“Only God”. These words sum up for me this past school year.
It was “Only God” that I found myself teaching in Boston. Last Spring as I was preparing to get married and move to Boston, a common question I received was “where would I be working in the Fall?” An innocent, well meaning question reminded me again and again that I had absolutely no idea where I would be teaching the following the year. Between moving, wrapping up a busy school year, long- distance travel to visit my fiance, I barely had time to plan a wedding. I was extremely busy and I did not have the time to job search. I only managed to submit one or two job applications.
One particular day, when my wonderful fiance suggested I spend the evening filling out job applications, I became overwhelmed by all I had to do. I spent time on my knees that evening crying out to God. There were so many unknowns about the future and I did not have the time or resources on my own. How desperately I needed God. I choose to trust Him in the midst of the unknowns.
A couple weeks later, a friend passed along some information about a school located right in Boston. I researched the school and was very impressed. I quickly filled out the application and sent in my resume. The school contacted me for an interview the weekend I just happened to be up in Boston. My original trip had been postponed. Only God.
I left the interview feeling extremely confident that this was the exact school where God was calling me to teach. I was confident that I had interviewed well and that the administration was interested in me. However my true confidence was in the deep sense of calling I felt from God. As the days and weeks passed, I waited in confidence that God has called me to this particular school. I chose not to doubt or waver in the waiting time. Three weeks later, I received the phone call offering me the teaching position for second grade. Stephen was excited and thrilled. I was a little surprised that my reaction was so calm until I realized God had shown me this was what He had for me. I had already known for weeks now.
I went in the next day to sign my contract. While we were there, we found out about an apartment for rent. In a matter of only a few days, I had a job and we had a place to live. “Only God.”
The school year started all too soon. Shortly after our honeymoon, I was in meetings and working to prepare for the new school year. Parent Orientation came all too quickly. I barely had time to get my classroom ready. Then there was Student Orientation. I personally was not at all ready for the school year to start. Our home was full of boxes and empty of furniture. Yet, the first day of school went smoothly. I breathed a sigh of relief until that evening I found out the shocking news that my cousin Joshua had died unexpectedly.
Overwhelmed by grief and sorrow. Overwhelmed by all the sudden changes in my life. Overwhelmed by feeling very much like a “new teacher.” Overwhelmed by life. How did I made it through it all? Only God.
I had previously taught for eight years in the same school. I knew that there would be adjustments moving to a new school. Yet, I really had no idea just how very different the two schools would be and how I would need to constantly adjust and adapt. I went from teaching in a large public school to teaching in a small private school. My experience in teaching in a Title One school was challenging, difficult, yet rewarding. I found myself teaching in a very rich, powerful area of Boston. I quickly discovered the unique challenges of teaching in this kind of setting.
The school year held some very unexpected challenges. One particular challenge was when the school was flooded due to a burst pipe. It was then that I experienced the resiliency of Bostonians. We did not miss a single day of school. For two weeks, we walked the students a mile to a church each morning, taught the kids with limited supplies, and walked the students a mile back each afternoon. This was in bitter cold temperatures. I quickly realized that my winter coat was not a true winter coat. I was miserable and cold. When I came back from Christmas Break with a new, long down jacket I was finally prepared for Boston’s winter.
As any teacher knows, even one challenging student can drastically change your school year. How did I deal with the unexpected challenges? Only God.
This last semester was refreshingly joyful. I had made it through the challenges, Spring finally came to Boston, and I was able to enjoy my class of second graders. As the year wraps up, I am so grateful for my students and their families. I am grateful for an incredible team and for their support this year. I am grateful for how God called me to this job. I am grateful for this school year. I am grateful His provision. Only God.