Experiences with God – Nelly Habenstein Ulmer

God's Math is Different

1. Unemployment

In Germany, people lose their jobs every day. In the spring of 2016, after 15 years of employment with a company, the business owner, with a heavy heart, handed me my termination slip along with a bouquet of flowers. I now belonged to the millions of people who had to notify the authorities that they were seeking work.

With confidence, I began searching for a new job, sent out resumes, and waited for a positive answer. Sadly, I still did not have a job after six months. Softly, worries began knocking at my heart’s door. I had years of experience and very good references, so why didn’t I have a chance in the job market? “Your way, o God, is holy” (Psalm 77:13). Since my termination in the spring of 2016 until Spring 2018, God led me on a “holy,” yet not easy, way to the goal! 

2. German Federal Armed Forces Barracks

Before God allows anything great to happen, He begins at the bottom “step.” The first “step” was difficult. Unexpectedly, I was offered temporary employment, but only for six months. My workplace was in a cold, large garage, previously an English Federal Armed Forces Barrack. My scope of work was processing a daily registry of refugees from the east, who were streaming into Germany in large numbers in 2015 to 2016. Unfortunately, this stream of refugees did not ease soon. After six months, my employment contract was extended for another six months. Even though the working conditions in the barracks were rough, as a family we were very thankful that I was able to have this temporary job. 

The twelve months in the Armed Forces Barracks passed by very quickly. Frenzied, I sent out more resumes. I was aware that when this job finished, I could be standing on the street again. But God had already planned my next step. Exactly when my twelve months were over, He placed me on the second “step.”

3. New Job Offer

I received two job offers at the same time. Unfortunately, neither was very promising. Both were temporary, for only a few months. I had to make a decision. In the end, I decided to take the 6-month job offer at the Federal Office in the Immigration and Refugee Department. I can joyfully testify: When God has a plan, He carries it out until the end. Shortly after my orientation at the Federal Office, my employment contract was extended to a whole two years. I was so thankful and full of joy!

4. Test of Faith

After the two years were over, all temporary employees at the Federal Office were asked to decide if they wished to have a permanent position. Of course, most people accepted. Unfortunately, the job proposal came with a great stipulation. Everyone had to undergo a lengthy intelligence test, receive a certain percentage, and be prepared to relocate within Germany. At this time, my faith began to waiver. I knew I could not achieve this goal. The numbers and the expectations were way too high for me. My Father in Heaven did not overlook my weak faith and provided a wonderful way to strengthen it.

One day, a very kind cleaning lady entered the office. She tidied up the room and upon leaving wished everyone God’s blessings. Over time, we had good conversations. Darja, this young lady, told me several of her faith experiences. I rejoiced that I had found a true born-again Christian in this happy, simple young woman. In one of our conversations, I told her about my concern regarding the high expectations of the Federal Office: the test, percent expected, selection, and relocation. Darja looked at me with a happy expression and said: “God’s math is different. Where we put a period, He places a comma, and life goes on. I will pray. You will remain here.” Thoughts popped up in my heart: “This dear lady does not know how complicated the process is with the Federal Office. She is not aware how hard the test is and how high they expect your percentage to be.” However, I held onto the comment she made: “God’s math is different.” Shortly after I had successfully completed the test procedure, I received the irrevocable job assignment: I received a permanent job offer, coupled with relocating to Heidelberg. Moving from Herford to Heidelberg could only be hampered by a miracle from God—in human eyes, all doors were closed!

Devotedly and without ceasing, Darja prayed to God for me. Every morning, she awoke an hour earlier and prayed earnestly for an intervention from God. I shared my prayer request with my brothers and sisters in the church and with relatives and friends. Many kind people were praying for what seemed like a hopeless situation. I was thankful for every prayer. 

5. The Answer

God loves to surprise us! There is no official statement here on earth which He cannot change! There where we put a period, He places a comma. God’s intervention was powerful. After I had almost finalized my accommodation in Heidelberg and was focusing on the actual move, suddenly an office order came directly from the Federal Minister of the Interior for Building and Community. He mandated that every employee of the Federal Office remain at their place of location. Praise the Lord! My amazement at God’s mighty power was indescribable! God answers prayer! “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You” (Psalm 84:12)! “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5). 

Shortly after this administrative decision, Darja, the kind cleaning lady, told me that she had to change jobs. God placed this devoted young lady in my life for a short time just for me, at a time when I was in desperate need of prayer support. May God bless Darja and everyone who prayed for me!

Since the spring of 2016 until Spring 2018, God has led me safely to the goal. It was three long years from one “step” to the next. Looking back, we as a family are very thankful for God’s leading. It was often not easy. We had a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of unanswered questions. But one thing we understood: “God’s math is different. Where we put a period, God continues on!”

Nelly Habenstein Ulmer, Herford (Germany)

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