As I sat on the edge of the pier, watching the soft waves lap against the sturdy wooden posts holding me up, I took a deep breath.
When I started working at Chick-Fil-A almost a year ago, I was frustrated. “I have a college degree! This wasn’t the plan!” were words I uttered to my therapist every Monday afternoon for months. After particularly difficult days at work I would either come into her office in a bundle of tears, or tell her, “I almost walked out today! I was so close!!!!” And each time she would smile at me and say- “but you didn’t.” There were counteless times over the past year where I would start applying for a dozen different jobs, determined to find “something better.” I was even offered a position at a Children’s home back in February. God wouldn’t release me from Chick-Fil-A though. He told me to stay until further notice..I couldn’t in good conscience walk away. In the deepest portions of my heart, God would tenderly remind me, “My time, not yours.” As the weeks wore on I was promoted into a leadership position. I laughed when this happened. I felt like God and I were on totally different pages. I have no grounds to claim He is unfaithful though, so I accepted the new position, immersing myself deeper into Chick-Fil-A, and wondering in the back of my mind if the Lord was going to keep me there forever. Some shifts ended in hugs and “see you tomorrow’s!” while some shifts ended with me swearing under my breath. I grew to adore my co-workers though. They had become family. I was myself at work. I never had to pretend. And my quirkiness was embraced. Being in leadership taught me a lot.
I learned that the best kind of leader serves. They won’t ask you to do something they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.
I learned that a strong leader is willing to accept they don’t have all the answers, but are furthermore willing to go to whatever lengths to get the answers needed.
I learned that a respected leader first respects the ones that they are leading.
Being in leadership was a gift. It showed me that others saw potential in me, which in turn made me believe in myself. It pushed me to grow and challenge myself.
I learned that leadership is less about being in charge and more about bringing people together for a common purpose.
Yes, some days I kicked the dirt and cursed the sky. And then some days I texted my co-workers and told them I loved and appreciated them. I was exactly where I was supposed to be. God knew that. He planned that. Then one afternoon I checked my phone and noticed the voicemail notification lit up. After listening, not once, but three times, to make sure I heard correctly, I realized I had just been invited to come in for an interview at the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services. My immediate action to follow was prayer.
“God, if this is for me, THANK YOU! But if it isn’t, close this door right away.”
The month and a half to follow included constant prayer, an interview that went exceptionally well, a drug test that I didn’t have to sweat over, and an overload of peace and assurance that the Lord’s will would be done. One day after my shift at Chick-Fil-A I was driving home wondering what my fate would be with the job, and I heard God whisper into my heart, “Amy I want this for you.” And that was enough for me. I knew the job would come. I had God-inspired confidence. Mississippi just needed to realize that God had already hired me. And then they did. That email came. THAT EMAIL which was a confirmation of what God had told me. I was offered the position as Child and Family Protection Specialist for Hinds County, MS.
So now change is in the air. After 11 months employed at Chick-Fil-A-a job that I can confidently say changed me, enhanced my life, and taught me more than I ever expected. Biggest lesson being that I am capable.
So as I enter this new field as a social worker, I know that God had this all planned out. Today as I sat on the pier reflecting on all the goodness He has brought into my life I heard Him say, “This place. This time. My design.” Obedience kept me at Chick-Fil-A, and obedience led me into His perfect plan.
I look back on when I got my Mississippi drivers license almost exactly a year ago. I wanted to cling to Nashville. Oh how I wanted to ignore all the signs pointing me to stay put. So Jesus told me to go establish permanence. Permanence scares me. Commitment scares me. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that growth is impossible without facing some fears and being willing to get uncomfortable. In fact, discomfort might, at times, be the best gift I’m given.
I’ve spent the weekend in Pensacola, Florida. Just me and Jesus. Unplugged from the world, what a sweet time we have shared together. I feel like I can breathe again. The last three weeks or so have been non-stop for me, so taking this time to slow down and catch my breath and my time have been paramount.
On Tuesday, October 1st I begin life as a social worker. A career I’ve dreamed of since high school is becoming a reality for me-and I don’t find it a coincidence whatsoever that this same week on October 3rd I will celebrate 18 months of sobriety. That’s 1.5 years choosing my health over my fears, one day at a time. Hard work is ahead of me, and I don’t know if I would have been ready for it any sooner. God has been preparing me and shaping me all along the way. I’m sure I’ll be entering into a minfield of new lessons to learn and maybe old lessons to be reminded of- but as I enter this new season, I hear God whisper yet again, “This place. This time. My design.”
I watched the sun rise over the Florida waters yesterday morning while rays of light reflected off of the gentle waves. And I felt a tug. A nudge. And then a sense of assurance. As the water reflected the rising sun, God is going to use me to reflect Him in the work place. “Amy, I’m calling you to rise up and be a fire.” Me, Lord? “Yes, you.”
“This place. This time. My design.”
I may not know what being that fire is going to look like yet, and it’s intimidating. But I do know that the passions the Lord gives me are not in vain. Y’all obedience is worth it. God is taking me farther than my feet could ever wander.
Isaiah 26:8- “Yes, Lord- walking in the way of your truth we eagerly wait for you. For your name and renown are the desires of our souls.”