And no, we’re not talking kids. Kind of.
About a month and a half ago, I made the decision to pursue a job opportunity within my agency at another location.
With only four months left at the time in my contract with Los Angeles County, it seemed like a silly decision, because by the time I interviewed, got hired (if I got hired), ended at my old site, and started at the new site, I would only have about 2 1/2 months left in my contract. However, this position at this site would not only reduce my daily commute by an hour to an hour and a half, but it would also be a lower stress position with a less high-risk population, and I wouldn’t be driving around Los Angeles County as much during work hours (sometimes I am in the car for six hours a day.).
The same day that I submitted my resume, a company edict had been proclaimed (psh, drama queen…), stating that the company would no longer honor inter-agency transfers. I gave up on the idea of receiving a call back to be interviewed, which was fine because I was prepared to finish my year commitment at my current site. However, I was blessed to have a supervisor advocate on my behalf with the vice president of the company, making a case for why it would be beneficial for the company to consider allowing an exception in my case.
I received word that I would be allowed to interview for this new position the following week, and interviewed the day that RJ and I were leaving for the Navigators collegiate staff conference in Sandestin, Florida. During the interview, I found out that the children’s clinician position that I had thought I was interviewing for had been already filled, and that they were looking for a 0–5, preferably bilingual, clinician, which I have absolutely no experience or training in, and neither am I bilingual.
So I kissed the opportunity goodbye, and flew away to Florida.
Imagine my surprise when two days later, I receive an offer for the 0–5 clinician position from the clinic manager at the new site! Which led to a few more days of seeking God and asking for guidance in this decision, for me, for my job, for our family.
In the stillness of my rocking chair in Florida, with RJ, and surrounded by so many friends, I debated back and forth, “Should I just stick it out at my current site for the rest of the year?” “Should I just take the new position and be a d-bag and leave in 2 1/2 months?” And the third, which was by far the hardest to accept: “Do I accept the new position and work full-time for another 9 to 10 months to finish my hours, which would mean I’d have to wait another 9 to 10 months before returning to full-time ministry?”
Through my times with God, prayer with RJ, and counsel from so many wise friends, I have decided to accept the position at the new clinic and will continue to work full-time until I finish collecting my hours for licensure, which will hopefully be by September or October of 2014. This means that I will delay my return to full-time ministry until then. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make.
One of my heroes in the Navigators is a woman who has her marital and family therapy degree, but was never licensed. And she has such an amazing and fruitful ministry. I aspire for my ministry to look like hers.
I always thought that my journey would be similar to hers, where I would practice without my license, and not “waste time” on pursuing licensure (which can take at least 2 years post-grad), and do what I love most, which is ministry. If you had told me five years ago, when I first started thinking about going to school for my degree, that I would end up being away from full-time ministry for so long to pursue my hours for licensure, I would’ve told you, “No way, absolutely not, never in a thousand years!!”
But for some reason, God has continually opened doors for me to pursue licensure and has slowly eased me into the heart of this beast, first by providing the stipend and my job, “forcing” me to collect 2200 of the 3000 of the hours needed for licensure, and now with this new job opportunity that is closer to home and less stressful, and which will also round out my clinical training and experience.
At this point, I have two choices:
I can allow myself to feel duped and baited by God to do what I never intended on doing, and shake my fist at the merciless, manipulative puppet-master of my life.
Or, I can choose to marvel at His graciousness and how well He knows my heart. How He knew that if I knew His plan from the very beginning, that I would have been overwhelmed to the point of not even trying. How He eased me into His greater purpose for my life and for my ministry, the same way that I ease myself into a cold pool, because the anticipation and the fear of the shock of jumping in keeps me from the water at all.
I choose the latter.
Maybe it’s to give me street cred if I ever work with the Asian American population (I know, I know, in my previous post I wrote about how I don’t care what my merits mean to others. I’m no fool though. I know you have to play the game and jump through the hoops.). Or maybe it’s a short sacrifice of time for a lifetime of full-time ministry.
But for whatever reason, this is my journey. And I am holding fast to the promise of God in Isaiah 30:21, that, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk it in.”
Thank you so much for your prayers and well-wishes for me as I continue on this journey! While I am VERY eager to be back in full-time ministry, I have no doubt that this is the path God has for me.