Work, Faith and Motherhood

The last few months have been an interesting transition period for me.  But let’s rewind the hands of time a bit…when I first started out in the counseling field, about 10 years ago, my job was to facilitate group counseling and drug and alcohol prevention and education groups.

Back in graduate school, I took a course that had to do with choosing your specific counseling area of interest.  The one thing I said was that I DID NOT want to work in the inner city and I DID NOT want to work in any subject area that had to do with drugs and/or alcohol.  Well…if you read anything that I wrote above, you realized that God had a GREAT sense of humor when it came to my work.

So there I was, working in the city and dealing with drug and alcohol issues.  Now mind you, I was not dealing with people using these substances, but dealing more in prevention.  Still…Lord, are you serious?

4 1/2 years later, Julianna was born.  Talk about transition!  I was no longer working and Brian and I were just beginning our road to ministry.  We had a new baby and no income.  This was truly a time when we took an enormous leap of faith.  It was difficult, most of the time, to see our way ahead.  But by God’s grace and provision, we made it through many challenges and are here today to share our journey with you.

So let’s fast forward to the present day…in addition to being Brian’s partner in ministry at Drexel, though at this point it’s only been behind the scenes, I am serving in another ministry…one that is truly close to my heart.

Choice One is a Crisis Pregnancy and Sexual Health Resource Center, geared toward meeting the needs of pregnant and parenting teens, young women who are abortion-minded and need our guidance to choose an alternative and couples who need parenting help.

I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join the ministry team there as the Counseling Services Director.  My role is to oversee, evaluate and develop all of our counseling programs, oversee our volunteers and run our Lower Bucks County center.  We have another location in Mercer County, NJ.

So that means we are involved in two ministries, both support based and loving every minute of it even though the financial component is a challenge.

When I was working in the city, it was for a faith-based organization, but not a Christian one.  So often times, knowing that I was a believer, my co-workers would ask me questions about what I believed.  I encountered a little bit of everything.  One woman, who became a friend, was from a Catholic background, so she understood the basics, but could not quite wrap her head around the heart of salvation.  Several of my co-workers were Jewish and they could get a hold of the basics too, but it was a challenge to get them to understand that Jesus was their Messiah too.  Then, there were a few co-workers who were believers and that gave all of us a sense of belonging because of our shared faith in Christ, but also a sense of confidence to share that faith with the people around us.

Switch over to where I am now, and the circumstances are a little different.  My ministry at Choice One is just that, a ministry.  Our Board of Directors, staff and volunteers are all believers.  Our primary goal when meeting with our clients for the first time is to share the gospel with them.  Questions about their faith background are actually on the form we use to acquire information about them.  So once they tell us their faith story, whether it’s rooted in Christ or not, that gives us the opportunity to then tell them who we are, where we stand and what we can offer them in Christ if they are interested.

In 4 months, I have not had one client say that they didn’t want to hear about my faith.  Amazing!  So I have had the opportunity to share Jesus with every girl I’ve seen in the last 4 months.  I could never do that in my other job.

Many people ask me if our number one goal is to save babies and the answer is no.  Our number one goal is to bring these girls to Christ, which will in turn, lead them to make life-affirming choices for themselves and their children.  Because when you think about it, why would any girl choose life if they don’t know Christ first?  Some actually do, but how much more meaningful to them would their pregnancy be if they are looking at it through the eyes of Jesus rather than through their own.    Those life-affirming choices are what we are there to encourage them towards.

The other part of this journey that I wanted to share was what it was like to transition back into the workplace and become a working mother…not easy!  At times I still feel like I am making the adjustment, but I would not trade it for the world.  Balancing my time between work, my husband, my daughter and caring for our home has been a challenge to say the least.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t have as much time with Julianna as I used to. But this also gives her the opportunity to spend more quality time with her daddy 🙂 and her grandparents.  It also gives me the freedom to pursue what I love.

If I could offer one piece of advice to any working mom out there, it would be this: when you do not take care of yourself and pursue your dreams, your sense of self starts to fade.  When that happens, you lose the desire to care for others because you are not being fulfilled with what you love and not being refreshed to be able to give back to others.  So, moms, take care of yourselves, pursue your dreams, and hold on tight to the hands of your Heavenly Father, because only then, when you are giving to yourself, will you be able to give back to the people you love the most…your family.

So it is my privilege to be serving alongside Brian in our ministry at Drexel, which I anticipate in the future will open up the opportunity for me to have a presence on campus to work with the young women there.  It is also my privilege to have served in a non-christian workplace and have that experience to look back on and grow from.  It is also my privilege to now be serving in a Christian ministry that helps and encourages young women at a turning point in their lives, shares the gospel of Jesus Christ with them and allows me the opportunity to lead them to choose life.

Hope all of you have been encouraged,
Jennifer

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About Brian Musser

Rev. Brian Musser is the Baptist Campus Minister at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. View all posts by Brian Musser

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