This week, I hope you will give me liberty to share a little more of my story and where I feel God is leading me. I shared with my Bible study group tonight that the lyrics to the song “New Wine” by Hillsong Worship just play over and over in my mind sometimes……particularly this line: “In the soil I now surrender, He is breaking new ground.”
I spent the past weekend in Nashville attending Christy Wright’s Business Boutique event. Christy is a Dave Ramsey “personality” and she has created the most amazing network and support for women who are dreaming, pursuing or “killing it” at small business in their lives. She provides training, coaching, community and so much more, all faith based, and I learn something new from her almost daily. The annual weekend event is designed to be both practical and encouraging. This year, Christy brought in a live band, top notch speakers, super practical breakout sessions, food trucks, photographers for head shots, vendors in all kinds of spaces….and 3000 of us gathered to give thought to the dreams God has given us. It was a powerful experience. It seemed that with each session, I felt more and more peace, even though my mind was racing with information overload. Each day ended with the best kind of exhaustion. Because I drove back and forth to Nashville for the event, I had some time to reflect and really think at the end of each day. In particular, I thought a lot about my path to this point. And, as I did, I became more aware than ever before in my life, that our God is incredibly personal. He took me on a trip down memory lane.
I had not thought about elementary school in quite some time. After all, that was more than 40 years ago. God reminded me that He gave me a love of writing at a very young age. I was taken back to a time in which I wrote one-page stories as a fourth and fifth grader on an almost daily basis and was allowed to come to the library regularly to read them to kindergarten and first grade classes. I wrote for fun all of the time and, when I carefully put three staples down the edge of all of those stories together, I published my first book at the age of 10.
I was reminded that just a few weeks ago, one of my middle school classmates, who is now an administrator at the same middle school, shared with me that she had discovered the time capsule that we thought had been buried during our time there (apparently buried meant buried in a closet…haha!). She shared that she had to smile as she found a note I had written to someone encouraging them and helping them with a problem they were having. She said, “Even in middle school, you were already wanting to help others.” He made me a helper long before the Enneagram confirmed that’s what I am.
If you’ve been reading since the beginning of the blog, you know how difficult high school was for me. God has used those years to give me a testimony and an innate desire to encourage authenticity and avoiding comparison. (If you aren’t familiar with that story, you can find it in “Silencing the Mean Girl” published on September 4, 2018). He reminded me of my graduate school years and my absolute adoration for Kathie Lee Gifford. I never missed an episode of “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” and dreamed of a job in which I could just talk to people and get to learn all about them. I loved how kind she was and how she shared her life with us. Her faith was always evident in how she spoke to others and in her boldness to declare the goodness of God. I had forgotten all about that dream….and never would have connected those dots without His guidance.
Almost 25 years ago, I sensed God calling me into some kind of ministry. At the time, I thought it was a ministry to parents so I developed a curriculum called “Train Up A Child” that I presented numerous times over a year or so. However, at the first bit of difficulty, fear crept in and I retreated to a safer place and returned to my job in the school system. A few years later, a dear friend and I opened a tutoring center to assist parents and students with all kinds of educational challenges. We kept that business for 10 years before selling it due to time restraints and being far too busy for full-time jobs and a side hustle. On a whim (or so I thought), I enrolled in a Life Coaching course and received my certification several years ago, but I never knew exactly how He was going to use that training. I really didn’t even know what coaching was. I was happy in my job and God gave me comfort in the fact that I was in ministry every day in my role as a school psychologist on a very large campus. He allowed me to share my faith by leading a small prayer group weekly at school and by beginning a Bible study in my home. Those things have been such a blessing to me.
However, in the last year, God has taken me again to a place of discomfort. Extreme discomfort. A place of restlessness and searching. A place that made me seek Him even more and that has allowed my faith to grow exponentially. On faith, but in fear, I started writing and quickly discovered that many of you could relate to what I was feeling. That has led to me dreaming of publishing more than a few short stories stapled together and I’m seeking His guidance on exactly what kind of book He might have me write. He’s led me to begin speaking again and to implement those coaching strategies I wasn’t sure what to do with. He’s allowed me to start a podcast where I get to……wait for it…..just talk to people and learn all about them (just like Kathie Lee…LOL!) As I look at where He’s leading me….writing, coaching, podcasting, speaking…..I realize more than ever before that He has not wasted one single minute of my life. As the lyric of the incredible worship song “Waymaker” says, “He never stops, never stops working” and I can see that so clearly in my life right now. He put writing in my heart as a child. He put helping in my heart as a tween. He took me through difficult circumstances in high school and college. He put a desire to hear the stories of others in my heart as a young adult. With every single step, He has prepared me for what is yet to come and He waited until just the right time to stir my heart to be faithful and to take another step with Him.
God is not distant. He plants dreams. Christy stated it so beautifully this weekend when she shared with us that God doesn’t ever say to us, “Don’t get your hopes up.” Instead, He says, “I am the God of hope. I WILL fulfill my purpose in you.”
I am so incredibly excited to step into a new passion…..but one that clearly God has been building for my whole life. Through coaching, speaking, writing and podcasting, I want to help women defeat chaos and discontentment, discover their God given gifts and live fully in the abundant lives we are created for. I want you to experience joy as I have by helping you to discover exactly who God created you to be and encouraging you to live fully and confidently as that person.
I cannot say thank you enough to those of you who have encouraged me to this point. To those of you who have watched me squirm in restlessness. To those who have helped me wipe tears due to overwhelming sadness and crippling fear. To those who have texted, e-mailed, sent cards, commented on Facebook or Instagram, subscribed to the blog and/or the podcast….you have played a huge part in His plan and I have needed each and every one of you. I will continue to need you as I seek to reach a broader audience and to acquire more opportunities for speaking and coaching. I hope my story inspires you to think about your own. He is a God of details. He clothes the lilies and feeds the sparrows….and loves us so much more. What dream has He planted in your heart? Whatever you’re going through today….He will use it tomorrow. Seek Him and trust Him.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”