And now for the 3rd and final part of how I ended up on Redding.
So after my time at the Jesus Culture event in early February 2012, I had a couple weeks at home before heading off on a 10 day SCUBA trip with my parents. I figured this would be the perfect time to discuss my going to BSSM as we would be stuck living together for 10 days, and this topic was definitely the elephant in the room. The first few days went by with no real mention of my time in Redding. My family doesn't do conflict well, and so for the most part we avoided the topic. But eventually it did come up, and when it did, it was primarily with tears on my part, frustration on my Dad's and Mom stuck in the middle (this is purely my assessment of how I viewed things - my parents could easily have a different perspective, so please bear that in mind). I gave a litany of reasons as to why I should go: "I only have one life to live," "I don't have anything keeping me permanently to Calgary," "I don't want to have regrets about opportunities not taken," those kinds of things. My Dad was concerned about me building my career, getting on with "life", and wasting my "key earning years." This was a very difficult conversation, because I felt like he thought I was being foolish and that I was disappointing him. Once I had used up all of my "reasons" for wanting to go, I finally blurted out, "I feel like this is what God is calling me to do. I don't know why He wants me to go, but I feel like this is something I need to do." To that my Dad responded, "If God is really calling you to that, then there is nothing I can say against it." In that instant the burden lifted and I knew my parents were now fully supporting me, and not just resigned to my decision. It was also a big moment for me as I fully recognized God's call on my life for this. It was as if in that moment I relinquished control of this adventure to Him.
Me being me, once I get home from my vacation, my mind kicked into overdrive about all that needed to happen before I went - find somewhere to live in Redding, find someone to rent my Condo in Calgary, arrange travel medical insurance, make sure I have the necessary insurance/registration for my car......and the list goes on. #1 on my list was finding someone to rent my place, so that Thursday at Home Church, I ask my friends to pray about that. Friday morning I received a text from one of my friend's saying a guy, whom I know, is getting married in September, and they would potentially be looking for a place to live - would I be OK with giving my number out. I said "of course!" So emailing and texting back and forth with the guy and his fiancé, it sounded like they are interested in my place! They came to check it out, and were very happy with it. This was so awesome, because it worked out well for both of us. It was the type of place they were looking for in a decent area of the city, and for me, I know and trust them, and was not just leaving my house in the hands of perfect strangers! As we did all of the paperwork and prepared for the transition, each of us was more concerned with protecting the other's interests than our own! God's amazing answer #1
Confirmation from God #2 was not one I was particularly looking for. As I mentioned earlier, things at my job with the Christian Media organization were not going as well as I had initially hoped they would. Now that I knew I was planning to go to Redding, my mantra became "5.5 months, 5 months - I can make it until then." I was scared to tell anyone I worked with about my school plan, for fear they would let me go as soon as they found out, and I'd be stuck without a job - which I definitely needed at this point! Then on Monday, March 26, 2012, a few days before the end of my 6 month probation, I was pulled into the General Manager's office. I was informed that they felt I was not worth what they were paying me and I could either take a pay cut of $30,000/year or they would let me go that day. Needless to say, that was my last day there. I was shocked, frustrated, and most of all hurt. I had tried to make it work there, my journal was full of pages asking God what I could do to satisfy them, to serve and do the best I possibly could in the role. Obviously this was one of those situations where I just wasn't a "good fit."
Historically, my response to a disappoint of this scale would be to turn my back on God, because to me this was a clear indication that He could care less about what was going on with me - especially since He had this brilliant idea for me to go gallivanting off to school in California. However, I had kickboxing class that night, and I managed to burn off a good deal of frustration there....don't worry I warned the girl holding the pads for me that night! After that, I had coffee with a very dear friend and good conversation and prayer helped alter my perspective. I came out of that coffee time seeing this as a blessing! I had been removed from a situation where I was very unhappy and had the potential to again destroy my view of those who called themselves Christians - which would not have been good as I preparing to enter a rather large school of Christians. So instead of being upset, I was actually thankful that God had released me from that place.
There was a hiccup in this however, because I was now unemployed. I would continue to be paid for another 3 weeks due to accrued vacation, stat holidays, and pay in lieu of notice, but that definitely wasn't going to last me until I departed at the end of August. And I definitely could afford to draw on my savings and still afford to attend school in the fall. But who would hire a fully accredited accountant for a 4 month contract over the summer, at the wage I needed? I realized that this wasn't actually my problem. I had not quit my job, it had been taken from me while I had been giving it the best I knew how, and it was God's idea for me to go to the school, so I decided it was His problem. If He wanted me to go to BSSM, He was going to have to find me a 4 month contract position that paid the equivalent to the salary I had at previous jobs. And He did just that!!! I was let go on Monday, Wednesday morning I started making phone calls and by Wednesday afternoon I had 2 interviews for 2 contract positions lined up. I started at my new contract job before I even received my final pay out from the media company! God provided beyond anything I could have expected! And on top of all of this, when I left for school in August, the Vice-president and some of the other employees told me to let them know when I get back to Calgary in the spring and they will find work for me! God is sooooo good!!!!
Since #2 wasn't even on my original to-do list, the next thing I had to do was find somewhere to live once I got to Redding. I had no idea how to go about this as I had only lived with family up until the time I purchased my own condo, but I started sending out emails in search of a place. Then one day my Mom went for lunch with one of her friends. They were having the usual "what are your kids doing now?" conversation, and Mom mentioned that I was going to be going to school in Redding in the fall. Mom's friend responded with "Oh really? We have friends in Redding! They have 4 daughters, 2 of which are away at university and I think they might be looking to rent out a room. Let me get in touch with them and let you know." This led to some Facebook messages back and forth, a Skype conversation, and a mutual agreement that we would be helping each other out if I came to live with them. God's answer #3 was a complete blessing, and I am already loving my adopted family :)
These are the 3 big examples of how I felt God made it very clear that He wanted me to go Redding. There were a bunch of little things as well, from a change in my condo and car insurance policy that resulted in significant annual savings, to getting what seems to be a great deal on travel medical insurance. Another highlight was the day I moved out of my condo. All day it had been raining, but I was confident that the skies would clear for my move. However, even as I was driving home from work it was still drizzling a bit. I didn't have any tarps to cover my things, as I hadn't considered the possibility of rain. I picked up some cheap tarps at the dollar store, but was still confident I wouldn't need them, and as I left the store, I noticed the sky clearing. Once my moving help arrived, the skies had completely cleared, and it was dry for the remainder of the evening. Amazing God! On top of this, once we had loaded everything, it appeared we were one truck short, just for some random bits a pieces. One phone call, and my friend who lived 5 minutes away was able to come with his truck. He had just gotten home from work and the timing of my call was perfect. I didn't know that - but God sure did!
Once the Lord laid the initial framework of making me aware of BSSM back in the Spring of 2011, it was as if I could see the path unfolding before me. When I came to Redding in February 2012, it confirmed I needed to get on the road that would bring me back in time to start school in the fall. From the moment I acknowledged that I was stepping out in faith and following where the Lord was calling me, it was like He was lighting up the runway for me so I had no doubt as to where I was headed. I am so incredibly thankful to my Papa God for bringing me to this place. I don't know what He has planned for me here, but I have no doubt that is exactly where He wants me right now!
Thank you my dear friends and family for supporting me as I have made my journey to Redding. As I continue this adventure, I will do my best share what I can of what I'm learning and experiencing. Let's go!!!!!!!!!!