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My story is from a long time ago but I still think that it is amazing how God worked things for me.

Request: Where do I go from here? God, please give me a sign.

Response: Yep! Sure will! Best to stand ready for stepping up!

Reference: Call to Me and I will answer you! (Jeremiah 33:3)


In the 90s, there was a surplus of teachers in Scotland. So there were possibilities for some teachers to access their pensions early and so retire early. The earliest one could apply was age 50.

While I loved teaching in primary school (learning support), I was aware that there were so many young teachers who were given a few days supply here or there but could not get a permanent job. For myself, I was generally spending most evenings and weekends doing voluntary work, which could easily be expanded. Although I was enjoying working in a Christian school, I wanted to work more directly for Jesus. So these young people wanted employment while I would have loved to be spending my time in voluntary employment for Jesus… I felt that I would happily give my job to someone else but I needed the finance.

So I prayed about the situation and, when I was forty-nine, began to make enquiries from the Education Offices about retiring. I told nobody else. I wanted to be influenced by God and not other people. I was hoping to retire on my fiftieth birthday. I was disappointed to learn that one could only take advantage of these special offers by retiring at the summer holidays AFTER one's fiftieth birthday. My birthday was soon after the beginning of the school academic year so I would have to work until I was nearly fifty-one.

I kept praying that God would guide me about what He wanted me to do. I asked Him for a sign that would make my path clear. A few days before Christmas, I was in the school hall with the infant teachers and children, practicing for the Nativity play for the parents. The Head Teacher came into the hall and said he would like to see the Senior Teachers after the bell rang for home time. When the three of us went in to see the Head Teacher, he said that, as there had been demolition in the area, our number of children had decreased and the Education Office said we were no longer due three Senior Teachers. One would have to be transferred on 19 January to another school. There was a ''last in - first out'' policy at the time. It was not myself who would have to go but another teacher, N, who had been in the school for about nine years.

We three Senior Teachers then went to the staffroom. The other teacher, N, was in tears at the thought of leaving. I thought to myself that this is kind of crazy. I would like to leave and might leave in June, and here she is in tears. So I went in to see the Head Teacher and said to him I had been thinking of leaving and so I would be happy to transfer instead of N.

So he phoned the Education Offices and then came to the staffroom and said it was all arranged. I would have to go at Easter but would not need to transfer to another school on 19 January.

So the whole decision about retiring was made in probably less than an hour. No pondering what is the best way forward for me, my financial situation etc etc. Eventually I received a financial notice giving me some extra years pension which was fine for me as I had joined the profession late.

No time to worry about the future — What if? What if? — all unsigned and unsealed but decided in about an hour. I did not even need to speak to the Education Office staff. Extra bonus: I had three months to deal with the many years' collection of resources.

Thank you so much, God, for your special Christmas present, for hearing and answering my prayer for guidance, for making my way forward so clear.


Deirdre O'Reilly

Re:Hope West End


Ask the Lord to make your way straight in a circumstance where there seems to be no way!


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