“Plans are good, but don’t let them keep you from living and experiencing life. It is in the unexpected that friendships are made/strengthened, adventures are found, and Jesus is seen working in your life.”– Alyssa
When you were younger, what did you think your life would look like?
When I was younger, my vision for my life was set in stone: graduate from high school, go to a four year university, get my Master’s degree in Education, be an elementary school teacher, get married by 28 years old, have a maximum of four children, and live outside of the city but not quite in the country.
I can tell you right now, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, that that is not how my life panned out exactly. I did graduate from high school, but did not go straight to a four year university; instead, I took the community college route.
I have no current plans to get my Master’s degree; however, I hope to apply to a credential program. I am not a teacher, but I am a Special Education Aide at a high school (which I love); I am single (but I’m not yet 28 years old, so we’ll see about that goal ☺). Because I am single, I do not have any children; and I currently live in a ministry house* with eight other girls in Westminster, California –– which is not exactly where I had envisioned myself living.
*What is a ministry house? A ministry house is a home with men or women that have a relationship with Jesus Christ and seek to serve Him. The purpose of a ministry house is to be a welcoming and loving environment for those who both live and visit the house. It is a place dedicated to the Lord and to helping each other grow and succeed in life. It is a place where relationships and friendships grow.
What have you changed your mind about?
What’s funny is that, it’s not so much that I changed my mind but that, God changed everything for me –– and I am so thankful for that! He taught and showed me how to let go of my plans, obey Him, and take steps of faith through the doors He opened.
What were the pivotal moments and decisions that led you to where you are today?
One moment that led me to where I am today was transferring to Cal State East Bay in Hayward, CA. Cal State East Bay was never on my radar when applying to colleges, seeing as though I had never heard of East Bay until I looked up a map of every CSU in California.
Even though I didn’t know much about the university, I decided to apply there, as well as CSU San Marcos and CSU Long Beach. It was clear that East Bay was where I was meant to go because, out of the three universities, East Bay was the only one I got accepted to.
The Lord opened that door clearly for me by providing financial aid, with the added bonus of pairing me with two roommates who were from southern California and placing me in a university that is tucked away in the hills surrounded by nature.
Not only was I blessed in East Bay, but it was also where the Lord changed my heart about what age group I wanted to work with. I had originally planned to work with elementary age students, yet the only job I heard from was a school district looking for an AVID tutor for high schoolers.
What are you learning right now?
Right now, I am continuing to learn how to be patient with others, how to let go of my plans, and how to trust Jesus with everything that I am and everything I have.
A new thing I am learning is how to use my voice –– specifically in friendships and relationships –– and what it means to make disciples (I recently decided to join a young adults ministry at my church as a Discipleship Overseer).
What do you love about your life in this moment?
I love my job, even in the difficult times, as well as living in a ministry house. Both are a huge blessing because I am able to serve God and others in both places, as well as create solid friendships.
What brings you joy/fills your soul?
What brings me joy is my relationship with Jesus Christ, Disney movies (the classic ones), walking in nature (i.e., forest, ocean), spending time with my family and friends, and helping in any way I can.
If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
I would tell them that plans are good, but don’t let them keep you from living and experiencing life. It is in the unexpected that friendships are made/strengthened, adventures are found, and Jesus is seen working in your life.
What do you wish everyone knew about living in a ministry house, working with special needs kids, or Disney movies?
Ministry House: It is a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. Living in a ministry house requires patience, compassion, humility, team effort, and lots and lots of laughter. It is an experience like no other because you get to live with other people that love Jesus, as well as serve alongside them by opening your home.
Special Education: I know this might sound cliché or generic, but kids with different abilities really are like everyone else –– they simply do and respond to things differently. Just like we don’t want to be defined or judged by our race, ethnicity, sex, age, etc., neither do people with different abilities want to solely be seen by their ability. We are all people first before we are anything else! On a lighter note, there is never a dull day when working in special education, and the little victories make all the difference!
Disney Movies: It is okay to believe in fairytales! I know that some movies aren’t favored for various reasons, but I do believe they all have a similar theme of hope and perseverance. Some of my favorite characters were strong and independent, yet gentle and compassionate at the same time (looking at you, Belle!). They’re also fun, silly, and have the catchiest songs!
How can people keep up with what you’re doing?
If anyone wants to know more about my story or needs advice, feel free to reach out via direct message on Instagram at @alyssa_love_12.