Updated: Jul 29, 2019
Last summer, I started at Wings of Refuge as a volunteer, which quickly led to a part-time position. At first this made me extremely nervous, these women have experienced extreme trauma and deserve the best care. Even though I felt completely inadequate, God was leading me out of my comfort zone and placing me into an area where He knew I would succeed.
If you would have told me several years ago when I was making big plans for my life that one day I would be providing care for survivors of sex trafficking, I would have thought there is no way I could ever do that. I’ll be honest about the doubt I had within myself; I wondered if this was where God wanted me to be.
As a young teenage girl my only dream was to play college softball. I was good at it and confident in my abilities but then I hit a slump. To say I went through a rough season would be an understatement. The dream of playing softball at a large college seemed to be slowly slipping through my fingers. I played at a junior college but even then, things weren’t falling into place like I thought they would.
When I was in junior college I developed a passion for nutrition. However, it wasn’t from the perspective that traditional colleges were teaching from. I looked at dietetic programs trying to find one that went with what my heart was telling me and nothing seemed to fit. I went through a three year season where I felt like I was constantly crying out, “Lord, why isn’t anything working?” That is when I took a giant leap faith and enrolled in a Holistic Nutrition School. The reactions I got from people around me was less than supportive, to the point where I even questioned my decision. Unfortunately, even after completion of the program, things were not turning out the way I thought they would.
I felt directionless. Everything I did to fulfill my dreams was falling apart. It was then that I went to my knees and began to pray for God to lead me to where He wanted me. I prayed for Him to break my heart for what broke His.
Then I found Wings, or maybe, Wings found me and suddenly things fell into place.
Don’t get me wrong, I still question the Lord from time to time thinking, “Lord, I don’t think I’m ready. I don’t think I have what it takes to serve these women. I’m not cut out for this.” In these moments, He speaks to me from Exodus 14 when He called the Israelites out of hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt;
“The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt “Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’ 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I asked these same questions, “Lord, what have you done by bringing me out of all I know? This isn’t what I planned. I have no idea what I am doing! Why couldn’t I have just gone to college like everyone else, get a regular job, and have a life like everyone else?”
But that’s just it, I realized after hitting every dead end that my life, as a child of God - it wasn’t supposed to look like everyone else’s. Sometimes our lives don’t look like they are heading in the direction we thought they would… it feels like we are wandering aimlessly in the wilderness completely lost. If we trust in his hand and seek Him each and every time, He will guide us to the land He intended and dreamt for us. When I look back on those years of pain and feeling like a failure, I now see the beauty of His work in my life.
Today, I am a full-time coach providing direct care for our participants. I also help teach the women about nutrition and how to take care of their ‘whole’ self. As I look back over the messy past five years of my life, the pain and disappointment have become this beautiful painting that he was preparing for me all along.
Are you finding yourself in a situation where things aren’t working the way you thought they would? Then hang on to the hand of Jesus, my friend, because He is faithful and is leading you to who He created you to be.
by Josie Heesch
Wings of Refuge Direct Care Coach