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By Hannah Bemis

“Hi, my name is Rebecca. I’m 55 and out of breath a lot.”

My kids know Rebecca as the lady with the bright pink jacket who runs past our house every single day. Since I also run often we have passed each other before, but today was the first time we’d spoken. We chatted for just a minute, but our meeting had the stamp of God on it. I feel certain we’ll meet again.

I would never have met Rebecca if I hadn’t started running six years ago. I wouldn’t have started running if I hadn’t had a desperately hard time adjusting to being a mother of three and hadn’t needed a temporary escape from my overwhelming responsibilities. A rough season led to my discovering a hobby that brought new life and health to me. As so often happens in life, one event was connected to another event in an effortlessly complex tapestry that only God could design.

Last night at dinner with friends, I was discussing my short experiment ten years ago with being a secretary. Administrative professionals are a crucial part of just about any organization, and I was pretty good at being organized and pleasant and checking off task lists. But after about two years of this work, I was so bored it physically hurt. I was aching to get my hands into something relational, something spiritual, something that would take me over the barrier of the desk and into the world where people were doing all sorts of things together.

The muscle memory of my heart and brain took me back to the last place where I had been immersed in people, relationships, and growth. I found myself heading back to school – more specifically, back to the middle school I had attended in eighth grade. I walked in one day and asked if I could volunteer. I just wanted to get my feet wet in the relational world again while continuing to make pretty good money in the admin world, where I’d recently been offered a promotion. I asked the sweet school secretary (like I said, they’re vital to every organization) if I could fill out a volunteer application. While I was filling it out, the principal – my old principal – walked out. I told him I was there to volunteer, and he said, “Well, how would you like a job?”

Two weeks, one interview, and one pay cut later, I found myself working as an educational assistant. I was knee deep in people — desperate, ornery pre-teen people — and I absolutely loved it. I went back to school to get my master’s degree in education, and I’ve had at least one foot in education ever since.

If I hadn’t been so desperately bored as a secretary, I wouldn’t have become a teacher. And as a teacher, the people I have met and served and been formed and blessed by are too numerous to count. Ironically, the woman I worked for when I was an admin assistant was driven to do admin work after discovering she hated teaching. But she never would have found the work she loved if she hadn’t served a season in work she hated.

When my sister and I were both in college, our situations were pretty opposite. I attended a tiny, conservative Bible college while she attended a progressive, liberal public university. It wasn’t long before she started talking intelligently about things like recycling, global warming, “going green,” and the importance of taking care of our environment. To my shame, I cannot stress enough how little I cared about those things at that time. One day as I watched her once again pull the empty cereal boxes and other paper products out of our trash and place them in a box to take to the recycle bin, I stopped short of rolling my eyes when I felt a prompting in my spirit to take note. “God is green” was all I heard.

It took a few days of mulling this over for the meaning to unfold, but what I eventually understood was that with God nothing is wasted. God recycles and uses every single moment of our lives. He pulls out moments and people and seasons we think are destined for the trash and patiently folds them and sets them in a pile that will be used for something great later. Marilyn Hickey put it this way: “God is very economical. He uses everything, even our mistakes.”

Maybe you are in a deep hole right now. It might be a job situation that is bleak, finances that seem hopeless, news about your health that is overwhelming. It could be that the hole you’re in is a hole you dug for yourself, or it might be a hole you fell into by mistake. You might be wondering why God allowed you to land there, what the purpose is. Maybe you can’t really see God at all right now because it’s dark down there. Even if you can’t see Him at the moment, if you listen closely, I think you’ll hear Him. He’s looking at the season you think is purposeless, at the life you’re scoffing at, and He’s saying, “I can use this. I can repurpose the purposeless. I’m the one who makes all things new!” (See Revelation 21:5.)

Nothing is wasted! If you are in a season that is dark or frustrating or just annoying, it may very well be a crucial piece of your puzzle. It may be the thing that leads to the next thing that leads to the next thing that is the very thing that will cause you to meet the person that changes your life. God is green, and every moment of your life has purpose.

About The Author

Hannah Bemis

Hannah Bemis lives in Spokane, Washington, with her husband, Jordan, and their three kids. She works as both a mom and as a private tutor, and loves writing about what God reveals to her through the chaotic and mundane events of everyday life. She and her family attend Turning Point Open Bible Church, also in Spokane.