The Lord and I had come a long way since that first flash of inspiration burst through my drab existence three years before. Like a child learning to ride a two-wheeler, I had relied on the “training wheels” of part-time employment to get me started. After that, I launched out on my own, with the constant encouragement of my heavenly Father. The soloing was going well, so well that it became apparent it was time to make the transition to a tandem operation. I was definitely feeling the need for a cohort, someone to help with the ever-increasing demands on my time and energy.
But moving from a one-person operation involves much more than hiring another individual. First of all, there’s recruiting. Because this is such a one-on-one type of enterprise, the personality and values of a helper had to be consistent with mine. Where would I begin to find such a person, and how would I go about screening applicants? Where should I advertise, and what should I say?
Next I needed to figure out how to train this person. There’s so much to communicate; where would I begin? Should we start with a room, a home, a garage, a basement, or should we work on an office or perhaps a small business. Should we talk theory initially or jump into a hands-on project?
Whatever the process, I knew one thing without a doubt. The only place to start was on my knees. I didn’t know what God had in mind, but he was always full of surprises, and I was sure that he had already thought of a creative plan. It wasn’t long after I had committed the situation to him that the phone call came.
“The Washington Post Magazine? Yes, this is Sue McMillin.”
“An interview about my business? Yes, of course.”
“Yes, that would be fine. Then it’s Thursday at noon?”
“All right, I’ll see you then. Thank you. Good-bye.”
I hung up the phone. “Lord,” I said, laughing, “you are absolutely incredible. I know you made the world, and I know you’ve done amazing things all along. It’s just that your surprises always take me . . . well . . . by surprise.” Whatever he had up His sleeve this time, I knew it would be good.
I went to the interview at the appointed time, and it was just delightful. The reporter composed a stimulating article about me and my business, and I was very pleased with the outcome. Just imagine, me in the Washington Post Magazine! The response was astonishing. I got calls from all over — hundreds of them.
In the article, I articulated my desire to expand and to groom others in this work. Of the calls I received as a result, about fifteen were from people inquiring about the possibility of training and working with me. I didn’t have to make even one phone call to recruit help. But the story doesn’t end there.
I screened some of the calls and eliminated a number of them, then I narrowed the candidates down to a very few and interviewed them. In the end, I decided to visit Marilyn Katz, the best prospect. But first, as the Lord and I had been partners from the outset, I needed to know from him whether she was the right person to join us. As I drove to her home in Gaithersburg, Maryland, I prayed, “Okay, Lord, show me what you want.”
Our meeting went well. I was convinced that this lady could do the job and that I could work with her. Her enthusiasm was contagious, even to me, and we brainstormed about how to get her training in. You see, she had some definite parameters that needed to be met so that she could pursue this change of direction. She, too, was launching out in faith.
“Sue,” she said, “I really want to do this, and the more I hear about it, the more convinced I am that it’s right for me. However, the training is going to take some brainstorming, because I’m in a job in Alexandria right now, and I can’t quit it or take time off to be trained. Let’s look at the ideal situation, and I’ll tell you what I need.”
Marilyn ascertained that the best way for her to train would be if we could find home and office clients between Alexandria and Gaithersburg. That way she could train after work and head home when she was finished. This energetic lady was eager to start immediately, and I almost felt bad that we didn’t have clients in the right neighborhood at the right time. I’d found a helper, she wanted to begin, but the “ideal situation” just wasn’t in place. As I left her house, I struggled with mixed emotions: those of excited anticipation and concern that the opportunity might pass because of a lack of business at the right times and in the right places.
Now it was time to pray, and as I drove along the freeways that night, I babbled on and on to the Lord, “And so, Lord, you can see the problem. From where I sit, there seem to be three things we need, and I’m asking you for them. First, we need someone who wants both a home and an office organized; that would consolidate Marilyn’s training. Second, this person should live and work somewhere between Alexandria and Gaithersburg. Third, Lord, I don’t mean to hurry you, but the sooner this person needs help, the better. I know I’m going on and on, Lord, and I know that’s a lot, but please help.”
I drove on, weary from a long day’s work but interested to see what the Lord would choose to do in this case. As I walked into my house, I kicked off my shoes and turned on my answering machine. Sinking into the couch, I listened in startled disbelief.
“Sue,” the hysterical woman pleaded, “you don’t know me, but I heard of you from so-and-so. I really need your help. My home and office are a mess, and I’m desperate to get them organized. I have a huge deadline in three weeks, and if it’s at all possible, I need you right away. I live at such-and-such address.” Guess where she was located? Between Alexandria and Gaithersburg. My head was spinning. I just can’t believe you, God. Just when I think I’ve given you the impossible, you’ve already taken care of it. What a Lord!
Marilyn Katz and I worked liked beavers for the next three weeks. We rolled up our sleeves, laughed, organized, brainstormed, labeled, grouped, and contained everything imaginable. She was an avid learner and has proved herself a thousand times over. My sharing the load and the joy of this business has been a great move for both of us, and I’m always happy to recommend this energetic lady as a consultant, worker, and friend.
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work.”