August has always been one of my favorite months. Probably because it usually includes those final and memorable summer pool days, always includes my birthday, and holds the promise of a new yet the same routine: Back to School.
I just love the “Back to School” season. There’s something about walking into Target and all of your senses being lit up by beautiful binders, folders, and markers. I’m that girl standing there running my hand across every composite notebook and almost forgetting there’s at least 46 stressed out moms all around me. The smell alone quickly gets my heart racing – it’s somewhat anxious about the unknown (new teachers, new classes, new friends, etc) but at the very same time, craving what I do know and love – a needed routine and the promise of growth.
This year, Back to School was going to look different. After 13+ years in school, 4 years in undergraduate studies, and 2.5 years in graduate studies, I was for the first time approaching August not as a student, but as an educator. I was finally entering the “real world”.
Moving to St. Louis created a number of challenges for me but none were as difficult as the dreaded job search. Oh, how I hated waking up every morning knowing I was going to check 30+ school district websites for potential openings, only to be disappointed… again. And it didn’t help that I had recently graduated, therefore, lacked experience and I had just moved away from the one city I had connections in. In St. Louis, like everywhere it seems, it’s all about who you know. And even when I did know someone, it wasn’t enough.
After months of filling out hour long applications with no call backs, no returned emails, and no responses to dropped off resumes, I was definitely feeling defeated and I was beginning to question the Lord’s plan in it all. Why would he make it so clear that I needed to get a specific master’s degree but then not provide a job after completing it? I started to fear that if I didn’t secure a job now I would go another year without experience and it would only get harder and harder to convince someone I was right for their school.
I kept praying for answers and heard nothing. I started looking for back up jobs (outside of school counseling) but felt nothing was right. The Lord wasn’t closing doors, He hadn’t even opened any.
As July was quickly passing by, I had a friend from St. Louis, Margaret, reach out to me about an possible position at a smaller, private Christian school. Although I was truly ecstatic to even hear of an opening, I was also hesitant about its label.
“A private school? Is this really what you’re thinking God? I’m just not sure…” , I would pray.
You see, I’ve always had a love for public schools. My mom has taught in public schools for 31 years and I was am a proud public school kid myself. I have wonderful memories of my free education, zero regrets about my (not so free) university choices, and am forever grateful for my 3 internships in awesome public schools. It only seemed fitting that my first job would be in public school as well.
It’s not that I had something against private and/or Christian education, of course not, I just didn’t have ANY experience with it and honestly, I had preconceived notions about it.
… Will everyone be perfect and fake? Does the staff have to wear uniforms too? What do you even do in Chapel? Will I be really under paid? What types of problems will the students have? How will it be different from what I know? Did my education even prepare me for this? …
But as I worried and questioned, and worried and questioned some more, the Lord began to change my heart.
He is the only one that can.
A month, four interviews, and many answered prayers later, I am now the first school counselor at what has to be the sweetest and most purposeful school in St. Louis. And I’m embarrassed I ever doubted it.
There’s something unique about serving on a staff that’s oozing with truth and encouragement. Parents that tell you they are praying over you… and you know they really are. Students who want to learn about God and experience His love through school. And just an overall work place that is craving the presence of Jesus in every classroom, hall way, and office.
In my first Chapel, I was almost moved to tears by the sweet voices of little ones reciting memorized verses of the bible and singing to God. As I sat in the back pew, observing everything, I was amazed at how I could be in a Sanctuary, praising and thanking God, while at WORK/in a SCHOOL. This concept had previously been so foreign to me. Where I had always been asked “to check my God at the door”, I was now surrounded by imperfect, sinful people who were joining me in welcoming Him in. And THAT is an amazing view to have.
And while I couldn’t have even dreamed of this being my first job, God isn’t surprised at all.
While driving home yesterday from my first full week of work, I’m in complete awe (once again). My mind is blown by the Lord’s perfect plans for my life. My brain is trying to connect the pieces but it can’t even begin to comprehend. I’m getting lost trying to trace back through the “coincidences” that led me to this job (that I already love)…
I had to be born the same year as my friend, Sarah, and our parents had to both move to Marietta, Ga and choose to attend the same church, where we would meet in the same youth group…
Later on, she would have to go to Samford University, (where she would meet my husband, William)… who would introduce her to her husband, Grant… And we would both have to be in Grant and Sarah’s wedding to have met and start dating long distance…
To which William would have had to be sent to Scott AFB in St. Louis after college… (not to mention also be born in the same year and go to Samford University to meet my friend Sarah)…
And then William would have to join a church and a small group in St. Louis where he met a friend, Margaret, who had to be studying counseling…
Then I would have to move to St. Louis and also meet Margaret through William and talk about counseling…
Then Margaret had to know a friend, Kelly, who told her about an school counseling position at her children’ school…
To which Margaret had to message me about the position to see if I was interested…
Phew. Is your brain exhausted yet? Mine is. And that was just TEN of the MILLIONS of details the Lord strung together to get me here.
Are you kidding me?? Does this blow anyone else’s mind?? Like how does He do this for, oh I don’t know, the 7 BILLION PEOPLE in the world and not make a single mistake?!
Every one of us has a story and none of it is a coincidence. In fact, my story could look a thousand different ways, with different people, and different experiences, and it would still be for my good and better than I could have planned. Because that’s the kind of God we serve. Unfathomable yet attainable. Man, He IS a good, good Father.
Why was I worried you wouldn’t provide a job? Why did I question your plans? Why did I doubt that they would exceed my expectations? Did I honestly think I could do it better?
Not my plans, Father. But yours.
Forgive me for thinking I know better. ‘Tis so sweet to trust in You.
Thank you for drowning my fears in perfect love.