Called To Be... Feylyn's Discovery

I spent much of my childhood as a young carer for my disabled mother. It was a profoundly isolating, frightening, and traumatic experience, yet God has been so faithful to take care of me and my family.

Growing up in the United States, I didn’t meet any other young carers. I wasn’t even aware the term “young carer” existed until my Masters counselling program, when I chose to write a developmental psychology mini-thesis on young adults who provide care for their ill family members. This is when I discovered a wealth of research largely stemming from one world renowned academic: Professor Saul Becker in England. Around this same time, I had been searching for PhD programs. My search primarily focused on very sunny locations like Southern California or the beautiful mountain scenery in Denver, Colorado. Coincidentally—or perhaps in hindsight not so coincidentally— my developmental psychology professor was also my mentor. Thankfully, my mentor told me I had been conducting my search for a PhD program all wrong. He told me that I should be looking for programs where I could find academics with my research interest. With a chuckle, I told him, “Well, that's England”. Winking, my mentor replied, “Well, that's where you need to go”.

Long story short and four years of many sleepless nights later, I completed my PhD research on the identity development of young adult carers in the United Kingdom and the United States under Professor Becker. In the two years post-PhD, I’ve been working as a research fellow where I lead a six European nation study on the mental health well-being of adolescent young carers.

It's been a phenomenal journey. I've found myself traveling the world being asked to share my life story as a young carer, as well as my research. I’ve presented my findings to the European Parliament and to Congressional representatives in Washington D.C. I’ve also been incredibly privileged to hold the precious life stories of the hundreds of young carers I’ve met around the world who, like me, felt alone and lacked support. My mother once gave me this word from God about my time in England: “Godordained, God-fueled, and sustained by the favour of God”. What a true word that’s been!

The joyful mountain tops of success have been just as real as the pain of the valleys, and like any journey, I’ve often felt like giving up. In fact, even other people have suggested that the challenges facing me are insurmountable and that I should quit! However, I’ve seen God orchestrate my life so many times, through so many people, that I can’t deny the Lord is at work. I've also learned to follow God's voice, especially when you’re the only person hearing God say, “Walk this way”. That doesn't mean that I'm always confident I'm hearing God speak nor does it mean that I’m always confident that I'm making the right choice. In actual fact, I'm very often unsure. Nevertheless, I have learned to take every decision concerning my path to God and pray, cultivate His presence through worship, and seek wise counsel from those individuals whom I trust, admire, and respect. Whilst I’ve often felt alone, this hasn't been a journey made in complete isolation— and I don't think God intended it to be so. In all of the beautiful things that I've seen God do in my life, I recognise that God has used both me and others to carry out His plans. I don't know how everything will play out in the end, but I know it will be good.