“Every new beginning is some other beginnings end…”
August of 1989 was the beginning of my 34-year career in Aviation. I started slinging boxes in the sort building at ABX. That was back in the day when there was still a strong work ethic, people had pride in their work, and getting a job was a competitive process. People wanted to work at ABX Air in Wilmington, more people than they had openings for. With two small boys at home, and an associate degree in Executive Secretarial, I had to start in the sort and then possibly one day bid into the office environment. Those were some cold nights out on that ramp back in that Winter of 1989… I was in the sort 6 months and then I bid on, and was awarded, the job in the Records Department as a clerk. That was the start of my career in Aviation. Since that start in 1989, I have held positions as a Records Auditor, Quality Auditor with DPJ where I got to travel to many states and have an office part time in Kinston, North Carolina, Safety and Compliance Manager, Technical Services Manager and my latest role was Customer Service Manager. Aviation has truly afforded me many opportunities.
Now mind you in 1989 I was a single mother of 2 small boys who received assistance with her rent and babysitting while working in the sort for $9.00 hour (but only 20 hours per week). Taking the job in the Records Dept. (at a whopping $5.35 an hour) for 40 hours a week caused me to make $30 too much per month and I lost any and all help. I made $30.00 more a month, but I lost at least $500 in assistance. In that moment I understood the need for welfare reform. It should be a “hand up” to those working and trying – not a “hand out”. If I had not been raised with a strong work ethic and a deep internal desire to better myself – I would have stayed where I was. It is made too easy to stay, and too hard to climb out.
I was at ABX until 2008 when everything fell apart with the merger. During my 24 years there I advanced and grew from one position to the next. It seemed I had found my “niche” but yet, something always seemed to be missing… I would get easily bored and found myself enjoying those moments I got to participate in an event that helped the employees. Serving on the Employee boards, hosting benefits, participating in the “Corporate Cup”, writing newsletter articles. While the rest of my world was often out of control, my career was one thing I could control and excel at. I didn’t consciously realize it then, but it had become my “safe place”. I now understand why people lose themselves in their work for their mental health. At that time I was a believer, but I didn’t understand who I was in Christ. At least not yet.… After ABX it was Delta Private Jets, then StandardAero, then Delta Private Jets again, and lastly – Standard Aero. Those moves were never scary to me, or a true leap of Faith, because they were always a step up to a bigger paycheck and benefits.
The lessons I have learned in the last 34 years have been numerous. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to be obedient to God’s calling. When He says move, you step out in Faith. And He started calling me to move…
I loved Psychology in high school and college – I believe God was trying to nudge me then, but I ignored it. During my Aviation years I would often feel I needed to put the Peanuts Lucy sign up “The Doctor is in”, as I was blessed to be able to listen and try to encourage those who stopped by my desk to share their heartache, pain, excitement, joy and latest news. When Tom and I got married and I moved to Hillsboro I started “Faith-based Life Coaching” part time. I so enjoyed the few clients I had, watching them grow and discover who they were designed to be. And then one of those “God moments” happened. I thought I was going up town to support a dear friend at a sex-trafficking event, but it ended up being the day I met someone who watered a seed that had been planted. She shared with me how I could become a Qualified Behavioral Health Specialist with REACH for Tomorrow. (One of those “divine interventions”) As she shared that with me, I quickly recalled “That’s the second time I’ve heard of REACH. Someone else I know was working there and handed me a flyer a few months ago.” It definitely caught my attention. And then COVID hit. During those winter months of isolation, I started taking classes through STARR Commonwealth to obtain a “Certified Trauma and Resilience Practitioner” certification. The more I learned, the more I was intrigued. In July of 2022 I made the decision to go through the training to become a Qualified Behavioral Health Specialist with REACH for Tomorrow. My goal was just to see a couple of clients a week to confirm this was the direction I wanted to go and then go full time late 2023 or early 2024. But my client list grew rapidly, and I could feel the Lord telling me “It’s time to go.” So, without hesitation, in the middle of a recession (what?!?), I typed up my resignation notice in September advising my current employer that December 30th – today – would be my last day. And today I walked out the door in a HUGE step of Faith leaving a 34-year career full of knowledge to step into something new and unknown. I am taking a very significant pay cut, in addition I have to now fund my own health insurance as an independent contractor, and while my client list grew, it’s not to the level I need it to be. But it wouldn’t be a step of Faith if that was not the case, would it? I recall a preacher I once heard say that we need to dream so big that the ONLY way we succeed is if God’s in it and gets all the glory. That’s where I’m at. I’m believing God’s hand to be in this and on me. I’m dreaming of young children who learn to fight the battles that have been handed them, and helping women break out of the mental prison that holds them captive.
This generation is suffering from anxiety and depression at an all-time high. There are days I feel like I’m fighting Satan’s fires with a squirt gun. But then there are days I look into the eyes of a child who needs hope to keep moving forward, a child who lights up when they see me because they know I truly care and want them to succeed. God loves these little ones – and I’ve been given the privilege to be His hands and feet and help to guide them on their journey.
I sat at a table with some fellow employees today and one of them has a grandson who is battling cancer. He said to me, “Kris, it would not have mattered if I had all the money in the world, it wouldn’t have saved my grandson. There was nothing I could do. I felt utterly helpless. And the baby that the surgeon said would most likely not make it through the surgery, did. ALL because of the power of prayer. In those moments, that’s all we had. But it was the only thing that mattered.” I couldn’t stop thinking about that today…. how often we pursue money and status that can’t do anything for us when we need a miracle working Savior.
It also didn’t go unnoticed that as I walked out the doors for the last time as an Aviation employee, I went straight to a funeral of a dear family member. A woman who lost her battle way too young at 60 years old. As I sat there the cousin sitting beside me said, “She lived a rich life” – and I knew exactly what she meant. Rich in blessings from loving Jesus, her family and her friends. The kind of “rich” I hope to be when I take my last breath and the legacy I hope to leave.
Pray for me friends. Pray for growth in knowledge and wisdom and ears to hear as I walk beside my clients on this journey.
All my best –
Your blogs are always uplifting and right on point ! ❤️
Thank you Deb! Hoping to have more time to write as well now that I’ve switched careers.
Proud of you, Kris. Keep walking through those doors.
Thank you Cathy! Appreciate all of your support!
I wish the best for you Kris, in such a worthy calling.
Thank you Susan!