I began a new chapter in my life this week – moving from unemployment/temporary work to a new, “permanent” position.
I had a difficult time in the weeks leading up to this new beginning as I was unsure of whether or not I should have accepted the position. It didn’t have anything to do with the job or the employer itself – it had everything to do with a “fear of commitment” in regards to jobs that I didn’t know I had developed. It had everything to do with past scars caused by some awful supervisors that I’ve had in the recent past. And it also had everything to do with the fact that this isn’t my “dream” – this isn’t what I feel so passionate about, and I was afraid that taking this job would prevent me from further pursuing that which God has placed in my heart. Essentially, I was afraid of what might be around the corner and I was afraid of making the wrong decision.
From the very first hour of my new job I began to see that the negative things about my past job are nonexistent here. From the smallest to the largest things, God has redeemed my employment situation. I also began to see that I had built a wall around my heart during my last job that was preventing me from being excited/feeling blessed about where God has brought me now. I didn’t realize that I had done this, but God is using new experiences each day to slowly remove one brick at a time, which is showing me just how high the wall had become. Still, even now, I am having a hard time letting myself be excited and letting myself just accept that God has brought me to a place where I am needed, wanted, affirmed, empowered, treated with respect, included…
Looking back (hindsight is 20/20, after all) over this past summer, there is no doubt in my mind that everything God allowed to happen was incredibly intentional:
May 17, 2013: Laid off from HE&R (SO THANKFUL!!!!), beginning a time of solitude, reflection, unknown, and healing.
At the same time, Brennan and I are beginning to feel that we shouldn’t be “regular relief houseparents” at the Milton Hershey School anymore due to family/church circumstances…we begin praying.
June/July: Able to do photography for Christian Retreat Center‘s camps because I was laid off, reminding me of my love for photography.
June 25: Jon Acuff sends out an email/blog post/tweet about joining him on an adventure and I accept.
Brennan and I decide to try to become “emergency relief” at MHS which would allow us to be home each weekend (unless called) and would allow us to still be involved with the students.
July 15: “The START Experiment” begins…my risk was to focus on self-discipline after several months of not-so-subtle nudging from the Lord…
July-August: I realize through the START Experiment and the accompanying community what my dream job really is and I begin to pursue it. I start Essential Harrisburg and begin sending my portfolio to potential organizations.
I also interviewed for this new job at MHS in August.
We are told that we wouldn’t be allowed to be “emergency relief” due to the number of couples already in that status. I also find out from HR a few days after my interview that I cannot accept a potential job offer from MHS if we are still “regular relief” because of the number of hours I would be working.
We are faced with an incredibly difficult decision to either quit or stay on as “regular relief”…
One Sunday, while covering a student home, my supervisor “just happens” to come by and I am able to pour my heart out to him regarding all of this and our desire to stay on with the school as houseparents.
We find out on September 3 that we have been granted “emergency relief” status…and an hour later, I am offered the job that I later accepted.
September 12-17: I had the incredible privilege of attending “The START Conference” in Nashville, TN and finally got to meet some of the amazing friends I made through “The START Experiment” and was able to further clarify my “dream” and made some connections with professionals in that field. AMAZING. I came home filled with energy, excitement, peace, and even more trust in what God is doing behind the scenes.
Our God is not a God of coincidence. Nothing that happened this summer is a coincidence.
If I had not been laid off…if I had not accepted Jon’s offer of adventure…if…
This new chapter of life is still very new, and my future is still very “fuzzy” and obscure, but I already feel so at peace.
I know that God has placed the dream in my heart to travel around the world, taking pictures and telling stories, and I have no doubt that He will bring that to fruition in His timing. For now, I am going to do my best here, at a job about which I am passionate, telling the story of Mr. & Mrs. Hershey and their incredible generosity and legacy, while waiting for whatever God might have in the future.