Almost exactly one year ago, I had just finished what I thought would be the most important interview of my life.
I thought I knew which direction I was going and where God was leading.
He was leading, but just not where I had imagined. It would be a little over 2 months from that interview day before I saw His plan revealed.
It would take even longer for me to understand the plan he had.
Working for my company and being placed at Irving Elementary is not something I ever imagined as part of God’s plan.
I also didn’t plan on staying in Tahlequah, but again God had a different plan.
I am so thankful that He knows better than I do.
Last Friday was our last day of school and I wrapped up my 1st year at Irving Elementary. A school that wasn’t my first choice when I had my options of places to go. It really wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know it was “my school” until 12 hours before I walked in the door. (For a planner, this lack of knowing in advance was no fun)
I can’t really imagine my life any differently.
Today I thought back to my first full day as their Behavior Rehabilitation Specialist (fancy title, I know. Be impressed.) The principal and school counselor were gone, and there was a very anxious boy who had thrown himself on the floor because he didn’t want his mom to leave.
I remember the secretary coming in my closet/office and saying, ” You are like a counselor right? Well, there is a kid we need you to go deal with.”
I spent two hours getting that boy from the office to his classroom. I didn’t know him. I found out pretty quickly he was one of my newly inherited clients I had yet to meet. I am sure several times in that time I asked ” God, is this really what you want me to do?” I may have even though, ” What in the world have I gotten myself into!?”
To this date, it has been one of the hardest days I have had at that school. You know what though? That boy got to his class. As I walked away from the classroom, I could see my car clearly from the window. I thought, ” I could get in the car and drive away and never look back.”
I am so glad I didn’t.
God reassured me that day in that still quietness that He was and is always in control. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing worries Him.
I was going to stay there and pour myself into those kids lives.
As anyone who works with kids knows, investing in their lives can bring you the biggest joy and the deepest hurt. Seeing them soar can make your heart feel like it’s about to burst. Seeing them turn and walk away from it all can tear that same heart in two.
Let me tell you about my dear student that was flat on the floor on my first day. He is now thriving! He is social, outgoing, and has made many friends. He is my rulekeeper, timekeeper, counter, and keep-me-in liner. He never lets us play a game or do an activity unless he has the instructions in his hands. He asks questions about everything and tells some pretty awesome jokes. He cares about others. He used to hate the fact he had to leave his momma for 7 hours while he was at school. Now he wants to be in the Air Force and defend our country.
Could God have still worked in this kid if I wasn’t working with him? Yes! God doesn’t need me to carry out his purposes. I am really glad though that He lets me help Him and get in on the blessing!
There are 32 “official” (and a few dozen unofficial) other children that I have been so blessed to build a relationship with over this past year. They all have such amazing stories. They have all grown. They have changed me for the better as well.
I started out my new job kinda like my friend on the floor. Deciding to accept that job was a tough decision. I wrestled with doubt, fear,and letting others down. I prayed. I cried. I talked about it . Finally, I surrendered my dreams to God’s bigger picture.
I am so glad I surrendered.
Two years ago, God planted a vision in my heart. He ignited a passion to minister to children and help them to learn, grow, and understand His love for them.
Did I expect Him to decide to keep me at FBC and work at an elementary school? No. I really thought I would be off somewhere as a Children’s Minister by now. I am really glad I didn’t get what I thought I needed. God’s plans reach far beyond what I think they are sometimes.
As the pieces of this puzzle come together, I just get to stand back and look at this life He has given me. Is it exactly what I thought it would be? No. Is it is exactly what God wants it to be? Yes!
This year hasn’t always been my favorite. I have cried, laughed, yelled, and experienced every range of emotion. I have learned a lot of lessons (some in the absolute hardest way!). I don’t think I would change a thing about it.
I am once again so thankful to serve an Awesome God, be a part of an amazing church and children’s ministry, have a super supportive group of family/friends,and have a job that challenges me and brings me joy everyday.
I still have moments I want to throw myself on the floor. There are still so many question marks in my future. Experiences I have yet to have. Risks I have yet to take. Dreams that I believe will still come true.
Sometimes, I have no idea how it will all work out. My type A-ness wants to know the plan and the 3 back-up plans, in case that doesn’t work out.
My dear friends like to remind me at this point that I don’t always have to have everything figured out.
When my control freak-ness tries to take over, I pray and then I have this peace and hope. I don’t understand it all.
The beauty is I don’t have to . God has been working in my life for a little over a quarter of a century now, and will continue until the day I meet him face to face.
All I need to know about the future can pretty much be summed up into this verse (forgive me. I think I have blogged it before.)
“What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it.” Psalm 18:30 MSG
“As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30 NIV
Thank you for reading this long rambling. Thank you to all of the very special people in my life. Your encouragement, counsel, wisdom, love, friendship, laughs, cries, phone calls, vent sessions, texts, junk food binges, shopping trips, girl’s days, game nights,dinners, movie nights, and prayers have all been instrumental in me surviving my first year in the public school system. I love you all more than I could ever verbalize.