Good afternoon fam,
Most of you who know me know that I’m not the conspicuous type. In fact, my friends call me a ninja because I’m so stealthy. I say these things so you understand how difficult it is for me to stand here regardless of how long I’ve been at Berea (23-24 years by the way) or how well I know you, but I have a story to tell that is so full of God’s providence that I would do God and myself a disservice not to share.
Lord, help my testimony help someone else and please don’t let me pass out amen!
- Early February 2015 I came back from a mission trip in South Korea (that’s a whole ‘nother story called Silk Road Seoul).
- Sometime in Early February or March, we had communion and after foot washing, Sister G. was getting the prayer circle started and I grabbed her hand. She asked me about my trip then she said,
I said, “No”.
“Need a job?”
“Why yes I do!”
She said, “Ok, I’ll let you know next week.”
- March 18th I started working in Human Resources at MSU. You see, Sister G. is the Director of HR so, she da boss. Praise Him for unsolicited jobs!
- My contract was only supposed to be for a few months but lo and behold, I was asked to re-sign for a year, which I did in June.
- Around that time, I started praying for direction for my future. I had a job but what was my calling? What did God want me to do? Where did he want me to go? No answer. Hellllooooo?!
- In September, with encouragement from a friend at BSU, I started thinking about art as a career path. It was something that always lingered in the background but until then I hadn’t taken it seriously so I started looking for classes.
- (My dad passed November 4th but more about that in the Silk Road Seoul posts)
- January 4, 2016 I got a university email about study abroad in China. Ok God, now you want to talk to me? Well, I’m listening. I asked if I was eligible for the trip even if I was only taking one class and got the green light so I registered for my class on Jan 6th.
- Now this is where it gets bad (but it’s really good because God’s had His hands all up in it). The deadline was January 22nd.
- January 20th I got notice that the deadline had been moved back to January 27th since it was winter break for students and classes didn’t start until January 25th. Cool, I had everything ready to go and hand in but then it snowed in epic fashion.
- God…seriously?! School was closed Friday, January 22nd; Monday, January 25th; Tuesday, January 26th and Wednesday January 27th was liberal leave. Jesus take the wheel!
A snow drift had my car completely covered, the streets were a mess, sidewalks were unpaved and all I had were my non-insulated pleather boots protecting my feet but I made that 45-minute trek through knee-high snow because I was determined to turn in my application on time. God even sent an “angel” my way to keep me company, a lady named Sharon (whom I haven’t seen since), so I wouldn’t flip out when I saw that they hadn’t finished clearing the snow around campus and instead piled it up all crazy in the street. Tall piles of snow and short legs are not fun!
Campus was a ghost town. Of course nobody was in the office where I needed to turn in my application materials because “liberal leave” really means, “Oh, I don’t have to go to work.” I put my packet in the interoffice mail, confident that it would get to the right place the next day. Later, I got an email saying the deadline had been extended to January 29th because of the snow. Perfect! I had jury duty on January 28th so I wouldn’t be able to do anything if something went awry but then I actually got selected for a jury and was out of the office on January 29th too.
- As of February 1st, my packet was nowhere to be found. My life was in that envelope; copies of my license, passport, photos and my social security number. I decided I wasn’t going to worry about it NO MORE and gave it to God.
“God, You brought this to my attention, You will have to see it through because I caaaan’t.
- February 4th I got word that my package was received…6 days after the deadline. It had been misdelivered and was sitting on the wrong person’s desk in the same office. My contact said she would forward my information anyway and to expect a response by the beginning of March.
- The first week of March came and went and I was told, “we’ll know something by the end of March.
- In the midst of all this I was still praying for my future and career and pushed forward in pursuing a life as an artist for real.
- March 21st I got a university email about an email about the museum on campus. God, you talkin’ to me? Are YOU talkin’ to ME? I figured I’d look into it.
- Not long after that, someone told me Ms. D from across the hall in IT was looking for me. This lady is someone I had met 2 years before when I went on a field trip with my little cousin and her summer camp. When I started working at MSU she recognized me and we would chat now and then.
She said, “When does your contract end?
“the end of June…”
“What are you doing after that?”
“Do you want to work over here with us?”
“Alright, July 1st “
I mentioned that I wanted to devote some time to my art so she said I could work part-time. Great! Thank you Jesuuuus! But really, what just happened?
God said, “It’s called a blessing, get familiar” or something like that.
- The 1st week of April, I inquire about the China trip. All the while, I was praying and praising God in advance because I knew it was going to happen.
Ok, now it gets really juicy
- Friday, April 8th, I had a chat with my supervisor, Ms. A, about God’s movements and trusting Him. That Sabbath evening I prayed and truly surrendered. I knew China was going to happen. God put it in my face and I had no doubts but I was holding on to everything else. It’s hard to pray for direction, clarity and purpose and get no answer. God had been giving me the silent treatment and I felt so lost and aimless. This time I asked for an obvious answer. “God, now you know I’m a little slow. I sometimes misinterpret your subtleties when it comes to my own affairs, so please make it plain.”
- Saturday, April 9th Tony Hardy spoke about how God had blessed him and he is paying it forward with his charity, Kick Dreams United, which provides kids in Rwanda with shoes. He told his testimony about his spiritual struggle, how real prayer is and how he dealt with being unaccustomed to being uncomfortable. God spoke through him and it hit me then. I was praying for the wrong thing and God said, “yup”. I wanted a smooth, easy way out but God said, “If you want things to go your way this time, you are going to have to be uncomfortable. You can go the comfortable route but you will not get all the blessings I have in store for you.” I replayed what I had heard over and over in my mind.
- Sunday, April 10th I decided to turn in a letter of resignation on Monday. I could smoothly transition out of my job at the end of my contract June 30th but I planned to go the uncomfortable route.
- My supervisor was sad but she gave me her blessing Monday, April 11th when I gave her my two week’s notice in a resignation letter. “Whew, one hurdle down.” Ms. G wasn’t in that day so I had time to “woosah”.
- Tuesday, April 12th, I got an email that said, “You’re on the plane.” Six others and myself were selected for the study abroad trip but two of us hadn’t been assigned to a school yet. I also realized Ms. G read my resignation when she walked past my desk and rolled her eyes at me. She didn’t say anything so I was nervous all day.
- Wednesday, April 13th, I was like, “Ok God, this might not be so, ‘RING RING’…”
”Good morning Ms. G.”
“Can I see you in my office?”
We talked and I told her all my concerns about burning bridges and that I didn’t want her to think I was ungrateful. I told her my intentions and desires; how I wasted to be an artist and travel and she said, “I didn’t know, why didn’t you tell me?” She encouraged me to apply for that internship and immediately sent me over to the Fine Arts Department to speak with an art professor, Mr. J. We had a nice talk and Mr. J said I could come in and paint or create whenever I needed to. On my way out, I saw the Director of the museum and he sent me to Ms. H, the Associate Director for details. I spoke with her for a while and she gave me some insight into the internship but said I should speak to the Project Manager Mr. G, who would be in on Friday.
- Thursday, April 14th, I was feeling my oats! I saw Ms. M in the hallway and told her I had a big testimony to tell her and that she should have a seat in my office. I then ushered her over to the windowsill. She said, “God told me somebody had a testimony to share with me today.” Amen!
- Friday, April 15th, I emailed my resume to the Administrative Assistant of the museum then called Mr. G to see if he was in. He told me to come on over. We hit it off immediately (I’m shy so that’s a big deal) and he explained some of what they were trying to do. I said,” oh, so you’re trying to take photos of each piece and add metadata to each photo so through search engine optimization when someone types in keywords the photo will come up in the search results. He leaned back in his chair, looked at me in disbelief, shook his head and said, “I was praying that God would send me someone who understood what we were trying to accomplish. He said that he had already made his decision and that anything I wanted to learn, he could teach me; Photoshop, Lightroom, lighting techniques and I could use the software. Also, if I wanted to learn from any other department in the museum, I could do so without reservation.
I left on a high and all I could do was praise God! Everything I put before God, everything I surrendered to Him was addressed in one week, Sabbath to Sabbath, sunset Friday April 8th to sunset Friday April 15th. Even if nothing works out the way I want it to for the rest of my life, I know God hears me and has my best interest at heart. I John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching Go: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Pray and be specific– He hears and will answer. Ask God to reveal His will to you. Ask Him to open or close doors but be patient and wait on Him.
Trust– you can be completely and utterly convinced that something is going to go your way and be wrong. If you trust God, He will put you where he wants you to be and it will be somewhere and achieved in some way you never imagined but remember that trust goes hand-in-hand with obedience.
Talk to people– even if you hate talking to people with a passion like me, (though it’s hard to believe from the story huh?) you never know who is willing to help you if only they knew what your needs are, not a Christmas list or birthday gift but, “I want to do better in school, can you help me?” Take an interest in someone besides yourself.
Tell your testimony– it’s hard to witness to people sometimes, especially if you already find it hard to talk to people. You may be afraid to misquote a verse or make a mistake in relating doctrine but you can never go wrong in telling someone what God has done for you. Amen. (End of spoken testimony/sermonette)
- Saturday, April 16th, I told Pastor Taylor that I wanted to give this testimony as the Youth Emphasis before the sermon the next Sabbath. He just looked at me and I had to repeat myself. I guess he found it hard to believe that I would volunteer to do something in front of an audience. He’s been very kind in not asking me but I just had to share.
- Friday, April 22nd I found out I was accepted to Chongqing University, my first choice school for the study abroad trip to China.
- Saturday, April 23rd, I stood behind the pulpit with my glasses off so I couldn’t see anyone and shaking like a leaf, I let all this pour out. “Good afternoon fam…”
*Next blessing happened after I gave my testimony in church
- Monday, April 25th I caught the tail end of a seminar at work hosted by Mr. C, an Alumni of MSU. Later on my way to my car, the guy who tends MSU’s community garden, and that I always wave to, approached me and asked me if I was at the seminar. I was Mr. C! I told him it was my last day and that I was starting my career as an artist. He asked what kind of art and I ran down the list, photography, mixed media, painting, sculpture etc. It turns out he’s a photographer! Hopefully I can learn a few things from him. Booyah!
2016 is my year and I’m looking forward to doing what God wants me to do and the blessings to follow!