It’s an amazing blessing to see what God can do when you choose to follow and serve Him. I knew I had to find a new normal. While I was gone, changes at my previous church resulted in fewer people my age and stage of life to connect with. I started looking for another church to attend. I really liked Chase Oaks Church and had several friends who attended, but it was difficult to figure out where I wanted to get plugged in while I was still trying to transition back and feel like myself again.

I struggled with attending church regularly; my attendance was sporadic at best. I finally came to the point one day where I knew that something had to change.

I had long ago learned that God will accomplish what He sets out to accomplish with or without me, but if He wants to let me be a part of His work, then I wanted to be a part of it and be blessed by seeing God at work.

bernice-schoolzone-pic-1I knew I had to find a way to attend church regularly, get plugged in, and serve the Lord. It was around that time that I heard the announcement that the Chase Oaks Family Center needed volunteers for their annual SchoolZone event that helps low-income families provide backpacks and school supplies for their kids. I decided to sign up to volunteer; and once I did, I knew it was the beginning of my new normal.

Julissa Estrada

Julissa Estrada

After the SchoolZone event, I told Julissa Estrada, the Chase Oaks Family Center Director, that I was free to volunteer anytime she needed help with anything since I had just left my job. She contacted me multiple times over the next few months. The next big event was the annual ToyZone, a one-week event that allows low-income families to provide extremely low-cost Christmas gifts to their children. I was starting to interview for new jobs at that point but went every day to help out as I could. It was there that I met a few groups of coworkers from a company called MedAssets.

I used to be a weekly volunteer at the North Texas Food Bank, so I was used to coworkers constantly complaining about their company to each other as they volunteered. Interestingly, that didn’t happen with the groups from MedAssets. There were different groups on different days, and yet none of them complained about work. They all seemed to enjoy their jobs and the company, even though many of them worked in different departments. I also found out that they were all volunteering together because their company gives them five paid days to volunteer each year.After the SchoolZone event, I told Julissa Estrada, the Chase Oaks Family Center Director, that I was free to volunteer anytime she needed help with anything since I had just left my job. She contacted me multiple times over the next few months. The next big event was the annual ToyZone, a one-week event that allows low-income families to provide extremely low-cost Christmas gifts to their children. I was starting to interview for new jobs at that point but went every day to help out as I could. It was there that I met a few groups of coworkers from a company called MedAssets.

I was sold. I looked up the company on Glassdoor and did some research and started applying. It only took about a week before I was contacted for an interview, and within a month, I had started my new job there.

nthrive-med-assets-group-fc-toyzoneThis past year, I took a bunch of my coworkers to volunteer at ToyZone held at the Family Center. It was the first time that many of them had ever used any of their volunteering days. They all enjoyed it a lot, and everyone said they wanted to go back again next year. A few of them enjoyed it so much that they said they want to know when there are other volunteering opportunities at the Chase Oaks Family Center.

Volunteering at the Chase Oaks Family Center not only helped me begin to feel like myself again, but it was what really motivated me to begin attending Chase Oaks Church regularly and get plugged in even more. Now, a year and a half later, I help out with the fc-christmas-servingconversational English class every Sunday morning at the Chase Oaks Legacy Campus, have gone on several mission trips with Chase Oaks, and am now on the lead team for the mission trips to Casa Hogar Elim Orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

A verse that God always puts on my heart when I serve Him is 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, which says, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

My new normal is God-designed perfectly for the work He wants me to be a part of. This verse helps me remember that I get the opportunity to get over my own qualms and release my own expectations of what sharing God’s love will look like in any given area of service. It’s not about my need or my time, nor about what I provide whether at the Family Center, the church, the orphanage or elsewhere. It’s not doing everything, nor doing more than what God has given me to do. If I try to do more, I take away from His glory. It is about what those who I am helping need – practically and emotionally. It is about loving people in a way that makes them know they are loved by God. And it is an amazing blessing to see Him at work.

If you’d like to learn more about our Chase Oaks Family Center or would like to serve in their various ongoing outreach ministries, contact Julissa Estrada at .