When I graduated high school in 1993 (go ahead…do the math…I’m turning 40 this year…just like SNL…), I had an acceptance letter to Georgia State University that listed me as enrolled in their Music Department. I had a declared major of Music Industry.
For those who know me now, it’s okay to pause for a good chuckle.
I had dreamed, all throughout high school, that I was going to go to school to work in the recording industry as a record engineer. I applied to the only school around at the time that was close and had the major that I wanted. I was accepted, and that was that.
Back then, the college year was divided into “quarters” rather than semesters…and I wasn’t even finished with my first quarter there when I knew that this was NOT the place for me. I remember calling Kennesaw State University from a pay phone (yep. they had those then.), and requesting information on how to enroll in their Early Childhood Education department.
I decided, right then and there, I was going to be a teacher.
Only, I’m pretty sure that God had decided that little fact long before I even took my first breath on this planet.
Sometimes, I can be slow on the uptake.
It was a long and arduous process…and there were times that I just wanted to throw in the towel. I was working three jobs at one point and taking a piddly amount of classes just to be able to pay for the gas and food to get back and forth to the campus.
Eventually, I finally made it to my student teaching…the last step before graduation and a degree. They placed me at school called Shelton Elementary that was fairly close to my house and put me in second grade.
The principal there at the time pulled me aside one day in the spring and said, “I’m interested in hiring you. Let’s set up an interview.”
I interviewed and he offered me a job in either Kindergarten or fifth grade. As a young graduate and first time teacher, I couldn’t even give the man a preference. He said, “I’m going with Kindergarten for you.”
And that was that.
And I cannot imagine having taught anything different. It was the path that God had carved out for me, and I just let Him lead me on it.
All of the wonderful and amazing things in my life are things that God has brought TO me…rather than me going out to scratch and claw and make things happen on my own. I’m not saying that hard work and effort and diligence don’t have their place, they definitely do. But I think that God rewards those things by bringing TO YOU the paths and the blessings that He has designed for you.
I could list a myriad of things that God has just placed before me when I was expecting nothing, and He chose to give and guide with what I could only attribute to His faithfulness and provision because I had not been actively seeking for what He had delivered.
Everything from my husband to my babies to our house to our church community to our pets. It all just landed on my doorstep. (Quite literally with the whole “pet” thing.)
And so now that I’m in a bit of a transition mode, I am having to remind myself of all the times that God has guided me through to the next event, stage, thing so effortlessly that I cannot begin to claim that it was because of my human conventions.
This year, all three babies are in school. And it was never really my PLAN to go back to work once they were all “somewhat” self-sufficient, but something happened over Christmas break that definitely made me start looking at the “what if”s and “maybes” of going back to work.
Before I knew it, I was emailing principals and filling out resumes and even asking about substitute teaching openings at a few schools. The idea of subbing has always kind of scared the living daylights out of me…simply because I WAS a classroom teacher.
In all of my research, it turns out that I will need to retake The Tests in order to renew my teaching license. The Tests are those exams required to receive certification for teaching. (They aren’t really called The Tests, but around here we sort of refer to them as The One Who Shall Not Be Named…)
It’s a little daunting for someone who took The Tests 15 years ago with a pencil and waited six weeks to receive her scores by mail. These days, it’s all done on computers and the wait time to receive scores is like 12 minutes. (Not really, but compared to checking the mailbox every day for two months, it seems like NOTHING.)
I’ve had a few interviews and nothing has panned out yet. And as disappointing as that was, and a bit embarrassing, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is preparing and planning the best.
And sometimes I wonder if maybe if I am like Isaac…and God wanted me to just be WILLING to say Yes, Lord. I will. to the idea of heading back to work…(at this point I’m pretty sure that Stephen is all, “No no! He definitely meant FIND A JOB.”)
And let me pause right here to say….Stephen has been awesome. (“IS awesome”, honey. Stephen IS awesome.) For me to stay at home with our kids for the past eight years, has been a huge sacrifice in so many areas. I don’t regret it in any way, shape, or form. Stephen has worked multiple jobs for us to be able to make this happen….and it has not been easy by any stretch of the word. But it has been worth it for us.
But I have three kids to send to college (I hope). Two are definitely college material and the third is at least frat-boy material. (I kid. He really is a smarty pants…he’s just a six year old boy right now…and life is a party and everything is fun and nothing is serious and his JOB at school is to be fun and funny.) There are opportunities and privileges that I want my kids to experience and a second income right now wouldn’t be a terrible thing.
I don’t know what the future holds. But I know who holds the future. (Yes. I know that’s one of the most over-used sayings in Christian-dom…but it seemed apropos.)
Maybe I WILL be working sometime soon. Maybe God will choose to provide in other ways that aren’t even on my radar right now. The wait can be excruciating to see what He will do…and if I focus on that, then He seems to wait all the longer to answer because I am focused on the wrong thing.
Stephen and I didn’t get married until I was 27. And I had long mourned being single for so long. But I remember pulling into my driveway one night and suddenly thanking God for the singleness. Like, for real. I had read all these books and stories about how “once I was content in where I was, THEN God brought along the right person”…and I think about 1,298 times before that moment, I had tried to convince myself that I was happy with where I was so God could go ahead and get to Part 2 where He brought along Mr. Right. But it was not until I truly, of my own volition and not because I’d been to some singles Bible study that talked (yet again) about being content with your singleness, that God decided to bring along Stephen.
I really wasn’t looking.
And he literally, appeared on my doorstep.
All of that to say, I’m not really sure how this one ends. And it’s not that I think we all just throw up our hands and sit on our haunches and proclaim, “I’m just waiting on God! I’ll just sit here in my rat hole and do nothing until He decides to get on with the business of blessing me!”
I think we keep forging ahead with what we know we are called to FOR THIS MOMENT.
And the “FOR THIS MOMENT” part may not be particularly glamorous. It may not even be what you WANT to be doing. But when God delivers, none of it will matter.
I know the analogy has been made before…but God designed the pregnancy/labor/birth process the way He did for a reason. The anticipation and the wait of the pregnancy is tough. It’s not always easy. I threw up for four straight months with each of my babies. And towards the end, you can’t sleep. Nothing is comfortable. The wait seems interminable.
I remember standing in front of the bassinet where I would lay my newborn daughter and crying. The due date had come and gone and she was not making any indications that she would be arriving on her own anytime soon. She was due on New Year’s Eve, and I remember telling Stephen through tears, “It’s going to be Easter and I’ll still be pregnant!”
And when it finally comes time to give birth, now…I’m going to be real here for a moment for the sake of an illustration about waiting…it is painful and messy and risky. Those moments right before the miracle arrives, those are the worst. I remember thinking, “I’m not going to live through this!” And you almost forget what the end result of all this agony is going to be. You are so focused on the moment and the here and the now that you almost don’t remember that you are going to be bringing home like, a whole new HUMAN BEING.
But when the delivery is finished and the miracle arrives, your tears turn immediately to smiles. Laughter, even.
The wait is over. The contracting and pushing and agony is over.
And in your arms, is the miracle.
The delivery of God’s blessing.
RIGHT INTO YOUR HANDS.