My idea was born in the early 90’s, to create a Foundation that would help inner-city girls have scholarships to college. The idea grew and I found many people to donate to the Fund. The Fund was managed by a larger charity that was serving these kids. Each year I was able to double the donations. I truly felt God was pushing me to achieve that goal each year because, each year, sometimes even on December 31st, a donation would come in that was the last piece to that goal. I truly felt the presence of God in this endeavor. Hundreds of scholarships were awarded to hard working and challenged young women. The obstacles that these young girls faced to achieve their dream of higher education were sometimes horrific and seemingly insurmountable. But they reached for the stars and grabbed on. Each year when the scholarships were handed out, the recipients spoke about the obstacles they had faced to their achievement and it felt like I was meeting real-life heroines. It was a joy and a passion of mine for almost three decades.

The charity that this was attached to had a change in their governance. The Board Chair felt that changes needed to be made that took this Foundation out of my hands and placed it with the Board. I was devastated as the Board Chair and other Board members had donated to the Foundation and had been supportive of it. Without warning or a choice, the Fund was taken away from me and given to others who had no knowledge of the history or the passion that it took for it to grow the way it did. I wasn’t even allowed a vote on the disposition of the Fund going forward. This action felt very personal. And, perhaps it was.

Understandably, I felt betrayed, hurt, dismissed, discounted and disrespected. I stewed and suffered for a very long time. I struggled with my feelings of anger and powerlessness. It almost felt like my child had been stolen. I had never had to face this kind of painful struggle in my life. I prayed and asked God to help me with this pain – over and over. Months went by. I tried to find the “silver lining”, the lesson I was supposed to learn, to no avail. I watched as the Fund was moved in ways I didn’t agree with, but had no voice. I prayed some more. Then one day, while alone, I heard a voice say very clearly….”This can be over any time you choose”. I thought about that and realized that of course, this was true, but much easier said than done. It still took some time, but I realized that all the hundreds of scholarships that had already been awarded. Those girls were well on their way to achieve their dreams. Of course I wanted to participate in giving more scholarships each year, but this work had already been done. It was time for me to let it go. Bit by bit, one finger at a time, I did let it go and replaced it with other volunteer work that was very satisfying as well. Not my first baby, but it slowly filled that void.

I’ve heard it said that, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”. And God taught me that “This can be over any time you choose”. Well, now it’s over. I chose. Thanks be to God.

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”