Earlier this year, we invited women to apply for a special dinner hosted by Every Square Inch at our upcoming women’s conference. Almost 100 women applied by submitting 750-word reflections that answered three questions: (1) What do you do every day? (2) How do you feel about what you do? (3) When have you found your work particularly meaningful?
Today, we feature four of the 25 women selected.
The women featured below have (at least) one thing in common—their work puts them in a posture of awe of God. In unexpected places, they have seen God’s glory in singleness, at-home work, everyday duties, and being let go. Through these circumstances, they have learned to give glory to God and worship him as high and lifted up—even when their work has brought them low.
Anna Chao is a property manager and mortgage loan officer. Her true passion is people and engaging in conversations of faith—from hearing stories of how people came to know Jesus as Savior or hearing stories of doubt in God’s goodness. She lives in San Marino, California, with her two golden retrievers and a one-eyed black kitten. In her spare time, Anna fosters fur babies in need.
- Though I am single and do not have a family of my own, I have always desired to care for a family unit of my own. Little did I expect for that to look like caring for the needs of my widowed mom and college-aged brother. By serving their financial needs through the two family business we operate, I have been privileged to care for a family unit. It just looked different than I envisioned. Do I love managing properties? No. Has it drawn me closer to trusting God will provide answers to the ever-present question “How do I run a business?” Yes! My work is not where I find contentment. Knowing I am serving and caring for the needs of my family brings me great contentment. It is the means by which I influence those in the marketplace—all the while providing financially for the needs of my family.
Courtney Reissig is a stay-at-home mom and writer. When she’s not doing laundry, making PB&J sandwiches, and sweeping up messes from three little boys, she writes about a variety of topics from a Christian perspective. She is the author of The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design (Crossway, 2015) [review] and just finished her second book, on how our faith intersects with at-home work. Courtney also enjoys reading, running, and spending time with friends.
- The world assigns value to certain jobs, but God assigns value to all jobs since he’s glorified in all of it. But it’s more than just the here and now. My work matters in eternity, too. There will come a day where all of our work will be glorified in the new heavens and the new earth. The work I do now won’t be seen as boring or mundane; it will be seen for what it is—God’s work of loving the world through his image bearers. I can’t always see that now because I’m a sinner, my family is filled with sinners, and the thorns and thistles of life in a fallen world still curse everything God has made. But I will see it one day. One day I will see that the clean windows, raked leaves, home-cooked meals, midnight calls from sick kids, ironed shirts, fresh flowers on the desk, fresh bread for a weary friend, unloaded dishwasher, and everything in between is bringing order out of chaos and restoring God’s broken world to its rightful place. Until then, I wait and work, knowing that, in the Lord, even my most ordinary work is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
Haley Plattner just finished her junior year at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she is studying chemistry pre-med. She also works at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in the chemistry lab doing research for the U.S. Army. When she’s not attending class, studying for the MCAT, or researching, Haley loves playing the violin in jam sessions with friends, playing games with her family, and getting coffee with friends.
- I often think of Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Most days, I have the amazing opportunity to discover some of those “secret things” in my classes and at work. I get to learn about the ways God designed this world to work and use that knowledge to find new ways to protect lives and give him glory for his beauty. As David sings, “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1). This truth is essential to my faith—knowing that the Lord reveals himself to us in everyday wonders.
Rachael Starke lives with her husband and three daughters in San Jose, California, where she has worked for the last 15 years as a sales and marketing manager and consultant to the high tech industry, creating executive sales programs that grow revenue and executive relationships with Fortune 500 companies. An unabashed foodie and aspiring writer, her most popular writing genre to date are her tweets, which have been read on the Jimmy Fallon show.
- My manager recently asked me to cancel several meetings and come to her office early in the morning instead. On my ominous ride up the elevator to her floor, I asked the Holy Spirit for his help and comfort. As I sat down and noticed my boss’s ashen face, God began to answer my prayers. In the gentlest tone I’d heard from her in weeks, she told me that, although she’d been fighting to renew my contract for weeks, she had been turned down. She was letting me go, not because she wanted to—as I’d feared—but because she didn’t have any other choice. I was thankful to learn that my feelings of failure were unfounded, as she offered words of blessing—praise of my work ethic and abilities, words of respect and affirmation from my coworkers and team, repentance for her harshness at times, even comments on my faith in God and how it showed. I rode back down the elevator to collect my things and marveled at how God had answered my pleas for answers about his purposes. In the end, my work had been far more about faithfulness than about success.
Editors’ note: The Faith and Work Dinner at our 2016 National Women’s Conference next month, June 16 to 18 in Indianapolis, is being sponsored by EDGE Mentoring and Cerulean Restaurant. EDGE is a national mentoring organization for emerging leaders that combines personal, professional, and spiritual development in one experience. If you’re looking to mentor, or be mentored, you can find out more at Edge Mentoring. Finally, space at TGCW16 is running out, so register soon!