I have been hiding out most of my life – hiding lack of self-worth behind credentials and accomplishments, what I do instead of who I am, hiding loneliness behind an outgoing exterior and sense of humor, a busy schedule, hiding the questions that haunted me … who will take care of me? And … do I matter?
I was hiding out from my home church where I served as Youth Minister when I heard about The Plant, the church community that has transformed my life. I wanted to worship without some parent asking me about an issue they were having with their teenager or a committee chairperson asking me if the youth could help out with some church event … I pretty much wanted to control the time and way I served in ministry. So I visited a non-denominational Christian church and it happened to be their Missions Sunday when they talked about planting a daughter church, and I became a part of that plant core team in 2008.
I was convinced that God called me to this plant church, but had no idea of the provision He was blessing me with. He gave me both a family and a community that answered those big questions (who will take care of, do I matter?) when I gave them access to my life – they would take care of me and yes, I mattered to them. Sometimes it seems easier to welcome Christ into our heart than to open our life to others, but God in His tender mercies gave me what I fought hard against, but truly needed, for such a long time.
I was growing more and more frustrated in my job. Actually I loved the work I was doing, but struggled with my boss. Oddly there was no problem between us. I felt valued and needed and affirmed in my role in the department. But I was constantly upset about her showing favoritism to some others, the way she talked about some of the managers and admins to me, and her micro-managing of people that were fully capable to run with responsibility.
I started giving more attention to growing my Christian Life Coaching practice, and began attending Writers and Speakers Conferences, convinced I was being called to have a voice for the Lord … back to that having a voice thing – you’ll know what I mean if you read Spiritual Autobiography Part I. I went to the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks Conference three years in a row for both the speaker and writer tracks, but I became really uncomfortable with some of the accolades I received, particularly from an editor who was interested in a book prospectus I pitched in a meeting with him.
My son created a blog for me to be able to share my words in a more private and less visible forum, and I blogged for quite a while, but again those anxious feelings about the influence God had given me in the lives of my readers crept in. It scared me and I didn’t feel worthy. Did He want me to speak, to write, to blog, to coach for Him? What was He calling me to?
My work situation was growing more unbearable each day and my daughters encouraged me to look for another job and helped me to update my resume. Funny, but in the moment when my heart became willing to make a change, I realized that I didn’t want to go to another company to do the same kind of work. If I was going to make a change, I wanted to go after my dream. I wanted to go big or go home, as they say.
I began praying about quitting my job and going to AGSC (Alliance Graduate School of Counseling) at Nyack College, having obvious concerns about finances and what I would live on, and I invited many friends and family to pray with me for discernment and leading in the decision. In March of 2015, when my daughter’s good friend and co-worker was killed in a head-on car collision on the way to work, she called me and said “Mom, you gotta do this, you’ve talked about doing counseling for a long time. Don’t wait, we’ll figure out the finances. We gotta trust God on this.”