Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Remember how I was going to tell you my plans for the next six months ago last week and then I didn't? Well now I will.

The truth is everything has come together in the past 24 hours. I kept telling people that I wanted to have it figured out by Monday, then Thursday, then know how it goes when I set my own timing.

Recap: I've been trying to figure out what I will be doing for co-op starting this June. Due to UC's conversion to semesters, co-opers from the class of 2013 are expected to commit to an internship from June to December. Usually co-ops are ten weeks so this was a new situation. Since I am about to be a senior (5th year), I was excited about being able to apply for challenging positons and getting lots of offers because of the experience I have over the underclassmen. The opportunity to work at a company for six months and then finish school is unprecedented and invaluable. In preparation I spent weeks on my resume and portfolio. In hindsight I put a lot of pressure on myself and overcompensated.

After my experience in NYC I wanted to try things on the West Coast. Since we didn't have any positions in San Diego (near Adam) I applied to a lot of jobs in San Francisco (also Seattle and NYC). As an afterthought I put some jobs in Cincinnati on my wishlist. I had so much fun working downtown at Landor last summer. The co-ops from LPK and Landor would meet up to grab lunch at Fusian or It's Just Crepes and check out the latest event or exhibit in Fountain Square.

After we sent out our resumes, I got interviews at Apple (San Fran), CityBeat (downtown Cinci), and Hyperquake (downtown Cinci). I could see myself at any of those companies but things worked out differently than I imagined in all of those cases. The funny thing is that I started to feel like maybe I wasn't supposed to get a job out of town, maybe I should stay in Cincinnati. Then after not hearing back on my interviews I thought about an email I got from Charly Sommers a few weeks ago. He was looking for one girl to join the team of Navs kids who would be teen counselors at Maranatha, a Christian summer camp.

Side Note: The awesome thing about co-op is that you get crazy real-life experience, school credit, AND money. Normal internships don't always work that way. The tough thing about co-op is that I'm "in school" all year 'round. I didn't know the Navigators had so many mission opportunities until I had already spent my one free summer between Freshman and Sophomore year at home being a nanny. I've really wanted to do something missional with my summer for a while, but it's tricky to skip out on co-op and go do work for God. For one thing, we're required to co-op at least 5/6 quarters; we can't graduate if we don't. For another, it's hard to explain to your adviser why you want to pay to dash off to a remote African village rather than gaining valuable experience and earning money at P&G—no matter how truthful you are about your faith. (When I picture the situation I envision a stern board representative raising their eyebrows and asking, "And just WHO is this 'God' person?" Terrible, but I'm sure it happens.)

Back to My Plan: If I'm 100% honest, when I briefly considered being a part of Maranatha (a Christian summer camp in Michigan) in December, it sounded more exciting than any job I could ever score. But a voice in my head told me that I was stupid to miss the opportunity of a six-month internship during my senior year. Obviously that voice was wrong.

I dove in the job selection process once more this spring, but a small part of me thought about how being a counselor at Maranatha is so me. However, my pride and my polished portfolio wouldn't let me give up my career dreams before I started. But as the interview process went along the doubts continued and I decided to make a little ultimatum. It sounded something like this "God, I really want to feel like an sweet designer and get my dream internship this summer. But, maybe this isn't your plan for me. I'm STILL not sure. So if you want me to co-op, help me get that job I want. And if you want me at Maranatha, don't let me get a single job offer for summer."

Woah. Right? That was a scary prayer to get out of my mouth. Because as a designer, you are what you do. And a senior without an internship screams, "You are doomed for the rest of your design career!" I knew it would be tough for me to get an offer and then hear from God that I needed to walk away. So as a tiny mercy I just asked him to do it all or nothing. Maybe this only makes sense to me...

I discussed my dilemma with my friend Fay one day. She got really excited about the possibility of us working together at the summer camp. Her enthusiasm alone was encouraging because I felt a lot of unspoken criticism whenever I expalined my "backup plan" to people. I love her even more for boldly saying, "I'm going to pray that you don't get a job! You need to go to Maranatha." I can't express how much I value honesty and conviction from friends. (I know I'm terrible about being honest with people I love, and I'm even worse about lying to myself.) Her words were from the Lord because they resonated in my soul.

The most hilarious thing to me is that as I prepared for small group this Tuesday I read James 4. This chapter is chock-full of great things, but the last few verses leaped off the page:

"Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." James 4:13–17

So. Convicting. I knew it so I better go do it.

Fast-Forward: In the past 24 hours I have:
  • Found out that both Cinci jobs I interviewed at aren't taking UC students. No offers, check!
  • Gotten "rehired" at Landor for the fall (the easiest interview I've ever had: "Jeff, I need a job." "Okay, see you in August.") Job for my return in the fall, check!
  • Somehow convinced my adviser that working in Maranatha this summer counts as a service co-op (She is awesome! Not at all like my assumptions.) Fulfill co-op requirements, check!
  • Been accepted as a teen couselor at Camp Maranatha in Michigan from June to August. (I talked to Charly, he made a call, and that was that. What!) Figured out what God was saying all along, check!
  • Lost my hearing in one ear after calling Fay to tell her the news. Deciding last-minute certainly is exciting. Reaffrimation on my decision, check!
So that's it folks. I have a plan. God has a plan. If you see me in the next month and I'm smacking my head against the wall it's only because I'm so thick and the Lord is endlessly patient with me. I'm sure there will be lots more of that this summer. Stay tuned kids!

KA-blam (My mind being blown.)

Look at that. I'm so good with kids.
Definitely Maranatha material.


  1. I LOVE this :) You are going to be so great this summer and I can't wait to hear all about it! I know it was hard but I loved watching you process through this and am so glad that I have an example like you. Your faithfulness to the Lord is inspiring! Those kids are so lucky to have you. I am certain there is a much bigger plan involved when it comes to your career. I am so FREAKING excited for you :)

  2. Man, Kendra, this was SO cool to read! God is so awesome, and your honesty about this is very refreshing. I think it's great that you are taking some time and totally following where God is so clearly leading you. That James 4 verse was super convicting and kind of reaffirming for me this time last year, so it's crazy cool that God put that on your heart. Everyone tries to convince you that getting awesome co-ops in far away places is the ultimate dream, and if you pursue anything else you're crazy. I believed that lie for too long, so it's great to see God pushing you (and you following His direction) against what the co-op 'system'and the design world says. I took a quarter to volunteer as well, and believe it or not, God used that quarter in big ways (it played a huge role in me getting my last co-op and my job at Landor.) PLUS, I can't wait to work with you at Landor! God is doing some crazy awesome things here, and you are so blessed that Jeff without question allowed you to come back. Plus. You'll get so much more sun in Maranatha than you would at Landor ;) You're great :)

  3. Reading your post reminded me of a time years ago when God was calling me to quit my teaching job and take care of three kids. I thought it was crazy and couldn’t be God speaking to me. He took care of circumstances in my situation as well and made it clear where He wanted me to be. In hindsight, I realize that it was the most life-changing and best decision I ever made. I can’t include all the benefits from that decision here, but learning to follow God wherever He led was the biggest. I am really proud of you and the decision you made.

    Lisa Flosdorf