My month of feeling hopeless and lost was not all fruitless however. It forced me to do something that I hadn’t done in a long time- to face the truth of what my life had become, and the direction in which it was going. In my search for hope and direction, I remember searching for podcasts and YouTube videos from some of my favourite pastors. I came across one by Heather Lindsay entitled ‘Blind Faith’. In that video she talked about how God only revealed to her the topic of that sermon a few days before, much to her panic and frustration. She told of how we need to be prepared to follow the dream that God has given us, without knowing all the steps along the way. We have to trust that he will show us, and reveal each step to us as we need. (For further reference see Genesis 12:1).
At this point, I was in such a low place I realised that I had not much to lose- and I might as well give it a try. I realised that although I have always had many interests, such as sports, for all my efforts- I had not gained much fruit from these things. I really had to be honest with myself, and get right back to who I am when I’m not striving or trying to achieve. I had to be honest about the person and character God had made me, and the things he had placed on my heart. Those who know me will know that I love people and have a real compassionate heart for others. I’ve always had a keen interest in social justice, and as my small group leader will testify, when I was 16 and asked if I could do anything in the world when I was older, I replied ‘missionary’. I went on my first missions trip to Ecuador one year later. This deeper discovering and reflecting on myself is what lead me to apply for the course MSc Global Governance and Ethics, which I will start in one week’s time.
Still ill, I soldiered through that application process like it was a lifeline. My personal statement was not planned and well thought-out and drafted over like ones I had written for previous courses. I knew, as the words poured out so easily for why I wanted to study the course, that I had made a good decision. Even if I didn’t get offered a place, at least I would have no regrets. I prayed to God to shut that opportunity if it wasn’t going to work – if it wasn’t right – and honestly I would have been fine with that outcome. I had an offer already accepted to study a Sports and Exercise Psychology masters in Loughborough. But deep down I hoped that he would give me this opportunity.
Fast forward a few weeks and you would find me dancing around the living room of a friend’s house in Loughborough as I found out I had been offered a place! ( I had moved back to Loughborough temporarily and was working part-time in a desserts café to prepare for studying my Sports Psychology masters). But the place did not come without barriers. The fight was not over yet! I was soon to find out that I was not entitled to a postgraduate loan as I had claimed £3,000 of it for my course last year (once you claim even a little bit of it- you can never claim any more ever again). Not only this but now more than ever I desperately needed a miracle in the form of accommodation, a job and finances – especially since I had prematurely decided to cancel the offer to go to Loughborough.
So, I set my heart on working as hard as I could and reasoned that I would trust God for the rest (as hard as this was – especially with people asking me if I thought all this was really feasible). This meant continuing to work at Cocoa Desserts, and then full time in a Bakery factory which was hard physical work that I would never have considered doing before (especially just after recovering from a viral illness). I did 30 hours in just three days and my back was so sore. But I sacrificed my sport and other interests, and I committed to do everything I could, so that I would have no regrets if I didn’t make it.
Amazingly, I was offered accommodation by a friend of a friend from Open Heaven Church in Loughborough. They were told about me just the day before they were due to fly out to America, and the day after they had been praying for someone to rent the house!. They also lowered the asking price for the room to what I could afford because they told me they wanted the room to be a blessing! (Note I didn’t ask them to lower it, I simply replied that I couldn’t afford it but thank you for getting in touch. I felt God’s grace sweeping over me as I read the landlady’s kind reply). I also found out about a Careers Development Loan which means I can borrow more than the amount I would have been able to receive from Student Finance.
And Incredibly, I injured my thumb and was forced to take time off my work in the factory just as I was offered an interview in the heart of Rickmansworth. I received a job offer for working at a lovely family-owned bakery/ café called Cinnamon Square the same day as the interview. This came after being recommended the café by a friend who studied nearby a few years ago. It also came up after I had looked for jobs and just wished that this place had job openings… A few days later and there it was… an advert for a waitress working 2-3 days a week. (Not only this but isn’t it funny how my previous jobs perfectly prepared me to get this lovely job?).
But that was only just the start. 🙂