I’ve often heard the phrase “things happen for a reason”, mostly misused and misinterpreted, but never in my life have I realized how God divinely uses each step in our life to accomplish His purposes. The great thing about His grace (unmerited, undeserved favor) and mercy (not getting the consequence we truly deserve out of compassion and love) is that even when we make the wrong choices and go to paths He did NOT lead us to, He will use that if we are humble and repentant.
Step 1: New Birth
My journey begins at Michigan State University. As a precocious freshman, I came with the intention of becoming a psychologist to help people through counseling. I was offered to be apart of Emerging Scholars, a mathematics enrichment program geared towards honors level high school students who are underrepresented in technical fields (ex: engineering, computer science). I was not saved and knew nothing about praying, much more seeking God for direction. However, I accepted because my father’s a mechanical engineer, so I figured it would make him proud. I was the only non-technical major in the class, so I knew I didn’t fit from the start, but somehow I needed to be there. One of my friends met a guy in the lobby of our residence hall, and let’s just say we didn’t hit it off right away. I figured it’s a large campus, so I would never see him. Right? Wrong! Who is in my math program of 15 students – the same guy. We ended up developing a friendship over the semester, and by the end of our first year at college he lead me to Christ. Sometimes the very people we want to reject are the people who God has sent for our deliverance. Selah…
Step 2: New Direction and Vision
God was really wooing me. We’ve developed a relationship, and I fell for Him more and more. He started dealing with me on my major, which I was not doing well in. After some research and much prayer, I decide I need to change my major to Marketing in the Business College. The main problem was I did not get in that college. After some disappointment and regrouping, I decided on Advertising in Communications college. After I got in, I realized immediately this is exactly where I needed and want to be, and I flourished. I learned when you follow God, you will excel in the spot you need to be in. I decide to go back to psychology, and graduate with a B.A. in both. I was told repeatedly that I could not do it, but when God says yes, no man will tell me no!
Step 3: The Roller Coaster Ride
After school it was about getting a job. I started doing door to door sales, 100% commission. It was grueling, but the best lesson I could have learned in not only work ethic, but evangelism. It forced me to step up in my faith, and the importance of entering into God’s rest because the stress was physically making me ill. Shortly after that a colleague at that business got me a job with an IT firm. It was a complete shift from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of door to door sales, but work was minimal so often there was nothing to do for hours at a time. During the down time I created a spreadsheet to tackle my debt. I got engaged during this time, so I really wanted to be debt free when I entered marriage, especially since my future (current) husband didn’t have any. God gave me great people who helped me develop a financial plan. At work, I got special projects to work on editing bids, and got to develop technical writing skills. A few months later our department shut down, and I moved on to another job.
I worked in call centers, and as a permanent substitute teacher. Most of the places I worked were not remotely in line with the visions and goal I had, but at the time I needed to bring some income in and the doors were opened there. Sometimes I got frustrated because opportunities that were more in line with my plans would come, and I would either be led to reject them, or they would reject me. However, God let me know I was in my place. Each job developed my character, integrity, and intimacy with the Lord. I would learn new skills that I thought was for the job at hand, but have carried with me throughout. I also planned my wedding and got married and started at the place I knew God wanted me at for a while, which opened up a new-found love for event planning. He established Himself as my source, regardless of what avenue He provided.
Step 4: Trials, Tribulations, and Victory
After years of declining health, my mother went into a 30 day coma in January, 2008. She subsequently passed February. The death was not as hard as the 30 days of hanging in the balance. However, God showed Himself strong once again and was there every step of the way, from the beginning to the end. My faith and intimacy with the Lord was taken to another place, and He used what could have been a tragedy to ignite a fire in my family. Nine months after her passing, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. The coma taught me to stand on the Word no matter what, and the death taught me that regardless of the outcome, I am a victor as long as Christ is by my side. That prepared me for a high risk pregnancy, seven months of bed-rest/maternity leave, and many personal transitions and losses. God reinforced a central component to our relationship – He is the only place to put your trust in, not your job, health, people, or any other place.
Step 5: Present Times
I started 2010 unhappy, physically ill, and in turmoil. Years of unresolved issues had built up, and I was at “that place” – when you can no longer be functionally dysfunctional. The Holy Spirit was dealing with me on healing from the root of the issue – the source of our pain. It’s so easy to sweep things under the rug and avoid conflict, but negative emotions and open doors don’t close because we don’t look at them. I relate it to cleaning a house by stuffing everything in the closet. After a while, the buildup will be too big to put things in. If we are not careful, the junk in it will break the door down and everything will spill out. I could hear my junk knocking, and as much as I didn’t want to it was time for me allow God in that dark place to heal every area. I went to Christian counseling and participated in a monthly praise & worship meeting with some believers from my church. At first I didn’t necessarily “feel” any different, but after a while I realized that I was growing in the Lord and being used. I ended 2010 on a high, with a renewed love for God, life, my family, and purpose.
God gave my husband the vision for our businesses and ministry a long time ago, but we didn’t have all of the pieces. So many of the experiences we’ve had seemed random and didn’t fit what we considered to be the master plan. However, looking back at all of the jobs I’ve worked, all of the people and places my husband and I have encountered, it was all in divine order for what we are doing this season. 2011 is the start of great things, and time to enter in to the dream that God has given.
We are doing many things that I’m not at liberty to share yet, but I will say that the things I’ve written about play a part of what we are doing. Take nothing for granted, and trust that God heard every single prayer, cry, plea, and request. His direction doesn’t always make sense, but it doesn’t have to because His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55: 8-9) . He’s not asking for understanding and agreement in everything, but obedience and trust. He sees the future and leads us on what seems as a zig-zag because He knows what we need to draw from, and give. Ironically, disobedience will actually take you further from what He has, and will only make the journey longer. He knows who we need, and who needs us. So rejoice – know that you’re in His will, and all things work together for those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). Let Him order your steps (Psalm 37:23).