What’s God doing with you this summer, Becca Lafferty?
This summer we are posting a series of blogs looking in on various UMin students as they spend their summers studying, living at home, traveling, working, and just experiencing life. This post comes from rising junior, english major at Samford, Becca Lafferty:
When, in June, I was asked to write a blog post for August 12 about my summer, I thought to myself, “Maybe by then I’ll actually have something to write about.” You see, my summer was not exactly going according to plan. I had planned to live in Birmingham and work somewhere—the problem was, nothing was working out. All of the jobs I thought were a sure thing kept falling through. And then, that fateful day arrived—I got a call from the Walmart in Decatur, AL. My parents had forced me, while on my exciting spring break in Decatur, to apply for approximately 15 jobs around town. Walmart called, I went in for an interview, and they offered me the job of cashier on the spot. I was devastated. Mom and Dad called it God’s provision. I called it God’s version of a practical joke. Me? Working at Walmart in DECATUR, ALABAMA? Don’t get me wrong—Decatur is a lovely town. There are some wonderful people that live there (trust me, I got to meet what seems like every last one of them this summer). However, it just wasn’t my idea of a great summer job in a great summer location. I suppose that was exactly the point.
I started working at Walmart and I’ll admit that my attitude wasn’t the best. Sure, I smiled, and trained, and laughed at all the customers’ “jokes.” “Did you find everything okay, today?” “Oh yeah, I actually think I found TOO much.” HAHAHAHAHAHA. NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE. I dealt with creeps who called me “baby” and asked for my number. My purity ring saved me from guys that thought I was married, “The best ones are always married.” I dealt with a kid that peed on the floor by my register and whose lovely mother merely paid for her items and left without saying a word to me. I manned the 20-items-or-less register while a woman came through with 335 items (no exaggeration, you can ask my manager) and claimed, “Oh, I didn’t see it was 20 items or less!” Okay, sure you didn’t. LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE.
Slowly but surely I started to realize the theme of this summer—humility. Oddly enough, I had been wearing it on my feet every day to work without even realizing it. You see, I had a pair of TOMS that have painted in large black letters “WALK HUMBLY” on the toes—right where I can see it on a daily basis. After a few weeks of working at Walmart it hit me upside the head—God DID have a purpose for this summer. As my wonderful discipleship group leader, Amy Oliver, had told me at the beginning of the summer—God doesn’t give bad gifts, he doesn’t hand us snakes. This summer that I saw as a disaster was actually a time for me to grow in humility. People treated me like dirt. People treated me like I was uneducated. I wanted to scream on multiple occasions, “ I GO TO SAMFORD UNIVERSITY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.” People acted like I wasn’t a person that was due the same respect as any other human being on the planet. I was forced to bite my tongue and smile time and time again—to serve those I didn’t feel like serving and to love those I didn’t feel like loving. God reminded me of his love and his plan daily. There were those that were encouragements to me at work as well. Such as the elderly man that came through my line at least once a week to tell me that my smile was worth a million bucks and that he was glad someone showed “an ounce of personality around this place.” Or there was the lady that told me, “I had a niece named Rebecca that we lost at an early age to cancer. She was very, very special and I can tell that you’re very, very special as well. I hope you have a blessed day.”
This summer taught me so much. There were days when all I could do was cling to the thought that surely God had some sort of plan for this summer and there were days that I basked in the good gift that I was sure (without a doubt) that God had given me. God is good. All the time. We are called to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him—even if we are doing so behind the register of Walmart. I never, ever thought I’d say that I was grateful for this summer—but here I am, eating my words. Wouldn’t be the first time and won’t be the last.