I’ve learned, when God is at work on something big, He’s often silent. And in the silence, I’m learning to be patient – keep plodding along, trusting He’s not ignoring me… believing He is actually in the middle of preparing something good.
Some of my midlife friends are going back to college and getting their Master’s degree. I’ve tried many times to go back to college and get my BA, but I keep running into block walls. God still isn’t opening the door, and I need to accept it.
A good friend assured me, Look at all the experience you have – that’s worth so much more!
In February of last year I started reading a book on leadership, and part-way through I had this crazy thought: Okay. If I ran a nonprofit, what would it look like?
I knew the answer.
A pregnancy center.
But I also knew something else. I wasn’t interested in running a nonprofit. And I’m hardly qualified to run a nonprofit, remember? I don’t have a degree!
And I wasn’t interested in working full-time away from home or adding more responsibility to my already overflowing list of responsibilites.
After half a minute, I pushed that thought out of my brain. Will never happen.
But while reading the book, I heard God whispering several times, This is what I have for you – leadership.
That confused me.
God, I’m IN leadership already.
And really, I can’t handle more leadership.
AND I don’t want more leadership.
Yet, in the reading as God kept whispering, I started praying and paying attention.
At the time I was Executive Assistant to the President of Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). I loved my job, loved being part of the leadership team, loved how much I learned about serving and leading well, and loved working on behalf of orphans.
I had no desire to leave.
In May of last year at CAFO’s annual Summit, I still felt the restlessness, and asked God to give me something – some kind of direction, some clear word from Him.
In the workshop titled Women, Calling and Ministry, toward the end of the session the facilitator said: Whatever you do, you must be true to your calling.
I knew that was God’s answer. Okay, Father. You’re calling me to leadership. I don’t know what this means exactly, but I’m ready. Please show me. Whatever it looks like.
About a week later, I decided it must be time to go back to college(!)
If God had plans for me in leadership, I would definitely need a degree. Or two. I enrolled at the local community college, got my student ID, and made an appointment to see an academic counselor.
There were so many courses I was interested in – how could I choose just one major?!
Taking two classes a semester, while working part-time and doing church ministry in between, meant I should be able to graduate in… about 12 years.
That provided a sliver of a doubt that college was part of God’s plan, so I prayed again. God, open or close this door as You will. Just show me.
My appointment was on a Tuesday afternoon in July. The Sunday evening before, a wildfire started about 10 miles up the road from our house, and with high winds that week, spread faster than the firefighters could keep up with.
On Monday we were given pre-evacuation notice.
On Tuesday we lost electricity for the second time since Sunday. Late that morning I drove to the fire station in our town, and asked one of the guys there, what I should do. Keep my appointment or stay home and pack?
If the wind changes direction, the fire will head this way. If I were you, I’d go home and pack, and get ready to evacuate.
Another answer from God.
Okay… I’m still paying attention, Father, I prayed – in between sorting through valuables and packing, while also praying for the firefighters and a family we knew that lost their home.
That night the fire spread to five miles away from us.
When we still didn’t have power the next day and the electric company’s timeframe for restoring power was indefinite, we moved in with friends in the Central Valley. On Saturday the power came on, and we were able to go home.
Two or three weeks later I was told about the pregnancy center in the foothills needing a new Executive Director. I was also told I’d be perfect for the job. This was so unexpected, but I was paying attention…
And I applied.
By then it was August, and you already know about the “new” car and the radio announcement and the second time I submitted my resumé.
When I told my boss I had applied for the first position, we both got teary-eyed.
When I told him I was applying for the other position – closer to both our homes – we got excited. He was a donor and his brother was on the board of directors.
And I found out that the prayer group he was part of had been praying all summer for the center and for a new director. God answered his prayer by taking away his assistant(!) But as hard as it was, he was thrilled – for me, for the center, for the clients and for the community.
It’s been nine months since I started. I am beyond amazed and feel so privileged to serve women in this way! Every day I’m giddy driving to work. I get to do this! Wow!
And every day I pray as Solomon did (paraphrased to fit a pregnancy center director rather than the king of a nation):
Now, O Lord my God, You have placed Your servant in the lead role of a small nonprofit. But I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of a city and a region plagued by various shades of darkness. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to speak life, and to point more women to the Author of Life, and to rescue more women from the grip of the enemy… O God, make me wise. – 1 Kings 3:7-10