Sometimes We Learn Our Lessons Slowly…

Sometimes We Learn Our Lessons Slowly…

My parents were very active in the missions program in our church. Whenever missionaries came to speak, they were invited to our house for a Swiss steak dinner with all the trimmings. My sister was a missionary and I planned to be one too.

That’s why I was surprised when my parents refused to send me to Bible college when I finished high school. Instead, they offered to pay for a stenographer’s course at our local business institute. I didn’t understand. They had always seemed to back up my desire to be a missionary. I wanted to serve God, not coffee to a thirsty executive. How could going to business school help me meet my goals? My parents explained to me that learning a trade would help me to support any dreams I had. Reluctantly, I accepted their ultimatum.

I learned to type, take shorthand, do accounting, and use the comptometer, which is so outdated that most people don’t even know what it is now. I got a civil service job before I graduated and finished my course at night school. I worked for a year, saving every penny.

I went to Moody Bible Institute and eventually realized God didn’t want me to be a missionary after all. My health was not strong enough for strenuous missionary service. I was sad that I had never served God in the way I thought I would. I married and had five children, taught piano, and helped out where I could at the church. I taught at the Christian school, typing worksheets on stencils and running them off on the mimeograph machine. For years I have typed our pastor’s notes and the church bulletins.

I wrote books, retyping them entirely when the editors requested revisions. (I was so glad when we could finally afford a computer, and I could make changes without retyping the entire manuscript.) I worked in offices for a few years to supplement the family income. Mostly, though, I was a homemaker.

I still helped with the bulletin, although our most recent pastor was computer literate and typed his own notes. He did the bulk of the work on the bulletin asking me to add the inserts and song list. Recently, though, he moved on to another church. He asked me to do the bulletin all by myself , as well as the daily prayer list for all the church people. Of course, I said yes.

There are parts of the Microsoft Word program that I had never used and the first week I struggled until I went through tutorials on the parts I didn’t understand. I’m still learning. I had never done a group email, but I’ve learned to do that, too. Because of my struggles, I was convinced at first that our former pastor had chosen the wrong person for the job. Tears of frustration were never far away.

Then I began to understand the process and reflect on what I had learned—not just in the current situation, but in my life since high school. My parents had lovingly but firmly directed me toward the skills I needed to serve God in the way He intended. Not all service is teaching and preaching. Not everyone is a leader. Some of us work in the trenches, doing the mundane, mostly hidden jobs that are out of the limelight. We are still doing God’s work.

“And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commended you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” (I Thessalonians 4:11, 12 KJV)

Bettilu Davies About Bettilu Davies

Bettilu Davies is a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She has authored six published books, first writing fiction for children and teens and recently branching into adult Christian fiction. She has taught piano since 1968 and enjoys reading, crocheting, knitting, paper art, and painting in oils, acrylics and water color.


  1. Great choice of verse for this post, Bettilu, and such a good message for writers. So often we think we are wasting our time doing things while we “wait” for our dreams to come true, but nothing is wasted!

  2. I enjoyed your post, Betilu. I have not accomplished my writing goals yet (not even close), but like you, I prepare the church bulletin each week as well as our monthly newsletter. Thanks for the reminder that this, also, is God’s work!

  3. Bettilu Davies says:

    I appreciate your comments. I needed the encouragement.

  4. And how many people have been influenced for Christ by all the little things you’ve done and continue to do? Seems to me you are going to hear a hearty, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” some day.

  5. Tina Dorward says:

    Thanks for the reminder that all work done with a heart for God is God’s work! Bless you for all you do and I’m sure you have also loved your husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren well and have planted the seeds of faith in them too!

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