Introducing our guest blogger, Daisy Buitrago! Daisy is a JfL graduate from Dorcas Ministries in Cary, NC. She courageously tells her personal story of how her life changed when the Local Church intervened. Daisy is someone of infectious enthusiasm and great compassion. After graduating from her JfL class, she has generously given her time volunteering in other JfL classes and speaking to audiences about her JfL experience. She now works at Habitat for Humanity. We are so proud of Daisy!
I grew up in the Catholic Church, practicing my faith as best I could while living life. At least I thought I was practicing faith, however now I recognize that most of my behaviors were routines. Jobs for Life helped me develop a real faith, a faith in God’s plans. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1 and for the past few years, there was nothing hopeful to be seen in my life.
When I came to Dorcas Ministries for help with my water bill, I was definitely at the lowest point in my life. Feeling like my life was being ripped from under my feet daily, piece by piece, each loss just as shockingly unexpected as the first. A few events that majorly impacted me in this time included my car being totaled, losing my job of 5+ years, having a criminal record during a stagnant job market, and having my food stamp application delayed. I remember December of 2012, the first time I chose not to put up a Christmas tree. It would have crushed my spirit if I was forced to dismantle the tree in a hurry, since the fear of eviction was so real. I even moved a man in for a brief time just to ease the financial burdens, but this was a trade for emotional burdens. My obsession with cleaning became fullblown as I sought to have control over something in my life. I was a wreck, living alone and isolating myself further as my circumstances became worse. And I could not, for the life of me, figure out why God did not care, why He was standing by witnessing all the horror, fears and tears my life had degraded to.
Dorcas Ministries was able to assist with food, water and electric bill and then the program director referred me to Jobs for Life, which I immediately was leery about. During my free time, I had already previously sought out programs to increase my marketability in the job market. I had done free resume classes at libraries, free Wake Tech classes and local seminars, even joined my church’s unemployed group. Nothing had produced a real change in my life, no contacts, no job leads… just actions to show others I was trying to occupy my time productively. I said yes to Jobs for Life because I felt obligated to.
Jobs for Life is actually a quite challenging curriculum that turned out to be a change agent for me. If you take all the homework seriously and dedicate time for self reflection, you really learn a lot about yourself. I thought I knew myself but I never realized my smile was a strength or that people sensed me as a courageous person. I learned how to write a real career plan based on who I am, a resume tailored to my strengths and my desires, and I learned there were others who truly cared about my success.
Faith is believing without seeing and for me I needed to believe that God had greater plans for me. Why would God give up His one precious Son for me, only to leave me in a ditch for the vultures? Jobs for Life introduced a scripture to me that changed my complete outlook, a simple scripture on one of the pages of my workbook, Jeremiah 29:11:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’.”
Words I so desperately needed. Words that helped me keep my heart hopefilled when I still had no employment months after my JFL graduation. Words that hugged me when a man I loved left me with no explanation. Words that pushed me past defeat when my dream employer went with a more qualified candidate. His plans for my good ended up full of surprises, because my dream employer created a position for me a month or two after rejecting me. I just finished my first trip ever out of the country, doing mission work in Honduras. Things I could never have seen, things that only faith and hope could bring. Faith and hope that Jobs for Life was able to illuminate for me.