A Transformed Life

Posted on Oct 11, 2010 in News, Testimonials |

Here is a testimony from a graduate of one of The Get Together’s Partner Ministries:

I came to the WorkFaith Connection as part of my Career Development requirement at The Bonita House of Hope. I had just spent an entire year in intensive residential treatment for drugs and alcohol, and another two months in Personal Development.  I don’t know if anybody knew this, but I did not want to come to another workshop.  I didn’t want to hear anything or sit in another class.  I just wanted to get out there and get a job.
But as God would have it, I was going to have to do things His way. So I sat in the classroom as part of Class 39, the last class of 2008. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the year. As I journeyed those eight days with my instructors, it became clearer to me that having a job was more than just getting up everyday and going to work. It was about being blessed by God with a purposeful task of building His kingdom, and that meaningful employment was an opportunity to bless others with my gifts and talents. Then they asked me what were my gifts and talents? After ten years of destructive behavior and negative decisions, I hardly knew. But every time I entered those doors, someone was there to remind me of one more good thing about myself. It was as if God Himself had strategically placed these people in my path to remind me of who it was He’d created me to be. I remember telling Ms. Deborah Howard, “If I seem to be overwhelmed by all of this love, it’s because I am. I hardly ever know how to respond because it’s so much!”
There’s something transforming about being surrounded by people who genuinely love you and want to see you succeed. After being told my entire life that I would never be anybody and that I would never amount to anything, here was this group of people who saw something in me that made them believe I could be a success. It made me want to see it in myself; suddenly, I wanted so much to see in myself whatever it was that they saw in me. But the biggest blessing I received from those eight days was being given the freedom to tell the truth about myself in an interview, without fear of judgment or condemnation. I never went to prison, but not because I didn’t do anything to get me there, only because I isolated myself well enough to never get caught. I always joke that God knew that He couldn’t send me to prison because I was such a cry-baby. For so long I hid behind exaggerations and embellishments on my resumes and applications, because I did not know how to explain the gaps in my employment history; why I couldn’t keep a job for more than three months at a time. I felt the shame of my past overshadowing me, choking the life out of every interview. Having received the words and instructions to go forth in confidence knowing that God’s plans for me are good plans; plans to prosper me, to give me a future and a hope— that in itself was the most fulfilling gift I have ever received. It was the most overwhelming sense of relief, and I just knew that my best days were ahead of me.
Since then I have been employed for a year and a half (I know right? At the same job! Isn’t God awesome?), and I love my job. I get to use those gifts and talents with which God has blessed me to bless others. Being financially stable has allowed me to be a better mother to my two children, in being able to provide our basic needs without having to borrow from friends and family members and most recently, to get off welfare. With the introduction of the THRIVE program, I have been able to work with my financial coach to establish a savings account, and work towards my goals of returning to school to complete my Undergraduate studies in the Fall of 2011. To this end, I was able to consolidate my student loans, and even pay one off with my 2009 Tax return. My credit score has improved and I also secured a loan to purchase my first vehicle (now I need to learn how to drive!). But the best part in all of this is the way I can see how God has restored me to Himself through the work of all of those at the WorkFaith Connection, and their endless love for me and those just like me. When I walked through those doors in 2008, I felt loveless and alone in the world. My entire family lives in another country, so I didn’t have anywhere really to call home. Not only did I get an impressive resume and extensive practice in interviewing techniques, I received a family. I found, in Sandy, the heart of a mother, I had my lovely aunts Pat and Deborah, my father, David, my big sisters Freda  and Jean and my big brother Scott (who also has a head as big as mine!). It was clear to me that God had surrounded my life with people to love me and care for me, to prepare me for His Kingdom Building work. I could now choose for myself the kind of life I wanted to live—a life enslaved to drugs, alcohol and negativity, or the freedom to walk in boldness, surrounded by the love of Christ. My options have never been clearer.
Being given the Gift of God in Christ, along with the Gift of Work has transformed my life in ways even I have a hard time putting into words. But I can say this; that my story is only one of almost 1000 just like it. And that is just the beginning. To those of you who make this vision possible, I would like to say thank you, not just on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the hundreds of families that are being restored, lives that are being changed, children who are being taken care of and who get to reap the benefits of seeing their parents get up everyday and go to work with a sense of pride and dignity. Your kindness will ripple through the ages, affecting the lives of millions. It is a blessing to have, in our community, a small group of people who demonstrate the love of God so intimately and profoundly.
God bless.
Dream big, be bold, love hard. 2010
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