Monday, December 1, 2008

How Cool is That?

For the last five years, I have been feeling a pull to use my skills and passions to make a difference in the lives of girls and women. That's how Soul Arts was born (see very first post) and I have been searching for a way to legitimize this service, like going back to school or getting some sort of training.

I first considered getting a master's in art therapy or creative expression therapy (which I participate in as a client and thoroughly enjoy); and found that it is impossible to do that without moving away from my home for two or three years. As a wife and mother of two young daughters, that's out of the question.

Then I looked into Life Coaching. It would cost a few G's, and seems risky, considering that I live in a small, conservative city that would likely not have the demand for a life coach. My hubby didn't like the risk. He kept thinking that there had to be another way.

Then my pastor suggested I look into being a Spiritual Director, which is a person who helps others discern what God is doing in their lives and helps them find and get on the path God has for them.

Well, that seemed perfect! So I did some research and found some schools that offer a certification in Spiritual Direction, and they were even more expensive than the Life Coaching programs, but affiliated with a seminary, seemed more solid.

I discussed the options with my husband, who again said that he wasn't going to fork out that kind of dough for something so unkown. If I had some security as part of the church staff, that would be one thing, but I am part of a church plant, and we are about 20 members big so far. We are certainly not going to support even a part time Spiritual Director!

I was feeling called and stuck. So frustrating.

I took a personal day off work at the museum a few weeks ago and I spent the entire day calling around to spiritual directors and programs and my sister and my dad, pouring out my dilemma with hopes that someone would have some wise advice.

Finally I gave up on that, and I began to pray. I prayed most of the day something like: "Lord, I feel like this is what you want me to do. You gave me this passion for women and teenage girls. But unless you open up some opportunity, I am stuck! I need your help here. If I need to focus on something else, will you make that clear? Otherwise, will you show me the next step I'm supposed to take with this? Please?"

It went on like that for a long time. Meanwhile, I e-mailed the Pregnancy Resource Center and told them I'd be interested in volunteering there. I considered mentoring a girl from the Florence Crittenton Home again. I just didn't know what to do.

At dinner, as I was trying to figure out how to bring up the subject again to my reluctant husband, I got a phone call. It was my friend Audrey who serves on the board of the Pregnancy Resource Center. She said the assistant director had quit that day and the exec. director needed someone in there. She had asked Audrey who she knew who would want to do that kind of work. Audrey told her me! (Audrey and I had never discussed my working at the center.) I told her what I had been praying aobut all day. We wondered if this was God's answer.

(Meanwhile, on the very same night, my church got together to pray and my name came up and they prayed about this particular dilemma I was having. I learned about it a week later!)

So, I stopped by the center the next day to ask what the job entails. I made it clear that I am not a detail person. I won't do spread sheets or balance books or ask people for money. I will be creative and personable and compassionate and fun.

She told me that the person who got the job would be working directly with clients who are dealing with unexpected pregnancies and would also train volunteers to do the same. She said there would be a lot of room for innovation, such as starting classes for teens and new moms, etc. Oh, and by the way, the person who got the job would be paid more than I'm getting paid now, would work less, and would be trained on the job!!!!

I sat there dumbfounded. I was thinking "This could only be God."

But I had to go through the process of submitting a resume and cover letter and getting references. And, of course, I have no experience with any type of counseling -- just Soul Arts and the mentoring I have done with the Florence Crittenton Home.

Well, I went through the motions and continued to pray about it. A lot. "God, I'm just going to leave this to you. You know that's not easy for me, but that's what I'm going to do. If she offers me the job, I'll know it's you. If she doesn't, I'll know that's you, too.

Three grueling, teeth-gnashing, nail-biting weeks later, on the day before Thanksgiving, she called and offered me the job.

There I was, trying to figure out how I was going to come up with about $10,000 for school and then how I was going to make that money back. God had a better idea. He had an opportunity for me to GET PAID TO LEARN AND GET EXPERIENCE.

Is God amazing or what?


HC said...

God is amazing. There have been others praying for you as well. God has given you an amazing gift, now let's see what you can do. By the way, this story would make a good chapter in your first book.

May God continue to bless you.


Chris Taleff said...

It's a dream! Congratulations!!!

Lori said...

Thanks, y'all. And thanks for your prayers, Uncle H.