I hit a few bumps in the road, faced some challenges. So I thought I might even be able to tell people how to get past them like I had.
So I began seeking meaningful work. I spent two years working with women in a domestic violence shelter and leading volunteers in a sexual assault response team. I spent night after night advocating for women in hospital emergency rooms, leaving exhausted and spent, but appreciative of the place I had in their lives in that moment. I learned even more from the women I worked with, who had chosen to become advocates, unlike me who had stumbled upon a job out of need. They were tough. They were sometimes mean. It became a little less about me, but still it was a job.
I then spent some time working with families in a supervised visitation program, training volunteers and observing families in need. Then I moved on to the business of cancer, advocating for patients in the community. But I found that the job was all about the business, there were already a lot of advocates, and as jobs went, it was pretty tough. Not really for me. It was still about me, but I knew it shouldn’t be just about me, and I didn’t think I was making a difference for anyone there. God kept growing my heart to want to do something real. But it was still about what I wanted to do.
So I took a break from the non-profit jobs. I thought that I’d figure it out while having a job that was just that, a job. And I’d focus for a while on my family. See, while I was busy finding jobs to advocate for people (good jobs going good work), I was advocating almost daily for my husband who battles a rare chronic illness. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do, that was just something I had to do. So the plan was to keep sharing my love for people through involvement at church, and keep figuring it out.
Five short months later, I again was forced into something I didn’t want to do. Much like facing my husband’s illness, I couldn’t go home from the job and relax. On June 26, 2007 I became an advocate for my brother, the day he went missing from my home. Michael “Austin” Davis was 26 and depressed, and I was silenced at first- by my own fear and guilt. But I spoke. Then, eventually I learned to speak for others too. To ask for help for us all. It was no longer about me. It was no longer a job. I still speak for my brother because he can’t, and for my family because sometimes they can’t. I speak for our community of missing to anyone who will listen because I can, and over time I’ve found that all the time I spent up until now was God preparing my heart for these days.
Years ago, I thought I might share with people how they might get past the bumps like I had. Today my message is much different. Today I offer instead that people climb the mountains and trudge the valleys alongside me, and together we can lean on each other, and I might be able to share some hope along the way. Today I no longer know so much about what I want to do or how I may be used, but I know that God may use me, and I’m open to that. And no matter what type of journey you’re on, no matter your situation, we can support each other.
Today as I start the journey of blogging on Time’s Up, that’s what I have to offer you. A shared journey.