Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was girl who grew up in the suburbs of Houston. This girl was raised primarily by her Grandmother who taught her the value of hard work and that women are able to do anything that they want. When the girl became a teenager, her grandmother would let her borrow their shared car. One day, the girl brought her Grandmother lunch. As they ate, her Grandmother pointed out the picture of a successful business woman in a bright red suit, framed on the wall. “She is the top sales person in the city,” her Grandmother told her. “Do you know how much money she makes?”
The number wasn’t as important as what happened to the girl in that moment. She realized that she could one day be that woman. She could wear that suit, be number one and control her own destiny.
So the girl got to work. She prayed. She boldly asked for jobs for which she wasn’t qualified yet and got them! She married and had babies. While nursing her children at night and working full time during the day, she struggled through college until she graduated. Then, she got her chance. She sold and sold and sold. She worked 60 hours a week, 70 hours a week, and in her 20’s she reached that 6-figure income.
She continued to have children, continued to work and continued her education, eventually earning a Master’s degree. She went through seasons of unemployment, helped her husband through cancer and kept on praying and working. Every time she tried to move up, she was told she “wasn’t ready.” She was not assertive enough, or she was too assertive. She was not educated enough, or she was too educated.
Then, one day she met a businessman who saw potential in her. “You’ve got potential,” he said. “That’s great in this Good Ole Boys Club,” he added. “Unless, of course, you’re not a Good Ole Boy.” He left his business card on her desk and walked out. She walked away from her secure job with a great company into a new one. She thrived.
And then, she found out she was pregnant. While on leave, the kind businessman left the company. Yet another man was promoted above her. She struggled through an emotionally trying pregnancy, worked her tail off and returned to the office, assured that she would never advance. So, she changed course. She left the industry and the world she loved to teach. She loved teaching students, and she loved leading the classroom, but it never fulfilled her like business had.
After a year of teaching, she returned to the business world. She prayed that this time it would be different. This time, she would get her chance. God heard her prayer. Within a month, she was promoted to a leadership role, and in less than a year, she was promoted to the Vice President position. She now had all that she had worked for: she had a wonderful husband, healthy children, a beautiful home and the life that she had always dreamed of. The End.
This story is mine, and it is not the end. It is the beginning. In the same year that I became VP, I lost my beloved Grandmother, my husband’s cancer threatened to come back and my company was sold. Just when I thought I had “arrived,” I felt the rug pulled from beneath me. I was depressed, hopeless and losing faith. How could I have finally found happiness, only to have it taken away?
Then, as if on cue, God whispered to me, “I am your joy. Do not fear.” God was there with me as a young girl, watching my grandmother work hard just to buy groceries. He was there with me in that office, the day that He planted the seed in my heart that I could become a successful woman. He was there with me the day that a nice man reminded me that I was not a “Good Ole Boy,” but I was good enough. He is here with me today, and He will be by my side tomorrow.
While reading a book called, On the Other Side of Fear by Hallie Lord, I was reminded that life has ups and downs. The ups are nice, but sometimes in the downs we find what we were most in need of.
Then, I heard this song by Zak Crowder which has become my mantra:
Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
So, today and every day from now on, I will cast my fear in the fire. I know who holds today, and I know who holds tomorrow. It is not fear. ‘Cause fear, he is a liar.