Pastor Jim welcomed us warmly to his office. Mom quickly summarized the accident and her concern that it signaled something ominous about me and my future.
“Mrs. Gottlieb, do you mind if I talk privately with Giselle?”
“Of course not. I have some business to attend to in the school office anyway.”
As soon as Mom left, Pastor Jim leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on his desk. “Whoa, your mom is pretty worried about you, huh?”
“I guess.” I braced myself for the next question. Here came the part where he would discover my deepest darkest secrets.
“Well, I’m not worried about you one bit. She’s scared because she loves you, but I don’t think what you did means anything. You’re a great kid, but even great kids make mistakes. I know I had my share of them. It doesn’t mean you’re on the road to perdition. You’re not a troublemaker. So what’s your punishment?”
I thought I’d be relieved that Pastor Jim hadn’t wanted to pry further to diagnose what was wrong with me, but instead I felt a little disappointed. Couldn’t he see how much I was hurting inside?
“I have to get a job to pay for part of the damage to the car and the increase to my dad’s insurance premium.”
“Hmmm … I might be able to help you with that. How’d you like to work for me?”
“Really? That would be amazing.”
“I could use a part-time secretary to help me maintain my files, make calls to organize youth activities and do general stuff around the office here. You’re pretty responsible. How does $10 an hour sound?”
“A whole lot better than minimum wage at McDonald's! You don’t know how much I appreciate this.”
“I’m the lucky one to get someone as bright as you helping out around here. You can start Monday.”
Pastor Jim led me out of the office.
“You can stop worrying, Millie. She’s still the same great kid. You want to tell her the good news, Giselle?”
“I told Pastor Jim I needed a job and he said I can work for him!” I beamed.
“What an answer to prayer,” Mom said. “As soon as we got here I started to think bringing Giselle down here had been an overreaction and waste of your time. While you were in there, I prayed it would come to some purpose.”
“How amazing to see God will work all things for good!” Jim exclaimed.
“Yeah, um, that’s cool,” I said lamely.
“Thanks again for your time, Jim.” Mom shook his hand warmly.
“No problem,” Jim said, then shook my hand. “See you at youth group on Sunday, Giselle?”
“I’ll be introducing the new college intern. I think you’re going to really like her.”
I was only half listening. I couldn’t wait to get home and bring Alicia up to date.