Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Afterward...A Prelude

When I was writing the "My Journey South" series back in August I planned to wrap up everything up soon afterward, but life had other plans...

The title of my blog is purposefully ambiguous. Some people call it "My Story" others call it "Mystery." I rarely refer to it by name so I don't have to choose. To say that my life's journey is simply "my story" is to imply that I have ultimate control over what may or may not happen. 

One of the most influential books on my young adult life was When God Writes Your Life Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy, it's premise - "For life to be fully lived, the God of the impossible must be fully trusted with the writing of the script." That's where the mystery comes in...I may not know how things are going to turn out, but God always will. This is why the song "Already There" has completely blown me away, it puts into words what I have never been able to... "When I'm lost in the mystery to You my future is a memory..."

This is where I found myself five years ago. I was completely lost in the unknown, in trying to figure out what was going to happen next, in what my next move should be. 

To back up several months to the Spring of 2006, I was in my second long-term subbing assignment of the year in 6th grade ELA. I spent most of that school year in that particular middle school, getting to know the other teachers and the administration, learning more about how things worked in that school and the district. I remember thinking, several times, this is it...this is what God has arranged to get me a job here. 

In an effort to save money the district implemented an early retirement buyout that year, confirming again in my mind that this was what God had in store. Everyday, I would watch the latest job postings knowing that my dream job was going to appear. I think out of the forty openings that were eventually posted there was one Social Studies position and it never made it out of the internal listings. 

I was disappointed and frustrated, but not only by the opening that never appeared, and I wasn't the only one feeling that way. It was the first year for that middle school, a brand-new building consolidating two older middle schools in the city, and a brand-new principal. She imposed a lot of crazy policies that year and stepped on a lot of toes. As a sub I was shielded from much of what was going on, but I still remember the day I was mad enough to go back to the classroom, log-in to the site I was using to look for jobs, and send my resume to every posting I could find across the country because I never wanted to work for that lady again.  

Not much time went by before I received a reply thanking me for my interest and explaining what I needed to do to become certified to teach in South Carolina. That Human Resources department was very helpful, they answered any questions I had and I probably would have never completed the process for South Carolina certification without them. Unfortunately, their openings were filled before the process was complete...and before I could figure out if it was pronounced "Beau-as in beautiful-fort" or "Beau-as in the old word for boyfriend-fort."

It was this experience that caused me to recognize what an amazing thing the providential nature of God truly is. A recent Bible study described it this way... "Our word providence is made up of two Latin words, pro and video, and carries the meaning 'to see beforehand and provide what is needed.'" At the time, I was disappointed that I didn't get the job in Massillon or the one in Beaufort, looking back I realize that both experiences were necessary for me to be where I am today, but I'm grateful that God was looking ahead and providing what I didn't know I needed.

I remember the day I was thinking about all the time I spend in Beaufort and wondering why God didn't want that job for me because it just seemed like it would make things simpler. It was with a jolt I realized that moving straight to Beaufort would mean no time in time in Allendale would mean never meeting Michelle and Ray and the kids who have become like family....not meeting them would mean not being introduced to CBC because even though it is in Beaufort I would have never gone there on my own.

In the Spring of 2006, I had no way of knowing what all was in store. And now, in the Fall of 2011, my memories serve to remind me that whatever lies ahead, if God is the One with the pen, I have no need fear the mystery of my story.

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