Friday, July 3, 2015

an abiding mindfulness

It never ceases to strike wonder into me when I think of how small I am in the scheme of God's universe, and all the more so when those moments in life occur that I just know He personally crafted for me at that very moment.

And for the past two weeks, I have just been so awestruck as I've been able to see not just a moment that He tailored for me, but my entire lifetime.

Sit down, grab a cup of tea or joe and let's go in for the backstory. I promise you, it's good, for the Lord is good.

More than six years ago, I left work to be a SAHM with my kids. It was a huge change for me because so much of my identity was wrapped up in my work and a giant leap of faith for us as our number crunching that led us to the decision showed that it would be very tight, but doable.

Then the economy crashed. And our bottom line took a nose dive. But we mustered through.

Then when the baby came, I had a near fatal medical crisis that wracked up thousands in medical debt during a time when we were already struggling to meet our basic needs.

To say we had some doubts as to the soundness of our decision is a bit of an understatement. The physical and emotional recovery from the ordeal took a long time. The financial recovery took even longer. We nearly lost our house and had a vehicle repossessed during the aftermath. And the shame of looking good on paper but not being able to meet our needs just about killed me. I hated that though we had a moderate income, I worried constantly about money; if one of the kids got sick, would we have enough money for a co-pay to see the doctor? There were times I had to make choices about whether I should buy milk for the kids or gas for Seth to get to work. Because Seth earned a decent income, we didn't qualify for any type of assistance and yet my children were having to go without and wear thrift store clothing like I'd had to growing up in poverty. I felt like a failure, like the little white trash girl who thought she was going to be someone, but then ended up with a life not too different from the one she grew up with.*

*that is a lie that Satan tried to fool me with. While our finances were tough, our family dynamic, values, etc. have always been different from what I grew up knowing. Hard to see the forest for the trees when you're in the thick of it though.

We scrimped and saved and cut where we could. I started free-lancing as a grant writer for some of my old contacts. Eventually, it became clear that I HAD to go back to work. I looked for several months with a few interviews that were promising, but then didn't pan out. Finally, I took a job with a non-profit for a lot less pay than I'd made previously, but it was something, even after childcare costs took a a significant chunk out of it. That job was nothing short of a horrible nightmare, and after 90 days I was informed that I'd failed the probationary period, buh-bye. My confidence plummeted.

I then continued to look for work in any way I could find it. After 12 months and too many interviews to count, I landed a 3/4 time position with a local organization. The position was primarily administrative and somewhat of a step down for my previous experience and skill-set, but the hours were flexible for a mama with school-agers, the co-workers were amazing and the salary and benefits met our needs. I was content to stay there for several years, setting my previous ambitions aside as my Jacobean wrestle with God left me submitting my ideas of my purpose to His will.

Last fall I received a referral for grant-writing for an agency with which I used to coordinate back in my case management days. I became reacquainted with their programs and really fell in love with their model and mission. At the end of the year, their executive director went on to a different agency and I worked with the board president on a grant in the interim.

In March, my grandmother suffered a heart attack and my mother and I flew out to Washington to be with her, as reports were not clear as what her prognosis was. I had not been back to Washington in over a decade, and hadn't seen some of my relatives in over 20 years. Over the week that we were there, each night my mother and I would go back to our hotel and discuss the hardships and dark family secrets of our pasts. We cried a lot, looking back at the injustices that had been heaped upon our loved ones as a result of poverty, abuse, addictions, and  other severe family dysfunctions. 

A spark ignited in my soul, rekindling my initial desire for a career that helped people change their lives. I couldn't let people in need live a life of shame, rejection, and hopelessness; I needed to find a way to incorporate that desire into a career change and make an impact.

Less than a month later, I was looking at Facebook and saw an article from our paper about two local agencies merging; one of them was my grant client and they were going to be hiring a program director for it! I campaigned hard for this job. I did my homework and all the extra credit with God breathing inspiration and providing angels in the way of coaches for me all along the way. The interview process was grueling, and wrought with emotion for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I'd had the radio on a pop station that morning, but changed to Way FM when a song that drives me nuts came on. At the end of that day....which had been quite taxing in relation to the job pursuit, I was praying in the car on my way home, "Whatever your will is Lord, just let me do what you want me to be doing. I will be at peace, whatever you decide," while 10,000 Reasons played on the air. I started to sing along with this song that embodied what I had just uttered. At the beginning of the final chorus, I was stopped at a light when my phone buzzed with the e-mail that I was officially being offered the job! And when the composite of all the details of that moment registered in my consciousness, the ugly crying commenced. Ugly JOY-crying, that is.

So now, here I sit with a life that is relevant to those of the students my program is serving. I know their struggles first-hand. I have the career experience and business acumen that will help garner community support for our initiatives. And I have a God who has shaped my whole existence with the details I will need to excel in this position. It is really quite overwhelming the intricacy of His love and plans He has for us.

I'm so excited to see what He has in store for me. I start next Tuesday.

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