Changes and Transitions

It’s been two and a half weeks since I accepted a pre-k (4 and 5 year olds) teaching position, and I can say without a doubt that it has been a crazy and interesting experience so far. I’m going to be completely honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, or if I would even like it because I’ve never taught pre-k before, and because three days a week I have two classes a day instead of one, but I already love all of those kids so much. They’re really smart and awesome kids, and I find myself looking forward to going to school every day to see them and talk to them.

As if taking this teaching position wasn’t enough change for me, I also decided to move in with my sister on a whim, which is so unlike me. If you’ve read my other postings, you know that I’m a planner, but the rest of my family is very impulsive, so for me to just decide to move out of nowhere is a big deal. I’ve been a country girl my whole life, but when I accepted this new teaching position, I knew I would need to move closer to the city, where my job is, because having to sit in an hour of traffic every day just isn’t something I want to do in my life, so my sister invited me to move in with her, who just moved back into her condo after the flood came though in May.

I’m going though so many changes and transitions in my life right now, and while it’s a lot of work and somewhat stressful, I feel like God is placing me exactly where He wants me to be in this season of my life. A lot of my previous posts talked about trusting God, and I know I keep repeating it, but honestly, God has really been teaching me continuously to trust in Him in every situation, in every season, and in every day life, even just doing the tiniest of things.

It’s not always easy for me to trust Him. In all honesty, there are times when I’m just like, “Okay, God. It would be nice if You would let me in on where You’re taking me here.” but God doesn’t always let us in on His plan. Sometimes He takes us through things or brings us to places where we don’t know what’s going on. All we can do is trust Him and His plan for us, and that’s where I am. I can’t say for sure where God is taking me, but I’m choosing to trust Him, His plan for me, and His perfect timing.


God is Never Late

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I wanted to share something personal that recently happened to me, and the only way I know it happened was because of God and His provision and constant faithfulness in my life. Before I tell you about what’s been happening in my life, I want to go into more detail on the things that God has brought me through and the struggles He helped me overcome. I know I’ve touched previously a little bit on how God threw me a curve ball in college and it took me a while to get my teaching degree, but I wanted to write about it in more detail so that you can see the whole picture and not just bits and pieces.

I didn’t go to the college I wanted to right out of high school. Shortly after I graduated, my family and I found out that my grandma was dying of cancer and she only had a few months left to live. I was devastated because she honestly was one of my best friends. I can’t count the number of times people told us we were exactly alike and how many times we would laugh at each other so hard we would cry. When my parents divorced, my mom was always working to support my sister and me, so she would take care of us during the day and pick us up from school every day. She was really like a second mom to me.

When my family and I got the news, I knew I couldn’t just up and go to school in another state like I had been planning to, so I made the decision to stay and go to a community college instead. I knew that I was going to major in education. I had known that since I was 9 years old, and no matter how many other professions I got interested in through high school, I would always come back to education. I honestly feel it’s my calling to be a teacher, and I feel thankful that God gave me that calling.

After my grandma passed away, I decided it was time for me to move on, but instead of going to the school that I had wanted to all through high school, I felt like God was leading me to go to school here, in Missouri. So I applied and got accepted into a Christian school in Springfield, which is about 3.5 hours from my hometown. The school I decided to go to had very high expectations for academics, and when I transferred there, I had a 3.0 GPA, which was more than enough to be accepted into the education department. The department assigned me an accidemic adviser, and when I scheduled my first meeting with him to schedule all my classes, the little planner that lives inside of me really wanted to take over, but I told myself that my adviser knows what he’s doing, and he’s not going to schedule anything for me that I don’t need or that I couldn’t do. So I decided to trust him.

My first year there was probably the hardest for me because I wasn’t used to living that far from my family, and even though I had made friends, I felt very alone, and I had even started to question whether or not I had felt God’s leading. My classes my second semester were really hard. I remember when my adviser gave me my schedule for that semester. I questioned him because he had scheduled a really hard science class for me, and I had asked about taking another class instead, but he convinced me that it was all good, so again, I decided to trust him and go along with my scheduled classes. When I got my grades back for the science class, they weren’t good, which is major for me because I’ve always gotten good grades, but I was able to take some summer classes to help my GPA.

Right before I left to go back to school for the following school year, I got an email from the education department telling me that the adviser I had previously had resigned and they would assign me a new one and that I was to meet with her when I got to school. I did exactly what they asked me to do, and she told me everything was good to go for me, but 3 days later on the first day of classes, I got a phone call from her telling me not to go to any classes, but to come to her office instead. In that moment my first thought was, “What did I do?!” but again I did exactly what she told me. I got to her office, and the words she spoke to me there would be the exact words that would change my life forever.

I walked in her office and she told me that my previous adviser had made a mistake with some of the classes he gave me and that because of my poor grades in those classes (remember the ones I questioned him about? Yes, those classes and grades), I would either have to take all of my classes over again or change my major. Again, I was devastated. I was so in shock that I don’t really remember anything that happened next, but that I somehow ended up giving her the information she needed. I went to my classes, but I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about those classes. What I do remember is somehow getting back to my dorm room and crying and just asking God why He was allowing this to happen if He was the One who had called me to be a teacher in the first place.

The rest of my years there were spent fighting to be able to be accepted into the education department and program so that I could graduate with my Bachelor’s degree, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. My first adviser messed my GPA up so bad, that I actually ended up going to one of the deans to talk about my situation, and even though I had evidence of what happened, he told me that if I wanted to teach, I could either teach in a daycare or I could teach Sunday School, but that I wouldn’t be able to finish my degree there. Again, I didn’t really know why any of this was happening to me. Around that time, I ended up going to a women’s conference that the church I attended was hosting. I remember on the last day of that conference telling God that even if I never finished my degree or did any of the things that I want to do, that I would still love Him and I would still serve Him because He is good no matter what.

A few months later, I ended up moving back to my hometown. I honestly didn’t know what I would do for a job or if I should try to go back to school. I ended up taking a few classes part time while also working at my home church as an administrative assistant. I worked with the children’s ministry a lot. I looked into a couple of schools and explained my situation to them. They all told me they would be able to work with me and help me, but then after I got in and started to schedule my classes, they would tell me the exact same thing as the school that messed me up–that I wouldn’t be able to take any classes because of my GPA.

I was disappointed every time I got rejected by a school, and I started to look into going to nursing school to become a pediatric nurse because I love kids. I’ve always loved being around kids, and I had actually started to take some basic math and science classes to get into nursing school when the children’s director asked me to go to my church’s kids camp and be a counselor for my church’s girls that were going. I agreed, and the last night there during the service, God spoke to me. He told me that He called me to teach and not be a nurse. Some people might have questioned God as to how He was going to make that happen, but I didn’t. I just said, “Okay God, but You’re going to have to provide a way for me to do that.”

During the drive home from camp, I ended up talking to another girl that had gone with me and my church to work at camp. She was around my age and was a first grade teacher. I had talked to her mom, who was a retired elementary teacher, before and told her about my situation. The girl wanted to know more about my situation, so I told her everything that happened to me, and she told me that I needed to talk to the school that she went to because she thought they would be able to work with my situation. I told her that I would contact the school, but there was a part of me that doubted that they could do anything, because I had pretty much talked to any school that was close to me and they had rejected me.

A couple of days after I talked to the girl, I couldn’t get what she said out of my mind, so I decided to contact someone from the school and see if they would be able to work with me and my situation. I ended up getting an appointment for the next day, and after I left that appointment, I not only had my class schedule, which I was supposed to start attending the next week, but I left having already signed graduation papers because I would be graduating the following year.

After I graduated (with a 4.0 GPA thank you, God) I couldn’t find a teaching job, so I ended up substitute teaching at a very small school district in the middle of nowhere. I was going to teach in other districts too, but they called me so often that I just decided to stay there for a while. I started applying for teaching jobs in January (that’s when a lot of the teaching contracts are negotiated here), and while I had a lot of time to find something, I was anxious to find something before the summer so I would have plenty of time to prepare. June rolled around, and I was still applying for teaching jobs with very little luck of finding anything. By this time, I was starting to get a little nervous that I might not find anything and that I would be substitute teaching again.

Then July came, and I was really getting nervous, but I felt like God was wanting me to prepare for a teaching job. I didn’t know what grade I would be teaching or where I would be teaching, but I did my best to prepare as much as I could. Last Monday I was called to interview for two different schools and districts. I thought both interviews went really well and one of the schools showed a lot of interest in me. They called me a couple of times, to let me know where they were in the process, and I thought that I would have heard by the end of last week, since school is starting this week. I didn’t hear anything from either school though, and again I thought I would be substitute teaching again.

Yesterday morning I got an email from one of the schools I interviewed with last week. They were officially offering me a teaching position and wanted to know if I would accept the position. I accepted a Pre-K teaching position at the school district that is ranked the 5th best school district and 2nd in highest paying school districts in St. Louis, and so here I am, the day before school starts, and I can say that God provided for me and showed His faithfulness. It’s been an eleven year journey to get here, and while I did get frustrated at times (I’m not gonna lie about that), God taught me a lot during those eleven years that I’m not sure I would have learned had I not gone through it all.

I know this was a pretty long post, and not all my posts are this long, but I wanted to tell you what happened from the beginning (without going into too much detail), so that you could see how God was working in this, even when it didn’t seem like there was any progress. Maybe you’re going though a long journey too. Maybe you’re questioning God about why He’s taking you through this journey. I want to encourage you that God is working in your situation, whatever it is.

The pastor of my church recently preached on this. He used the movie, The Karate Kid (the original one, because it’s the best one) to show that sometimes we’re like Daniel and God is like Mr. Miyagi. Mr. Miyagi made Daniel do all these chores and Daniel didn’t understand what that had to do with him learning karate, but there’s this part in the movie where Daniel is fed up with doing all Mr. Miyagi’s chores and he confronts Mr. Miyagi. He asks him what doing all of these chores has to do with karate, then Mr. Miyagi shows him how the chores that Daniel had been doing–the chores that he thought were pointless–were actually helping him learn karate and how to defend himself.

Maybe you’re like Daniel in The Karate Kid. Maybe you’re questioning God about where you are and what this has to do with your calling, but I encourage you to be patient and wait for God’s perfect timing. God may cut it close, like He did with me, but God is never late on providing what we need. We just have to be patient and believe that He can.

You Won’t Sink

My last post I wrote about that God has been prompting me to give Him my dreams, and in exchange He will refine them and give me even better dreams because they’re His dreams for me. A few days ago I felt the Lord prompting me to step out of my comfort zone and into a place I have never been before, literally. I have been feeling like He wants me to move to a place that’s not Missouri. This is a really big deal for me because I’ve only ever lived in Missouri. It’s where I was born, it’s where my family is, but if this is part of God’s plan for my life, then I’m not going to question Him, but trust that He’s going to begin to put the pieces together for me. 

A few months back, I was reading and studying the book of Ruth, and that is the story that God brought to my mind and heart when I felt He was leading me to step out into this new adventure. Ruth left the only home she had ever known to go to a place she had not ever been before. It would have been really easy for her to listen to her mother-in-law and go back to her family, but she chose to go anyway. I’m sure she felt scared and unsure of what she had just gotten herself into. I’m sure there were times when she questioned her choice to go, but she never turned back, she continued on her journey and God blessed her for it.

I do not consider myself in any way to be a modern day Ruth. She is one of my biggest heros in the Bible, and I don’t think I can ever be as amazing as her, but what I can do is choose to obey God and go where He leads me. I may not have all the answers yet, but I trust God with everything I have and everything I am. 

I’m going to be taking this giant leap of faith, and I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen, but no matter what, I know that it’s going to be good, because God has nothing but good things for me. He wants to lead me where He wants me to be, and He wants that for you too. You just have to trust Him as He leads you across the waters, like Peter. 

In Matthew 14, when Peter started to doubt, he started to sink, but Jesus took his hand and pulled him up out of the water. I’ve often wondered if maybe Jesus thought to himself, “Peter, if you would only keep your eyes on Me, I won’t ever let you sink.” I think that’s what He’s telling all of us. If we would only keep our eyes on Him and not worry or get scared by the things going on around us, He won’t ever let us sink. We might get a little wet, but we won’t ever sink. 

Give Me Your Dreams

The past few weeks God has been kind of dealing with me about something that I do all the time, which is dream. I dream all the time about what I want to do in my life, aside from my profession as a teacher. There’s so many things that I want to accomplish, and so many things that I want to see happen in my life, and while dreaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do, God has been really dealing with me about this and just wanting me to give Him my dreams, and in return, He will give me His dreams for my future.

This is a BIG deal for me. As I’ve already said in previous postings, I am a planner. I love to plan things and my family, who aren’t planners at all, think I’m a big weirdo for loving to plan things, which I think they’re all weirdos for not planning anything…Back to my point though…

I find it to be really hard to let go of these dreams that I have. Some of them I’ve carried with me since high school, others I’ve had since college, and He’s just been reminding me a lot lately that He can do so much more than I ever could. His plan for me is much greater and better than I can even begin to know or understand.

I was blessed to be involved in praise and worship teams in high school and college. I’ve always loved to sing ever since I was a little girl. At the house I grew up in, we had a swing set in our back yard at the bottom of this hill, and it was located close to our next door neighbor’s home. When I would go and play on the swings, I would always sing, and I guess my neighbors were outside sitting on their deck one day when I was playing and singing, because when I was a teenager, she had said something to me about how she always loved to hear me sing while I was playing as a kid. That kind of surprised me, because I was a really shy kid, and I didn’t like to sing when anyone was around.

Then in high school, I had the opportunity to join my church’s praise and worship team, and I did that through 2 years of college as well. During that time, I would go and work various teen and kids camps every summer, and one of the speakers that had come a couple of times during these camps I would work, his wife was a praise and worship leader, and she would write and perform her own songs. I was really inspired by her, and I ended up buying a lot of her music, and she has this song that she wrote. In the song she says, “Give me Your dreams. Open my eyes so I can see through eyes of faith. Your reality is much greater than me. Oh, help me to believe.”

The song is basically about asking God to help you to believe in what He wants and believes for your life. It’s actually still one of my favorite worship songs to sing, but I love how the song really talks about giving God everything we have, including our dreams, because He can take those and give us back something much greater than we can even know.

I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen in the future. I’m hopeful that I’ll have my own classroom soon (I’m still working on this), and hopefully one day I’ll be able to be a wife and a mother, but all of those are just examples of dreams that I have that I’m just giving to God, and while it’s really difficult for me to give God these dreams that I have, in exchange He’s going to give me something even better. I’m not saying that He’s not going to give me any of those things, but what I am saying is that by giving God my dreams of having my own classroom and being a wife and a mom someday, maybe He’ll give me an even better teaching opportunity than I could ever dream up. He’ll give me a future husband that’s even more amazing than I could ever imagine myself.

I don’t know if maybe you’re reading this and you struggle with surrendering to God your dreams and plans for the future. Maybe you’re just like me and you have a hard time doing this because you’re a planner too, or maybe you just have trouble turning everything over. I honestly get it. I still struggle with this, but eventually we have to come to a point where we understand that whatever we give to God, He’s going to bless that and He’s going to make it even better than we can even begin to fathom. We just have to trust Him and know that our dreams are in good hands.dream

It’s Not An Easy Choice

So today I was organizing some of my school stuff and I came across my bachelors degree diploma. As I was looking at it, I was remembering everything I had to go through in order to get that degree. There were a lot of people that told me it wouldn’t happen, but through it all I never gave up, and I graduated with a 4.0 GPA. There’s much more to the story than what I’m sharing right now, but here’s my point..

Looking at that diploma, the very human side of me wants to go up to the same people who said I would never graduate and hold up that diploma and say, “IN YOUR FACE!” Doing that, however wouldn’t accomplish anything. So, instead of doing that, I’m going to choose to be a good teacher. I’m going to choose to ENCOURAGE instead of discourage. I’m going to choose to believe in my students, that no matter what, they can accomplish whatever goal they set out to do, no matter how hard or simple it may be.

That is how I’m choosing to live my life. Instead of choosing revenge or to get angry, I’m choosing to use that as motivation to not be that person that makes negative comments to others. I’m choosing to forgive and show kindness, because even though those people don’t deserve my forgiveness or my kindness, I’m choosing to do it anyway. I, in no way, shape, or form, deserve God’s kindness or forgiveness, but He gives it to me freely anyway, despite my sins or what I’ve done in the past. I could never earn it, but He chooses to give it to me anyway.

It’s not an easy choice to choose to be kind or to forgive sometimes. It can be really hard to do. Like I said, the very human (and somewhat competitive) side of me wanted to go up to every single person and show them that they were wrong, but when I asked God to come into my heart, He not only did that, but He began to transform my heart and my life to look more like Him. Galatians‬ ‭2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” That’s what happens when we truly lay down our own hearts and selfish desires and we choose to be more like Christ.