I learned so many things through Jobs Partnership that it was difficult to fix my mind on one specific concept of WHAT about the program had the MOST impact on me. After pondering it for several hours, I have come up with this – Jobs Partnership showed me that I am not defined by my past, but rather, PREPARED BY my past. (Those are not my words – they are the words of a very wise man, Joel Osteen.)
Before my addiction and subsequent criminal incarceration, I had, for a long period of time, been a very successful RN, Trauma Nurse Specialist. Once I allowed myself to be swallowed into the world of drug abuse, I lost my career and all of my worldly possessions. I also lost “myself”. During my time in the Illinois Department of Corrections, my self-worth took even more of a beating. Some days, I just couldn’t see HOW I was ever going to have any type of professional success again in my life. Furthermore, I was pretty sure that I didn’t deserve to have a career or a good income to support myself and my family. After all, I told myself, God had blessed me so richly with everything that I had already had, but, I threw it away. WHO was I to even have the nerve to think I deserved another chance, or that I could ever repair the damage I’d brought upon my own character through my drug use and criminal behavior? Then, I joined Jobs Partnership.
The program taught me that God IS a “God of Second Chances”! Through our classes and Bible application, I came to realize that the success and money that come from a career is not where my focus should be. My focus needs to be in servitude to my Father. And that if my heart is truly focused on God, everything else will fall into place.
I was released from IDOC on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. I began working a full-time job on May 4, less than one week post-release. THAT is God! I work in the marketing department for a great publishing company. The owner of the business is a strong spiritual lady, for whom I have the utmost respect and gratitude. Just having her in my life is a blessing. And, between Cheryl, Mary Pat, Carrie, and my boss Jennifer, I know that I too am being called to help women who want to get their lives back on track after “a fall”. But, that’s another story for another time…😉
To be in sales, you have to have a tough exterior and a “never say die attitude”. I’ve always had those traits, but, my past enhanced them. To overcome addiction and incarceration, you have to have God. I’ve always known God, but, I never had a RELATIONSHIP with Him. My “time-out” from the everyday busyness of life gave me the opportunity to explore my spirituality and to form a relationship with my Father that is stronger than I ever knew could exist! My participation in Jobs Partnership helped me to be able to interpret all of these new feelings. And to see how, like I said, my past hasn’t defined who I am, but it helped prepare me for who I can become! Now I see that I can be successful and have a fulfilling career again. And, I’m no longer scared. Because, I’m living for God, and He provides all the opportunities and avenues for my happiness and success.
Because of Jobs Partnership, I have the confidence to move forward with my life and to overcome my past. I go to work everyday glorifying our Lord in EVERYTHING I do. I use my story to tell other people about God and what He’s done for me and what He will do for them. I’m grateful everyday that I got into the Jobs Partnership program and learned how to incorporate my love for Jesus Christ with being gainfully employed and into reestablish myself as a productive responsible Christian member of society!- Melissa K.