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People kept saying “It’ll get better,” “You’ll get through this,” “I’ve been there,” “Just hang in there,” “God has a plan,” blah blah blah. What I didn’t know at the time when I was at my lowest low was that they were actually telling me the truth. When I heard their stories, I still didn’t think they were was as bad as mine, because MY story was happening to ME!! Therefore, that made it worse!!

My closest group of friends that saw and felt my pain with me daily, along with my faith, kept my head above water.  Barely.  Some days I fought as hard as I could to stay afloat. Then some days I caved and had pity parties and stayed in bed.  I could not physically or mentally get out of bed to face the day. There were times I wanted to just completely have a total breakdown. However, I had to keep my family together with a roof over our heads and food on the table. There was no time to have a meltdown when in survival mode.

So, let’s back up many years ago. I was the lady who had a very blessed life with a husband who afforded me with beautiful jewelry, nice cars, boats, designer clothes, frequent trips, etc. After almost 30 years of being together, and the last six being his sole caregiver with many illnesses including cancer, I lost him.

That also meant I lost “us,” which was half me.

Things were suddenly different; it was just me and my girls who needed me to be me again. So, I put on my lipstick and smiled, and made it through some very lonely days. I tried to be there for my girls, when in reality, they were there for me.  They were the very people who kept me going.

I knew life would be different without my soul mate, but never in a million years did I dream how different! We were a family that always helped others in need. We never thought twice about helping in so many ways and on so many occasions…. not just because we could, but because we truly wanted to. We knew we were blessed.  We were always “happy to help.”

You don’t know the impact of giving until you have had to humbly be on the receiving end of it.

After my husband passed away, I learned a lot about “family that steals from their father” and “wills” and “everything has to be in writing or people get amnesia” and “bad investments with good friends” that, then become “not” good friends.

I decided that I needed to focus on my teenagers because so much of my time and energy had been focused on my ailing husband. I was able to do that for a few years until they got out of school. I thought then I’d just go back to work and life would be fine. I would just find my new normal and that would happen on my time frame. WRONG!

I began having serious health issues with blood pressure, back, knee, and hip pain. My years of taking care of others had finally taken its toll on me. When I needed my body most, it fell apart.

What little bit of money and dignity I had left were fading with medical bills and no insurance.  I had only been able to work part time because that’s all I could handle physically.

By this time, I had lost most of my assets other than my jewelry that my husband bought which had so many memories. But I did what had to be done and began selling it off to pay for medical procedures. I had to get my health back to be able to work.  Again, thinking this would happen in my time-frame, when I wanted it to happen.

Wrong again. The days dragged on forever. I was in so much pain; I couldn’t do much to help myself, let alone help my family.  Nights were the worst, lying awake, worrying about what to do.  My faith was spreading even thinner.  I had my doubts… lots of them.

Like I said earlier, if it wasn’t for my friends who helped me emotionally, financially, physically, and most importantly, spiritually, I believe I would have followed through with what I thought would have been the best way “out.”

But remember, you can’t fall apart when you’re trying to survive; you just simply don’t have time. So, after I lost my home, my girls and I moved into a small rental house that we were thankful to get.

As one of my last resorts, I took a loan out on my car so I could “get by” until my medical condition improved enough to go to work, which I thought would be “any day now.”

Wrong again, I lost my car.  So how, when I found that job, would I have a way to get there? I realized that although I have been a go-getter all of my life, owning companies and working in the corporate world, I suddenly felt beaten professionally.  I hadn’t really worked a real job in over 10 years… things had changed drastically. And I mean drastically!!

So, any self-confidence I may have had went right out the window, along with my faith. My friends kept saying “God has a plan” and “It’s in his time.” Well, I needed it to be in my time.

So, I went and paid too much for an older car simply because they would finance it for me, even with my horrible credit that had once been over 800.  I was working odd “jobs” that barely kept a roof over our heads. From painting to cleaning to packing boxes, you name it, I would make myself do it with the help of my girls. Between the three of us we hung in…. barely.

Thank God for real friends who you don’t have to say anything to or ask for help… they just know when a Kroger or a gas card is just what you need.

Then, one day a friend said, “You have tried everything on your own. You have done everything you can possibly do, and this dark cloud just won’t seem to go away.” Another friend had told her about the great experience and results she had by going to Encompass Ministries for help. They would also help me find real employment.

So, I went, reluctantly. Although feeling completely  defeated, I knew I had to try; I would do anything to get back on my feet.

Thankfully, at Encompass Ministries, I found my Faith… As in, Faith Moody, the advocate and training coach.  Faith took me under her wing as we worked together through a variety of employment classes. During this time, she helped me develop a new and improved version of my resume, about how to apply for jobs online, how to explain my time out of the workplace, etc., etc.

My “new” Faith helped me regain my lost faith as we cried together, prayed together, and worked on strategies to help me find my new, very needed, career path.  I still wanted to help others, most specifically our seniors. I just needed to get paid for it this time. After several weeks with my “new Faith,” my constant cheerleader, I realized once again that the job was not happening in my time-frame. My new Faith, however, kept telling me to hang onto my old faith and that she knew in her heart something good was going to happen for me. I just thought she was telling me that to make me feel better.

Well faith worked. I was finally feeling somewhat better physically, and a lot better emotionally and spiritually with all of the support.  Things were looking up. Both of my Faiths kept me going.

Then along came COVID. The world shut down. People in the Senior Services industry which is where I was seeking employment, immediately stopped hiring.  But I never lost sight of the days that Faith and I sat in her office and worked on my old seven page resume that she made me get down to one page. It was like pulling teeth. She wanted me to delete everything that I thought was what made me who I am.

However, I knew that she had to know best. I followed her advice, very doubtfully some days, but I could not help but remember that day I came in her door after losing faith, and God giving me her, a “new Faith.” He has a sense of humor like that.

Like most of the country, I survived the COVID epidemic hanging on by a thread. I actually got COVID and was sick for 3 weeks. A year later I still cannot taste or smell fully. Least of my worries, right?

And then as I began to start my search again for the right job, all I could think about was Faith and the many things she taught me… not only about the job market, but also about myself.

I used her advice and dug in deep, searching connections on LinkedIn. It was now God’s time for me to shine. Through a friend of a friend, a connection was made that landed a phone call with a company I had been praying about for over a year.

A Thursday phone call turned into an interview the next Tuesday, that turned into an incredible job offer as a director with a salary far more than I had hoped and prayed for.

Now here is the kicker… it was in God’s time… not mine.

Without the help from Encompass Ministries and my new friend “Faith,” I assure you that I would not have the great position I now have today.  I used so many of her “tips & tricks” as I continued to enhance my resume and prepare for the multiple interviews I had with this company. (They have a grueling process to ensure they get the right people, which is what makes them so good at what they do.)

I am so fortunate and blessed with my new career. I have a job at a place that I feel honored to go to and serve each day. And this time I’m getting paid for it.

These past few years have taught me so much. My prayer is that I can make my messes into messages for someone out there who needs to hear “You’ve got this.” I would write a book, but no one would believe it.

When I finally “scored” this position, my new Faith was one of the first people I told, right after my mother. In true Faith-fashion, she was so excited and happy for me, telling me that she continued to pray for me, even when she didn’t see me. Knowing “both” Faiths like I do, I truly believe that.

I still live in my rental house which we’ve made a home and am still driving that old car. However, I have a renewed career path doing something I love!  Now, I’m thankful to be catching up. When I received my first paycheck, it was gone in 30 minutes on bills. BUT I have another one just like it coming in 2 weeks and I’ll chip away at some more.

I have referred other people to Encompass because I know in my heart they are more than just a resource. The entire team is like a family that will support you until the bitter end!!!

Then you’ll be able to send Faith an email with the subject reading, “Score!”  Be ready… she just may ask you to write your story!!! I have so much respect for the entire group. One of my personal goals is to go back soon to help in any way I can. I have a story to tell. I have a testimony!!!

You’ve got this!!!