With my heart still wondering how God was going to bring all the pieces together, 11 days after having my first son I started my Master Degree in Human Relations at OU of Tulsa, January 2011. (One of the best decisions of my life, Loved every minute of it.) I was now home with my 17 month old and newborn, working for East Cross one day a week leading the music on Wednesday nights and working on my Masters. I had so much joy, I started my blog during that time and started working to support the non-profit my parents direct The HELPS Organization. I was at a place were I was getting to use my gifts and artistic abilities daily and I felt alive.
My Master Degree was nothing less than the last step I needed to go through to fully prepare for my “purpose.” 5 years previous the Lord had impressed on me what my life was going to be about “Keeping young women Pure, free from contamination” I started dreaming up going into schools and having a girls club at lunch time or developing a girls club to deal with all the issues they face.
Upon starting my Masters I found out I was going to have to do an internship, immediately I thought I should go to MUTUAL and see if I could work with them for my internship. I called MUTUAL and set up a time to come meet with the NEW director (the one that got the job, I was looking at when I was 9 months pregnant). This was March of 2011, I went and met the Director, we connected instantly and found a kindred spirit. I told them I would be in contact about working with them as my internship approached. I continued on in my program and that first summer I did a project to receive 3 hours of Masters Credit. I read and researched “girl’s clubs and programs” and developed my own curriculum for a Girl’s Club. My dream in my heart was so real I could taste it.
I was completely accepted and Loved at East Cross and finally had a place that just loved me and my style. Before I had mentioned everything felt hard or like a struggle, this was so different it felt liberating, I felt free. I walked around this building at East Cross and saw the amazing facility and that it was a block away from the Mid-High and Middle School. This facility has a gym, an amazing activity room (pool, ping-pong, videos games, etc) a MOVIE Theatre, a computer lab, (what church has a computer lab?) as I walked around this church I remember as clear as day the impression “My girl’s club is going to be right here!” This was a different thought for me, because up until this point I had envisioned going into schools, but was very open to this idea of course.
I was faithfully serving on Wednesday nights and doing the best I could with what was given to me. I was invited to come do a special song for the Traditional Service one Sunday morning (at this point my husband and I were still attending another church and I just lead at East Cross on Wednesdays.) I was standing in this service and all the sudden felt “Get ready to Move.” Immediately I started fighting that thought, “no way we are not attending EC, us and all these White folks, I do not think so.” That Wednesday night the Pastor came to me and said “Would you be willing to lead Sunday’s for us too?” I started laughing and said “Yes!”
November of that year I was pregnant AGAIN! I was moving ahead with doing my internship with MUTUAL and as we started looking at the dates we realized that my due date would fall in a place that would not work with the Summer program I was going to participate in. I was disappointed, yet God just opened up another opportunity immediately that worked perfectly with my stage of life. The Director and I saw each other occasionally and I kept MUTUAL tucked in my heart.
I birthed my youngest son in July of 2012 and went through the hard transition of 2 to 3 boys all under 4 years old!!!! I kept trying to figure out how to work with young women yet nothing ever seemed to work. Before the start of the new year, the Director of MUTUAL approached me and asked if my husband and I would come and teach sex-ed 1 day a week, to the high-schoolers at MUTUAL in the Spring? I talked to the hubby and we both decided it was something we should do. FINALLY Spring of 2013 I am working with young women! It has been 8 years since I felt so strongly that this is what I was supposed to be doing. I remember leaving those sessions and calling my girlfriend and telling her how I felt completely alive and like I was doing what I was created for, after leaving my time with the girls.
The Director asked me to continue working with her Middle School girls that Summer. I came 1 day a week and just did something age appropriate with them. They loved it and soon it became “When is Ms. Emily coming?”
By the Summer of 2013 the Director and I were standing outside the Club and I asked her the loaded question. “What is in your heart for this place? What do you want to see happen here?” After an hour of discussion she says to me “I know you are working on your Masters, I am not sure what your next step is, but I would love for you to create and Direct a program for our Middle School Girls.” I was actually pretty level-headed at that moment and said “well my 1st step is I have to complete my Masters.” which I was entering into my last semester. She continued and said “well first we need to start with a research project to see the need in our community for something like this, what if MUTUAL hired you to do the community assessment?” Take a guess what my last 2 classes for my degree were? Research and Current Problems. I knew that somehow this was going to end up being homework. One of these 2 classes was going to require me to do a project and I knew I was going to be able to make my project MUTUAL.
That Fall I took Research 1st and yep my end of class project was to do an Annotated Biography which pretty much mean get a bunch of Academic Research Articles and organize them and make a table of contents. Okay so what did I research??? You better believe it, “Girls Clubs, Jr. High Issues, Issues among girls, etc.” My next class was Current Problems and I find out in the 1st class session that my final project was an Advocacy Plan. We needed a REAL life non-profit Organization with a Problem and we had to come up with the PLAN for the Organization to solve the problem. We had to have timelines and budgets and every detail worked out for the PLAN. I had a team of 5 women to complete this Research Project with me, I had all the research I had brought together in my Research class, I had the curriculum and plan I had created the Summer of 2010 and I am getting paid for this??? Really!
February of 2014 I presented my research and plan to the MUTUAL Board. Part of my plan was that East Cross my church, the church I walked around saying “My club is going to be right here,” would house the Middle School Program. The church approved the use of the facility with excitement and enthusiasm. MUTUAL hired me April 2014 as the Director of MUTUAL Gold.
That Summer I presented to the church the plan and program of MUTUAL Gold. After my presentation one of the leaders in our church came to me and said “Years ago when we fought to build the gym we envisioned kids from the middle school and mid-high coming over to use the gym, nothing ever happened with it and I realized as you were presenting, that you were the piece we were missing, we needed You.”
The Director of MUTUAL was at my presentation to the church and I share with them a very abbreviated version of this story I have pined here. I mentioned in my presentation seeing the Director position online for MUTUAL back in 2010 when I was 9 months pregnant. After my presentation the Director of MUTUAL came and told me that she was also looking at the East Cross Worship position! At the same time in space, her and I were looking at the same 2 jobs and she was placed at one, I was placed at the other only for our lives to collide in a magnificent way.
August 18, 2014 was the 1st day of MUTUAL Gold. I hired a staff, created a program, have the tremendous support of my church and community and right now I have the beautiful problem of having more volunteers that want to be involved then I know what to do with.
We are entering into our 2nd semester and I have so much more in my heart for this program, let’s just say we are only getting started! We have been invited to come in May to the Bartlesville elementary schools in the area and do a MUTUAL Gold day with all their 5th grade girls. They are giving me all their 5 grade girls for 2 hours. I am going into the SCHOOLS! My original dream!
My dad has a few quotes that I have heard a zillion times growing up, yet I live by them. “Be faithful with what you have and God will give you much.” And “What do you have in your hands?” I serve the Master Architect of the Universe and he is making me!