God Calls in Surprising Ways

By Sr. Alma Janousek 

Life is full of many surprising adventures. After 25 years of being an elementary educator as a teacher and principal, I felt a call to a different ministry. So, I took classes to become a hospital chaplain. 

Valley Hope Treatment Center

Eventually I found a position as a chaplain at Valley Hope in O’Neill, NE. Valley Hope is a treatment center for those struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. It is a place where people are able to find healing and hope. The center welcomes people to embrace a spiritual journey discovering a Higher Power/God in their lives. It provides an atmosphere of acceptance and respect for the individual in coming to accept their brokenness and begin to rebuild their lives. 

As a chaplain I would plan prayer services offering the clients ways to accept the struggles of life situations rather than trying to control situations. It was learning how to take life “One Day at a Time.” A song I often used during our services. We often prayed the “Serenity Prayer” practicing how to try to change the things we could change, accept the things we can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference. These prayer times were opportunities for the clients to develop and grow in their relationship with their Higher Power/God. They were learning to honor their feelings, to discover their goodness and accept their weakness. Slowly they come to realize they are good and lovable. As part of the healing process the Valley Hope staff encouraged family members to come and join in various gatherings with their loved ones. 

Being a chaplain

I was privileged to share vulnerable parts of their lives that needed healing. Encouraging them to reach out and risk facing honestly the hurt and pain they received as well as the hurt and pain they may have caused others. This was the beginning of the journey to a new life. To me, these were miracles right before my very eyes. 

These were years that not only helped those who came searching for a new life, but also helped me deepen my own relationship with God and accept my own humanness. If I was encouraging them to trust their Higher Power/God then I needed to witness a strong belief in my trust in God. The years at Valley Hope were truly a gift from God for me. Not only those who came to be healed were changed and touched; but those of us who worked there also received bountiful blessings. Our God certainly works in surprising ways.