Looking back just over a year ago, when I finally received my Nutrition degree, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would end up right here. In the midst of my struggles this past year, I had no idea that God was working in me and preparing me for something amazing. It may not have come in the timeframe I wanted, but He knew exactly what He was doing and knew I would not be adequately ready for it at the time I wanted. And so a year of prep work began, whether I asked for it or not.
Just like any new college graduate, finding a great, stable career was at the top of my list. To be honest, I really didn’t know the specific area I would most like to practice nutrition. With previous weight loss experience I did have a special interest in that area. I had always thought about a career in helping those I could really relate to on a very personal level. Unfortunately, a job in that field is pretty hard to find. Thankfully, within just a few short weeks of graduating I was blessed to find the job with Jenny Craig. I would be a Weight Loss Consultant and I thought this job would be right down my alley. I was going to be working one-on-one with clients who shared some of the same struggles as I once did. What I wasn’t aware of was the amount of sales, marketing, and phone calls I was responsible for and how much of that my job revolved around. But, my favorite part about the position was counseling the clients on nutritious eating and aiding them in their own weight loss journey. That part alone was the best part about my job. I loved helping them in their personal journeys and watching their progress along the way.
As most of you know, the first few months of my job proved to be very trying and stressful for me as I was in a tense and very negative working environment. Staying positive and upbeat became harder and harder every day. I prayed and prayed for something better to come along, but it wasn’t until October that I became aware of a Nutrition Educator position to work in the school systems. This job seemed perfect for me! I wanted this job very badly. I prayed constantly about it, but God’s plan wasn’t quite in line with what I wanted. At first, it was hard to understand why He wouldn’t take me out of such a stressful situation and put me into something more in line with what I went to school for. Pretty soon my work became one I didn’t enjoy anymore. Thankfully, God did bless me with an amazing family that owned this particular Jenny Craig. They looked out for me and I could tell they would do anything for their employees. They knew and understood the situation I was in at this location. God did answer my prayer of getting out of there and relocating to a different centre in December part-time and I was switched to full-time in February. This one came with amazing co-workers that I quickly became great friends with. They were so kind, supportive, and encouraging to me and work became more enjoyable again.
As hard as the first several months were, I am thankful for those struggles. I would not have been able to fully appreciate all that God had been working on and still was doing to bring about a change in me and my future career. It took a lot of patience and determination, but I finally learned to be content with where I was right at that very moment. I stopped looking so much for other jobs and just tried to gain as much experience as I could from the one I had. Little did I know just how much God was working and preparing me for what was just around the corner.
Around the first of May I became aware of a Nutrition Educator position at the Escambia County Health Department. This job required direct nutrition counseling to women, infants, and children who qualified for WIC. After talking with the WIC Director, this job seemed almost too good to be true. But like with any state job, HR takes forever! Several weeks later I finally had an interview lined up. When I arrived at the health department the first person I saw was the lady that interviewed me back in October several months before. She actually recognized me and led me where I needed to go for this interview. The interview went exceedingly well and by the next week I had a call that I was their top candidate for the position! They couldn’t officially hire me yet, because background checks and paperwork still needed to be processed. It was a long three weeks of waiting again before I heard more about the job. I had decided to call and follow-up and when the director answered, she said she just was about to call me. I felt a huge sigh of relief, because that meant she had news for me. She had just received an email that I was approved for hire and we could precede forward! At the time of this call, I was on my lunch break and walking around the mall and I literally started crying right there in the middle of JCPenney! Haha! I just couldn’t believe that this job sort of came out of nowhere! Like I said, I had not been looking for another job at the time. If something like this happening doesn’t bring out your faith in what God can do, than I don’t know what will.
My last day with Jenny Craig was just a couple of weeks short of being with them a year. But in that time, I learned so much and gained so much experience that required me to step out of my comfort zone in ways I could never imagine. God works in mysterious ways, ways I don’t understand sometimes. There were lots of times I spent unhappy and impatient with Him because I wasn’t where I thought I needed to be. I never would’ve guessed that God was preparing me for something so much better than I could ever imagine. Once I finally learned to be content with where He had me, my attitude and whole outlook shifted. He taught me patience, perseverance, and He built up my faith in Him. I’ve now been working with WIC for three weeks now and I am still in awe and shock that this is where I am. This job is nothing short of amazing and I can’t wait to finally be finished with all my training so I can start working with the people. Who knows what lives I’ll touch or come in contact with along the way? After all this I can’t help but think of the line from one of my favorite movies, “God is good all of the time, and all of the time God is good!”