My name is Nina Sanchez, and I'm the Director of St. Mary's Early Childhood Center in Texas City, TX. But this is never what I wanted to do.
You see, my plan had been to go back to school and finish my degree in business, and I was looking for a small church-based centre that could take care of my 2-year-old son for two or three days a week. When I heard that the priest at our parish wanted to start an Early Childhood Center, I thought to myself, "Perfect! I've started a business before. I'll get this started, help find someone to direct it, enroll my son, and be on my way."
I've been in this position now for almost 4 years. Ha! Our God sure does have a sense of humour!
Now not only do I LOVE my job, but I have never been happier or more fulfilled! God knows me better than I know myself, and His plan is ALWAYS better than mine.
Throughout my journey as Director at the ECC, God has always provided – He's always given me what I need, whether it be tangible needs for the centre, staffing needs, or just some inspiration to keep me going. It's like He hears my heart, knows when I need that jolt, and gently whispers, "See Nina, I got you. Don't grow weary as there's still so much work to be done. Trust me."
I remember one morning in particular. Our parish priest paid me visit at the ECC and shared a story that reminded me to be bold and ask for BIG things from our King.
We had just opened up a new room at the ECC and were in need of a small refrigerator and microwave. Having just left the conversation with our priest, I decided to heed Father's words and be bold. I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had a used microwave and/or small refrigerator that they would be willing to donate.
Ten minutes later, I got a text from one of our parishioners saying she would like to give us a new refrigerator but would need a ride to Lowes to buy it. I dropped what I was doing and went immediately to pick her up, smiling at the thought of God at work. I felt like he was whispering to me, "You asked for used. I've got something better! How about a new fridge?" Then while we were at Lowes, the parishioner says to me, "I'd like to buy you the microwave, too!"
At checkout, there was a delay at the register, and we got into a conversation with the two men in line in front of us. When they were finished checking out, they asked if they could help us load our stuff. I was still recovering from a recent back injury, so this gesture was heaven sent! God was whispering, "Nina, I know your back is hurt and I don't want you to make it worse, so I'll send you help."
Then when I dropped the parishioner off at her home, she asked me if I'd had lunch. "Wait a bit," she said. "I will send you some chicken and dumplings and cheesecake." God whispered, "As a bonus, I'll feed you, too!"
And it didn't stop there!
We were in dire need of staffing. After returning from Lowes, I went to our parish office to share the good news, including Father's story about asking for big things. I told the ladies that I was now asking for qualified staff and needed a prospect by midnight! They joked with me about giving God a deadline.
I hadn't even made it back to my office when one of them called me. Just after I had left, a couple of ladies had come into the parish office to get information about a baptism. They were about to leave when one turned around and asked if we happened to be hiring. The ladies at the parish office immediately called me, and we all sat in shock for a few moments.
An hour later, I interviewed the lady and started the process of hiring her. God's final whisper to me that day was, "Oh, you're giving me a deadline now! You said midnight on Friday night, but I'll do better than that! Now do you trust me?"
In a world that we often so badly want to control, thinking that OUR actions will make or break our situations, we need to be reminded to stop and listen to those whispers that God so gently gives us. HE is in control, and HIS way is always so much better than our own. Our only job is to listen and trust. And don't forget to be BOLD!
Xochitl (Nina) Sanchez is married to the love of her life, Jesse, and together they have five children ranging in age from 6 to 22 years old. She is the Director of St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center in Texas City, TX.
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