May 13, 2017

Today is BEST!

This is a good morning! I woke up later than usual, but I actually slept well — soundly — in fact. I tossed and turned some last evening before slipping into a deep sleep. My head-ached some, and I had some tummy troubles right before I went to bed last night. I was afraid that I was coming down with some little bug, but after a solid night’s sleep, I feel better today. I am still having flashes — cold and hot — so I am not sure if these are menopause related or something else. Nonetheless, I feel fine, as best as can be given the circumstances. I am taking the day as it comes, and that means, treating this day as a gift from the Lord. Today is the day that the Lord has made — I will rejoice and be glad in it!


It is Good to be Home

I am finding my days are running together now that I am off school for the summer. In fact, I have to remind myself that I am on vacation for a whole 3.5 months. It seems really weird to say it that way, but I work 8.5 months during the year, and I have 3.5 months off. What a life? I mean, who has such freedom? What other job lets you work for part of the year and then take the second part off? Teaching — teaching allows for this type of life — and if you can live on the income (salary), this career allows you the maximum freedom to enjoy life every single day. Yes, as teachers, we work our little backsides off during those 8.5 months. I would say that teachers work 10-12 hours days, 7 days a week during the school year. Come summer, when we are set free, we relax and indulge ourselves with holidays, vacations, and the like. Most teachers crash during the summer months, but after a long rest, the blessing comes with months of free time.

I am really, really thankful that I listened to the Lord when He offered this path to me. I remember that He gave me the choice of working in corporate business or working in higher education. He clearly laid out the choice -- one would make more income and the other would provide maximum downtime. In the end, I chose the latter because the downtime seemed like a much better option. I was worried about the income, but the Lord promised I would be okay, I would be covered, I would have enough to live comfortably throughout my days. He was right, of course. I am well-covered, and today I have the best job in the world! I love my students. I love teaching as a profession. I love the work -- all of it -- even the difficult, tiring, and confusing parts of it.

Teaching is My Passion

The funny thing, and I mean as in interesting or curious thing, is that I KNOW that I was meant to be a teacher. I know it! In truth, I have always known God wanted me to teach, but I listened to people who told me that I couldn't pursue this path (for many reasons, none of which were good or biblical or even aligned with God's will for my life). Rather than challenging their views, I simply sat back and let them tell me what to do. As such, I gave over my power to people who had no right to take authority over me. In doing so, I lived a less than satisfactory life, and I suffered mightily as I tried to figure out how to be something I was not meant to be. Let me explain...

As a child, I would spend hours and hours "playing school." I loved school in my primary years, and even during the turbulent pre-teen years, I always dreamed of being a teacher in an elementary classroom. When I was in high school, I thought about teaching, but I also wanted to study art. Art was the first subject I excelled in, and as such, I started to think about becoming an artist or an art teacher. I even broached the subject with my parents, but they were not supportive of me being an artist or art teacher, though I think they would have supported me becoming a Kindergarten teacher or even middle school teacher, had I shown interest and determination in my studies.

I wasn't a good student back then. I was very dreamy, and due to the abuse I suffered early on in my life, I spent most of my school days avoiding the pain of my home life. Thus, I stared out the window, didn't pay attention, and really didn't even care about anything but recess (freedom) and art/craft projects. My teachers said I wasn't studious, and my grades reflected that truth. Yet, I was very smart. I scored off the charts on my SAT tests (in school), and I had strengths that were not recognized in the classroom. I struggled with the format, auditory, and I often "checked out" during lectures. I doodled. I dreamed. I didn't listen to anything the teacher said to me (in high school). In the end, I did graduate. I was an "average student."

My first stint in community college was focused on art education. I studied art, but I quickly found that while I had talent, I wasn't what the school wanted. My grades were all over the place -- from As to Fs -- based on my interest. I got an A in ballet, for example, but an F in Child Psychology. Yes, I also learned that in some classes, I excelled; whereas, in others, I simply languished. My favorite classes were History (Art and US) and English Literature. I wasn't an all-star by any means, but in all of these classes, my instructors recognized something in me and they encouraged me to pursue the discipline. My US History teacher told me I needed to study history, that my ideas were interesting, and my analysis was good. My Art History teacher said I should become a museum curator or study to become a professor. My Literature teacher said I had what it takes to be an English teacher. Interestingly, all of these subjects were moving toward one career -- teaching.

Toward the end of my time at the community college, I considered my teachers encouragement and with what I thought was the Lord's permission, I made up my mind to become a teacher. I told my parents my decision, but as it would be, they were not even interested in hearing another one of my "plans." My parents, unfortunately, had quite enough of me changing programs on every whim so when I told them I had finally figured out what I was meant to do, they strongly responded with a loud, "No." Moreover, they put all hopes of going on to school out of reach. They said that I couldn't go to school on their dime anymore because I had changed my mind too many times. Sadly, since I had no other access to financial aid (my parents made so much money), I knew that I was stuck. I had no other choice but to go to work full-time. I pushed teaching, the calling I felt from God, on the back burner, simply because I had made so many missteps during my early college years. And since, no one in my family believed I was capable of doing anything other than working 9-5 as a secretary (which I did for many years), I found the first job out of college and put all thoughts of a Bachelor's degree out of my mind.

As a side note: I would go back to school some six years later to finish, and I would graduate in 1993 with a degree in Humanities from San Jose State University.

The Path Interrupted

For nearly 25 years I was married to a man who didn't support my desire to be a teacher. Even though the Lord provided plenty of opportunity for me to teach in the church and in other places, my then husband, refused to allow me to consider becoming a teacher. He put his foot down whenever I asked for permission to go back to school to be credentialed as a teacher or begged/pleaded for him to allow me to follow what I believed was the call on my life.

As things would eventually turn out, in 2009, my then husband said he no longer wanted to be married to me. Yes, after 25 years, he wanted out. He said he wanted to be with a different person, and after much sorrow, I agreed to let him walk free. For a time, I struggled with the thought of a career. I had worked in my own business, worked for others (my ex), and I had put teaching out of my mind for so long. I had my bachelors degree from SJSU, but the idea of graduate study, so long a passionate desire, seemed unreachable, unattainable. Plus, I had to support myself and my 16 year old son, so how could I work and go back to school? It seemed impossible.

Yet, somehow, this new break gave me freedom. I realized early on that for the first time since I was a child, I could choose from any career I wanted to pursue. I wanted to be "right" this time, to not make another mistake, so I committed to prayer -- my desires, my dreams, and my decision. I asked the Lord for His will, and I prayed over the decision, and for the next couple of years, I waffled back and forth with the final decision. I had to work, mind you, and so that meant I worked in a couple different corporate type jobs simply to make ends meet. But, while I was working, I was also in school. The Lord placed on my heart the desire to get my degree in English Literature. As I recall, I don't think it was so "I could teach," rather it was to give me something to do that I enjoyed. I would casually say, "I may want to teach someday," because I knew my family would scoff at any thoughts of becoming a teacher "at my age" (then 47).

The curious part is during all this fact is that of all the places the Lord could have provided to me for schooling, He chose Mercy College and their online English Masters degree. When I told my family I was going back to school, they laughed at me, scoffed at the notion, and said I was foolish for taking on the debt. Yet, I felt that the Lord had called me to Mercy College, and that He had provided a way for me to study English Literature. I never put two-and-two together, really. I assumed I would get my masters degree, but I would find work in business. It didn't sink in that the Lord had another path in mind for me. Even now, when I think about it, I laugh too! I mean, you don't study English if you plan on working in corporate business. LOL! The Lord had me studying one track (teaching), while pursuing another track (business). Only HE knew the plans He had for my life. Only He could see that someday I would get my PhD, and that someday I would be a professor.

When I think about it now, I realize that it took a while before I figured out that I had to decide which way to go, and that despite all my waffling, my education had already prepared me for the outcome.   I came to this understanding last summer when I gave one last attempt at interviewing for a corporate role. I left that interview convinced I was to be a professor -- no -- that I WAS A PROFESSOR. I see now that the Lord had decided I was to teach, and while He gave me time and the freedom to "agree" with Him, He had already moved me into this path. He set in motion what would be the outcome He determined best for me. I am right where He wants me to be -- today -- I am right in the very best place I could possibly be.

As I reflect on this fact, I think how crazy it has been to worry, to doubt, and to fear my future. My GOD knows my future. He knows what I will do in one year from now, and He knows where He will have me settled. One thing is certain: I have no need to worry any longer. He has me covered. He knows me, and His plan for my life is good.

I close this blog post now thinking that I have made such a mess of my life simply by not resting in His abilities. I have made things messy by not patiently waiting for His promised deliverance. Today is BEST, and by that I mean, that today is the best day. The Lord has this day set. I need not worry, but instead, I praise Him for providing the very best of everything to me. Selah!

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