hadn’t called the other school and cancelled the interview. So, that afternoon, I went to the job interview at the smaller school. I was offered the job, and I happily accepted.
The next fall, I moved to the nearby town where the school was located and began my teaching career. I taught there for many, many years, and loved every minute of it. I had wonderful students and great parents, and the teachers I worked with were super.
I may have been just as happy teaching at that larger school, but I’m really glad I got hired by the smaller school. I have fond memories of my first teaching job.
Donna – Red Oak, Iowa
While growing up, most of my friends dreamed of being a teacher, a nurse or a stewardess. I simply dreamed of being a mom. That’s all I wanted.
In 1969, I married a soldier, and we moved from Nebraska to Fort Hood, Texas. I was a 20-year-old newlywed away from home for the first time, and as we settled into a small apartment, I continued dreaming of becoming a mom. However, six months into our marriage, I began having terrible abdominal pain. Doctor visits led to being admitted to the hospital, where surgery was needed. When I awoke, the doctor explained the surgery and said it went well. His next words shattered my world. The surgery he’d had to perform meant I would never be able to have children.
The one dream I had carried in my heart and in my mind for all those years was destroyed. I went down a dark tunnel of emotional crisis. I thought God didn’t like me for some reason. I tried to think of what I could have possibly done that could have been so bad that God would take away my one dream. I cried until there were no tears left to cry.
Months after my surgery, I had a revelation from God. He wanted me to be a mom, but He had something in mind for me that I’d never thought of. He put in my heart that there are thousands of babies who need mommies, and suddenly, I knew that my husband and I were supposed to adopt. My husband agreed that it was definitely an option we should look into. However, we had no idea what was involved in adoption. We thought it would be like the shows on TV, where you call an agency, and in no time, they bring you a baby. Were we in for a shock!
We started looking into adoption agencies, but my husband being in the military made things more difficult, because while starting the process, we moved from Texas to Colorado to Japan. Each agency we talked to had different requirements and rules, and most required you be a resident of the state in which you were filing. So, following months of paperwork, I was again discouraged.
When my husband got leave, we went home and shared our dreams and discouragements with our pastor, who gave us information on an agency that works with children from overseas. With his help, we started the paperwork through that agency. When my husband’s leave was over, we were on our way to Okinawa, Japan. Once we were settled, we met with the base chaplain, who took over where our pastor left off with the adoption process.
After tons of paperwork, background checks and meetings, we were finally approved to adopt. When we received a picture and information about a little boy in Korea, in early 1972, we knew wanted to be he parents. In October, we flew to Korea and spent two days with our son. The first time we held him in our arms, he won our hearts and became our little boy. It was very difficult to leave him there, but we couldn’t take him home until all the paperwork was finalized.
We finally got word that everything was final, and we could go get our son in December. So, we flew to Korea again to bring Bobby home. I will never know what a woman feels while carrying a child or giving birth, but I do know what a woman must feel when she sees her child for the first time.
When my husband’s tour in Okinawa was over, he was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas. We got settled, then started another set of paperwork with the same adoption agency we’d used before, and in 1974, our second son arrived. This time we just had to go to the airport in Kansas City, Missouri, and pick him up. We stood waiting with nine other adoptive couples watching a big plane come in. Emotions were high as we all stood there, knowing our babies were on that plane. Then, one by one, sponsors came off the plane as we all watched, wondering which baby was ours. Finally, our name was called, and our son, whom we named Billy, was placed in our arms. Again, I felt immediate love, and was thrilled to have another son.
Yes, my world was shattered when I was told I could not have children, but, as we all know, God is in control, and everything happens for a reason. When I discovered that God had chosen me to become a mommy through adoption, my shattered world was once again whole, and I have had peace and love in my life by adopting those two little boys.
Jo Ann – Cozad, Nebraska
It was a beautiful Kansas morning as I made my way downtown to have breakfast at the cafeteria on Main Street. We’d had rain the night before, so the streets were still wet, and as I approached the cafeteria, I noticed a large group of people standing in front of the Red Cross office, holding bundles of clothing, blankets and household items.
I had been going to the cafeteria every morning for the past three weeks, and I always saw three other women there. Each of us sat at our own table and read the newspaper or a book. We saw one another, but none of us had ever spoken.
This particular morning, however, after I sat down at a table, one of the gals, Dorothy, came over to me and asked if I’d heard about Utah, and I said that I hadn’t. So, she explained that a tornado had come through last night and Utah had been wiped out. Being new to Kansas, my eastern ear hadn’t yet picked up the Kansas accent, so when I heard “Utah,” I couldn’t figure out her distress. After all, Utah was quite a ways from Wichita, Kansas. However, I just agreed with her that it was a shame.
Soon, the other two regulars, Veda and Margie, arrived and joined us, and the three of them began filling me in on twisters. When my newspaper slipped off the table, I retrieved it and came face to face with the headline: “Udall Wiped Out.” Suddenly it was clear. Dorothy hadn’t said “Utah,” she had said “Udall,” which was only about 40 miles from Wichita. No wonder they were so concerned. We had just missed being hit by a disastrous twister. Then it hit me that all the people in line at the Red Cross were there to help their neighbors. My new friends and I made plans to meet later that day and go to the Red Cross to see what we could do to help.
That day was May 26, 1955, and although a terrible thing had happened, it brought the community together, and it formed a friendship between Dorothy, Veda, Margie and myself – a friendship that has lasted through the years.
Florence – North Hollywood, California
My husband, Jack, and I were living on a ranch in Glade Park, Colorado, with our children when a young couple bought the land in front of our property. We welcomed them by visiting and taking baked goods, and they seemed nice. However, problems arose when our new neighbors realized that their property line went diagonally across the lane that was the entrance to our ranch and which had been there since 1930.
We offered to give them equal land at the back of their property if they would allow us to leave the lane as it was. Our offer was unacceptable to them, and, instead, they wanted us to move the road. To do so meant we would have to purchase land from the owners of the front property. When we talked to the owners of the front property, we were told they wouldn’t sell a small piece of land, but they would sell the whole 125 acres.
To our surprise, and frustration, our neighbor man built a fence across our lane. My husband tore it down, and the next day it was back. This happened almost daily. We left notes for the neighbors asking if we could work things out over a cup of coffee, but their only reply was to build the fence again the following day.
We finally decided to buy the land in front of our property, and, since the ranch and 320 acres were clear of debt, we had to use it as collateral for the new property. Money was tight, but we managed by spending money only on bare necessities. We had a garden, and I froze and canned food, which helped a lot.
Shortly after our new road was built and the neighbors’ fence was up, they sold their property and moved. We were left “holding the bag,” but it worked out for the best in the end, because when we decided to sell our property, the extra acreage helped us get a much better price.
Ruth – Holbrook, Arizona
I know I’ve had many blessings in disguise over the years, but one in particular stands out.
Many years ago, while our family was attending a Christian concert at our church, a neighborhood friend phoned the church and said our house was on fire. Those frightening words and the devastation we felt made for a silent drive home.
When we got there, we watched the firemen as dense smoke spiraled from the windows like tidal waves while the flames destroyed our home. The next day, the generosity of friends and neighbors unfolded around us. Although we had nothing left except the clothes we were wearing, we felt blessed that we were all safe.
When I was able to enter the house, the first thing I saw was the huge wall clock my husband, Norm, had specially designed for me, which was now blackened from the smoke and fire. The kitchen, where I had spent so much time cooking and cleaning for our family of eight, was destroyed. My sewing machine was toppled over and ruined. When I touched the girls’ clothing in their bedroom, they fell to the floor in charred heaps. The twin mattresses in the boys’ bedroom were lying on the floor, soaking up water like huge sponges. As I shuffled from one room to another, my vision was blurred with tears.
We rebuilt on the same lot, and on our 25th wedding anniversary, we moved into our new home, which is much nicer than our old home had been. What a beautiful gift! Do I consider this a blessing in disguise? You bet I do.
Susan – St. Joseph, Missouri
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