“Truth be told, I never set out to be in the staffing business. Nor have I always felt a burden for the refugee community. But life’s experiences have a way of shaping our passions and experiences into purpose, don’t they?
The only thing I knew was that I liked helping people. And I realized, along the way, that business, when leveraged intentionally, could be used to do so. That simple awareness, plus a chain of extraordinary events only God could have set into motion, led me to where I am today.”
—Chapter One, "Refugee Workforce”
Everybody has a story.
In my job, I have the pleasure of clearing away the dirt, and digging up the bones of those stories, and putting them into written form.
I wrote the words above one early morning (probably 5am or so) in early spring, as I revisited chapter one of “Refugee Workforce,” as the original version just wasn’t sitting right with me.
Chapter one is built around Amplio Recruiting Founder & CEO, Chris Chancey’s story, and answers the question: “How does a middle class white guy from South Georgia find himself running a refugee staffing agency?”
Similarly, I find the question I get asked most often, recently, is, “Tell me about your book!” and when I explain it to them the second question their eyes ask is, “How did you get involved in this??”
So I think it’s time I share my story. A God story. I love sharing it with anyone who allows, because it reveals so much of His providence and goodness.
Like Chris, I never set out to be doing what I am now— realeasing a book on the value of refugees in the American workplace.
Like most people of my race and class, I did a pretty good job turning a blind eye to the refugee crisis. Sure, I saw horrific photos and videos in my newsfeed from time to time. Yet, sadly, none of that momentary heartbreak ever moved me to action.
At the beginning of 2017 I felt a stirring in my spirit. I had been working for the same nonprofit organization for a dozen years where I had grown from “administrative assistant,” managing databases and mailouts and such, to much bigger tasks like overseeing fundraisers, writing copy, and managing social media.
When my kids were little I had begun writing as a hobby. God was teaching me so much in that “season of small,” as I call it, and blogging was a good way to process it.
As the years ticked by, I realized not only was writing a good “release” for me, but I actually had a knack for it. (I probably should have realized that in middle school when I won several writing contests. Just ask God— I’m a slow learner.) In my quiet times with the Lord He would whisper to my heart sweet promises about writing books, and even “opening my mouth to speak.”
But the years kept ticking by, and it seemed nothing was happening. Most days, when I hit the “publish” button, it felt I was sending my words into outer space.
I had an idea of what life would look like as a writer, and my life didn’t seem to be headed in that direction. The discrepancy between what I heard and what I saw caused me to question.
There was one point where I pulled an “Abraham.” Giving birth to a dream that was not in God’s timing. The dream wasn’t wrong, but the season was, and when God shut it down it felt like He had stepped on my toes. A wilderness season followed, and I felt as though I would never write again.
Yet I was writing.
Website copy. Letters. E-mails. Posts.
Little did I know God was using those experiences to prepare me for what was next.
If I’m honest, I had prayed many times over my twelve years at my job that God would move me on, sometimes due to conflict, sometimes due to boredom. As immature as I was, in many ways, I'm glad I had the wisdom to know if God wasn’t moving, then neither should I.
But in early 2017 I began to get the sense that He was leading me onward.
After months of praying, and fasting, and meeting with a mentor, my mentor asked, “So when are you finally going to do something about it?”
She was only speaking to me what God had already been saying in my Spirit. I felt God was calling me to a job where I could utilize my skills in writing, but fear paralyzed me— where would I go?
I don’t even have a degree, I worried, and what marketable skills do I even have to offer?
I had become so accustomed to working from home, I hated the idea of being away from my children (even though the thought of a quiet office without “Frozen” blaring in the background sounded quite appealing).
I’d seen God move many mountains over the years. But I wondered if He could provide just the right niche.
Faith rose up within me, and I decided to take the first step.
I’ll never forget the morning I met with my boss and told her I felt like God was leading me elsewhere. I would finish out the next few months, but plan to leave at the end of the summer.
I felt ashamed, and I felt like a lunatic. I had no other job lined up, and no idea where I was headed. Just a gut instinct that it was time for the next chapter.
Faith and Fear battled for control of my mind. I needed something to hold onto— I begged God for a Word.
Then one morning in prayer, out of the blue, but as clear as day, I heard the words, “soft landing.”
I didn’t’ know what it meant, but I liked it. God was going to give me a soft landing. Whatever that was. It gave my faith the footing it needed to hold on another day.
The following weeks flew by as I focused on “leaving well” (another word from the Holy Spirit). And as the days began to count down to my last paycheck, I felt my faith dwindling.
I should probably note that we weren’t in a position where we could pay all of the bills and keep food on the table without my income. The need was immediate.
And in all of this, there were no visible signs of pending opportunity. It seemed God was silent.
Isn’t that how every God story goes?
The walls of Jericho were impenetrable, until God knocked them down.
Sarah was unable to become pregnant, until God enabled her to be so.
Noah was just a crazy man with weird yard décor, until God sent the flood.
And I would be jobless in four days, until I received a single phone call.
“Sarah Chancey” appeared across my phone. I picked up, wondering if she simply had an update on her ill father’s health.
“Hey, I know you're looking for a job. Chris is looking for someone to write stories for his company blog…” she said. Then proceeded to tell me what his company was: a staffing company, helping resettled refugees connect with jobs.
“They have the most amazing stories,” she told me. “Someone needs to write them.”
As she told me about their vision for the position, I could hardly believe it. The job checked every box, and I knew that it was a God-send. A soft landing.
I didn’t have to strive to make it happen. My job was to stay close to God, listen, obey, and trust Him.
A couple weeks later I sat down to write my first “audition” blog. My stomach was in knots.
The voice of fear was L O U D.
Who are you to do this job? It screamed. You’re not a real writer. You’re a phony. You’re a fake.
But by the grace of God I persisted on anyway. There was no denying God had signed, sealed, and delivered the job— so He must believe in me.
Come to find out, I coulddo the job. And I enjoyed it. Oh, how I enjoyed it.
I had the equal parts pleasure and heartbreak of interviewing the most incredible individuals I had ever met.
It was an absolute honor to write and share their stories. The more refugees I spoke to, the more I began to recognize the tremendous impact of employment. The more employers I spoke to, the more I began to recognize the equally tremendous impact of refugees in the workplace.
I was writing. And even though it didn’t look like anything I had imagined years before, I had the most secure feeling that I was right where I belonged.
As it turns out, y’all, God has a pretty good handle on things.
The defining lesson I’ve learned over the last decade of my life: God can be trusted with my dreams.
God is such a good Father. He doesn’t always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need.
Had I left my previous job any earlier than He allowed, I would have thwarted the growth God was trying to produce in me.
I wasn’t trying to turn this blog into a lesson, but I’m not just a writer, I’m a teacher. So if you’re reading this and you’re in a place where your life doesn’t look like what you thought it would, keep holding on, and ask Him for a Word.
I promise He’ll give you one. And when He does, hold onto it tight and keep walking in faith, until it comes into fruition. (If you doubt it will, see Isaiah 55:11.)
So there you have it. That’s how I ended up here. Publishing my first “real” book with my name and my face on it.
I never imagined my first book would be a business-y book touting the value of a marginalized people group. But Jesus spent His life speaking love and value into people, so it only seems fitting that I should do the same in every environment He puts me into.
What a joy. What an honor. What a privilege.
So that’s my story. Well, in part.
Lord knows I could fill a book with stories of the way He’s faithfully loved and led me over the years.
Maybe I will…
A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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