October 28, 2013

Just over a month ago I found myself sitting in a seminar at the American Association for Christian Counselor (AACC) Conference in Nashville, TN.  The fact that I was even in attendance was yet another twist in this journey God has been orchestrating in my life for the past several years.  In this particular seminar, the presenter was walking a room full of coaches through an activity to help us begin to determine our coaching niche.  It was during this exercise that the light bulb lit up and I began to see just how God had been working in my life to put just the right pieces into place.

A little more than nine years ago (That’s right nine years!) I learned that I was going to become a grandma.  The next couple of years God led me on a grand adventure as I worked through the trauma of coming to grips with the fact that I was a long-distance grandmother.  This was quite a journey and one I would love to share at another time.  However, through the course of this very personal journey, God melded my heart with the hearts of other grandparents who were also trying to grandparent well from a long distance.  He also expanded my understanding of what the Bible has to teach about passing a legacy to other generations and equipped me with ideas to share.

As things began to calm down in my grandparenting world, I found myself at a new church sitting in the Director of Women’s Ministry’s office.  She had invited me to come share my heart with her so that we could begin to get to know each other, and so that I might find a ministry fit at the church.  I shared with her my grandparenting saga and all the research that had gone into the past couple of years.  I also shared my heart for the young moms and wives in our area, especially those that didn’t have any family support nearby.  By the time I left her office, I had been charged with researching a mentoring program for our Women’s Ministry.  Yes, the Director also felt the deep need for our young wives and moms and she had been carrying the desire to start up some type of mentoring “program” at the church.  But she did not want to do what had always been done (names in a hat) because she had never really seen it work to its true potential.  Her hope was that we could find something different, something that would provide opportunity for deep relationships among the young women and the more seasoned women.

So another year or more of research began.  I learned the difference between mentoring and discipleship.  I read accounts of how mentoring was being done in other ministries, and I was introduced to peer coaching.  Coaching was something I was very familiar with in my life as a school teacher, but I had never thought of it in connection with my spiritual life.  Coaching made so much sense to me that two years later the ASPIRE Ministry for women was birthed at our church, and it was based on the peer coaching model.

While researching and developing the ASPIRE Ministry, God prompted me to study life coaching.  So I enrolled in courses through Light University eventually becoming a Certified Christian Life Coach.  By the time I became credentialed, I was directing the ASPIRE Ministry, working part time as a substitute teacher (I retired from the classroom about the time ASPIRE was ready to kick off), and traveling around when possible to love on my children and grandchildren.  Needless to say, coaching was placed on the back burner of my life.

Fast forward a couple more years to this past winter.  My uncle was visiting for the weekend and noticed my Life Coaching Credentials on the wall.  It turns out he is a member of the AACC.  He asked if I’d like to get things going with Coaching and invited me to the September conference.  After prayerful consideration of the invitation and knowing that God works all things together, my husband and I made the trip to the conference.

There in that seminar, I saw the pieces of at least nine years of my life coming together with the help and insight of two wonderful coaches I was working with.  God has shaped me so that my heart is for family:  grandparents, parents, married couple, young wives and moms.  And God has graciously woven it all together bit by bit.  Yes, I knew that I was where I needed to be in each phase of the journey and that’s truthfully all I could see at the time.  What a wonderful blessing He has poured out on me to put such seemingly odd and disconnected pieces together in a beautiful design.

I invite you to journey with me in EMBRACING GOD’S DESIGN.  His design for grandparenting, parenting, marriage, family relationships, spiritual growth…for life!

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