Recently someone made a comment about my willingness to stand in front of others and share the details of how an abusive relationship starts and grows. The next morning on my run, I reflected on this and why it was possible for me to do so.
First, I have a strong conviction in my heart that this is His will for me. I don’t know how to describe it, except that I know this is where He intends me to be. It wasn’t always easy. I carried shame and didn’t tell anyone about it for 20 years. But once God healed me, I really felt led to share to help others.
Second, I know the only reason I’m able to share authentically is through God’s strength. He holds me with His righteous right hand and helps me (Isaiah 41:13).
As I reflected, I was reminded of ALL the ways He’s been leading my steps.
Twenty-one years ago, I stopped working to be a stay-at-home mom. I was looking for a part-time job, but after a year of applications and interviews, I had yet to be offered a job. A family member completed an endurance event while fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in honor of my brother-in-law, who was recently in remission from leukemia. Along with other family, I cheered for the team on event day.
A few weeks later, one of the staff called me and offered me a temporary, part-time job. In January 2004, I started what was supposed to be a six-week job a few times a year. Twenty years later, I’m grateful to still be there. The job has changed many times – several promotions, and different departments. Each time, it’s been exactly what my family has needed.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing staff and volunteers. The honor of listening to so many people tell their stories or those of loved ones. Many pointed me back to walking with God.
I enjoyed being the behind-the-scenes person who answered the phone, prepared the supplies, analyzed trends for opportunities, etc. But God had other plans, and a co-worker mentioned, in addition, that I should start presenting at some of the Info Meetings. I was terrified! In high school, I was so shy that it was excruciating to speak up in class and ask the teacher to call me by my nickname, Dee Dee. Yet, I loved working at LLS, so I knew I had to learn to present in front of a group. God gave me strength and helped me get comfortable.
Next, I learned to make websites. My co-workers and I brainstormed what needed to be on our local site, and I created it. Over the years, I’ve learned many different systems and tools. Not that I’m an expert at it, but enough to manage the website for Positively Impacting Communities, Inc. (PIC) until we find a volunteer to do so.
As my responsibilities grew, I became the staff partner for the local Team In Training alumni board. Thanks to amazing volunteer leadership, our board became a role model for other chapters. As board president for PIC, it doesn’t escape me that God taught me how to be part of a board and has whispered in my ear at various times, “Ask her.” Each time, I’m in awe as they say yes, and I learn the experience they bring to PIC.
Each of these abilities, developed over twenty years, as God has guided my path, drawing me back to Him, and His plan for my life. There’s no place I’d rather be. I’m grateful for the way He’s led me and for the peace and strength in my heart.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)