A Dream Come True?!
This is rather crazy, but the night I felt this new resolve to move forward and upward to Michigan, I received a phone message from none other than the assistant headmaster at the Stony Brook School. You know, the school that I really, really wanted to work for but who said they had nothing to offer me earlier that summer?! I could not believe it! And he wanted to know if I was interested in being an assistant English teacher in their middle school of all things.
I felt like I was being tested, but I had to call and find out more. I mean, this was a long-time dream job for me, surpassing even my dreams of writing, seeing how since second grade I had always wanted to be a teacher.
Well, upon calling the school the next day, I learned that I was not required to have a teaching degree for this position and that I’d have a lead teacher over me. While this was reassuring and exciting, I still felt scared and inadequate, but for some odd reason, they still really wanted to fly me up to New York for an interview, so off I went.
Now just to let you know, before I even left, I started feeling something was kind of weird about this whole situation when the assistant headmaster called me two nights before I was to fly and said, “Oh, by the way, you need to have a literature lesson prepared to present to some of the staff.” I don’t know what it was exactly about that call, but overall, I felt that it was quite unprofessional and inconsiderate on his part seeing how I had such a short notice.
So I left feeling a little on edge, and then upon my arrival, I was put more on edge when this same man, upon picking me up, would not even look me in the eyes. It felt very strange, like he was trying to hide something, but I did not know what or why.
This is the cover of the short, easy-to-read biography I read and did a lesson on. I’d highly recommend reading about this very inspiring man of God!
Well, that night thankfully I stayed at the home of another staff member, but upon getting ready the next morning, for some reason, I further sensed this was not God’s place for me. I carried on through my interview though and did my literature lesson on a short biography of the great Christian Englishman George Mueller.
As you may or may not know, Mueller was a man of great faith who cared for over 10,000 orphans in the 1800′s. Before he started his orphanages though, his wife and friends thought he was crazy to take on such an undertaking. With that background, at the end of my literature lesson then, I asked the staff members what they thought of his faith, and they basically agreed with his wife and friends that he was crazy. I could not believe it, but then perhaps I could with the state of how I was feeling about everything up to this point.
This was seriously just another “red flag” warning me that perhaps this school was not so strong in their faith. So I left that day, knowing I would not be returning, even if they offered me a job. I did not want to work with a lukewarm “Christian” school, and at the same time, I think I also knew that Life Action was where I would be heading because God had used my time re-reading Mueller’s biography to challenge my own faith.
Isn’t God so amazing?! He orchestrates such interesting, unique ways to draw us to Himself, but I’m so thankful He does. And I’m so thankful He allowed this opportunity to experience this school and to see that it was not where I really, really wanted to work after all.
By the way, they eventually let me know that I did not get the job, and when asked why, the assistant headmaster could only hem and haw around. It was truly one of the strangest and most interesting experiences I’ve ever had, but praise the Lord, He rules over all. One day in eternity though I’d still like to ask God what that whole thing was really about, on the school’s part at least.
A Dark Night of the Soul
Well, upon my return home to Florida, I still had another troubling river to cross. You see, in spite of God closing this door on my dream job, I still struggled with the thought of going to Life Action, and so one Sunday afternoon I decided to visit and get the advice of a sweet, godly couple from my church.
After discussing my situation with them, they recommended I really lay the decision before my dad by having him diligently pray about it for a week since I was still single, and he was, thereby, still my spiritual leader and protector. Yes, a girl even at 29 still needs her dad!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10)
So loving the idea and feeling at peace about not having to make the decision on my own, I drove home that afternoon feeling quite carefree and happy, but within a few miles from home, I suddenly felt everything started turning dark visually and mentally for me. I started panicking and did not know what to do, but in God’s great grace and providence, I was right near our church, which I quickly pulled into, and then proceeded to jump out of my car and run into the building to find help.
It was late afternoon, and thankfully, there was a shower or something going on in a back room where the pastor’s wife was. She started feeding me because they did not know if my blood sugar was low or what. Well, that did not help much, but I eventually made it home somehow or another. Unfortunately, my mom had just left on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic that day, and my dad was soon to head out of town on business.
I don’t know how I made it with them gone because I did not do well physically or emotionally from then on. It was one of the strangest, most frightening experiences of my life. I literally felt like I was melting or like all of my strength was being sapped me from me. I was confused and panicky and could not even concentrate at work.
I probably felt like I was going to die, and upon my mom’s return home, she tried to comfort me by telling me that I did not have to go to Life Action even though my dad, even after his week of seeking the Lord for me in this matter, still felt compelled that is where God wanted me. Not wanting to disobey or miss God’s will though, I felt I had to go to Life Action, no matter the state of my being, and so I went come the end of September.
A Resurrecting Faith
This new move was definitely a big leap of faith, but God had been so graciously preparing me for it through each of my previous work experiences and the faith they required. And looking back now, I really believe I was being attacked by Satan and his demonic forces because they must have sensed God was up to something big in my life, which He was. You see, I saw God at work more in my life in those five years at Life Action than all of my previous years combined.
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” (Matt. 28:6)
Now my time there was not easy but challenging in more ways than one. Even after my first month and a half, I was ready to leave and never go back, but God first of all clearly showed me that I needed to be willing to fail for Him.
After all, Jesus was willing to appear like a total failure for me (rejected by men and innocently nailed to a cross), but His resurrection proved everyone wrong. You see, He was the farthest thing from a failure because, having lived a perfect life, one completely submitted to His Father, Jesus was approved as our righteous, sufficient, just payment for sin, and thereby, He conquered not only death but also sin. And who has ever done that?! No one!
Secondly, the Lord showed me that even though He miraculously freed the children of Israel from the slavery of Egypt and parted the Red Sea, He still brought them to a desert and gave them bitter water, but eventually He brought them to a place of abundance at Elim, “where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees” (Ex. 15:27).
So with these truths taken root in my mind, and with the peace of God now flooding my heart, I re-launched my five-year stay at Life Action in mid-November. Yes, there were numerous other times over the years that I wanted to and tried to leave, but God kept telling me to “Stay, wait, and trust in Me.” Wow, is that ever hard when you’re in an uncomfortable place, but I’m so glad I did stay, wait, and trust because I would have missed out on so many blessings God brought me along the way. Blessings such as . . .
- Having for the first time my very own apartment in which I could decorate, spend quality alone time with the Lord, and have people over for dinner
- Receiving some of the best Christian girl friends I ever had
- Attending Spirit-filled occasions like the Institute for Campus Revival and Spiritual Awakening for three summers at Yale University
- Developing a greater passion for writing through having to write newsletters for all of my supporters and building better relationships with them through those newsletters
- Learning deeper truths of God from great ladies’ Bible studies and chapel services at Life Action and on and on
Micah is the most beautiful-hearted man I’ve ever met this side of heaven.
Yes, the LORD is GOOD even when life hurts. He truly brings beauty out of brokenness or out of a heart surrendered to Him. And guess what . . . After five years, the Lord united me in marriage to Micah, one of His most wonderful, precious men. This was truly a miracle seeing how I was 34 and never thought I’d get married having never dated anyone before him.
Just think then, God had me stay put all of those years in part just so He could bestow on me one of His greatest treasures–a very humble, godly husband who truly loves me as Christ loves the church. Now that is a treasure worth all of the suffering I went through in waiting on and yielding to God all of those years, whether it was in my lonely singleness or my unfulfilling career life.
As for my health situation, after moving to Michigan, it eventually got better just as my health eventually improved after I moved to Washington, D. C., in 2001. Both times did require trusting in and yielding control to God, which was not easy as I wanted to be in control, but God was faithful to care for and heal me.
Isn’t it interesting though how Satan attacks us most in the areas most precious to us because he thinks they will keep us from stepping forward in faith in God’s provision?! He surely is no dummy, but Jesus Christ is truly far wiser and greater as proved through His resurrection. As the Bible says, He, who is love itself, can never fail (1 Cor. 13:8), and that right there–such unfailing, impenetrable, all-powerful love– is something, or essentially the only thing, worth building your life on any day!
So what about you? What areas are you holding back from obeying God in because you fear failing or at least appearing like a failure? Isn’t God’s approval and fulfilling His eternal purpose for your life far more important than man’s approval and fulfilling your own purposes or desires? If not, may you consider the sobering verse, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Psa. 127:1).
Well, as I’ve shared my career and life story over the last several blog posts, I hope you’ve been encouraged and strengthened in your faith. I pray that through my experiences you can see and trust that God really is good and loving and will never fail you or forsake you even though His will and ways can often be hard or confusing at times but in the end so full of blessing and joy knowing you are following the King of kings.
You may be thinking though that you are too fearful, and there’s no way you could do all that I did. Well, believe me, I am one of the most fearful, worrisome people I know, and if God can pour out His grace on and change me, He can change you too. Just tell God your struggles but how you sincerely want to do His will, as I did, and wait and see what He does. May God bless you, my friend, and may you keep your eyes on Him, the beautiful author and finisher of our faith!