Alive

Each new week that I’m working with Big Brothers Big Sisters, with each new story of each new family that I hear, it feels less and less like work.

I haven’t shared this story with many, but I do want people to know how I ended up with the job I have now. I worked in the Admissions Office at Wofford last year, and though I loved the people I worked with, and even part of the job description itself, I never really loved it there. I would find myself frustrated to get up and go to work in the morning, annoyed at the work I was doing while there, and then thinking “what did I just do with my day?” when I got home at night. It was really a terrible feeling. So about February I started praying for a job in Spartanburg, working in the non-profit sector, that dealt with low-income children and youth in the community.

As we’ve all done at some point in our lives, when the Lord didn’t appear before me in a bright light, doves flying all around, angels singing “Alleluia!” with the perfect answer on a silver platter…I just gave up. My official job was to end in May, and right before it came time to leave, I was offered a full-time position in the Admissions Office. Well…I didn’t have any other prospects, I didn’t want to be jobless so I was about ready to take the position. The Lord has a sense of humor, though. I got a call a week later from Charlene (now my boss) to tell me that she had a position coming open and would like for me to come in for an interview. She was with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. A non-profit that works with under-served, low-income children and youth in the Spartanburg Area… God? Is that You?

You’d think it would have been an easy decision…but oh me of little faith had a hard time. I was getting married, and it was going to be a serious pay cut (bet most of you didn’t think THAT was possible!), and I’d be without a job for the whole summer, etc. etc. You know, those little thoughts and worries (and whining) that just permeate your whole body and mind. Fortunately, Kyle talked some serious sense into me.

I mean, the Lord had so CLEARLY answer this prayer. No, there were no bright lights, no doves, no Alleluia chorus….and yet, there might as well have been. I accepted the position on faith, was provided with a perfect job working from home for the summer, and could not be happier with my decision.

So now that I’m here, full time, everyday I hear the stories of the children in our program. Some of our kids live in homes without their own bed, or without furniture at all. Mostly single-parent homes. Some have parents who are incarcerated. Some of them are in and out of foster care. Some have been sexually or physically abused. Some children are living with other family members because their parents can’t afford them. Some of them have seen more in their young age than most of us will see in a lifetime. Many of their families live on less than $10,000 a year.

Sounds depressing, right? While it is sad to see so many desperate situations, it is refreshing to see volunteers come in who want to give their time and energy to support one child. It’s hopeful to hear how much better a “little” is doing once they have been matched with their “big.” And its a blessing to get to witness changes and successes in their lives on a daily basis.

And for the first time in awhile…I feel alive.

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One thought on “Alive

  1. makes my heart warm. and i am so thankful kristen, seriously, that god has allowed us to be friends (encouraged you to ask me about the VISTA position) and learn from/encourage each other/ just in the little time we have been together! you and kyle are such a blessing to me and i LOVE getting to spend my week with you and talking about how we are going to change the world through the love of christ from bolivia, to nica, then back to spartanburg. you are awesome : )

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