The facets of being the program director of a housing program are many. I wear many different hats every day. While I keep my planner handy to remind myself of all the appointments and meetings I have scheduled each day and each week, I never really know what each day will hold. Sometimes the planner falls to the wayside and appointments get rescheduled to put on a different hat to meet the needs of others.
Sometimes I stop to pray with a resident who is struggling and needs hope instilled and confidence to put the next foot forward. Sometimes it’s a clogged toilet or a burnt-out light that needs attention. Sometimes it’s a staff member who needs a safe place to vent and process. And sometimes, the rescheduled meeting or appointment results from my own personal needs.
“Pull It Together”
I have always been intentional to compartmentalize my personal and work life. As a teacher, I had to “pull it together” to teach a room full of Kindergarteners daily. They were counting on me to be present and effective. As the program director, I often “pull it together” to lead campuses full of residents and staff as they need the same. But leading isn’t about always putting the smile on and pretending life is only sunshine and rainbows. (I have 8 children I share with my husband….. challenges and struggles are often just a phone call away).
“Pulling it together” can be very misleading to others….. and at times, a stumbling block in their own faith as they might perceive that my life doesn’t have valleys, only mountaintops. Those who know me and know me well, know that my life is chock full of valleys- kids, divorce, custody battles, health issues, and burst pipes to just name a few.
I have made it through what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles. I’d love to say that I was always David, running at the giant with no fear. Many times, it was a weak effort of walking slowly towards it, crouched and watchful, shrinking with insecurity and doubts of the effectiveness of my efforts.
I still don’t always run at the giant without some fear initially. However, I don’t stay there too long. I let go of me and put on my armor. I shout the name of the Lord, I get on my knees, and I seek the One who provides all that I need – comfort, protection, provision, grace, mercy, wisdom, and love.
You may be thinking at this point “what does this have to do with Crazy8”? “How is this relevant”?
When I struggle, I am struggling well. That’s how we lead in moments. Not by compartmentalizing our life. Not by having all the right things to say at all the right moments. Not by having absolute knowledge and wisdom. It’s by allowing others to see you struggle well. It isn’t that I don’t fall down….. I just surrender and allow Him to repeatedly pick me up by His righteous right hand. It is in the connecting of the dots and the Lord working all things for good that I have gained wisdom and knowledge and compassion. It’s in the surrender that I have found freedom from strongholds, accomplished goals, and have learned to struggle well.
As led, I share my own testimony with our residents, but I often invite others to share their testimonies with our residents. I NEED our residents to see others who have struggled well or are in the midst of struggling well….. those who have experienced addiction, abuse, incarceration, homelessness, illness, and many other “insurmountable” valleys. I NEED them to see and hear the glory of the Lord and what faith in action looks like. It isn’t just the mountaintops they need to see to instill motivation and hope but what transpires in the valleys. They NEED to hear how the Lord moved for them, in them, around them, and now through them. They NEED to know it’s ok to struggle well.
Some of the residents who enter our program are not saved. What drove them to our program isn’t always because we are a Christian ministry but because they were homeless and hopeless and needed a safe place to live. Success in our program isn’t how many boxes they check off during their stay. Their “success” comes from the changes that occur as they experience the love of Christ. They learn to press in rather than pull out. In essence, we point to Christ—the One who walks alongside us as we struggle and shows us how to struggle well.
We are always looking for counselors and volunteers who have a heart for serving those who are struggling. Do you have a testimony that would benefit others to hear? Have you wanted a place to serve others, even amid you struggling well? Drop me an email and let’s chat. The Kingdom needs you!