Thirty years ago, I never could have imagined that I would be doing what I do today. I know it sounds archaic, but after college I thought I would marry, have a bunch of kids and live happily ever after.
Well, I did marry, and was thrilled when I became pregnant with my one and only, deeply loved child, Haley.
But I was totally unprepared when, just three months into the pregnancy, my husband walked out. This was not part of the plan!
After seven years as a single mom, and intense emotional and spiritual struggles, I married my current, wonderful husband. Now comes the "happily ever after" part, right? Nope. Something was still missing.
Now I longed for my own sense of calling. I wanted to integrate who I was with the work that I did. I didn't just want a job to earn a living. I wanted a life! I wanted to spend my days doing what I loved to do and be able to make a living doing it. I knew there was a purpose for my life, but I didn't know what it was. I had always been a generalist, interested in and pretty good at lots of things but unable to choose the One Thing. You know, I was a "jack of all trades, master of none."
I spent the next seven years wrestling with God. (We still wrestle from time to time.) I couldn't understand why my husband, a minister, had such a clear sense of calling, while I remained clueless. I researched and studied and prayed and took tests and cried and begged and pleaded with God to show me who I was. Why couldn't I spend my days doing what I loved? What DID I love?
Where was the meaning and purpose for my life?
Gradually, I began to realize that what was missing was awareness. I slowly became aware of the ways my life touched the lives of those around me, no matter what kind of work I was doing. And I became grateful. And when I began to express gratitude for everything I already had -- my family, my job, my life -- my life changed dramatically!!
Literally two days after I began to say, "Thank you, God!" the phone rang and I was offered a new job. This time it definitely felt like "a calling." To take the job, I would have to accept a forty percent cut in salary, something we couldn't afford at the time at all. It was risky. And scary. But it was at a retreat center, Richmond Hill, a place that felt like "home" to me the minute I first entered its doors. I had recently completed their two-year program in Spiritual Guidance and had spent many weekends there learning to listen and practice discernment, discovering that deeper Self within. I knew that this was an opportunity I had to take.
It was the start of another seven-year adventure. (Are you detecting a pattern here?) When I arrived for my first day of work, I was to be the administrative assistant to the Director of Development. While the job itself didn't excite me, the opportunity to spend my days in a place where people came for retreat, where there was a rhythm of life that created balance and was woven with spirituality, was just what I wanted. It felt just right. Plus, I would have the opportunity to offer spiritual guidance, teach classes, and lead retreats as well. That, I felt, was my "calling."
So I was stunned when after one year, the Director of Development left and I found myself temporarily having to fill his shoes. Richmond Hill was at the beginning of a major Capital Campaign to raise millions of dollars to renovate its facilities and I knew very little about fund raising. So when they suggested I officially apply for the job, I said, "No, thanks." I would happily serve as Interim Director while they searched for a replacement, but I had no intention of serving in that capacity long term. That job seemed way too big for me.
But there was a gentle persistence from many sides for me to submit my résumé for consideration. I reluctantly did so, sure that once they saw for themselves that I was not qualified they would leave me alone. I was wrong.
On the day of the interview with the Search Committee, I went to Richmond Hill's garden to center myself before the meeting. As I sat on the bench enjoying the stillness, I felt an unmistakable Presence and suddenly the old Beatles' tune, "Let It Be" popped into my head with its lyrics, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, 'Let it be'." Now I'm not Catholic, but I knew right then that whatever happened was happening for a reason and I should just "let it be."
The interview began with, "Why do you want this job?" to which I replied, "I don't! But if you still want to hire me I will know that God wants to prove that this is God's work, not mine, because I don't know how to do this job. And if God wants to use me, I am willing to be used."
And that's how I came to be Director of Development at Richmond Hill. Six years, seven and a half million dollars, and an amazing journey later, the renovation was completed.
Seven years. Must be time for another change. With the completion of the renovation, I found myself at another crossroads. I loved being at Richmond Hill. I loved the people and the prayer and the mission. I loved meeting people from all walks of life and from all over the world. But something was gnawing at me. I didn't love fund raising.
I loved working with people one-on-one and in small groups. I loved helping them find direction for their lives. I loved helping them to discover the Truth of who they were. I loved helping them understand themselves and find peace in their relationships with others.
I still wanted to live my dream of earning a living doing what I felt called to do and loving what I was doing, not just occasionally, but every minute of my day.
I wanted to live out of that Divine energy flow within me.
And that's how GraceMoves was born.
Now I spend my days listening to the dreams and challenges of those who long to live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. I help them navigate the difficult waters of transition to find their own source of peace and joy within.
And I love every minute of it!