Sunday, February 6, 2011

Life Lessons

Welcome to my Sunday!  I've had my visit with God this morning and I'm rejuvenated and ready to face the coming week!  Actually, I'm not really looking at the whole week.  Have you ever been at one of those points in your life when God kind of smacks you upside the head and says, very clearly to you, "Slow down!  I think you've been missing some things and I want you to get these lessons.  Now!"  Well, I'm there.  I've been there for the past 16 months.  

You see, I was the director of a non-profit educational organization that provided services to children and families.  I went to that position VERY reluctantly more than 13 years ago.  At that time it was a daycare with a reputation for problems.  It was not a position that I sought out.  They came to me, repeatedly, for many months until I finally gave in.  But only on a very limited basis!  I would come-part time-while my son was in school (he was starting kindergarten at the time).  I would take a look at their program and I would help them create a new beginning.  There was a woman who had agreed to become the new director, but she needed some training.  I had been a director of a childcare center so I thought I could get her started and MAYBE then serve her as a consultant when she needed help.  TWO WEEKS!  That was it.  That was all I was willing to give this project.  And the first two weeks went exactly as I expected:  a split board of directors-those that were ready to close the facility, those with their own agendas, and those that wanted to see the organization grow into much more than it had been; a very small enrollment which meant very little income; and a small staff of people who were not really open to change.  All the excuse I needed to say, "Thanks, but I've done all I can."

Isn't it funny how God always seems to have other ideas?  And, wouldn't it be nice if He would clue us in sometimes?  The end of the two weeks came and I left my house, preparing in my head my little speech telling them that I was through.  Now, it's a 15 minute drive from my house to the center.  When I started the car my little speech in my head was very much about "goodbye."  When I turned my car off my speech had become a plan of action about staying and growing the center into that little dream those board members had.  As I sat there trying to figure out just exactly how this shift had happened, and when, I realized that God's plan was for me to stay and do this and more than that, I wanted to do it.  He'd laid out the plan inside of me during that 15 minute drive and I knew what I was there to do.

And I did it for 13 years.  We created new programs that helped families in all kinds of ways, medical, social, legal, psychological, and educational.  We created partnerships that spread our services not only throughout the community but the communities surrounding us as well.  God was the idea man.  I was just the foot soldier.  It wasn't easy, but it was good!  

Then one day, almost two years ago, a new player came into the mix and everything changed.  In the course of a few months, this person took what we had built and left us with very little.  Now, you ask, how could he do that?  Well, I asked the same thing for a few minutes, and then I remembered how I came to the center in the first place.  While it seemed a little brutal in the way that it was done, God was telling me (and the rest of us) that our work there was complete.  It wasn't like I hadn't already begun to make a shift toward leaving there.  After all, my son was about to graduate from high school and I had always said I wanted to go back to my "home" in Kansas.  But doing it in this way......I hadn't seen that coming.  

There were the parents and families who tried to come to our rescue and "save" us.  The staff and board did our part too, but I knew that this was the end and, while it seemed sad, it also seemed right.  I don't know what our real purpose was there.  Only God knows that, but we had finished.  We were told to move on.  And so we did.

Now, I had planned for this--sort of.  There was a little money set aside.  Actually, this could work out OK.  I could take the time before my son's graduation and look for that new job, that new opportunity full time.  This was good!  Six months or so and I'd have a new job in Kansas.  My son would be starting on his new life.  This was GOOD!  Well, again, God had other plans.  You know, I have posted on my desk (and it's been there for MANY years), "Be still and know that I am God."  You'd think I would learn, wouldn't you?!

Well, here we are, 16 months later.  We have moved closer to Kansas but still no new job, no new opportunity.  I know that God has used this time to teach me many lessons:  the power of faith, the power of love, the power of hope.  I thought I had those lessons down pretty well, until I was really put to the test.  Then I found that, while I had a pretty good foundation, I needed to build upon that foundation to create a deeper me, a better me. 

I don't know exactly where we're going (God and me), but I know who's directing my path, and I know that if I will just "Be still" He's going to do incredible things in my life.  Maybe this blog is one of those things!  I guess we'll see, but what I do know is that there will be life lessons in each step I take and I thank God for them!

Have a Super Sunday!

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