Lets start with where we began…
I have been given a burden. A burden I don’t take lightly. The Lord has laid heavy on my heart compassion. A compassion for women, to help them, to heal them, to see them saved. I have a heart for women in affliction. I don’t remember the first time my heart was broken for these women, but ever since it was I have fought long and hard for their freedom.
Two years ago God brought me to Women’s resource center. Through this agency I had the opportunity to learn and experience things in a dark world that most people like to pretend doesn’t exists. As I have walked alongside women who have been made victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, my heart has continued to break. I have learned their pain and the best ways to bring restoration to their lives. I have met some pretty incredible people and am so blessed to have had this experience. I owe them and the great state of California who put me through the education I needed in order to do this. But in the world of non-profits run by the state God is completely void. I thought I could bring change to this, even in a small way. All my efforts where in vain. If I talked about my faith, we could loose our licensing and the source of their income and means to stay alive would be cut off. This is a rough reality for a women who seeks nothing more than to see these people find true freedom in Christ. This breaks my heart all the more.
As I started a paid part time position in April of this year, I was presented with this fact about keeping my faith quiet. I could hardly believe what they where asking me to do. They wanted me to keep my mouth shut and give these women bread, and not the bread of life. I started seeking the Lord and begging him for change. I needed to find a place where we could do both. I didn’t know where I would find one, but I had faith that, as God had done before, He would lead me on a path to bring Him glory. These last few months I have struggled in my job. I love the women, but could not form real relationships with them, for fear that I would slip into praise for God. I understand why these rules are in place. I understand the purpose for agency’s like this. I appreciate them. Its just not me.
A while back my friend Sarah told me I needed to look up The Sheepfold. That she had been praying for me and felt like the Lord was leading me there. I looked it up and what did I find but a Christian domestic violence shelter based out of the city of Orange.
Now I have good friends in Vista. My family is there. A job I love. An apartment I wasn’t ready to give up. I know this town. I was raised here. I know the people. I love the people. I didn’t want to leave. So I put my pursuit of the sheepfold on the back burner and focused on life at hand. Who has time for things like that anyways?
Well Sarah never let up, in reminding me that I needed to email them. After a few emails I was excepted as a volunteer. Here we go starting at the bottom all over again. Where in the world was this going to take me?
All of a sudden the ball started rolling. I told my job I needed a transfer, I put my resignation in at WRC, my roommate found someone to take over my lease, I started preparing all my friends and family. It seemed like a great plan. God had His hand in all of it. I even might be getting a job at another non-profit to help pay the bills. This is all fine and dandy, but until tonight I hadn’t had any experience with anyone from the sheepfold except through email. I had never even been to the city of Orange. This all could be an awful mistake I was about to make.
I woke up this morning feeling like I had moved too fast. That I had made a decision before the timing was right, before I knew all the facts. My logic set in. My nerves where on edge. I couldn’t believe I had done so much without actually going to see it. I know I had based my decision on the faith that God was going to work it out, but this seemed so rash.
So today I came up here early. I drove around the city for an hour. Praying and asking God to work in my heart. I knew I wasn’t going to get butterfly’s in my stomach, but I needed more than just a good idea to bring me here. As I drove I fell in love with the city. It is so quaint. Simple and older. Lots of huge trees and parks everywhere. Its clean with lots of great shopping centers. Great! So all I needed was to go volunteer for my first night. Here goes nothing.
I walked in. The group therapy that I was going to was held in a church. There where kids everywhere running around. They where having a Birthday celebration for the founder (she was not present. She has dementia and is in a nursing home. She has no knowledge that she started this agency. They still like to honor her.) I went up to the director. Introduced myself and she handed me a tray of food and said “Hi nice to meet you! Your here to work so I am going to put you to work. Sorry we just need help.” Off I went. Doing whatever they needed me to do. I started conversations with the staff. House managers just like me, and they love Jesus and we got to talk about it. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME! It was so refreshing! I told them I was there to have their jobs and they welcomed me with open arms. I got to ask all about how the origination works. It all sounded so incredible. Then I went out and talked to the clients. Everyone I talked to just wanted to tell me how much they love the sheepfold and how much they love Jesus. I didn’t have prompt them for this, they just laid it on me. One women told me without the sheepfold she would be out on the streets and she ended that statement with “Praise Jesus for that!” Yes praise the Lord for that! All these women where filled with such a contagious joy, it was beautiful! Afterward I talked to the director. She told me what the next steps are and how they are going to work with me to see what God does.
As I walked to my car I was overwhelmed. I got in my car and started weeping. As tears of joy spilled down my cheeks I could hardly contain my excitement. I have worked hard, slept little, cried much, sacrificed me, all in hopes of finding what I found tonight. I in no way expected tonight to go like this. I am so hopeful for what God is going to do with this. He has been ever faithful and I know he will provide for me and will lead me down this road.
So here we go. These next few months are going to be rough as I close up my life in Vista and start all over in Orange, but that’s part of the fun. Please be praying for me as I make this move. God is really working in my heart to prepare me, but there is so much to be done and I know with this move will come with its own set of trials.
Orange County or Bust!