A New Plan: Be Hope
“Where do you work?”
This simple question has a way of turning into a serious discussion, when you work for a nonprofit organization.
“I work for an organization that fights the sex trade in Cambodia,” the woman said to me.
Just like that, the small talk was over, because how do you say something trite like, “How interesting!” when you realize that someone is taking their very best talents and applying it to helping…truly helping…helpless people?
She told me American businessmen go to Cambodia to have sex with children. When the founder of her organization first went to Cambodia, a little boy ran up to the plane and tried to sell his sister for sex.
“The couple who founded the organization…they came back to America and knew they had to try to do SOMETHING, so she started our organization,” she told me in a calm, even voice. I could tell she had this conversation all of the time. That the story no longer shocked her because fighting the horrid reality was a part of her daily life.
A man joined our small circle, and I asked, “How about you? Where do you work?
“I work for a nonprofit that provides beds to orphans in Uganda.”
Orphans in Uganda.
I found my vocabulary to be limited, and my ability to share stories to be non-existent. So I just listened, and asked questions, and felt somehow like I had stepped onto foreign, holy ground…ground Christened with the time and talents of people who gave up pursuing monetary riches, for pursuing something profoundly deeper.
I didn’t expect this.
As far as I knew, my afternoon was going to be spent attending an HR conference on harassment, and how to protect your organization. It sounded like a dry meeting, and I was more excited about the Starbucks latte I bought on the way than attending the actual class.
I learned a few things from the class, but what I learned most came from listening to the other participants. Within the first five minutes, I felt something change in my heart…and as I walked out of the church where the meeting took place, I knew something had fundamentally shifted in my life focus.
For twenty years, I spent my time and talents growing a business. I was aggressively pursuing and living the dream my husband and I had set out to achieve…working for ourselves; traveling; having a solid income to provide for our family; being able to afford a house, a business and all of the things that go with it. We had built a life that provided us with a huge amount of control over our family and our time.
When that life faded away, I was left wondering what God’s next plan was for us; for me; for our children.
That day at the HR conference, I felt the solid confirmation that I was meant to be working in a Christian nonprofit. That God had put me in the exact place, for His exact purpose, in this exact time for a reason. I felt profoundly grateful to have a job where I am paid to help carry out His plans and His blessings for our community. Instead of investing my time and talents in growing riches, I want to lavishly invest it in helping people who cannot help themselves. I want to be hope, and light and an answer to someone’s prayer.
This road is not easy.
I don’t have control over my family the way I did before…which means I am learning how to trust God; that He loves my children even more than I do, and He has a unique plan for each of them, that is NOT ALL ABOUT ME, and my dreams for them…
As I drive to work each day in NASCAR traffic; or walk across the parking lot at work and look at the large storage silos of the concrete company across the street, I wonder HOW THE HECK DID I GET TO NASHVILLE, and WHY AM I HERE? I miss the mountains, the dramatic beauty and MY FRIENDS!
I always envisioned myself being at home with my kids while they were growing up…I honestly didn’t expect this plot twist, half way through parenthood…
But I also didn’t expect that half way through my life, my eyes would be opened to the world’s great need in such a dramatic and undeniable way. I feel like I have only seen the smallest glimpse of the amount of true need in this world, and it leaves me breathless. Truly, the harvest is great, but the workers are few.
Matthew 9:37-38 “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
My plan is to be one of those workers, wherever God sends me.