An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Seven Months and Pressing On



May 9, 2010

I cannot believe it has been a weeks since I have written,. I don’t know where the time goes. It is a very busy time for me as we just had our annual fundraiser for the Christian Women’s Job Corps this past Thursday, It was amazing to see what God has done in the lives of the 14 women I have been working with the past 12 weeks. For those of you that don’t know much about my occupation, below is an article that was written in our local newspaper. I believe the writer captured the heartbeat of the ministry.

Born to Overcome
By Carlina Villapandro
Kerrville Daily Times
May 7th, 2010

I’ve known people who seemingly can do no wrong. Things come easily to them. No matter how ill-suited or awkward they might feel, favor finds them. Things just work out. Whatever they touch turns to gold.

Surely, you know someone who fits that mold — that person for whom life appears so easy. Perhaps, you’re that person in others’ eyes. Although it’s true, some people are extraordinarily blessed, even they have something to overcome. No one is free of trial.

That universal truth resonated so clearly for me Thursday, as I joined hundreds of other women — some professionals, others stay-at-home moms, many retirees — all gathering for a luncheon to benefit the Christian Women’s Job Corps, an organization that this year celebrates 10 years in Kerr County. We all crowded into the Y.O. Ranch Hotel ballroom ready to watch a fashion show and celebrate with 14 soon-to-be graduates of the local program.

It wasn’t until the music struck up and women stepped onto the long stage that I began to tremble for them. These women — some who had admitted insecurities and claimed to lack confidence — were strutting the runway with literally hundreds of eyes glued to them. To top it off, as they did it, an announcer not only provided commentary on their clothing, but spoke of their individual challenges. She explained how some of them felt wounded, unworthy, hopeless and without purpose.

None of that showed on Thursday. They were new women with changed outlooks. Their trials haven’t necessarily disappeared since joining the job corps, but what they know and believe about themselves now is different, the commentator explained.

Although these women enrolled in and are about to graduate from a program designed to build confidence and self-worth, their example Thursday as they faced their fears and modeled their changed lives before us forced me to admit to myself, that I, too — and perhaps most of the women in that room — could benefit from what these ladies now have. They have been blessed with the gift of humility, a chance to admit their shortcomings and learn the ability to overcome.

It might have been the women on stage who spoke up about their insecurities and trials Thursday, but I have no doubt that the despair they once felt would pale in comparison to the combined private concerns welling up in the hearts and minds of the women surrounding them in that room. If we all were transparent and aired them there, the burdens, I know, would have been great.

No matter how stable or well “put-together” someone might seem, the truth is everyone suffers on some level. Whether it’s loneliness, financial strain, sickness or a sense of inferiority, we all have something to overcome, and the reality is that the presence of suffering — whatever form it may take — will never completely end in this life.

I admire these 14 women and the other former graduates of CWJC who were present Thursday for their strength and willingness to stand before us as examples. There’s no guarantee these ladies will land high-paying jobs or snag an eligible bachelor, but they have found true security.

They’ve learned to face challenges and overcome. It’s no doubt they owe much of what they’ve learned to their teacher, Kathleen Maxwell, executive director of the job corps. She spoke briefly Thursday about the loss of her husband several months ago to cancer and the strength she’s found in the support of the local community.

It was so striking to me to watch Maxwell live out the lessons she has taught for more than

10 years, testifying that victory is measured not in the lack of turmoil or overflowing “success,” but in how we choose to react to those circumstances.

In February, Maxwell wrote to the volunteers and supporters of CWJC, exhorting them to “see their situation from God’s point of view.”

“The challenge for us is to get God’s perspective in our perceived crisis and let Him show us how it is an opportunity to overcome and grow instead of being overwhelmed,” she wrote. “I have to discipline myself to ask God to help me see my life now as He sees it versus how I see it.”

Maxwell’s crisis is not merely “perceived.” Loss of that magnitude hurts, but Maxwell contends that God is greater than even the most severe of life’s pain and disappointments.

“He has been faithful to answer my prayers and is day by day teaching me how to live life abundantly now,” she said. “All of us have some circumstance to overcome: Problems with finances, recent job loss, relationship problems, disappointments, just to name a few.”

But we all can have hope, Maxwell declares, because “overcoming is our God-given right as His children.

“We were born to overcome and, as we do, we reveal to others who God really is.”

That is the mission of Christian Women ‘s Job Corps: “to touch the lives of some ... to touch the lives of many.” It’s what Maxwell is doing for her students (more than 270 in 10 years), and it’s what they all did for us Thursday.

They haven’t even graduated, and these ladies already are pointing others to the source of true success. They may look put together — their heads held high — but they’re not to envy. They are to join — join them in overcoming.

Carlina Villalpando is the managing editor for The Kerrville Daily Times.
Yesterday was the 7th month anniversary of Joe’s death. It was a good day for me with no tears but today another wave hit…..bamb….Joe did a great job of teaching our children to honor their mother and always made me feel special for what I had done as a mom. There was a void today but as always, God has provided. Price surprised me this morning with beautiful pink roses and came to Kerrville at 8:30 this morning to wake me. up. I went to church and received many hugs which was wonderful. Then I had my parents over for lunch. My mother was having a slow day and couldn’t feed herself. As I fed her I had to look at the cycle of life….she use to feed me and now I have to feed her. Another grief but one that has taught me much...

Ok….it is time to focus and breath and get on with graduation for Christian Women’s Job Corps next Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Impact Christian Fellowship in Kerrville and get on with whatever is next in my life on Thursday.....

Pressing on-

Kathleen

4 comments:

  1. She did a great job on the article and it's a great tribute to the ladies who have overcome EVERYTHING to make it through their semesters. I am so proud of them.

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