Just quit your day job...
Who says you can't quit your job? Who says you can't open that small business? Who says you can't start a revolution? Who says you can't do what you feel the Lord calling you to do? ...if you're like I was, the answer is "me." I said I couldn't do and be all of the things I felt a passion about. The reality is, I couldn't because I wouldn't.
I recently read the quote, "Figure out what you'd give your life for, and you'll know what to give your time to." I remember visiting New Hope Girls and MERCY Workshop in the Dominican Republic for the 1st time in 2015. I remember feeling burdened for the women and girls they serve, and even more for the ones they have not yet reached. I remember being in awe of their fearless leaders, Joy Reyes and Allison Hale. I remember thinking, "Wow! They have done SO much to rescue women and girls from trafficking and abuse. I wish the Lord would choose to use me like this!" But then, when I felt His prodding, I talked myself out of what He was asking me to do. I wanted Him to call me. I just wanted it to be from the comfort of my little and very stable world.
I did try to keep advocating for those ministries when I got home, hoping that would stifle the thought a little. I even joined a local anti-trafficking organization, Phoenix Rising, out of Bowling Green, KY a year or 2 later. It is led by survivor, Azurdee Garland. They are doing some great work in the state of KY, so if you'd like to get involved, you can find more info here. However, I strongly believe the Lord was using that time soaking in all of the experience and details to prepare me for what I am doing now.
I remember finally surrendering to the Lord's call to missions, and then moving to the DR in 2018 to teach 6th grade English at a Christian school, a very worthy ministry. But I remember feeling sad that I couldn't have more of a role in one or both of the ministries that I felt drawn to work in from the beginning. Yet again, the Lord prepared on my heart. While reading Everybody Always, by Bob Goff, I began really questioning the Lord on why He gave me a passion for something that wasn't what I could devote the main part of my time and life to. You know what He said back? "Quit your day job. Stop allowing the stability of a 'job' to keep you from seeking out what I'm really wanting to do in your life. You've already moved 1,600 miles away, why not really leave it all?" (ok, Dad! I hear ya!) I knew right then that I needed to pursue the desires welling up inside of me, and it would indeed mean quitting my day job. I started the 2019/2020 school year telling my administrator that I was going to be leaving the classroom at the end of the year... little did I know that the Lord had a pandemic that would get me out of the classroom a few months earlier than expected!
I also began talking to Joy and Allison about my desire to help in anyway with their ministries. I live in the same city as MERCY Workshop, but New Hope is a 4 hour bus ride from me. Joy immediately let me start by making a weekend trip once a month to visit the girls' home. I get to love on and fellowship with the girls in meaningful ways, and that is ALWAYS worth a four hour trek across the island. Since then, I have also become a brand advocate for their AMAZING bags! (Shop the bags here, and use my name at checkout to help me raise support for DR living!) Allison was gracious enough to allow me to start posting for MERCY on their social media outlets since I needed jobs I could do while still teaching. (You can like us on Facebook here and follow us on Instagram here.) She also allows me to organize our outreach team, a position that enables us to minister to the women still working the streets of San Pedro de Macoris. With all of this, I still get to be a brand advocate for MERCY when I'm in the US!
When the pandemic hit the DR, our outreach team was able to do extra work. This was work that we would not have regularly had access to, and work that I would have never had time for with daily classroom hours. The virtual classroom was hard to manage, but I was so thankful for the extra time with the women and our team. God's sovereignty humbles me daily. I in no way think the pandemic was for me, but I was so grateful that it pushed me head-first into my daily roles with MERCY.
The Lord continues to open doors for me in these ministries and others, and I am in awe of His plan for my life. I cannot believe that just 2 years ago I was living in Auburn, KY, teaching ESL and wishing I could do more with my life. Now, I live on a tropical island, I use Facebook and Instagram to advocate for the vulnerable, I sell jewelry and bags that bring hope and healing, and I get to hang out with some pretty amazing women and girls daily. I used to cry and beg God for the dreams I thought I wanted, and now I cry and thank God for the dreams He wants for me! They're always better than I could ever wish for myself.
So, the next time you find yourself wishing you could help... the next time you hear a story about some issue that captivates your mind... the next time your heart aches to be part of the change... just "quit your day job" and go do it! Who says you can't?
P.S. - I want to apologize to any bosses who find this offensive. If anyone actually quits their job with you, please let me know by subscribing to my email list. I'll put an ad out for the open position in my next blog!