I shared this on facebook a few days ago, but I just want to share it with anyone out there who might read this blog too...
Well - a lot has been going on lately, and i thought I'd share an update. Some of you may know some of these things, and others none...but I hope you'll see the amazing ways God has been at work as I share...
About 6 weeks ago I had a conversation with the missionary parents of a friend who happened to mention that the age for the Journeyman program through the International Mission Board had been lowered to 26 from 29. I've had a big heart and passion for missions for a long time - really feeling the urgency to "go" since high school. College was my first chance to actually go overseas, and God really opened my heart to the desire to go longer in the future. He especially burdened my heart for Africa, which I grew to love during my trip there. I began applying for the JM program at the end of college, but did not finish the process because I felt it was not God's timing, and I needed to stay here for awhile and teach. This was hard for me, but I knew it was where God was putting me for now, and He has given me a peace about it. So - back to the conversation. I did not want to rush into things because of that, however, felt maybe God was using the age change to get my attention again. Now that I've been teaching for a few years, I thought I had "planned" out my next few years and kept saying "When it is the right time I will apply again..." without really seeking WHEN the time would be. After praying wholeheartedly, I felt God had really put it on my heart to begin applying again. I was unsure of where He would lead from there, but had the peace in knowing that I was to complete the application this time and submit it. This, of course, would mean eventually giving up the "secure" job I've had for the past two years, and feeling a little "impractical." But - God had other things in store.
About four weeks after I began the application process, the staff and teachers at my school were informed that our building would be closed at the end of this school year. Budgeting has been hard for our district, and this seemed to be the most helpful way to work toward a better financial situation. Wow. Not a warning. Not a prediction...just...out of the blue. This REALLY hit home. I had heard on the news about schools all over the U.S. closing down and teachers losing jobs. However, God provided yet again. Our district has promised everyone in my building a job next year somewhere in the district. What a blessing - no one is losing a job. Most of the teachers have been placed in other buildings where teachers are retiring or moving. There are still a few teachers, our principal, guidance counselor, and nurse who are unsure of placements right now, and....I am included in that bunch.
Because I am only music-certified, and there are no music openings next year, the HR director is having to be creative and "think outside the box" in placing me for next year. God is teaching me to wait, and to rely on Him. I have tried to be positive and to trust Him through all of this. I constantly find myself wondering what He is teaching me, and how He is going to use this time in my journey with Him. I have prayed that I might be a light to others who are feeling negative about the situation and that I might show the joy and peace that He has given me. I am excited about the possibility of trying something new, but a little sad to think about leaving music too. We visited about a few possibilities including teaching ESL, a big need in our district, because of my past experience with that, and also working as a "speech implementor" if they do not have enough certified speech language pathologists, because I took classes in speech path in college and hope to get a masters degree in this area one day.
So - I do not think this is the end of my story at all. Rather it is the beginning of something God is doing that I can't even begin to understand right now. It's hard for me to give up control of something that seemed so sure to me, and to let God work. It's hard to wait. And it's hard to think about leaving music next year, although I think it will be a wonderful chance to try something new for a short time. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to HAVE a job. I got my contract yesterday, so I officially do have a position SOMEwhere...I am just unsure where or what I will be doing. I will miss my kids. I will miss my beautiful room. And I will miss the things I have worked hard to have through grants. But...at the same time I know those are all "stuff" and that my real treasures are stored in Heaven by the great One who has a plan for me through all of this. I feel affirmed in the timing of my Journeyman application, and pray, wondering if He could really be leading me to one of my greatest desires and dreams in the next year.
God has been faithful through this time to encourage me in many ways and speak to me through His word, Christian friends and family, and answers to prayer. I know I can either draw nearer to Him and grow, or draw away and try to take control of things myself. Please keep me in your prayers as I wait on the Lord and His timing.
Here are two encouraging thoughts that came up on my desk calendar this week at just the time I needed them. What wonderful truths they are.
"All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." -Romans 8:28
"That verse clearly tells us that God has a purpose for each one of us... 'Those who are called' implies that we are walking in that calling, obeying God, and yielding in the direction of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. If we are truly being obedient to God's commands and we are following His purpose for our lives to the best of our abilities, then God is fully committed to working all things together for our good - both our eternal rewards and our earthly blessings."
"He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
"Focus on God's unconditional love for you and anybody else who may be involved in the crisis you face. Focus on His power and ability to control all circumstances. Focus on His always-listening ear that hears you and His always watchful eye that sees you day and night. Remember this: The larger your thoughts about God, the smaller your thoughts about your problem! Refuse to have a pity party or slide into depression. Choose instead to see God's loving arms wrapped around you, lifting you up to safety, provision, and peace!"
I am learning to walk side by side and grow more in love every day with a Savior who cherishes me and calls me His child. He will provide in ways that are beyond any that I can imagine. I pray that you will choose to trust and follow Him too. I will keep you all updated as I find out more, and would love to hear how things are going for many of you too! How is God working in your life?