My entire life has been one of God preparing me for this calling. Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” My trust is in God’s providence and plan for my life and the path onto which he has called me.

For several years before I heard John Townsend speak, I had been mentoring men. My passion is to provide men and adolescent boys with the guidance and fellowship essential for achieving a good life. I did not have a formal mentor as a young man. However, before hearing Dr. Townsend speak at the Mariners Church Irvine men’s breakfast, I had no thought of completing a master’s program. Hearing him speak of “getting in the well” and coming alongside another in empathy moved me to act. The Townsend program at Concordia would become the next dot. However, this is not where my story begins.

Psalm 69:2 “ I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.”

When my parents married, my dad was eighteen, and my mom was sixteen. They had me two years later. I am the first to graduate from high school and college in my family. My parents were great and sacrificed a lot for my sister and me. My father did many things right, and I respect him much, but life was not always perfect. I have an early memory of being chased around the outside of our house by my father. He was working on the family car in the garage, and I accidentally messed something up. This caused him to explode in anger. As an adult and a parent, I can now totally appreciate the frustration he must have felt that day. And to know him now, he is so kind and gentle. Unfortunately, this event unknowingly and without intent created distance between us and contributed to my self-confidence issues. The first dot on my journey, needing a relationship and validation from a male mentor, came from this experience.

As a child, I had a speech impediment that caused me to be bullied. The speech therapy class was in the special education building in the center of the school quadrangle. All my classmates could watch me go with the other special Ed kids to speech. I also had a relatively large head. My nickname was “Special Ed Pumpkin Head”. Ostracized on the playground, I found comfort with the other “misfit” kids. There was a large mound of dirt in the corner of the play-yard. We would run as fast as we could up and over the hill and launch ourselves off the other side. We hoped to fly away and be free from the bullies, but no one ever escaped. Humility and compassion for the marginalized is a second dot on my journey.

Proverbs 22:4 “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.

During this time, one consolation was the unconditional love I found attending Sunday school at Chocolate Bayou Baptist Church. It was a warm, loving environment that created the experience of being loved as a child of God. The Sunday school teachers taught me that Jesus loved me as I was and that no one could take that from me. The unconditional love of God was a third dot on my journey.

Rory Vaden once said, “we are best suited to serve the person whom we once were.” Since those times, my life’s path has been about creating a safe place and caring for adolescents. I began teaching Sunday School around the age of 20 and continued until just a few years ago. I have great memories of summer camps and Vacation Bible School programs. One child stands out to me. I taught a first-grade Sunday School class in my early twenties, and this kid refused to sit at the table. Instead, he would get under the table and bark like a dog. He would scratch and nip at the other kids’ feet. This kid needed help beyond the capabilities of a 20-year-old. However, over time, I learned to draw him out by giving him “important” tasks. After many weeks he was sitting at the table with the other kids. Love and attention prevailed.

Proverbs 20:5 NIV “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”

While teaching Sunday school, I also began to mentor men and found this very rewarding. I have mentored men facing pornography addictions, financial and marriage crises, and pursuing general life goals. I find that I grow from these experiences as much as they do. There are many dots on my journey from my time teaching Sunday school and mentoring men.

When I consider being a life coach, my greatest fear is that my former self will hold me back from stepping into the bold new dream that God has planned for me. Being an international tax partner and consultant for over thirty years, I have traveled the world, managed million-dollar projects, and faced CEOs, high-powered boards, and government officials. I am skilled at listening for details and communications and enjoy being outside of my comfort zone. Being one-on-one “in the well of despair”, with someone seems like a blessing to me at this point in my journey. However, my former world was reasonably controlled. I had to follow the tax law and keep the accounting books balanced. This new world of mentoring is creative, expressive, and inter-relational. Experiences at Concordia Irvine are helping me to release my creative side. Francis of Assisi said, “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” As Dr. Paessler-Chesterston stated, the process is exhilarating and terrifying, but mostly it is freedom. Freedom to fly to a new reality.

Genesis 1:20And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.’”



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