See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
You may have noticed some changes on the blog.
Yes, I’ve been working on a remodel for the last few months.
My desire was to combine my personal blog site with my professional and ministry life. I personally am thrilled with how it turned out. But to tell you the truth, it almost didn’t happen.
OK, let me start at the beginning of this journey; let’s say maybe six or seven years ago. I was starting my graduate program in counseling psychology and I had a dream. I wanted to create a holistic coaching environment where women could be encouraged in all areas of their lives; personal, professional, health, spiritual, etc.
But I thought it was just that, a dream. I didn’t know how to make it a reality and quite honestly “life coaching” as a profession seemed a bit risky. I mean people didn’t (often still don’t) understand what that meant and there really wasn’t anyone overseeing what kind of credentials or education a “coach” would need. Anyone could say that they were a life coach with little or no experience and could get away with it.
So I went the safe route and pursued counseling, which I do also love, it’s just different. I got my degree and later a school counseling credential because enjoyed working with students and their families. It was very fulfilling but then I felt a nudge again.
I was working with teens at an alternative high school. Students were sent there when they were unable to attend comprehensive schools for various reasons, often truancy or other discipline issues. Basically, these were students that had a history of getting into trouble. Not all but many.
I worked with the teens and their families doing outreach and trying to get the families to be more involved in the school and in their student’s education. I met one on one with families, facilitated parent education workshops and because I speak Spanish, also served as the go-to interpreter as there were many Spanish speaking families in the school.
I really enjoyed it but it was hard. One day remember vividly, I had to do translations in some disciplinary meetings after a fight. There were several girls involved and this was their third strike. Many of them were getting expelled, and when you get expelled from the alternative school you have few options left.
So I sat there in the room trying to explain to these sweet mothers that their girls had worn out their welcome in the school and were out of chances, they were getting expelled from the school. These women; many of whom were single moms, who worked several jobs to provide for their families.
They didn’t understand, what were they supposed to do now? I wished I had answers; I wished I could just give them a hug and tell them it was all going to be OK. But I had to remain calm, neutral and just stick to the facts.
I went back to my office and I cried that day because I knew exactly how they felt. You see my own boy had worn out his welcome not long before and I knew what those moms felt.
The shame and heaviness of the whole situation. Like they did something wrong even though it was the thoughtlessness of youth brought on by their teens that was to blame. My heart was heavy for them.
Later as I facilitated a series of workshops for parents and their teens, again who had discipline issues and so were mandated to attend as part of their consequences, I came across other moms with heavy hearts. Why did their sons and daughters keep making the same poor choices? What could they (the moms) be doing differently? They looked to me for guidance, like I could have the words that would save.
Well I did have words that I wanted to share, actually I had THE WORD that I knew was what they needed but I worked at a public school in a very liberal part of the country. Talking Jesus was a definite no-no. And all I could think of was that I really wanted to pray for these moms and tell them that God was right there with them, and that this was a season, a challenging, unpleasant season but a season nonetheless that their boys and girls would likely grow out of and there was HOPE. But I had to stick to my script.
Please hear me, the work we did in those workshops was good. It was helpful, the parents got a lot out of them and there were positive behavior changes in some of the teens. It was just that I felt like something was missing. . .
And it wasn’t just about the moms, the teens were searching for something. Other staff and faculty members were struggling, there was a great need for something more.
Well, I ended up not being to return to that job the following year. I just couldn’t; they wanted to increase my hours but I was needed at home for my year of homeschooling my 8th grader.
And I felt peace about it because I didn’t know how but I sort of vowed in my head that from now on, I wanted the work I did to be tied to my faith in Christ. I no longer wanted to give bland, neutral, politically correct answers for what I thought. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and to be authentic, it had to be completely tied to faith.
And so I started on a new journey, as a full-time, homeschooling mom. And there were some crazy, challenging, discouraging days. But God made a way in the wilderness. A way that led me back to coaching and this time to Christian Life Coaching and a program I was able to complete while caring for my kids and being involved as a ministry leader in my church.
My God-sized dream was back. And this time I was ready to trust and surrender to His will and let the Lord lead me through the wilderness towards this new thing . . .
Next time, I’ll finish up with part 2 of the story.