Painted Orange

love shines on

I just quit my dream job. Here’s why.

Yesterday was my last official day at a job that I had desired for years, a job that took passions of mine: writing and missions, and fused them together. But to explain how I arrived here, having just quit my dream job, I have to give a little back story. Buckle up because it’s a bit long but totally worth it. I promise.

this is about the age I started watching Nature shows, plus I needed to break up the text because I wrote a lot.

As a kid, I watched programs like “Nature” and was captivated by the things I saw. The way those journalists lived, the things they saw, were inspiring to me.  There was a clear theme throughout all the shows: the world is a beautiful place, and we must save her. They dedicated their efforts to raise their voices on behalf of those who could not speak, animals, jungles, and nature.

There was something about their life that I loved: a cause, I guess you would call it, and it inspired me.

So when trying to decide a college major I chose photojournalism, with the dream of eventually working for National Geographic. I knew it was competitive, but there was something so intoxicating about traveling while making a difference that I signed up anyway.

I stuck with journalism, and come my senior year I landed a pretty great internship at a newspaper. For 20 hours a week, I would submit myself to two editors as I wrote feature pieces around Boulder, Colorado. At the time, I had three part-time jobs (two nanny jobs, and Bath and Body Works) and a full course load. Working at the Daily Camera was both riveting and terrifying. My pieces were being published in an actual newspaper, but I couldn’t shake the feeling my editors hated me. I wanted to pour myself into the internship, but I didn’t have the time with everything that I was juggling.

One day one of the editors called me into the office and said, “You have talent, and you could go far in this industry, but you are simply not putting enough time into this to excel right now.” I left the office feeling like I had failed, knowing that there was nothing else I could give to it.

Feeling like a failure can kill your dreams, I suppose this is where the dream died.

I couldn’t take feeling like a failure, and being in this industry made me feel like I was. I graduated college a year early with pretty good grades, I probably could have gotten a good job somewhere, but fear of failure led me elsewhere.

After graduating college with no idea what to do with my life.

My dream of writing may have died, but my dream of traveling had not. After a summer leading missions in Costa Rica, I moved to Australia to do YWAM. There, I learned a lot about my identity, but more importantly, I learned how to recognize God’s voice, and that I had been hearing him all along.

After 6 months, the school was over, and I moved back to Colorado broke. I got a job at a bank and was making pretty good money (for me) as a teller, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I knew there was more, and with a little prompting from the Lord I signed up for the World Race.

After (miraculously) raising the funds, I launched in July 2012 to do missions work in 11 different countries for 11 months. Immediately, God started doing a new (old) thing.

Part of the requirements for the World Race was to blog once a week, while most ignored this mandate, I came alive in it. Before I even left a love for writing had been resurrected, yet there was one thing it was missing: a cause.

A teammate had posted about a book he had read called “Half the Sky” on Facebook, it was supposed to be about women and the oppression they faced. As a woman, who had faced oppression in small ways, I wanted to read what it had to say. As I read it, God very clearly led me on a journey.

Month one in Ireland, our contact suggested that all women wear head coverings in church, when many of us didn’t, he gave us a pretty upsetting talk about “God’s order” and how he had created men to rule over us, we were to submit, cover ourselves, and be quiet (essentially.) One of my teammates, Ryan, stood up for us, as a small group of us women went outside to cry. He had struck a nerve in all of us, but me particularly.

I was sick of a few things by this point: namely being told that I was limited in what I could do, or say, or wear.

I was confused as well. I had been taught to hear God’s voice and he kept telling me I was able, and that my voice was given to me for a purpose. So why did some men in the church keep telling me that I couldn’t teach, or preach, or lead? All of those things felt like divine purpose to me. (PS if you have some questions about this, please read Powerful and Free.)

Months two and three were spent in Ukraine and Moldova, men would grab me on buses and try to pull me into their lap, there were stories of sex trafficking of the young, vulnerable women in these nations. I read it in Half the Sky, and I wanted to do something about it all.

the girls who told me about FGM.

Month four in Kenya, a girl confided in me that she had been continually raped by her uncle and that she couldn’t even look at male animals without intense anger. A few days later, a girl asked me if there was female circumcision (what we know as female genital mutilation) in the US. Shocked, I said no, that it was wrong, dangerous, and a human rights violation. She hung her head in shame as she told me the whole village had “female circumcision.” I didn’t know what to do or say.

I asked our contact about it, and he verified the story, they take all girls aged 12-14 to a hut and mutilate their genitals. After the procedure, the girls are dressed up with balloons and are forced to walk home, bleeding, as others dance around them to celebrate this rite of passage. Sometimes girls even bleed to death on their walk home.

I wrote about it, and people took notice, namely the founder of the World Race. He suggested I come back and start a women’s program, I told him I would think about it.

Month five all of the women I met in a certain village in Tanzania acted like abused dogs, shying away from human touch and avoiding eye contact. Month six I visited a girl’s orphanage in Malawi.

Month seven came and my life changed when a little girl from a red-light district in India climbed into my lap. She was small for the age of five, barely tipping the scales at 20 pounds and dressed in a tattered baggy t-shirt that hung over her dirty underwear. And looking into her eyes, I could see she had fight in her, a light that hadn’t been dimmed by her dire living conditions.

the girl who changed everything.

She was being raised by the pimp who sold her mother and was likely being prostituted by the man who now owned her. To make problems worse, she was mute. A hearing impediment had rendered her completely voiceless and there was nothing I could do about it. I asked our contact if we could kidnap her, or go to the police, or something to save her from this life, but all options ended in violence or death.

So I did what I could, and I loved her with everything I had that month, vowing to do something, anything, about little girls like her. I promised to be her voice.

And suddenly, my writing found it’s cause. Them. Girls and women who faced oppression, injustice, and violence because of their sex.

She changed my life, and I was never the same. I agreed to come back and start a women’s program for Adventures and my Race continued.

Month eight I worked with another anti-trafficking ministry in Nepal, month nine I worked in the red-light districts of Thailand, month ten I tutored children in Malaysia where I was sexually harassed twice (doesn’t seem like strong enough word for men masturbating to you), and my final month on the Race I reflected on it all, noticing that God had design and purpose in it all.

Women around the globe were oppressed, and God was intentional about specifically showing me. I was confident that the women’s program was the right step.

I came to Adventures, joined a small team, and started Beauty For Ashes, an inner-healing retreat for women. We then spent the next six months going around the world again, this time teaching the revolutionary concept that women had value. I say revolutionary for a reason because after these retreats we put on women would run up to us telling us their lives were changed. I used to wonder how that was possible, and now I realize: When you have been told your whole life that you are property, it’s revolutionary to learn that you are not.

Beauty For Ashes. Uganda.

The last four months of that trip were spent in the red-light districts of Thailand and the Philippines, the former with what felt like little results in terms of women leaving the sex-trade and the latter with 20 women leaving and starting a new life. I lived with these women in a safe house for two months and fell head over heels in love with them. I remember I had my heart broken while there by a young man I had met a year previous, and they taught me what it was to love again, I will always be grateful for that.

At the end of that time, God told me to write their stories in a book, he even gave me a title.

Having no idea what to do with that or how to write a book, Adventures randomly contacted me again offering me a job to teach a storytelling course for their alumni program, adding that I would work side by side with a man who had written a few books himself.

I accepted the position, and before I knew it I had moved to Georgia teaching a course on how to write a book as I figured out how to write one myself. I finished the first draft in a year and then was offered a better paying position in the marketing department. I accepted as it had been my dream for the last couple of years to work in the World Race marketing dept (they were so cool!)

After about a year there, I met my husband at a wedding. The problem was he lived in Ohio, my personal writing time quickly got eaten up by the long-distance relationship (worth it!). But the passion for women never left, and I got the opportunity to teach a course on anti-trafficking to share it with others.

Dustin proposing in Central Park!

Six months later Dustin proposed, and I said yes (my best yes ever!)  Soon we were wedding planning long-distance. Meanwhile, marketing was slammed with getting numbers up for the Race, and I was trying to teach this anti-trafficking course on top of all of it.

About a month before the wedding, as I was attempting to pack for the anti-trafficking trip I was leading to the Philippines, I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I had, again, bitten off more than I could chew, and I was seriously doubting my decision to lead the trip. I got on the plane anyway, and I am so, so glad I did.

In the midst of being overwhelmed by petty wedding details, God was gracious enough to remind me what really mattered, and it wasn’t what flowers I had at my wedding.

On our first night of outreach, I made friends with three women who were in the bars for their first night in the sex trade. They were all forced there through desperation, the first, Sam* was there because she had no other way to feed her daughter, the other two were sisters whose family farm had been wiped out by a typhoon, they were there for the survival of their other five siblings and their parents. I ended up talking to Sam* for a long time, showing her pictures of Dustin and her showing me pictures of her daughter. Sometime during our conversation, six large drunk men approached, trying to take Sam* from me. They wanted to purchase her for the night.

I asked Sam if she wanted to go, with fear in her eyes, she said, “no.” We both firmly told them, no. But they were insistent, grabbing at her and ignoring the guy on our team who we had called over to stand in front of us. When one wasn’t successful they would send another, and they started getting angry. One of my students ran over to me and asked what we could do. I had no idea. and she suggested we buy her before they could.

The waitress sprung into action and we managed to buy her first, or so we thought, while we were paying the waitress, the Korean men had taken Sam outside. We rushed out, and after a little confrontation (the whole bar was watching) and getting the mamasan involved, the drunk men stumbled off angrily, with another girl they had purchased. I shook as I thought what would happen to her that night.

Sam* was able to leave and go home, and I held it together to see her off. But after that, I stood in the street crying. I felt so helpless, how could I help them?

After the second night of outreach (that was equally difficult), I couldn’t sleep a wink, I just laid awake, heartbroken and angry. The next morning I asked God what was wrong with me, why couldn’t I sleep? I was supposed to be leading the team, but I was a bigger emotional mess than all of them.

And then calmly and clearly I heard God say, “you’re supposed to feel this way. Your heart is meant to break because this is heartbreaking. You are supposed to be angry because it’s worth getting angry about.”

And with that, I knew what was coming, and it meant leaving my job.

You see, it was all about these women. It was all about the women who had faced violence, oppression, or injustice, and it was time that I finish the book. It was time for me to be their voice.

God had been so faithful to calling me to Adventures to reawaken my love for writing, giving me a cause, teaching me how to write a book, and then market it, but it was time to leave.

I talked to Dustin about it, and he supported me 100% and agreed it was the right thing to do, that he would provide financially while I dedicated my time to writing. Two weeks after my honeymoon, I told my boss the same.

Which brings me to now, sitting here on the edge of a dream. Truth-be-told I’m terrified I am going to fail. That my voice will not be enough to help these women, but I know I have to try.

So here’s my promise to you: whoever you are, reading this. I am writing a book, I am writing the stories of these women, and I am going to keep you updated along the way. You can expect a blog post a week from me, I’m not sure what they’ll be about, but I promise to show up.

And to those women, to all of the girls at Wipe Every Tear, I am so proud of you. I pray that what I write empowers you, encourages you, and enables you to dream big. May what I say embolden people to come alongside you in your journey.

So, I guess that about sums it up. That’s why I quit my job, and it’s why I’m crying in this coffee shop now. May I make a difference.

 

 

 

About Meghan Tschanz

I believe in love, empowerment. and adventure. The kind of love that believes in the face of adversity, the empowerment that allows people to step into their destiny, and the kind of adventure that leaves your heart pounding in your chest. I write because I want to remind us all that there is so much more to life.

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18 Replies

  1. Racquel Larkin

    Meghan, you have the most beautiful heart! It is so FULL of love & passion straight from Jesus! You’ve inspired me since the day I met you & I’ve been so blessed to have had you as not only a storytelling mentor but a spiritual mentor as well. What courage you have to step out in total faith and walk into what’s unknown to us, though completely known to Papa. I cannot wait to read this book! (And all of your blogs again!) I am praying for this journey. I love you!

    1. Racquel, you have no idea how encouraging this is and what a blessing it has been to see you step into your own calling. I know you’re going to model a life of passion and grace to your son, and the effects of that will be astounding.

  2. Luke Geldmacher

    I’m so proud of you Meghan. You have a powerful, compelling, and passionate voice. You’re awesome!

  3. Stephen Zenner

    Wow! What an amazing story! Thank You so much for sharing, and I will be praying for you as you step out in courage and faith!

    1. Thanks for the prayer! I will need it!

  4. Rebecca Lester

    So so proud of you girl. I am truly inspired by what you are about to write and I cannot wait to read it. xo

  5. Bailey Pittman

    I can’t wait to keep up with your journey!

    1. that’s encouraging! Thanks Bailey!

  6. Benita Townsend

    You’re such an inspiration, Meghan!! Thank you for sharing this and I can’t wait to read more of how God is going to use you!!

  7. Rashidat Odeyemi

    Megan, this is such a great story and the next chapter of an amazing, yet hard, and rewarding journey! I’m honored to be connected to your journey and inspired to dream big about the world needs Papa has placed on my heart to address. Keep going! You got this! And you are supported!!

    1. Thank you! Thank you Rashidat for being a part of this journey!

  8. Susanna Bekedam

    This was so great, to read all the things in your life that led up to this point! I can’t wait to read your book!
    BTW, I read Half The Sky, after hearing you talk about it. Life. Changing.

    1. Thank you Susanna, and for all the things you do! I am inspired!

  9. Christina Barnes

    Love this! Proud of you, Megs!

  10. Kelly

    This is amazing Meghan! You are an inspiration. Love your heart!

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