#SheIsRadiant – Erica Hedtke Barreto
Growing up, I aspired to be the next Carrie Bradshaw. I wanted to be living in Manhattan, working in high-end fashion, and going after my dreams. I worked really hard to build up my contacts, resume and work history to make this dream a reality. Studying fashion and communications in college, I was finally ready to take the leap and move to New York, but God had a detoured path before I could become Bradshaw. Completely random and coincidental, I was told I wasn’t able to graduate unless I studied abroad to complete a language requirement. Irritated that this was going against my plan, I signed up for a four-month trip to Venezuela to finalize graduation requirements.
During my abroad experience, I fell in love with a local. It was never a part of my plan to have a partner, but God made it clear that this man was meant to be my husband. Together, we moved to the East Coast hoping for fast-paced lifestyles and bustling careers. Along the way, though, my heart kept aching for Christ. Once I wiggled my way into the fashion industry, I wasn’t as satisfied as I thought I would be. I sensed that my skills and the desires of my heart weren’t being fulfilled as I wanted. God’s voice was becoming louder and louder, even as I tried to push down the Holy Spirit and continue on with my plans.
Coincidentally, the church I was attending was requiring more and more of my assistance. It started off as volunteering at events, being rooted in community, and writing articles for the church to, eventually, interviewing to be a part of the ministry staff. My heart had done a 180 as I began putting my own visions aside to follow what God had in store for me. It was then that I realized that God’s plan for me and my family was far grander than what I could have ever imagined. He knew that my heart wasn’t content with fashion and that it led me down a self-destructive path of egos, pride, and me-centric ways. He knew that I longed to use my passions, like writing, for Christ to better His kingdom. Being as stubborn as I am, God knew that He needed to allow my dream to take place before I could truly see His plan was so much greater.
So, I took the leap of faith and I quit my job altogether; not knowing where He was leading me, but simply being obedient to His call. One opportunity after another kept opening until it became clear that He was calling me to write a book, all about my journey of trusting in His call and knowing that He was with me, constantly pursuing my path.
God blesses us with incredible giftings and passion for a reason. Yes, He cares about what we want and yes, He wants to see us happy and going after our dreams but to what extent do we put our plans above His? In my case, I had to see my dream playout to realize that there was a far greater scheme at play, as long as I tuned in to the voice of God.
This is my story, but I have a feeling that if you reflect on your own life and the nudges you heard from the Holy Spirit, you could find instances where God was directing you to the calling He has for your life.
If you want to read beautiful testimonies about the ways that God was pursuing me and directing my path through coincidental occurrences, check out my newest book, Constant Pursuit. It can be found on Amazon. This book is meant to inspire you to go after God’s call in your life and know that He is always with you, even when you dub it as a “coincidence.”
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