Bittersweet

Well, this is it. Just a few short hours ago, I said goodbye to the corporate world and stepped onto the next stone ahead…the one that is leading me ever more closer to the next opportunity for ministry. How timely and fitting that today I will host a meeting with the women’s team that I will lead to Kenya in June.

The best word to describe my last work week is bittersweet. Leaving the work itself was not hard at all, though my final job was my dream job from a corporate perspective. No indeed — leaving the many faces that have been in the view of my life the last seventeen years was the tough part…the part that makes me misty-eyed even today.

I am so grateful for an amazing sendoff party. While usually made quite uncomfortable by  celebrations focused on me, I had the opportunity to share a meal and some sweet memories with about 25 people that I not only worked with these past years, but shared life with these past years. To sit at the head of the table and look onto all of them blessed my heart so much. My boss arranged the whole event, shared an emotional and deeply meaningful speech and topped that off by singing a lovely Italian aria — he is classically trained and has the chops — and I know this was a gift of love from him to me. Someone said that lunch felt like a “love fest” and it truly was.

Throughout the last two days, I received so many wonderful visits and messages, hugs and tears. You see, when you work so many hours with people, you really do fall in love with some of them. While there are hundreds of other people I would have loved to have seen, this was not possible.

The bible tells us that God has created us for a specific purpose and orchestrates the timing:  Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” I know this is true for my own life…it is my solid belief in this truth that fuels my step onto this next stone in the path before me. And I also believe it is true of every one of my work colleagues.

So yesterday, my final act of love for them was one that they didn’t even know about. As I walked the many aisles of our building, I prayed for all of them as I did — that they would know God’s love, the He would protect them and equip them in the days ahead, and that they too would find or continue the good works that they are meant to do. The world is a much better place whenever this happens.

God’s blessings on you, my friends. I will miss you and I love you.

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An Exciting New Journey Begins

On March 1, 2014, an exciting new journey will begin in my life. I’ll officially leave the corporate world to devote my passion and energy full-time to women’s ministry. While the suddenness of this takes me a bit by surprise, the fact that I am doing it does not.

The more I’ve grown in my Christian faith, the more I know I’ve been created specifically for this purpose…to be used by God to see and minister to brokenhearted women. He is good to use our own life experiences to benefit others. There is nothing quite like seeing benefit come from those things that caused us the greatest pain.

In the last year, God has provided me with more and more speaking opportunities from the West Coast to the East Coast. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one. But it hasn’t stopped there.

You may know I traveled to Africa in October 2010,  which involved a week of ministry to women in Zimbabwe and two weeks in South Africa. When I was invited in late 2013 to lead a two-week women’s mission team to Kenya in June 2014, I was excited to say yes and planning for that trip is underway. The thing that caught me by surprise was that at that time, even though I have never been to Kenya, I felt that somehow, I was supposed to spend an extended amount of time there. That is kind of where things were left. Until literally just a few weeks ago.

In short, in early February, a pastor in the Kigale area of Kenya reached out to me to invite me to be the keynote speaker at his 7th annual woman’s conference in Kigale. He located me through my ministry website, A Journey of Faith. Through a series of multiple email exchanges that followed, I was able to see his sincere concern and devotion to the needs of the women in his country; many who suffer tragic abuses.

Within a day or so from then, I also heard from a woman in the states who spent time with this pastor last year and documented it in video, A Kenyan Sunrise. It didn’t take long for me to know that it is with this pastor and his ministry that I was meant to spend a season of time later this summer.

Feeling this assurance about partnering with this pastor for a season was a key aspect of the timing of my decision to depart the corporate world and take a full leap of faith into ministry. To say I am excited about this is an understatement. While there is much I don’t know, what I do know is that there’s nothing I’d rather do and I’m totally at peace with my decision. I believe you either trust God or you don’t. I am choosing to trust Him fully as I take the leap.

As of this post, here is my preliminary travel schedule:

March – Israel: two weeks touring the Holy Land

June – Nairobi, Kenya: two week mission trip

July – Marion, Indiana, USA: one week with Pastor Paul and his wife Mary, my hosts for my season in Kenya and Jan Tuin from Tamar’s Voice

August – South Africa: two week combination of ministry time. A revisit with the lovely ladies of Atlantis (where I ministered in 2012) and some much needed R&R with my friend Tracy in Cape Town

Mid-August through November: three months in Kitale, Kenya for extended season of women’s ministry with Divine Life Kenya. This will kick off with their 7th annual women’s conference

In the coming days, I’ll blog more details about the ways God arranged this new chapter of my life as well as updates on where I am and what I’m doing. If you’re interested in joining me virtually as I journey, all you have to do is click the link below right to follow my blog.

Be well!