Early in 2006, I began praying in earnest about relocating to Longview/Kelso to share housing with Susan, Emmett and Sydney Turya, my daughter and grandchildren. Susan had bought a house with room for me in it, and we had been talking about sharing housing for several years.
As I continued to pray about the move, I was asking God how He intended to use me in my new home and community. I very clearly heard that my first calling was to pour love, acceptance and forgiveness on Susan, Syd and Emm. That was an easy assignment for me! Next?
My prayers shifted as I prayed for the right place to work outside our home. I began a job search in March, asking God for a place where my experience and education would meld with my heart’s desire to let people know God loves them. I began by thinking I had to have a position in place before I moved. That didn’t materialize, and I found myself having to rely more and more on God to find a job as the weeks rolled by. I was praying that the position I would be led to would fit Richard Nelson Bolle’s statement: “a place where my heart’s desire meets the world’s greatest need”.
I prayed that doors would be closed for positions that were not the one He had chosen for me. By June I had completed at least thirty applications, knowing ONE was the right one that He would choose for me. My main activity during that time, even though I was busy filling out applications, printing resumes, going to interviews, was to pray for the Grace to keep my eye on the prize of knowing that He was going ahead of me, arranging for just the right job. It was necessary to continue to say no to fear when I continued through the months not finding a position, but trusting God to choose for me because I couldn’t know which one was best for me, but that He did.
After moving to Kelso June 1st, all through the month I continued to meet my financial obligations through the small reserve I had, paying my bills, spending my reserve, saying no to fear, and holding out for God’s job for me.
One of the places to which I applied was a small nonprofit agency where they were offering a position as a case manager. Since I had experience in that capacity at Big Sisters/Big Brothers in Seattle, I applied. The Executive Director called me, and wanted to talk about my financial management background as well.
She was away on a trip to Texas for a week after her call, so I waited for her return, still hunting and praying. When she returned, the last week in June, she asked if I would come to her home, as she was tired from her trip, and I picked up salad for us at the deli and met her there. I had felt for those two weeks, after our first conversation and her return, that I should postpone making any decisions until I talked to her.
In the middle of that two-hour conversation, she suddenly interrupted what we were discussing to explain that in 1987, as she prayed for a renewed surrender of her life to God’s will, she felt His hand at her back, pressing her forward and saying she should go back to school to learn how to manage nonprofit organizations, and begin a ministry for young mothers and fathers and their babies, ages 0-3. My heart leaped! This could be the place God had chosen for me!
You probably are familiar with Parents Place (www.parentsplacelongview.org), and the astounding statistics of need in our community. The Director, Judy Bailey, had come back to the work after retiring eight year earlier, the death of her husband, and problems in the management of the agency, and told me she was tired and ready to give up, and then I walked in the door.
After thirty years’ experience in social service, financial management and nonprofit organizations, I’m wearing a lot of hats at Parents Place. I’ve always believed that if we are open to it, God is always preparing us for His next assignment, and it is clear to me that God has prepared me for coming to Parents Place.
We are busy there, making applications for grants and foundational funding, renewing contracts with social service agencies, and making plans for the future of Parents Place. I believe God wants to perform a miracle of changing the Pathways 2020 statistics for Cowlitz County, and I’m happy to be part of that process. I believe God wants to continue to do miracles of changing lives, one at a time, through this little agency, and many others in our community.
I believe He very carefully and specifically led me there, so that is miraculous to me; first that He cares enough about me to arrange for this position, at this time, and secondly, that He so clearly wants to do miraculous things for very young parents and their babies, so that they will have the opportunity to know He loves them.
I hear God’s invitation: “Will you become part of the miracle?” I am humbled and filled with gratitude for His direction in placing me at this job, at home with my sweet family, and at this Church. It is very clear to me that He was walking ahead of me all along, preparing the way.