Tuesday, July 14, 2015

three years & three cheers to CBU...


Big News!

I mentioned in a previous post that my life was about to change, that I had exciting news… And I do! Drum roll please… You are looking at the new Receptionist for University Card Services at California Baptist University! People, this is huge and big and awesome and crazy. And here is a little bit (or a lot bit) of insight into my whole process…

Things that I need to recognize up front:
1. God’s timing is perfect; He is sovereign and good and the fact that I question this makes me the lamest person alive.
2. I am about three years ahead of God in all things. Seriously, I have a pattern.
3. His peace surpasses all things.

Roughly a year ago, I began the interview process for a full-time position at my alma mater, California Baptist University; long story short, it was a year of interviewing, waiting, and praying. Except, I want to give you the long story long because it magnifies God’s sovereignty and is just so good.

I have always wanted to work at CBU; I was told over and over that I would end up being one of those people who would “get stuck” here, and to tell you the truth, that sounded like heaven. CBU was my first home away from home, the place where Teenage Kristi became Adult Kristi. My heart will always be for CBU and for student services, and that desire grew my senior year. I applied vigorously for positions the months before graduation and the months after, thinking that I would work for CBU right out of college… NOPE. That did not work out and I really struggled with that. Naturally, I ended up working for my church with our junior high students and I LOVED IT. Please hear me say that I don’t view that as time wasted, it was just not what I originally planned for. But, my desire to work at CBU was not granted until three years later… Which is apparently my pattern. Seriously. I have noticed that many desires over the course of my life have been planted about three years before they actually come to fruition. Crazy, right? So, long story long…

For a few months last year, I had been applying to various positions within the university. I interviewed for the Financial Aid Department, Graduate Admissions, the School of Education, and a handful more and each led to no avail. I started to question myself and God… Am I not capable? Am I not enough? Is God not capable? Is God not enough? (Seriously, being denied over and over and over will lead you into some crazy wilderness talks with God.) One day, my sweet friend Kelly told me that a new office was hiring and needed a receptionist and that I should apply. I thought about it, prayed about it, and thought why not? (Note: I didn’t seek it out, it completely fell in my lap, which is pretty typical of God… He gives when we least expect it.) I applied that night and received a call the next morning for an interview. After the first interview, a week later I had a phone interview with one of the Deans of Student Services. The next step was to interview with the President. I thought, “This is insane; this came out of left field and it is actually happening! I am interviewing with the President, I am going to work at CBU, GIVE ME A BOX OF TUMS BEFORE I THROW UP.” And then I waited, and waited, and waited some more until I was told the news that pretty much shattered my excitement… CBU entered into a hiring freeze, university wide. I was told that it would be lifted for the Spring semester and that I could be looking at my final interview for December 2014. And then December rolled around, the hiring freeze was not lifted, and I questioned everything. I was told August of 2015. And I doubted. I spent many nights driving and crying and yelling at God. In Riverside, there are orange groves and fields for miles on Victoria Avenue; this is my street. I drive through there with God, windows down, the smell of orange blossoms filling my car, and me talking out life with My Savior. Victoria and I have good memories.

Suddenly, we were in June and I received a call for an interview with the President. I happened to be substituting for a high school art class when I received the call and it took everything within me NOT to just start crying. Luckily, I was in the middle of the prep period and it was totally appropriate for me to answer the phone and start jumping up and down. The following week I interviewed with the President himself, and three days later I was offered the position... 

HALLELUJAH PRAISE GOD I AM CRYING IS THIS REAL LIFE OUCH CHARLIE.

I had three weeks to wrap up three years of youth ministry. Not to mention, my last week employed at my church would be a mission trip! It was the perfect ending to time well spent. We had cake and ice cream, I packed up my desk and my duffle bag and began praying for my transition. My prayer was to finish well, and at times it was very hard, but I think that God honored that prayer.

We came back from our mission trip on Friday and I started my new position Monday. It was crazy, but it was good.

Looking back, the year of waiting was perfect; it was frustrating and confusing, but it was perfect. That year allowed me to finish my time with my 8th Grade Girls Small Group (and the fact that I now get to move up with them to high school?!?! INSERT A THOUSAND PRAISE HANDS EMOJIS HERE.), to help our new pastor transition into our ministry/church, to begin a journey in counseling, to use my time more liberally (sleeping in, going to Texas, planning a last minute road trip through the Northern Coast, etc.), take some risks and lower my inhibitions, and to settle in to adulthood, kind of. I didn’t know that I needed this past year, but the Lord did, and I really should never question His timing. Proverbs says that we plan all our things but the Lord establishes our steps, and man, am I just so thankful for that. Is it frustrating at times? WELL YES. But, even in the frustration, I am thankful for a God who knows more than I do and has enough love to answer certain prayers with “waits” and “nos”.

So, this past week was my very first week as an official, benefit-receiving, retirement-planning, 8AM – 5PM CBU employee, and it was everything I imagined it to be AND MORE. I was welcomed with open arms, celebrated with balloons, brought in donuts for my staff as we got through (my first) Transfer Student Orientation, and then went out to spend the weekend in San Diego with my best friend. Each day I drive in to work, I am overwhelmed by peace, a peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. The days are full, but rich; I am able to have lunch with past residents and my close friends who work at the university, not to mention Chick-Fil-A is directly across the hall from me (I have told myself that I can only buy lunch there once a week, because health). You guys, it is such a good season and I am so excited to see what God does through this, both in ministry and professionally!

Thank you to every single person who has prayed, encouraged, and loved me through this process. God is faithful and good and sovereign and I still can’t believe that this is real life. I am trying to soak up the blessing of this time and not look for the next season (because as humans, we are really good at not being satisfied, even we are given what we want).

So friends, here’s to three years and three cheers to CBU!  

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