I have been thinking about our last summer in Colorado before we moved to Edinburgh a lot these days. Mostly, because I miss the feeling of getting into a really hot car after it’s been sitting in the sun, family BBQ’s with the whole gang, hitting the trails with our dog and those brilliant performances of thunder and lightning that you can count on around 4pm.
I remember packing up our house in Denver, preparing for the big move. I lost sleep. My anxiety was sky high and the emotional toil of leaving behind our community was more than I could bear at times. We knew we were in for something new, something different and the hope that looking back we would be able to say that is was a ‘good experience’.
I am a type A personality. I am a planner. It challenged me to the core. The plan was not a complete plan and it did not feel normal. We boarded our flight in Denver, without a place to live, without a job, and we would not know a single person on the other side. It makes me realise what a false sense of control I thought I had over my life. A reminder that I can plan all I want, but sometimes, I have to go into things blindly. To be brave. To be humble. To be trusting. To be prayerful. To be out of control.
This entire experience has sealed so many aspects of my faith. My faith in a God that hears the cries of our hearts, who knows what we are praying even when we do not have the words. Who can provide peace to a weary soul that bounces along in uncertain tidal waves in life. Scotland was one HUGE uncertainty.
Prayer. Prayer became our anchor. Prayer was the only thing that made me feel fearless. “Give us this day, our daily bread” is the prayer of the day- every. single. day. Our daily bread is quite literally our food. It is our jobs- Lord, bless the work of our hands. It is our home – Lord, provide us a refuge and bless all those that enter it. It is our marriage – Lord, help us to love one another deeply. It is our community – Lord, lead us to a church, friends and neighbours that we can share life’s joys and burdens with.
One of the most profound and greatest gifts is my job. Unemployed for several months after we moved here, I prayed for work. At first, I was very specific in my requests/wish list- Lord, let me be a history teacher. Lord, provide me a job in a school. Lord, give me a job at that school around the corner. But as the time went on and the savings account got smaller, it changed into something more desperate and real. Lord, give us this day, our daily bread. Any job, anything you want me to do, Lord let your will be done.
The interviews came but I did not secure anything. Finally, just when I thought we might have to move back to Denver, I secured a job as a receptionist for a youth charity called The Prince’s Trust. I knew that it was an organisation that I could get behind. Seven months later, a position opened in the Fairbridge programme and I found a spot on the team. This month marks my one year anniversary in the best job I have ever had.
I work with very resilient, courageous, adaptable, adventurous young people. They have a funny way of letting me know that I am liked and accepted. Some days are hard and sometimes the burdens they carry are emotional and taxing as a support worker. They continue to amaze me through their hardships. They have felt unloved, not valued, incapable, powerless and hurt by others. By the grace of God, I am reminded that they do not need to be punished or lectured. They need understanding, compassion, support and room to grow.
This job has opened doors that I never thought I would walk through. I get to see beautiful parts of Scotland, do adventurous outdoor activities that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to do and attend special events that honour the young people we work with, like the 40th Anniversary Garden Party and Celebrate Success Awards held in London.
But the best part about work is them. It all just feels so right. They laugh. They cry. They confront their fears. They push themselves. They often leave their struggles at the door and allow themselves to be young. To be curious. To be challenged. To learn. To be better. To love themselves. I am honoured to be a part of their journey and grateful how God provided something so rewarding and fulfilling as we continue to navigate our time here.
Love always wins.