#202

 

Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography

So, I became a young single mother and have raised my almost 11-year-old son alone, since he was about four months old. I went back to finish my master’s degree that I had started in Kenya years back. I got support from my family and I went back to church. However, I still felt like a failure. I felt like I had failed God, my family, and myself. None of my relationships worked because I brought a lot of trauma that I had not dealt with into them. I thought my career would make me feel better. I did have a relationship with God, but I focused more on work than letting God work in me to heal me. I got very good jobs that were well-paying and was able to take care of my bills and my son, but I still felt empty.

 

After finally graduating with my master’s degree in Kenya, I enrolled for a PhD course in Public Health. My sister wanted me to come back to the US, but I didn’t want to leave because my career was going so well. I told my sister, “I’m not coming as a student. I will only come if I get a green card so that I can work.” I applied mostly not to disappoint her. I knew chances of me getting it were slim, but on my seventh try, my application was successful! I still did not want to leave Kenya, but people I trusted told me this was the second time God had opened a door for me to go to the US, and I should ask myself why God opened the same door twice. They advised me to walk through the open door by faith.

 

I resigned from my job and came to the US with my little boy, a plane ticket, a $50 bill and two suitcases. I was very afraid. I cried all the way in the plane and kept telling God I hope I made the right decision. I had worked so hard to get to where I was career-wise, but left all that (my well-paying job, my friends, my relationship, my consultancy firm, my PhD, family, church). I left everything to come to the US and start over.

 

I thought it would be easy to jump back to my career. I knew there were a lot more opportunities for me to advance my career in the US and to make my life better than back home. What I did not know was that it would take years. It took me a year to get my transcripts sent from my former college in Kenya to the Board of Social Work in Kentucky, so I could get certified as a social worker. It also took much time and moneyfor me to get my transcripts accredited. By the time I finally got certified, available jobopportunities were for people who had prior experience working in the US and/or had a master’s in social work. My master’s was in medical sociology, so the only option I had was to use my high school certificate to get a job.

 

So, I started working at Amazon. I went from an office job to standing 10 hours a day. All the money was going to daycare and rent. I could barely pay my bills, and I got frequent eviction notices. When I put my son to sleep, I would cry to God, “Just take me. Why did you bring me here?” I was in this job close to a year until I finally got a job at the state psychiatric hospital as a mental health associate. I led groups and also provided direct care. It was tough. Patients wanted to fight, but I still had a heart to work with people with mental illness. I did this for two and half years.

 

After I got the job at the state hospital, I got accepted into the university. I tried to continue my PhD in public health, but I had to start at post baccalaureate, then four semesters of a master’s program before being accepted into the doctorate program. But social work was still my passion. When I was near completion of my doctorate, I still felt empty and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I also faced many challenges in the program. My professor-mentor prayed a lot and felt his work was to shepherd students. He realized that public health wasn’t my passion and was probably not a good fit for me so he prayed with me. I believe that was God’s favor. My professor said, “Why don’t you transfer and get a PhD in social work. If you push yourself, you can finish your PhD in three years.” God brought me back to His original plan I believe. I had already practiced in the field of social work and I had a desire to work with vulnerable populations. I hope to defend my final project in August and graduate in December. God gave me the grace to work and do my best in school. People would say, “How did you do that?” Even I don’t understand. It was definitely God’s grace.

 

Lately God has been dealing with the inside of me, releasing me from the trauma of my childhood. I have been praying about it and letting it go. I feel like I am experiencing healing in this area. God is my counselor. I breakdown and cry, and He leads me to Scripture.

 

I look back and see God’s hand working behind the scenes. In the past, He seemed far away and I felt like He had forgotten me, but He was always there. Looking back, I have come this far because of His grace. Every day he provides healing and delivery from my past trauma. I am still a work in progress, but I have come a long way. I am amazed at God’s unconditional love. He loves us as we are and though at times we see ‘broken,’ He sees ‘precious.’ In His due time, He will elevate us. Our lives are in His hands, and He has good plans for us. We may not understand the mountains and valleys that we go through, but His love will keep us. He will always be our victory. He will embrace us in our trying moments and give us the grace to sing even in our most painful times. His love sustained me, and I know He embraced me when I felt broken and lost. He embraced me when I was giving up on life. He did it for me, and He will do it for whoever might be going through a similar experience and is feeling lost or forgotten. The Lord surely does give beauty for ashes. He is able to fix our brokenness into a precious vessel — a work of art — that is so valuable. He is able to bring out the best from even the most painful moments.

 

Jeremiah 29:11–14 (NIV) speaks hope to me because I know that in every season, whether good or bad, God has a good plan for us. He is a God who restores and brings us back to His purpose when we deviate from His plan. He loves us unconditionally and never gives up on us. At times we may not understand the pain that we go through, but He is still God, a good God who has good plans. Whatever the season, it does not change who God is!

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11–14 (NIV)

 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

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