Work Hard. Speak only positive (even when you’re thinking negative). Laugh often. Embrace change. See every day, even the bad ones, as an adventure and opportunity. Do not be easily offended. Have faith in the Lord and in yourself. These are what I believe to be the key secrets to a good journey. And we’re all on a journey….
Do I want to work a second job? No. Not really. I already have a very rewarding full- time, demanding career. I do my part to keep an airline flying safe. I provide root cause analysis and risk mitigation. When I’m not doing that, I’m doing what I love the most. Bringing hope to others. I wrote a book that has opened the door for speaking engagements, and loving on the women I meet at those events who are broken, or just starting their journey. They are not unlike I was just a few short years ago, and I am blessed to be able to share my testimony of redemption and hope. I have a dream in my heart to start a rehab and orphanage facility. I’m believing for big, big things! But I got thrown a curve ball a few months ago when I got the call that the 3 biopsies done on my leg came back as skin cancer. Two basil and one squamous cell and I would have to pay for the surgeries and the biopsies in full until I met my $3k deductible. After those initial 3 findings, two more aggressive squamous cell appeared. I never doubted I’d be fine. The Lord’s got me and got plans for me – so there was no worry or fear of the diagnosis – it was the money. I’m single, just bought a home, just starting to re-build after years of debt, and this would wipe out what little savings I had. Am I proud of that? No. A woman my age should not be in this position financially. But? I know the Lord’s got me. And what I’ve learned about Him? He’s never early, never late, but always right on time….
I thought about consulting with non-aviation businesses to offer my area of expertise. Even threw it out there to a couple people, but the Lord had been whispering “Retail” in my ear for about the last 3 months. Every time He did? I made excuses. “Who will hire me? They’ll say I’m over qualified.” And as I started to get in agreement with the idea, I just wasn’t sure where. On a Saturday I prayed this prayer… “God, I need to build a savings to fall back on. That’s going to require my working a second job for a bit. Show me where. A store? A restaurant? where do YOU want me?” Saturday evening I was at a restaurant with a friend. We started a conversation with our waiter as my friend asked him if he went to church anywhere? He told us his story – no doubt – just for me. Just for confirmation. He is known as “dad” at this restaurant. This is a side job. He owns 3 antique stores, could have retired a long time ago, but he waits tables to be a light to those he works with, and those he waits on. I was touched. And it was confirmation. “Go where the people are Kris…” And on Monday, when I was home from work with my hand that was severely swollen after one of the minor surgeries I needed? I saw it. That divine appointment. A post on FB from a young woman back home – “Need someone in Cincinnati to work part time”. I knew I was to answer. When we spoke she said “I could cry! We’ve been praying for someone we could trust to help us out.” I said “Well I’ve been praying to find something just like this.” Isn’t God good!!
Now folks, I was at a fork in the road. One we all often get to. I had two choices; Complain and be frustrated that I have to work a second job for a bit, OR see this as a blessing and opportunity. I chose the latter. I said a prayer of thanks “Thank you God for providing. I know this isn’t going to be forever, it’s going to be for a season. Thank you for teaching me something during this time and for the divine appointments I’m going to have.” And then? As I dove there last night for my first shift, I got excited as I thought “Who is it I’m supposed to be there for? What divine appointment am I going to have? Who can I show some love to that needs it? Or what if I meet the person who wants to invest in this dream God’s put in my heart?!?” On the way into the mall, as I passed all the stores with the super cute clothes and shoes I chuckled a bit as I said to myself “Funny God! Real funny!” I’ve also been praying for more discipline. I had been so focused on the part time job I wasn’t even considering my surroundings. What was I thinking?!? Oh Lord! This is more than a job – this is going to be a lesson in discipline! Kris, you are here to make and SAVE money, not spend it.”
My first night? I was in the store alone, but I didn’t stress. I knew if God led me to it? He’d give me the ability to get through it. I met a woman my age, on a journey of her own, alone. She said she loved my boots and asked if I thought it would be weird if she took a picture of them so she could try and find them on line? Not only did I say “Sure it’s fine!” I then let her in on the secret that I took a picture of a stranger’s haircut once! I get it!!” And then? I took my boot off and we looked for the brand on the inside. I got the blessing of speaking with another sweet older lady who was buying gifts for her church’s charity auction. We talked about Charleston, SC where her daughter lives and how they don’t get snow there often. I was able to connect when I told her the only time I’d been to Charleston, SC it snowed. They told me it was the first time in 12 years it had snowed! She said she enjoyed the conversation, she’d been a bit lonely. All throughout the evening I heard from customers “This store is so awesome! It’s unique. It’s family owned in a mall?!? I’ll be back! (Without my husband – wink, wink) Nearing the end of my shift, I said in passing, “Yep, God is good” and the lady smiled big and said “Yes He is! You love the Lord too?” I said “I sure do!” They were my last customers, a family, and we stood there and talked the last 15 minutes of my shift. She asked me to pray for her husband who was traveling as they left. I swept, closed the store, shut the doors and as I walked out to my car (after I realized I had walked half the mall in the wrong direction) I felt nothing but just truly blessed! And? I didn’t buy anything! Shift #1 in the books – what a great night!
I’m not sharing this to say anything good about me. I used to be one who complained because misery loves company. I used to begrudge the hard days. I’m a hot mess without Jesus in my heart. But then I found that relationship with the One who created us and things changed. I’m sharing this to encourage, inspire and remind you that life is a sweet, beautiful journey. You can have an underlying foundation of joy and peace in any situation when you have a relationship with the Lord. When you have faith. David was a shepherd and had to fight Goliath before he saw the promise of King. Joseph was thrown in a pit and left for dead before he saved a nation. We all go through things on this journey that aren’t necessarily ideal situations. But the key is to look for the good in each and every day. Wake up expecting and asking for a divine appointment – “God put someone in my path today I can help, or someone who can teach me something.” When you take the focus off of “poor me” and put it on “Who can I help??” that’s when things shift. That’s when you find joy. That’s when you have a heart like Jesus.
Be blessed my friends and embrace your journey!