Sunday, August 14, 2016

Questions for 4 Months, Answers Tomorrow

Hello, dear reader.  Please forgive me for my silence.  I have had a fun summer, activities-wise, but I have spent a lot of time trying to discern what God's plan is for me and my family... not my plan (which, let me tell you was a pretty good one), but HIS!

In my last blog post, I spelled out some plans my husband and I made at the beginning of 2016 with the next several years in mind.  Toward the end of that post, I wrote this:

But we... agree that our plans are just that - plans.  Tentative plans.  Plans made by human minds with finite understanding of the big picture that God is weaving together.  With school budgets the way they are currently, I may not find a teaching job at all.  And if that is the case, God will give us children in His timing, and He will continue to provide for bills He has given us - just as He has time and time again in the past.  There have been times in the past that money was just handed to us for no reason, sometimes by secret-givers.  There have been times when extra jobs became available, and we were able to earn some money for a special need.  There are other ways of paying for adoptions... there are other types of adoption that cost a lot less or practically nothing at all too.  The point is, God is still God.  This world is still His creation.  I am a steward, not an owner.  I am the servant, not the Master.  I only control my obedience, not the journey or outcome of any of this...And we keep reminding each other months later that however it works out, we are open.  We have a plan held out in flat hands for God to shape into mirror-images of His plans... or to make it easier for our hearts if He snatches our plans out of grasp.  He is the Lord, and He has every right to "exercise His will over our lives".

It is very interesting how I ended that post, especially since as I wrote it, I also very much believed that we had landed on THE PLAN.  In theory, I always know that God can change my plans, but when it happens for real, it is a very confusing time for me.

In fact, I spent a lot of time saying things like this over the summer, "It seems like God is confused."  or "It seems like God is one of those bad songwriters that just makes up the song as he goes."

I am always sure to say "seems", because that is exactly what it is... I am experiencing feelings that are NOT truth.  The truth is that God has had a plan that includes major details, like the universe and governments and The Great Awakening... down to the minute details like whatever color Eve's hair was and why I have wide ankles.  He knows it all, because He put it all there, or allowed it to happen.  And if it seems He keeps changing things on me or that things don't go together, then I need to wait for HIS answers to my questions... because He doesn't change and "all things work together".

So what happened, you ask?  Well, as I described in my last post, my husband and I had made plans for me to go back to work full-time for this 2016-2017 school year.  My old job was available again, I would only have one child in childcare, and we wanted to start saving money for future kids.  So I applied, interviewed, and waited.  And waited.  They said they would call by the end of the week, but it had been 3 weeks... and they had done more interviews.  I started to naturally make a back-up plan... but that turned into questioning the whole thing.  I found myself asking God to take me back to drawing board, without any plans of my own, to see what He really wanted me to do with my time during this season of our lives...

And what I felt like God telling me was, 'Don't go back to full-time work.  Enjoy your young children.  And trust Me to provide for whatever future children I bring you."

So Kyle, my husband, and I went to breakfast alone, and I told him I didn't think I was supposed to go back to work.  We agreed just to continue as we had the previous school year.  So I let the mom that I had been babysitting for know that she could count on me this coming school year.

And the next day I got a job offer.  I politely said no.

Then another one... I politely said no.

Then another one... and I started to be very confused, feel guilty, and feel weighed down by pressure.  Had we made the wrong decision with changing our minds?  Were we right the first time?  What was God trying to show me by withholding job offers until I made a decision, and then they started pouring in???

After talking with Kyle again, I turned down that job offer too.  I actually cried while doing it, because I wanted to please everyone and do the right thing... but I felt like everything hinged on my decision.  This is very unlike me.  I usually make decisions quite easily and figure God will show me if I was wrong soon afterwards.  I bought my car after driving it once.  I purchased my first house after looking at it once.  I was offered my first teaching job right after my first interview and accepted right there in the parking lot.  I usually do not spend a lot of time or energy doubting my decisions... but now that I am older, I guess I was thinking about how my husband, my children, and possibly future children depend on my current use of wisdom.

Again, small me thinking I hold the universe together... when I struggle to get a load of laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away within 2-days' time! Ha!

Knowing Kyle supported my decision to keep turning down jobs meant the world to me.  And being reminded that God is always still in control no matter what I do helped too!

So, school started last Thursday.  We took our daughter to her first day of school.  And then my son and I headed to preschool for his first half-day in his class, and for my first half-day back to work.  The director that I assist in the 4s&5s class said, "I am sorry to tell you this, but we had 4 kids drop last week, so enrollment is down.  So, I don't know, but after this week, I'm not sure we can keep you on, at least until our numbers go back up."

I wasn't upset or panicking at all, because we had been able to pay our bills over the summer without any extra pay from me.  For me, it really is important that I get to teach a little, because I love it, get to save some money for our near-future goals, and still get to be home in the afternoons with my son and to serve my family.  So I casually thought, "I'll call my friend who is a principal of the local Christian elementary school, because I know she is having to start the school year without a full staff.  I could only offer her my mornings, but maybe she is needing whatever she can get... and it would help me out too!"

So I texted her.

She immediately called me back!  She had JUST FINISHED talking to a teacher who felt God was wanting her to take on an older grade level full-time, leaving a morning-only teaching position available.  Right after they had this discussion, she received my text about being available in the mornings.

So I had an interview that evening.  I met my students the next morning, went through the curriculum, explored a little in the classroom, and I start on Monday!

Now here are some even more incredible details that are blowing my mind - this teacher who is moving grade-levels already has the classroom set up!  She already has all of next week planned as well!  Which is great for me, because it is a FIRST GRADE CLASSROOM!  Have I ever taught 1st grade?  Not in an academic setting, that's for sure!  And at first, I was very nervous about the challenge of learning a whole new grade level until I learned that I have 3 students!  THREE STUDENTS!  I was not only relieved at hearing that, but I was excited about the possibilities!  Every teacher would love to spend the kind of one-on-one instruction, discussion, and help to give to students like I will be able to with only 3 students!  And since this next week is already planned and prepped, I will get to go through this next week, getting a feel for what works and how to make it mine as time goes on!

So starting tomorrow, I will be teaching in a real classroom again (so, so excited), but only part-time (again, so, so excited)!  I will still get to be home with my son and husband for lunch, be able to cook for our college students and do laundry during nap time, and pick my daughter up from school each day!

And now I KNOW that God isn't a bad songwriter.  And once again, I am reminded that He is never confused.  Things had to happen in this order, and in His timing.  Do I know why He wants me in these 3 students' lives yet?  No.  And I am looking forward to seeing why He wants them in my life.

God answered prayers and questions for several people in this scenario.  I don't know why He decided to involve me, and bless me with answers too.  I'm just grateful and in awe... and ready to get to work tomorrow!

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