Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I knew this verse by heart but it didn't have any many for me until I hit rock bottom. It was the holiday season of 1989. My life was in shambles. After graduated from high school in 1987 I went to college. Sadly, I wasn't ready for this transition.
Academically I was ready but emotionally and mentally, I was nowhere near ready. I remember feeling scared and alone that first year of college. I desperately wanted to make friends and have a feeling of belonging. Being desperate for friendship is not a good place to begin when trying to establish new relationships. I was needy and clingy. Most people do not like this type of person and tend to gravitate away from them.
During that first year of college, I failed many classes and barely passed others. My roommate began to steal food and other things from me. She took advantage me in every way. Because I was so needy, I was blind to what she was doing. One of the resident assistants came to me and told me what was happening. She even offered to take care of some of things for me.
After a hard first year, my parents convinced me to try again. The second year started out all right. It was long however, and I found myself caught up in another social mess. My roommate became upset with me but she never once faced me with her concerns. The resident assistant once again took me aside and informed me that my roommate was accusing me of stealing money from her purse. My roommate was accused me of leaving the door open or unlocked. Yes, there were times when I might go down the hall for a quick visit with friends who lived on the same floor and left the door open. Most of the time however, I was very careful about securing our door. These accusations shocked me and saddened me. I plunged into depression. My grades declined. I even started cutting classes. I just couldnít face life feeling so bad. My roommate left the next semester. As I was cleaning out a desk that had once belonged to her, I found a pink slip of paper. The paper was a record stating that she had turned me into the campus police. Oddly, they never approached me. There must not have been enough evidence against me to warrant a discussion. Honestly, I donít know why I was never questioned. I struggled through the second semester.
I spent that summer at home. My parents convinced me try college once again but at a different school. It all started out well. However, I was still a needy, clingy person and I was still very depressed. Looking back, maybe I should have gotten help. It didnít happen though. These things set me up for yet another failure. Yes, I made friends, but as usual, I only pushed them away with my neediness. I even tried my second excursion into the dating world. Of course, this backfired into my face. I became more depressed, lonely, and despondent.
After two years of a college experience marked with failure and sadness, I was through. I was at the end of my rope. Back home, I got my first job. It didnít last long. I started working at nursing home. I love working with the elderly. However, I was untrained. I didnít know how to move frail people safely. I asked for a new assignment. I could have helped feed the residents, helped in the kitchen our laundry or done anything. Management refused to listen and told me to buck and learn to do it. How can you learn something you have never been taught? I was afraid for the people and for myself. After two days I quit that job.
Jobless and tied to my parents I became even more depressed. My parents encouraged me to attend church. So, I began to attend church services and Sunday school classes. A dear woman and good friend of mine encouraged me to get involved with the choir and with youth activities. I have always loved singing. Music brings such joy to my heart and I found that praising the Lord made me feel better. I also began to help her manage the church youth group. This is ironic to me as I look back. I mean I was at a very low place in my life and here I was in a position to mentor young people. God does work in strange ways and maybe it was his way of building me back up.
The choir was working on Christmas music for the holidays. Each week the group practiced at the church. One week I went to the church for practice. No one was there yet. I had a key because of my involvement with the youth group. I let myself in and went to the front of the church. I sat in the silence and looked up at the cross. I gazed at the pictures of Christ that hung on the walls of the old church. This is beautiful old Methodist church. I began to ponder my life. Something led me to begin to pray to the Lord. I cried out to him. I asked him to show me the paths that he had laid out for me. I asked him to give me direction. I cried and prayed for over an hour. As I sat there, pouring my heart out to God, I felt the warmest sensation enter my heart. My whole body felt warm and safe. I had never felt a feeling like that. I felt a peace like I had never felt before in my life. I no longer felt alone. That night the Lord entered my heart. Many people have a public experience when accepting the Lord while many others have a very private moment. My moment falls into the latter category.
I went home that night. An hour or so after getting home the phone rang. It was my Aunt. She told me about a job offer she has seen in the local paper. It was for a library paraprofessional at the local high school. I love to read and I love books. I always have. I felt that this was Godís answer to my prayer. The next day I went to the high school and filled out an application. A week later, I found myself back at the high school talking to the librarian and the administrator. After approval by the school board, I got the job. I learned so much. I learned how to organize books, catalog books, and purchase them for the library. I learned how to repair books. I learned how to operate copy machines, fax machines, overhead projectors, slide projectors, and filmstrip projectors. I learned about computers and went through many technological transitions with the library. I learned how to help students and teachers find information. I even learned a bit about accounting. Over the years, I worked on student attendance, managing an ISP service and even worked in the lunchroom. I loved my job and worked there for twenty years.
In 2008, the economic climate of the United States began a downward slide. Many businesses and schools were facing financial hardships. My school was no exception. I survived the first two years of financial hardship. In 2011, the cutbacks caught up to me and I lost my job. My position was eliminated. Once again, I was facing an unsure future. The difference this time however, was that I had God firmly in my life. Yes, I was scared to death but I knew that I wasnít alone. I went to the Lord again and asked him to direct my paths.
After encouragement by my father, I found myself returning to college. I enrolled in the Ashford University online program. I chose to major in health administration with a focus on informatics. Informatics is a new area of the health field. It deals with computers and electronic data information. As we make the transition to electronic medical records, the demand for people with this knowledge is on the rise. I found myself succeeding in my classes. The format seemed to work for me and soon my G.P.A was averaging 3.90. I was also learning a lot and meeting many new people. I totally embraced this opportunity. After two years, I graduated with a G.P.A. of 3.96.
Armed with a college degree I began to search for employment. I thought it would be easy but it wasnít. I had bills to pay and soon loans to repay. I also came to realization that I need to get a certification in medical billing and coding. However, the money was not there. I also felt that I needed to begin making a living. I was confused about what direction I should take. Again, I sought out the Lord.
After much prayer and meditation, I came to realize that I was ignoring a gift that God gave me. That is the gift of writing. I love to write. It comes easily to me and I am good at it. So I thought, why not try to earn money doing it. What I failed to realize is that it takes time to establish yourself as a writer and actually be able to make a living with it. At this time, I am utilizing a website named textbroker.com. This website is a vehicle through which writers can get work. Clients place writing orders and authors write the articles of their choosing. This all seems well and good but often the work is irregular and it takes time to work up to assignments that pay a significant amount of money. In the meantime, there are bills to pay, a house to maintain, food to put on the table, and pets to care for.
As unsure and scary as my situation is, I know that I am not alone. God takes care of me and sees me through each of my days. I rest in the knowledge he will never give me more than I can bear. I put each day into his hands. God is my rock and my salvation.