Although being hurt wasn’t new to me, I was unprepared to find myself plummeting to a depth of despair that I had only felt once before.  I had just attended a training school, becoming certified to help people work through their life issues.   But, how could I even attempt to do that, when I was stuck myself?

I felt abandoned by God.  I knew that this was not true; that it was the Derek situation that had hurtled me into despair (not God.)

I was afraid to feel, because the pain seemed too deep.

Here are just 2 examples of  how God made Himself known to me during that time:

1.  I had met Carrie during the certification training.  She was also a Christian, who had a strong faith in my triune, sovereign God.  We had become friends, but I had been planning to correspond or keep in touch with her from Hawaii.

When she heard that I wasn’t going to Hawaii, she called me to talk about it.  It was too upsetting for me to talk about, so she said, “I’m coming over and taking you to lunch.  Be ready in an hour.”

At lunch, she could tell that I was emotionally shut down.  She told me that she was going to come and pick me up every day, until things got better.  No other friend has ever done something like that for me.

I don’t remember what we did the first few days, but after about a week, we started studying the Book of Romans, from the New Testament.  Carrie had done extensive research into the entire Bible, cover to cover, even learning the original Hebrew and Greek.  It was fascinating to study The Bible with her, and I began to look forward to each day.

Carrie had a dream to write a book.  I encouraged her to start writing and offered to edit it for her.  That project gave both of us an inspiring purpose.

Because of Carrie’s friendship and unfailing attention to my recovery, I was able to start coaching a few clients.

I had decided to create a customized coaching program for teenagers.  My hope was to help them not make some of the mistakes I had made.  It was a 10-hour program.  There were 2 rules – one parent had to agree to also participate and the teen had to pay for half of the program (even if that meant earning money with chores at home to do it.)

Rewarding doesn’t begin to describe how great it was to work with these kids.  I never did any advertising; all clients came to me by word of mouth.  Most of the parents seemed to have given up on their child, and didn’t want a traditional psychologist (or had tried that and it hadn’t worked.)

I worked mostly with teenage girls, who were dealing with typical teenage-girl issues.  Obviously, I was quite familiar with those.  Too many stories from those experiences to share here…

Then one of my friends from church brought her son to meet with me.  He was getting into fights almost every day at school, and had been expelled several times.  He was tough, rebellious, and angry.  The first hurdle was to get him to agree to work with me and pay for half.  Miraculously, he agreed.

Although I could not relate to his issues, I followed my training process that I had learned.  It was exciting to see him blossom. He was “done” in approximately 5 hours of sessions.  He never got expelled again, and received an award for “most improved” (baseball) player at the end of the school year.  This change was so remarkable that other parents brought their sons and daughters to me.  The school even called me and asked me about my program.  Because I wasn’t a credentialed-psychologist, the school could not hire me (but said that they wished that they could.)

My coaching business lasted about 6 months, officially.  I allowed myself to succumb to “success reluctance” – my success actually frightened me.  I had also worked with a few adults, and their struggles were much larger than the teenagers.  My training process was designed to help most people, of any age, but my “calling” was to work with youth.   One adult, in particular, was highly critical and turned her rage on me.  I had been trained how to stay calm when that happened, but I did not know how to prevent it from happening.  (I, to this day, cannot handle a person with a bad temper.)

I also grew weary of being a “one-man band” who had to do everything.  I had gotten to a place where I needed marketing help,  but didn’t have the courage or confidence to take the investment risk.

As a postscript to this segment of my life story, that training has served me well in many areas of my life (although I only charged for my services for a few months).  I was limited, in certain circles, because of my lack of traditional credentials, but I was able to do a significant amount of volunteer work in youth programs through my church.

2.  After I ended my coaching business, I didn’t know what to do next.  One morning, as I was waking up, I heard a knock on my bedroom door.  (I had continued to live with my brother Walter.)  Walter came in and sat down on the floor, by the side of my bed.

He said, “I’ve been thinking.  You seem to need a new job, and I need help in my business.  So I was wondering if you might consider working for me.”  He told me what he could afford to pay me, which wasn’t much, but it was enough to survive short-term.

I went to work for him and developed a computer ordering system, so that he could maximize his inventory.  Since they also managed a sales force, I also sold their products part-time to make ends meet.  I only did that for a few months, because I didn’t like working nights and weekends and honestly didn’t like sales prospecting (endlessly having to find new customers.)

I was proud of the system I programmed for him – and it worked great when he used it.  I guess he didn’t really trust the computer and thought his own judgment was better.  I worked for him about a year, and I do not have any regrets about that year.  We had helped each other.  I had taken over his accounting, and had told him what his sales force needed to sell, for him to break even.

Becoming familiar with his profit and loss statements and getting  frustrated with him not being open to most of my innovative ideas caused me to decide that my work there was complete.  I told him that I didn’t think he could afford to keep me on the payroll and that I had accomplished his “task list” for me.  He reluctantly agreed, and I began to look for other career possibilities.  (His business ended up going under a couple of years later.  My opinion is that he was overly generous and soft-hearted about keeping too many people on the payroll.)

That’s when the opportunity to go on a summer mission trip to Hong Kong presented itself…







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    October 14, 2012
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