*Today’s post is part one in a two-part series by my friend LaTresha Woodruff-Johnson. I’m thankful God places inspiring, compassionate women like her in my life. Stay tuned this week for part two.*
I love the LORD; I am not afraid to say it. In fact, I’ll take any opportunity to tell people that I love the LORD. But when you say that to some, they ask, “why?” I say things like, “because HE first loved me,” or “HE gave his only son that we might have life.” But more importantly “because HIS grace and mercy is new every day, and HE has done so many things in my life; HE’s made a way out of no way.”
I have so many stories of what HE’s done for me, how HE’s changed my life, but there is one in particular that I find myself telling people over and over and over again. You see, it’s a timely and timeless story about my “Leap of Faith.”
I have always sought the LORD’s guidance before making decisions, so when I started feeling my soul moving in a new direction or yearning for new direction, I thought to myself, “It’s time to leave the news business, put down my microphone, step away from the camera, the people/fans I’ve met in my 14 years as a reporter.”
So I did what I do? I got on my knees and prayed to my heavenly FATHER. I asked for guidance, I wanted to hear a clear word from HIM on what I should do. I felt he was leading me to find something, a job allowing me to be more available to my husband, my church and my community. I waited and waited and waited but heard nothing! To me that meant it just wasn’t the time to walk away. With that, I threw myself back into work. I changed my attitude and tackled each day head on; I started it by telling myself to, “Expect Good things,” and not to allow others to determine how I am going to feel today. I took back that power. Soon that burning desire to leave news reporting went away.
But GOD wasn’t done with me on this issue. Two years later I got that desire in my soul that I was not where I needed to be. I wrestled with it for a few weeks saying to myself, “I’ve gone through this before–it’ll pass.” Well it didn’t, and I found myself on my knees one night praying to my Heavenly FATHER again. But this time when I got up, there was a strange feeling that came over me. A feeling of peace–my soul seemed to be at ease. So I talked to my husband, and he supported my decision to resign from my reporting job. That was April of 2010, but I didn’t have a new job. All I knew is that I had heard from the LORD, and I was following his will. I ended up staying four more months because the news department was so short-staffed. Yes, I prayed about that, too, and the LORD moved me to stay and help out.
August 27, 2010, was a bittersweet day, bitter because I was leaving what I considered in 7th grade as my dream job, what I was meant to be, thought I’d retire from a big reporting/anchoring gig from CNN. But it was sweet because I had faith that my GOD would supply all of my needs. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I did a great story, a child who was kidnapped but returned home safely. What a happy ending to a great career; for me it was one of the happiest days of my life!
I gladly tackled this strange life of not constantly going and going from one end of the state to the next in one day, writing stories behind the eight ball and constantly being on alert. Yes, my days were filled with sleep and thoughts of learning to cook, but they were just thoughts! This all lasted about three weeks, and I was ready to get going. See, as a reporter, I was always tackling numerous things at once, never an idle moment. I started to get a little uneasy, and the LORD started dealing with me again. I believed HE was saying, “LaTresha your idle time has come and gone; it’s time to get to work.” By work I believed he meant, find a job, one that lets you help people, find time to volunteer, and honor Me through your works.
I ramped up my volunteering with one agency and became “a Friend” of two other non-profits. While I started getting that feeling of fulfillment, my tank wasn’t quite on “F” so I started with Big Brothers Big Sisters and became a friend of Habitat for Humanity and Conway Cradle Care. While I enjoyed being involved with these organizations, there was still something missing. I could hear that sweet still voice of the Lord saying, “I want more for you. I want you to do more.” So my job search kicked into HIGH gear. I attacked the search ferociously! I set my sights on what are called “Public Information Officer” positions. I can’t tell you how many times as a reporter I interviewed Public Information Officers from various agencies and thought, “I could do that job with my eyes closed.”
I applied for about 20 PIO positions; I had 5 interviews where I felt I had “knocked it out of the park!” Slowly I started getting word that the positions had been filled. Soon there was just one position left, and I thought, “This is the one.” After all I had made it to the 3rd round of interviews. I didn’t even know there were 3rd rounds. I just knew I had this one in the bag, so much so that I didn’t bother God with it anymore. I remember the day that I got the call about the position, I had decided not to get up early and search the internet for jobs because I was so sure I was about to get this job. The phone rang. I fumbled for it, cleared my throat, looked at the caller ID, and sure enough it was the hiring manager for the agency. My heart leapt. I thought, “Here goes, about to enter the working world again,” and I was excited.
You cannot imagine the heartbreak and devastation I felt when I heard the words, “We have offered the position to a more qualified candidate.” It was all I could do not to start sobbing right there on the phone. He went on to say things like, “You possess all the qualifications and would have done an excellent job but…” And that’s the point I stopped listening. I can’t even recall saying goodbye and hanging up the phone. My pity party went on for the rest of the day. I didn’t even get out of bed.
It was only the next morning when I forced myself into the shower that I started thinking clearly. Sitting in the shower I realized that I got ahead of myself. When things looked like they were going in my favor I didn’t ask God if getting this particular job was His will. I left him out of the equation. He’d been there leading and guiding me through it all, but I decided I could handle it from here. When I put my hands on it, God took his hands off. It was as if He was saying, “If you think you can do better than your Heavenly Father, go ahead give it a try, you don’t need me.” I asked my heavenly father’s forgiveness and gave in to what I already knew–that He would take care of me no matter what. I knew He didn’t bring me this far to leave me!
So my journey continued.