God has a way of bringing encouragement at just the right time.
A few years back, I made the decision to quit my dream job and take a less demanding position in order to spend more time with my family, especially my daughter. Born with multiple disabilities, Alexa requires a great deal of care and attention, something that was not possible with where I was working at the time.
Shortly after making this decision, I was introduced to Jennie Allen when my couples small group did her Restless Bible study. Jennie’s words came at the perfect moment. They rocked my world, changed my heart and had me shedding many tears. Through this study I learned my greatest passions in life come from my hardest sufferings. My eyes were open to the heart I have for speaking up for those who are not able to do so on their own. Everything in me wanted to bring some sort of joy and assistance to families just like my own who were caring for loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Even after the change in employment, I continued to feel God put on my heart the desire to give more time to my family. In my head I was thinking, “I just changed jobs and am giving more time. Isn’t that enough, God?” In my mind, I felt I would always work. After all, we had financial goals and dreams we were pursuing. Even in high school, when I met with guidance counselors about potential majors in college, I asked them what would make me the most money and guarantee success. I thought filling myself with all the worldly things would bring happiness and satisfy me.
Fast forward a couple years later. I had given birth to my second child. We were so excited but at the same time nervous that, with another child, less time and attention would be given to Alexa. My husband and I prayed for the Lord’s guidance and clarity about our next steps of faith. A lot of events were signaling that I needed to stay home, but we didn’t have the answers on how we could make this happen financially.
Due to this uncertainty, the plan was for me to go back to work after having our second child. The weekend before I was supposed to return to work, my husband received a promotion. We looked at each other with disbelief. God was paving the path to where He wanted us. He was showing us who ultimately is in control of our lives and who served as our true provider. Yet, I still had questions and doubts – so I returned to my job.
The Friday of my first week back to work, I attended Wilmington’s first IF:Gathering event. I was excited to see what I would get from this event. My friend Shannon warned me that crazy things happen from these events. Boy, was she right. During one of the sessions, Lauren Chandler spoke about the story of the Samaritan women found in John 4. It was then that it finally hit me. I was filling my jar with financial security, a big house and nice things only to find out that they are just temporary things that we can’t take with us when we die. In John 4:13 it says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I gave him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I realized that for far too long I had been thirsty for more, but I was trying to quench my thirst with the wrong water. I left all those things at the feet of Jesus that day and exchanged them for the ultimate fulfillment that is found only in knowing Him and what He has called me to do here on earth.
Needless to say I had confirmed what I needed to do regarding my family and my job that weekend. I wrote on my red domino (an element that took place during IF:Gathering) that my next step of faith was to quit my job and surrender to the Lord. And that is what I did. I learned at IF:Gathering that “the call of discipleship will cost you everything.” I had to let go of some of the rights I thought I was owed in order to serve out the purpose I was here for. God continues to show us that He will be our provider as we continue to put our trust and faith in Him.
Story written by Katarzyna Villarreal
The IF:Gathering exists to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose. The local expression, IF:Wilmington, is a great place to come together with women in your city across generations, denominations, races and cultures to learn from each other and hear from God.
On February 3rd and 4th, women across the globe and in our city will gather to learn how they can live out our faith in simple and pure ways. To register for IF:Wilmi gton or for more information, please visit https://register.ifgathering.com/event/ifwilmington.