Sunday, 2 December 2012

Pause In Advent 2012 - #1

I’ve been thinking about “Jenny’s Principle” recently. When I began supply teaching, back in 1989, I was on ‘the Borough List’ – and two days a week, I was up bright and early, ready to go, the moment a school telephoned me. Most weeks I got at least one day’s work. Some days it was two – more often it was none.

9 oclockOne Friday at our Young Mums’ Bible Study Group [I was a YM back then]  I complained that I was fed up with having my packed lunch all ready, my bag all sorted…and then no work [and no pay] and that by 9am, I would be feeling really despondent [and hard up]

My very wise friend Jenny said I was approaching it in the wrong way. Instead I should be saying “OK, I was ready to spend this day teaching – but now God has set me free to do what I want. What’s the best use of the next six hours?”

And I realised she was right. God had given me that time to use in the best way I could – and He would show me what I should be doing, and ensure that my family was provided for [even if it was not through my pay cheque]

crblogoI am now on an ‘Agency List’ and having being cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau [after quite a delay] I am back to the early morning readiness, waiting for the phone to ring.

And so I am applying '”Jenny’s Principle” on the mornings when there is no call. I have spent a day finishing an important household task which had been repeatedly put off. I used one day to complete a sewing task for a friend – and in the middle of it, was able to offer lunch to Bob’s visitor, and the three of us had a great time together, eating and chatting.

So often Bob asks “Have you done so-and-so” and I reply “I just haven’t had time yet”. I seem to swing between feeling I have too much to do – and feeling I have nothing to do!

I must learn to see these days, time I have set aside to be working as a Supply Teacher, as gifts from God – and if no school needs me, then there is clearly some other task He has for me. Michel Quoist, the French Priest, ended one of his ‘Prayers of Life’ like this..

Lord, I have time
All the time that You give me,
The years of my life,
The days of my years,
They are all mine. Mine to fill up calmly, peacefully,
But to fill up completely, right to the brim -
To offer to You, that of their stale water
You may make a rich wine, as you made once at Cana
I don't ask today Lord,
for time to do this or that.
I ask for Your grace to do conscientiously,
in the time that You give me,
the thing that You want me to do.


  1. Cannot remember when I last read something that was so much for me. Thank you.

  2. Sometimes we are given time just to rest...but why do we feel so guilty accepting this time as a gift?
    Jane x

  3. Oh, Ang! I wish you were a supply teacher here. Between my friends and I, you'd be busy at OUR school! I understand though. It must be a feeling of "now what?"
    I like that prayer. I shall come back to it.
    I'm always amazed at your holiday doings. I cheer for you, good servant.

  4. Thanks for all those affirmative comments! bless you all x

  5. Funny how circumstances can remain the same and yet the difference is in our perspective. I like "Jenny's Principle". The Prayer of Life was lovely as well! Thanks for this inspirational post.
    Sandy :)

  6. What a great approach to take to getting no work! Definitely, it is God-given time! A lovely first pause for Advent!

  7. Such good words that I need. What insight!

  8. Wow so apt for my life at the moment, thanks for sharing.

  9. Thank you, Ang! This is a great help for me in my unemployed state. And a good reminder for all of us how easy it is to fritter away the gift of time. God bless you, my dear.

  10. I like Jenny's Principle, and your prayer! I'm in McDonald's again, using their free WiFi to look at all the Pause posts while our own internet is down. I have this opportunity because of a cancelled lesson, and I really HOPE that God means me to do with this unexpected time! I think so...

  11. It's amazing what a difference looking for the hidden blessings ins a situation can make. I love Jenny's principle! And as a big fan of Michel Quoist, I loved the prayer you end your post with. Advent blessings to you and yours, Angela. E x

  12. This is a lovely post. I have a similar problem where I work shifts and get chunks of time I don't know how to use - I am now making use of the time to get ahead with baking or ironing and even sleep! yes, sometimes having an afternoon sleep really does you good!


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