career

Delayed Destiny

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We have all been there. Waiting for the next opportunity, wondering why we are being turned down for that promotion again. We have all seen those perfectly crafted Instagram accounts telling us to market, sell, and brand ourselves. Pushing us to hustle, grind and get ahead. But what if we are trying to get ahead before we are destined to? There is something to be said about a delayed destiny. If I’m being honest, my destiny had been delayed requiring several leadership trainings and two master degrees with no promotion in sight. It was delayed but necessary. 

When I took a promotion a few years ago a good friend suggested I read the book titled Anonymous:Jesus’ Hidden Years…and Yours by Alicia Britt Chole. I had no idea what I was in store for, but man am I glad I did. In it, the Chole shares that “During these uncelebrated years, Jesus submitted to a seemingly delayed destiny. A God-sized mission pulsated in his heart, but he was too free to explain it, proclaim it, or actively pursue it.” That sums up my professional career. I had dreams, hopes and a plan for my future that required I wait. 

For many years I grew my skill set privately. I also knew I wasn’t yet ready to lead a team. I first needed to learn how to be a leader right where I was planted. That took time. Actually...it took years. Did I enjoy being in this delayed space? NOPE!  Alicia Britt Chole perfectly echoes this idea when she says, “we struggle if our dreams are delayed one year, let alone twenty!” For me, it was more like fifteen years! 

When young women early in their career ask me for advice on how to get a promoted, my response is always the same, stay humble, show up, be diligent and be willing to grow. Most importantly are you willing to be hidden while others lead? Hidden while you develop your craft? Are you willing to delay your destiny until the right time presents itself?

Are you willing to be hidden while others lead?

Are you willing to be hidden while others lead?

Today’s culture doesn’t teach us that promotion comes from God. I get it. We spend an exorbitant amount of time figuring out the secret to someone else's success. When you know that God is the one that promotes you, you become good with waiting. While you wait you should be intentional in developing your craft and failing epically. Yes, failure. I am convinced that facing failure and obstacles is the only way to grow into your purpose.

In the Bible, when believers were called to grow or lead, they were busy working in some seriously low-key jobs. David was shepherding and only when his father asked him to bring food to his brothers who were at war did he step into his calling…his promotion. Elisha was driving oxen, and Moses was taking care of his father-in-law’s animals. They authentically worked through grime, danger, and embarrassment, oftentimes overlooked and underappreciated by those around them. God saw them just like he see’s you. He eventually promoted them, when the time was right.

 My hidden years prepared me for this very moment. I vividly remember being in graduate school, taking the 12- month Adoption Competency Training, completing an additional leadership academy for 18 months all while working a full-time job and thinking to myself “How am I doing all of this?”

 My boss and mentor at the time had an idea of the areas I needed to grow in, and she made space for me to make that happen. While in your season of waiting do you have a strong mentor or two? That season was hard and sacrificial. It required much of me with very little recognition. Now I know it was all preparation.

 What those the hidden years taught me was to think through every decision. To seek advice from mentors, to pray and watch how others modeled leadership. The choices I make today reflect the choices I made during my delayed destiny.

 I would like to think that my prolonged obscurity kept me from becoming my own promoter. My Hidden years “empowered me to patiently trust God with my press release.” Hidden years teach you it's ok to keep quiet and not need the approval from those following your Instagram account when God releases you into your calling. It's ok to be hidden in your purpose for a season. It's ok to wait for that promotion.

 In January, God really moved me to put our adoption journey into a book. If I’m being honest, I didn’t feel ready. As I got close to the launch date I second-guessed myself every step of the way. “Who would want to read another story about adoption?” I would ask myself.  Or when the time came to move my family across the country to take “that job” He knew it was time to move. More so now than ever before I never want to lose sight of this important truth: God is the one who promotes us. 

I love this quote from Christine Cain which says, “Remember, if God has assigned you, he will find you. And he tends to work with those who are already working. When you align yourself with God in faithfulness and diligence, he will work on your behalf and open doors for you that no man can shut.” If you find yourself working hard but without any fame or acknowledgment, don’t be disheartened! You’re in a better place than you recognize. God is using your present to equip you for your future.

 

Striding: Finding Your Joy in the Noes of Life

"Return home and tell how much God has done for you…" Luke 8:39 (NIV)

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Do you have a story? I'm pretty sure we all do. Does your story have value? Absolutely. Can your story influence others? Without a doubt. So why is it that we are often reluctant to share the hard moments of our lives with others? I think sometimes it’s because those hard times are often reminders of the firm noes we have experienced in our lives. I wonder if we have come to the point where we find joy in the noes of life.

I’m often asked why I finally decided to go live with my intimate life stories about loss, adoption, infertility, and our multiracial family experiences. It wasn’t an easy decision. I remember nights discussing with my husband about how this might impact our family. Ultimately, we made the right decision.  I think it’s because the hard moments in our life taught me the biggest lessons of my life. I’d like to think that when I share the grief I experienced with infertility that it will help another couple heal. I hope that when I talk about the hardships interracial families experience today that other families don’t feel so alone.

Many of the noes have been hard. A great example of this is when I applied for a job I really, wanted. Our son was young, and I knew that the job would not only advance my career but also give me time at home to be with him. I didn't get the job. I wasn't the first choice as I had hoped. I was second. Second didn't win me a prize. When the firm no came my way, I was crushed. What I didn’t know is that six years later I would oversee that position, unit, and team. Like many others, the joy came later.

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Our miscarriage was probably the most bitter NO of my life. We had sacrificed so much time, money, and energy with fertility doctors only to get a firm, bitter no. That no cost me my health, requiring surgery and our emotional wellbeing. That no was bitter. To rub salt in my wound my closest friends were pregnant at the same time I was. We were supposed to raise our children together. Our miscarriage happened right around Mother’s Day. I was at my lowest. What I didn’t know was that the way we would grow our family would be through adoption and not by birth. Meeting our son's birthmother that same year and witnessing the birth of our son the same month (and year) our birth child would have been born was nothing I could have ever envisioned. God knew that I would be a mother before my pregnant besties. I didn’t.  Today, I am a mother because I got a firm NO.  The heartbreak and pain didn't determine our future. Yet another firm no that lead to the greatest joy of my life.

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The noes of life can break your heart. For me, my twenties was a time where I experienced tough noes from God. At the time those noes broke my heart. Have you ever felt like that?  In the past, I could barely talk about those noes without crying. Recently, my Alma Mater, Nyack College interviewed me for a piece they were writing about my work in adoption

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That interview reminded me of those noes. It also gave me time to reflect on all the yeses I stepped into. I think that is why I love being a seasoned 40 something. I’ve lived long enough to see how those firm noes lead to the yeses of my life later.  I can honestly say I am joyful for every no because it lead me here. To me, the world will not change until we get real with ourselves about the pain, rejection, and losses we have experienced. It’s in those hard times that we truly understand our humanity. That we are all the same.

Finally, to answer the question; Why do I share my stories?  I share them because they shaped me, and I hope they will help others in similar situations. I have learned that God never wastes our pain. Only we do that. God has a great purpose and a beautiful future for all. Not despite our past, but because of it.

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